Baseball Stars, Broadcasters in the Lineup For International Little League Opening Day
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa (April 5, 2006)—An all-star group of baseball and broadcasting stars joined with the sponsors of Little League Baseball and Softball to celebrate the First International Opening Day was held at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, New York City on Friday morning.
ESPN Baseball Tonight star Harold Reynolds was the host for the event and called the action for a Tee Ball game between two teams from the Harlem Little League. Since 1997, Reynolds has broadcast Little League World Series Games on ESPN.
SportsNet New York broadcasters and longtime New York Mets’ stars Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling served as celebrity coaches for one team.
New York Yankees’ heroes Rich “Goose” Gossage and Jim Leyritz coached the other team.
Also on hand to give the youngsters some advice on eating right was Jared Fogle, the spokesman for SUBWAY Restaurants, one of Little League’s family of national sponsors.
“Having these baseball greats, along with Jared Fogle, made this a great Opening Day for the players, their families and the Harlem community,” said Stephen D. Keener, the president and chief executive officer of Little League International.
Other Little League sponsors supporting International Opening Day are Ace Hardware, The Active Network, Choice Hotels International, ESPN, American Honda, Major League Baseball, New Era Cap Co., RE/MAX International, Snickers, Sunkist Growers, Inc., and Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
Little League International established International Opening Day as a way of honoring the 2.7 million “everyday” players in Little Leagues around the world and the more than one million volunteers who help them play. International Opening Day re-affirms Little League’s commitment to the storm-damaged areas of the United States Gulf Coast and to Little League’s Urban Initiative. Little League International’s sponsors will be making financial and equipment donations to assist leagues rebuilding in hurricane-damaged areas and to support programs for at-risk youth run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Collection boxes for new and “gently-used” equipment have been set up at Bill Shea Friendship Field in Marcus Garvey Park. Contributions can be made on the Internet at www.pitchinforbaseball.org.
The sponsor support for International Opening Day included these highlights:
- Russell Athletic is outfitting more than 100 Little Leaguers, sponsors, celebrities and volunteers with baseball jerseys
- In honor of Harlem Little League hosting the event, Bank of America donated to Harlem Little League a youth baseball clinic this summer featuring legends from the New York Yankees. Following the skills portion of the clinic, the former Yankee greats will share with the young athletes how their experiences with baseball have helped them to achieve higher standards on and off the field.
- SUBWAY spokesman Jared Fogle attended the event and SUBWAY’s sponsored car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series driven by Greg Biffle had a special Little League paint scheme for this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. In addition, Biffle is planning to visit Little League games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
- Bryant Heating and Cooling made a home-plate check presentation to support the Leagues in the Gulf Coast.