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Downtown Little League of Manhattan to be Treated to a “Weekend In Williamsport”

League had to vacate home fields for WTC cleanup

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 12, 2002) – Without a home for the 2002 season because of the work to clear the rubble from the World Trade Center, 17 teams of boys and girls from the Downtown Little League of Manhattan will be making a trip to the home of Little League in Williamsport, Pa., for a weekend of games and fun, May 17-19.

The teams will be housed in dormitories used for Little League Baseball World Series teams each August. Little League will also provide the meals to the players, managers and coaches – a total of about 250 people. Local businesses in the New York area have also stepped forward to help the league defray expenses for the “Weekend in Williamsport,” including the New York Yankees, who are providing the transportation to and from New York City. Russell Athletic is supplying souvenir shirts at no charge to all teams. 

“When we heard that one of our leagues had been displaced as a result of the attacks of Sept. 11, we wanted to do something special,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League, said. “All of us were deeply affected by the tragedy, and it is difficult to imagine being a child in the midst of such devastation. Hopefully, in this small way, Little League can help the healing process.”

Downtown Little League’s fields were located in Battery Park City, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. After the attacks, the ball fields were taken over as a staging area for the heavy equipment used in removing the rubble. It is expected that the league will regain use of the property next year. In the meantime, the City of New York Parks and Recreation Department and other local Little League programs have teamed up to help the Downtown Little League use other facilities this year.

The Weekend in Williamsport will include games and instructional clinics for all 17 teams, which include boys and girls ages 9 to 12, as well as a picnic for the teams and their families, many of which are expected to make the trip on May 18. Local Little League volunteers in Pennsylvania and other states have been enlisted to help.
Every team will have the opportunity to play in either Howard J. Lamade Stadium or Little League Volunteer Stadium, the two venues where the annual Little League Baseball World Series is played. The public is invited to the games, and there is no admission charge. A schedule of games will be posted May 13 at www.littleleague.org.

The Downtown Little League of Manhattan will hold its annual Opening Day on Saturday (April 13) at 9 a.m. at Rockefeller Park, at the north end of Battery Park near the foot of Chamber Street. It will be the official start of the league’s 10th season as a chartered Little League program.
Little League, founded in 1939 in Williamsport, is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with approximately 2.8 million children and 1 million volunteers in every U.S. state and 103 other countries.

These photos show the paved-over fields formerly used by Downtown Little League at Battery ParkCity in New York City, near the site of the World Trade Center. The league is without “home” fields this year after they were taken over in the cleanup effort.