Greenwich Village Little League (GVLL), a community-led organization founded to give local children the opportunity to play baseball and softball, is hosting their Opening Day celebration this Saturday, April 2, at Pier 40 on the West Side Highway. The much-anticipated event commemorates the start of their 38th Spring season, as well as their first gathering as a Little League Community since Spring 2019.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have the whole league back together again,” said the Opening Day Chairman, Jackson Rice. “While it was thrilling to get back on the field last year, we were hampered by COVID restrictions and it felt like more of a soft start. This year, we are approaching the season and Opening Day as a return ‘Back to Normal’.”
Since its founding in 1984, the mission of the GVLL was to create a “small town” atmosphere in the heart of New York City, with a focus on teaching discipline, teamwork and physical well-being— and as a result, the number of players registering each year continues to grow.
This spring season GVLL has already received 700+ sign-ups, of girls and boys ranging from ages 5-17, participating across 60 teams in 13 divisions.
Although GVLL’s primary event takes place in the Spring season, from April to June, there are opportunities for new players to apply year-round. Immediately following this season, the league holds Summer Ball from July to August, then Fall Ball from September to November, and even Winter Ball from December to March, at the P3 indoor facility at Pier 40.
While participation in the league is limited to those who live or go to school on the West Side of Manhattan in neighborhoods north of Canal Street and south of West 59th Street, this is among one of the only restrictions the league enforces.
“Little League is an inclusive activity that connects children from all backgrounds to have fun in our city,” they stated.
GVLL offers programs to all eligible families within the geographic boundaries, regardless of race, nationality, color, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, or disability; and Opening Day is an emulation of these principles as they portray the qualities GVLL strives to instill in their players — teamwork, competitiveness, sportsmanship, community involvement, and respect for all.
“Our community is always very excited for Opening Day,” said Rice. “This year will be especially rewarding to celebrate how far we have come as New Yorkers and as neighbors through the pandemic.”
Along with the 1,500 Greenwich Village residents attending the celebration, a number of local politicians are expected to join in on the fun, including District 3 City Council Member Erik Botcher, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and Congressman Jerry Nadler.
The gates are scheduled to open at 10:30 am., marking the official start to the celebration, with the Blue Angels Drum Line leading the parade of teams across the field. After a few speeches and the throwing of the first Opening Day pitch, GVLL has planned a surprise entertainment to conclude the day’s festivities.
“Many families have not been to a party in 2 years,” said Rice. “We will show them a great one this Saturday!”
And when asked what he was most looking forward to seeing at Opening Day this weekend, he responded, “The smiles on our kids’ faces! Nothing more priceless!”
More information about Greenwich Village Little League and Opening Day can be found on their website.