The best opening day ever


By Tim Lalumia

There are very few things that can lure me away from my proud winter viewing position (on the couch) watching my son as he battles other assassins, warlords and zombies. One of those things is the arrival of spring, and the pitch-perfect call to action is Greenwich Village Little League opening day.

Tossing aside pillows, chips and the cozy blanky, we — along with nearly 1,000 others — made our pilgrimage to the Downtown sports mecca, Pier 40. Once a place of buses, FedEx and UPS parking, now a place of dreams and teeny, tiny tire bits in my shoes and, on this day, a thrilling extravaganza, blessed by absolutely glorious weather.

In so many ways, this year’s G.V.L.L. Opening Day (once again sponsored by local Village restaurant and bar Brass Monkey) held earlier this month was different from the many in previous years. For starters, the funny, very excitable sports personality Chris Carlin, star of the SportsNet NY show “Loudmouths,” fired up the crowd.

Carlin also helped judge the “best banner” competition. First place went to the T-ball Cardinals, coached by Ben Hunter and Will Margiloff. The national anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” were sung by New York City actress Nikki Van Cassele.

There were new blue G.V.L.L. sweatshirts for every player, and a massive “Pitch Hit and Run” competition. The parade route snaked across the 100-plus yards of green artificial turf, as the familiar crescendos of Freddie Mercury’s voice heralded the entrance of our little T-baller “Champions.”

Picnics popped up all over the field. Folks hung out, watched the kids try their hand (arm) at speedball throwing, hitting and running, all without a single iPad in sight. “Community” was the word of the day.

The players took part in a fun-filled competition of sandlot skill. Some stations were manned by coaches of P3, a youth sports organization that operates on Pier 40 year-round, led by Tobi Bergman.

On opening day, grownups volunteered as they should, realized who this is all for, and got out of the way so the kids could play and have fun.