The 67 year old Peter Stuyvesant Little League kicked off its new season with a parade led by bagpipers past the fountain in Stuyvestant Town and to historic Con Ed Field.
“This is an all volunteer organization,” said league president Seth Coren, whose day job is in wealth management at Morgan Stanley. “This year,” he told the crowd, “we have over 550 kids and over 200 volunteers.”
The enrollment is still down from the pre-COVID levels when it had over 600 kids but Coren said the gap is narrowing and it is almost back to pre-COVID levels.
And he congratulated team players from last year, who won the post season District 23 championship that includes teams from all of Manhattan and the western part of the Bronx. It was a virtual clean sweep for PSLL as it won in the ten year old, 11-year-old and 12-year old divisions for baseball and in the 10- and 12-year old divisions in softball. It was the most successful tournament play in PSLL’s history, but he said the seeds were planted even as the city battled out of the pandemic.
Coren said. “One of the things I am most proud of is that after the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, we were able to keep a summer camp going because Con Ed was considered private property. Today, we have programs almost year round with fall ball and winter training sessions.”
The only drawback this year is the loss of Tim McGinn field in Murphy’s Brother’s Park for the season, as it is under construction as part of the East Side Resiliency Project. But Coren said that thanks to the NYC Parks Department the field where the 7 -and 8 year-olds and younger t-ballers play will have artificial turf and a new bathroom less than a block away from the park when it reopens in the 2024 season.
Not every league has been as fortunate in the division that PSLL and other Manhattan Little Leagues play in. The Michael Buczek Little League way up in Washington Heights, which was named in honor of a cop who was killed in 1988 and which drew coaching support form his precinct, shut down during COVID when public park were closed, and never reopened. District 23 said the charter up there was sadly not renewed so for the coming season there is no local Little League from the area.
As usual, the PSLL parade and ceremony drew the kids, especially from the t-ball and lower divisions as well as the politicians. City Council member Keith Powers, a StuyTown resident, recalled how he played on the fields as a kid growing up in Stuyvesant Town and was a second generation PSLLer since his father was also a PSLL player. Freshman NYS Assemblyman Alex Bores said it was first PSLL parade, but he was a former player who did most of his playing on Randall’s Island and the upper east side during his youth. And Borough president Mark Levine said it was second LL parade in two days, after attending the Greenwich Village LL on Saturday, April 1.
Coren did run into a little blowback at one point when he tried to lead a “Let’s Go Mets!” chant. He got some raspberries from at least half the kids sitting before him on the artificial turf who seemed to favor the Yankees. But that quickly changed when the Mets official team mascots, Mr. Met and Mrs. Met, made a surprise appearance on the field and were mobbed by the kids–even the Yankee fans.