Letter : Thanks to the Little League insiders
Published 9:55 pm, Sunday, November 20, 2016
It occurs to me that, season after season since 1951 in this town, the spring and fall game schedules of poor Little League baseball divisions go by idyllically, nourishing our children in important ways. The seasons go by like an unsqueeky wheel —attracting little attention from outsiders.
I want to shine a light on some of the insiders, who each have worked year after year, driven only by their love of the game and their respect for the value of Little League.
Jeff White, chairman of the board, and his Mom, the late Mary Ellen White were our Moses and Zipporah — leading us into the actualization of a real and working organization — Wasn’t easy. One can’t go far behind the scenes without seeing the good hand of President Rick Rosen. Jeff Mitchell is our webmaster,who has nearly flawlessly kept an ever-growing organism moving fluidly. All who miss those parent-manned telephone chains to spread time-sensitive game information won’t appreciate his diligent work. (They also likely still mourn the passing of the Pony Express.)
Our umpiring corps operates with strong, disciplined, and knowledgeable young men, season after season, because of the tireless work and dedication (since 1995) of our umpire-in-chief, Brian Kurtz. His time and energy seem boundless; he’s tough, patient (for what can be an extended time…) and caring. He somehow creates a drive in us all to please him. Now, that’s a teacher! Tom Olsen, our indefatigable umpire coordinator and guru, endures the constant frustration and challenges of the vicissitudes of weather and student umpires’ dynamic (i.e., unreliable) schedules. Without his weekly efforts, there would be near chaos. He seems available 20 hours a day.
Our nearly invisible corps of landscapers and groundskeepers should literally be applauded every time you see them working, often last minute, which is probably close to only 10 percent of their time on the fields. From drainage, to expert lawn care, to lining and re-lining the fields’ boundaries accurately and straight, to manicuring the infields and the requirements of the pitching mounds, and maintaining the infields’ compound that promotes safe “sliding” conditions, while obviating puddling, and, critically, vastly reducing the risk of batted ground balls taking errant, dangerous hops (just ask Tony Kubek about that). We play on extremely valuable real estate maintained exquisitely.
From winter tryouts to summer trophies, this is an unobtrusive, well-oiled, complex, self-rejoicing team of many interdependent parts.
(By the way, as an umpire for about 18 seasons, I take great pride in going unnoticed.)