It was a smaller Opening Day ceremony than in year’s past thanks to COVID-19, but Colonie Little League kicked off its 2021 season on Saturday, April 24, in fine fashion and 400-plus kids are playing baseball this spring.
“We thought we had a pretty good chance to get this on time this year, last year we weren’t sure and we ended up starting in the second week of July,” said Colonie Little League President Rodger Wyland. “As a board, we thought, if we stayed the course and everything kept getting better and better we would have a season.
“We had more than 400 kids sign up so it shows you the kids want to play and the parents want their kids to play.”
The ceremony, which included elected officials and other dignitaries, generally includes all the leagues and players that play baseball at Cook Park throughout a spring and summer, but to limit the size of the crowd, it only included the six Major League teams this year.
There are other safety protocols in place, like social distancing and masks when that cannot be done properly and the players will sit outside the dugout like last year. But, unlike last year, the concession stand is open and there are no limits on the number of fans who can come and watch the games. The games, though, are spread out more to help keep down the number of people at the fields at the same time.
“It’s a beautiful day today,” said Village of Colonie Mayor Tom Tobin, after throwing out one of the ceremonial first pitches. “It’s great to see the kids out playing. They can’t even go to school at times. We are excited to see it open and it is something we look forward every year.”
Other ceremonial pitches thrown on Opening Day were thrown by James Carlino, a major leaguer who can’t play this year after getting sick with COVID-19 but is still on a team, and Dennis Spielman, commander of the Colonie VFW Post 8692.
Colonie Little League has had an Opening Day since at least 1955. In that year, Rutland Lumber got by Tim’s Trotters 6-5 on the first game played under the CLL moniker. It was played at Exchange Park, then located just off Wolf Road where DeNoyer Chevrolet is currently located. The league moved to its current location in Cook Park in 1967 where parents and volunteers operate and maintain five baseball diamonds, two concession stands, a batting cage and a pavilion.
Click on a photo below to view a slideshow of the rest.
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