The first bright colors of spring came out on Saturday as the Little Leaguers of Riverdale — both north and south — showed off their tiny uniforms and big dreams at the leagues’ annual opening day parade.
From timid tee-ball players to cocky veterans, they marched, some on the shoulders of their parents, others in packs of friends and teammates. Some carried multi-colored balloons, others their league’s banners or the flag of their country.
Beginning at Kelly Field on Broadway and West 261st Street, the celebrants of spring marched up Mosholu Avenue, took a right on Tyndall Avenue, a left on West 260th Street and left again onto Riverdale Avenue before circling around the corner to the parade’s diamond destination.
A police escort and a row of pipers cleared a path as the kids marched past their schools and parishes, local grocery stores and playgrounds.
For an hour — for a day — these young baseball and softball players embodied the meaning of spring in our neighborhood.
Officials of the North Riverdale Baseball League and the South Riverdale Little League, agreed that this year’s parade was one of the best attended in recent memory.
No doubt, the merging of the two leagues’ parades a year ago was part of the reason for the abundant crowd.
But a good deal of the excitement about this year’s parade also surrounded the reopening of the NBBL’s beloved Sid Augarten Field on Mosholu Avenue, which has been in serious disrepair for several years [see full story on A1].
As the players, coaches and parents of the two leagues completed their parade, they were ushered through the gates of “Sid Field,” filling its outfield.
Before and after the season’s opening ceremony and in between innings of the first game of the season, players and their parents spoke about the parade, the meaning of opening day and a new season of baseball.