Excitement and anticipation were in the air on Saturday as more than 350 Martha’s Vineyard Little Leaguers, coaches, and parents celebrated a new baseball season with a traditional stroll from the Oak Bluffs Police Department to Veira Park.
The event is the kickoff to season-opening festivities at Penn Field in Oak Bluffs, followed by a full slate of games played on fields across the Island. In all, 19 Island teams participated in the parade: five Major League squads, six AAA minors, four AA minors, and four Tee Ball.
The parade is a stirring sight for anyone who has ever played or had ties to children’s baseball. One indication of the infectious spirit of the event was the number of onlookers along the route. Circuit Avenue store owners, customers, and passersby lined the streets to call out encouragement or simply take in the spectacle.
The Huffam family of West Tisbury captured the essence of the proceedings. Madelyn, age 9, and her 8-year-old brother Rowan play for the AAA Rockies. She likes to hit; he enjoys playing second base. Their brother Quinn, age 5, is a Tee Ball Grasshopper. His favorite part of the game: running. Emma, age 6, is a self-described fan.
Twelve-year-old Matthew Coggins is in his first year with the Major League Cubs. He’s a left-handed pitcher who might also see some time at first base. “We have a good team,” he said. “And today is fun because there are so many games going on in one day.”
Athletics Coach Chris Porterfield agrees. “It’s a great day,” he said. “It’s the start of a new season, and no one’s lost yet!” True enough. After all, it’s baseball, where hope springs eternal.