Senior focus good for local baseball
The concentration by the Bahamas Baseball Federation(BBF)on senior league play is good news. Heralding this important item was the sports lead inThe Nassau Guardianon Friday past. Quality senior league baseball in this country has been long overdue.
On the day of the National Stadium ground-breaking ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, July 10, 2006, operators of heavy equipment were directed to begin breaking down the Churchill Tener-Knowles Softball Stadium and also the Andre Rodgers Diamond.
The baseball facility was named in honor of our first legitimate star and pioneer in the Major Leagues. Indeed, Rodgers will always be considered the dean of senior league baseball play in the country. For decades following the move of organized baseball from Clifford Park to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, the site had been the forum for some of the finest sporting moments in this nation’s history.
Fans spilled over at the Andre Rodgers Stadium for many years. Scores of young Bahamian players were scouted from that very spot. Inter-island sports excitement reached its peak when the Bimini Braves took the national baseball championship away from New Providence.
Major League Baseball came to The Bahamas and some of the best players in the world were showcased right there at the Andre Rodgers Stadium. The Pittsburgh Pirates met the Los Angeles Dodgers. Our very own Henry Williams was in the Dodgers’organization at the time.
He was a joy to behold, in his white uniform with the Dodger-blue lettering, striding off the mound and delivering pitches to home plate in front of hundreds of Bahamians, but, this historic site was destroyed in 2006 and the senior baseball program in the nation died.
Under the jurisdiction of the rival Bahamas Baseball Association, the senior league program had fallen back, but it was still in place. As of that occasion in 2006, the BBA virtually dropped off the scene.
Thankfully for the thousands of young boys and yes, some girls around the nation who have a passion for baseball, there was a BBF. The federation kept the game alive at the junior level. Last year, through the Freedom Farms arm of the federation, the highest ever success for Bahamian team baseball was achieved. The Freedom Farms 12-and-under nationals won the Cal Ripken/Major 60 World Series in Carolina.
Now, the BBF plans to go forward with the revitalization of senior baseball in the land. The full details are forthcoming, but according to an official statement, a senior league will be established again.
“It is believed that establishing a regular senior league for the country’s baseball players will assist when teams compete regionally and internationally,”said BBF Secretary General Teddy Sweeting.
It’s a terrific initiative. Well done BBF and best wishes!