The opening day parade for the North Shore Little League at Wrigley Field in Rocky Point on Saturday was a time to celebrate the league’s 50th anniversary. It was also a time to remember a lost friend.
The league unveiled a new press box with a ribbon-cutting to honor the late Matt Badamo, a former vice-president of the league who died three years ago in an automobile accident.
“We named the press box after him because he always talked about a press box so we didn’t have to sit on folding chairs,” said league president Gary Catalanotto.
Badamo’s son, Tyler, 20, of Mount Sinai, who used to play for his father in the league, said the press box “would be something he would’ve loved.”
With more than 80 teams and different divisions for ages 6 through 13 in baseball and softball, hundreds of children filled the field just beyond the infield dirt as local officials gave speeches to commemorate the occasion.
Tanya Guido, 13, a second-base fielder who is in her last year with the league, said she treasures the experiences she’s had with the organization. “It gives you a lot of learning experience and you get your courage all up,” she said. “My favorite part is being able to play and see all my friends.”
Kevin Bowrosen, 11, said he loves coming back to compete with his friends. “There’s a lot of contests and a lot of friends,” the third baseman said. “There’s a lot of competition between all of us.”
His father, Dean Bowrosen, played for the league 35 years ago. “This is our second generation going through the league,” he said. “North Shore prepared me to play in high school and college.”
Amy Kincaid has been with the league for 15 years and helps run the concessions for the nonprofit organization. She said she keeps coming back for the family atmosphere and sense of community.
“It’s a great organization, we have great friends here and we’ve all made a family out of it,” she said. “We all pull together to make everything happen.”