I had a photo assignment this week covering a game at the West Pittston Little League field. The organization has certainly changed since I was a 12 year old.
The first thing I noticed was the massive building perched behind the center field fence. Housed inside the building is an indoor, Little League-regulation, artificial surface infield. It’s pretty cool, to be honest. The technology and facilities offered to children today are astonishing.
With the indoor field, kids can practice baseball or softball year round. Not only can West Pittston teams utilize the facility, but it can be rented out to teams from outside the area. I can only imagine how much better players of my generation could have been if it were available to us.
Another thing I noticed that I didn’t have when I played was the use of aluminum bats and spikes. As a matter of fact, aluminum bats were outlawed — we had to use wooden bats. I’m not sure why spikes couldn’t be used, but it was sneakers for us.
How many more home runs could my generation have had if those options were available to us?
There are a lot fewer field lights in use today — a total of four. We had six, if memory serves me correctly. I was fortunate to have played under the lights back then. West Pittston Little League was on the forefront of technology in having such a luxury.
Farm teams would start at 6 p.m. and the Little League teams played no sooner than 7:30 p.m. or at the conclusion of farm team game if they had extra innings.
Playing under the lights was thrilling and made me feel like a Major League Baseball player. It gave me a sense of being special.
When I arrived at the ballpark Wednesday, one of the fans asked the coach if the season was almost over. I was shocked to hear that the answer was “yes.” It’s only June 5 and the Little League season is over? What about the months of July and August?
When I was younger, we didn’t begin our season until after Memorial Day. At this point in time we would just be starting the summer season, and these kids are nearly done. As one parent said, “We start the season so early that we have to juggle homework and games.”
The great American pastime is not what it used to be. Someone told me that Williamsport that is the culprit. Williamsport is where the sanctioning government of Little League is housed and the location of the Little League World Series and the organization’s museum.
From what I understand, Little League stadiums are not totally dark during July and August — there are special all-star teams that play inter-league games. That’s all well and good for exceptional players, but what about those who are not chosen?
I think Williamsport and even local Little Leagues should rethink the whole structure and let these kids — all kids — play ball all summer long.
Fr. Adonizio’s celebration
Sunday marks a special day for Rev. Joseph Adonizio of Hughestown. He is celebrating his 60th anniversary in the priesthood. That is quite the accomplishment for sure — congratulations to him.
Fr. Joe, as many know him, is a man I really didn’t know much about other than he was the longtime pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in West Pittston.
Over the last two years I got to know the good Padre a bit better. We had a mutual friend in the late Rose Pelleschi. She had befriended Fr. Joe years ago and the two would often dine together.
Rose spent most of her life as a missionary in Mexico along side of Msgr. Lino Gussoni. Needless to say, Fr. Joe and Rose had much in common.
Last year, Fr. Joe was the featured speaker at St. Joseph Marello Parish smoker at Mt. Carmel Hall. I was very impressed with his speech. When we had a chance to speak, he told me he knew my mom through Rose. It’s a small world indeed.
Rose and my mom were childhood friends and Fr. Joe would occasionally dine with both of them. When Mom passed away, Fr. Joe was one of the first to show up at the funeral home.
Several weeks ago, I sat down with Fr. Joe at his residence and we had a lovely chat. It was refreshing to get to know the man behind the collar. Fr. Joe has had an incredible life.
Congratulations, Fr. Joe, for all that you have accomplished. We are grateful for your service to the Lord and the community.
Quote of the week
“I believe in prayer. It’s the best way we have to draw strength from Heaven.” – Josephine Baker, American actress.
Thought of the week
“Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain.” – Marquis De Sade, French novelist.
“Remember that lost time does not return.” – Thomas à Kempis, German writer.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.