Play Ball!

“You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen” Joe Dimaggio

baseball3“Let’s go! Gather ’round!”, can be heard as coaches throughout the land start making teams out of individual players. This past Saturday though it seemed the call went out to everyone as the annual opening day parade for baseball and softball brought Oakland a taste of summer.

The parade, which features hundreds of players marching in uniform, is an annual event in town and each year it gets better. This year’s opening day festivities certainly reflected the best of Oakland, and for many it was a perfect reminder of why they chose to call Oakland home.

baseball1The volunteer Recreation Commission, along with all the volunteer coaches, moms, dads, and older kids were working behind the scenes to make the day a complete success. Mayor Szabo and the town council were on hand to participate, as were the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department and the Oakland PD. The parade route was lined with kids, grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, and residents getting out for some local fun and flavor. Volunteer members of the Oakland Communications Commission were also there capturing everything on video, and those not in attendance will soon see it available on local cable.

baseball7The baseball and softball teams made themselves known throughout the course of the parade with regular roars of enthusiasm for the spectators. The spectators followed the teams to where the opening day ceremony would occur, and everyone settled down under the bright blue skies to allow for the adults to bring that added sense of officiality to the ceremony. Baseball Commissioner Mike Guadagnino, Coach Guad, welcomed the crowd, the local dignitaries, and the other speakers to opening day.

baseball6_flagAs all the players were aware of the hotdogs, crushed ice, cotton candy, music and fun awaiting them, the speakers kept it short and sweet. Taking the time to recognize the teams, the coaches, and all the people who make the program happen is an important part of this Oakland ritual.

It is the only time when the enormity of the organization is truly evident,and fans of Oakland Recreation can see with their eyes how big an operation it really is. And this is just baseball and softball….football, soccer, cheerleading, and summer camp are just a few of the other programs that involve hundreds of participants each.

Oakland Opening Day Gallery