Pershing Field baseball is back

New management must refurbish facilities and rebuild trust

The new organizers of the baseball program for kids at Pershing Field know they have a big job ahead of them.
The group took over last summer after the baseball season ended and found things were worse than they thought. The found the program lacked equipment and suffered from dilapidated facilities and lack of funds.
“We thought we had equipment,” said Police Captain Edgar Martinez, who is among a group of people who are trying to rebuild the program, “but we didn’t have equipment. We’re told that some of the coaches have the equipment. But we know we have to start from scratch.”
The biggest project won’t be painting the club house or rebuilding the dugouts. Home Depot and Loews have offered to supply materials and manpower towards rebuilding some of the facilities.
Batting cages are being restored, and the city has agreed to rebuilt the dugouts. The concession stand is also in need of repair.
These things can be handled with the help of a number of local sponsors. “We’re hoping to get sponsors to help cover the costs,” Martinez said.
The major challenge will be to build trust in a program that many parents feel let their kids down in the past.

“We’re hoping to get sponsors to help cover the costs.” – Edgar Martinez
“Kids came to the program but never played,” Martinez said. “We need to make sure that they know if their kids sign up for the program, they will get a chance to play.”
Even kids that played didn’t get the trophies they were promised. Some parents went off to other programs, but found that their kids didn’t get to play there either because of overcrowding.
Currently, operations are being run out of the Boost Mobil store on Central Avenue until the program’s club house is renovated.
Jimmy Sanabria is one of the key people who are attempting to restore the program, and is seeking to attract kids back to the program.
The Pershing Field Babe Ruth baseball and softball league, he said, are under new management. This includes league President Keith Colon, David Cruz, Melissa Sarmiento, Jimmy Sanabria and Police Capt. Martinez.

Making it attractive

“We want to make sure that kids of all economic backgrounds get a chance to play,” said Martinez.
Programs are available for boys 3 to 15 and girls 4 to 16. To join, kids needed to bring photo ID and proof of where they live. Kids from Montgomery Street in the south and all of Jersey City Heights are eligible.
Sanabria hopes that by lowering the entry fee, kids will come back to the program. A family’s first child will cost $60 to sign up rather than the previous $110. This fee will be reduced again by $5 for each additional child so that the second child would cost $55 and a third, $50.

Restoring faith

What the group needs most is to restore faith in the program, said Sanabria, and to encourage kids to sign up. While many of the coaches are gone, it’s kids returning to the program that is essential.
“We’re supposed to open on April 9 and run through June,” Sanabria said. “We have an all star event on May 28.”
He said the program also needs more sponsors. Goya Foods has already signed up. So have the Jersey City Police Department and the Central Avenue Special Improvement District.
“We stepped in because we saw the chance to make it better,” Sanabria said. “While many of the coaches haven’t returned, we can always get coaches. We want to provide a program for the kids.”
Martinez said there will be a special dedication this year to the late Det. Melvin Santiago and to police officer Matt Bogler, who was shot in the head in the line of duty.
“We hope to get him to come out and throw the first pitch,” Martinez said.
For information on how to sign up, donate, or become a sponsor, call (551) 655-0739.

Al Sullivan may be reached at

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