It was another festive evening at this year’s annual Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA) Service to Youth Baseball Awards Dinner. Coaches, scouts, current and former ballplayers gathered once more on Jan. 19 at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, N.Y. to celebrate their achievements and contributions to New York’s youth baseball community. GNYSAA members Victor Feld and Tom Sylvester hosted the evening and honored Joseph P. Ferrugio, Norris P. Gordon Jr., and Billy Blitzer for their accomplishments.
Blitzer was awarded the Lifetime Humanitarian Award for his 40 plus years as a scout and coach. Throughout Blitzer’s years as a pro scout, he has kept a close relationship with his roots in New York. He has invested his time to the GNYSAA, the New York Professional Hot Stove League, and Youth Service League. Blitzer has worked as a scout for the Chicago Cubs organization since 1982 and he won his first ring with the team in 2016. He has signed several MLB All-Stars and pro players such as Shawon Dunston, Jamie Moyer, Doug Glanville, and Gary Scott to name a few.
“I’ve always considered myself a sandlot person,” Blitzer said. “I always say that you should never forget… Continue reading
Long Island Baseball Magazine has an announcement that we’ve longed to make for quite some time. County Baseball Publications and the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance have agreed to partner in pursuit of jointly held organizational goals, promoting youth baseball in the greater NY/tri-state region (NY-NJ-CT).
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When opportunity comes knocking at your door, you have to be willing to step up and answer that calling. Brooklyn native Daniel Corona has answered his calling and then some. How many kids can say they got to close out a World Cup game for USA Baseball’s 12 and under team?
Daniel secured Team USA’s gold medal victory in the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Cup. He is a 12-year-old shortstop/pitcher who plays travel team baseball for the Brooklyn Blue Storm. He is the first amateur player from the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA) to play for Team USA’s National Team. GNYSAA president Victor Feld expressed his gratitude to Daniel for the accomplishments that he and his team have made.
“Incredible gratification to see a young man who’s got ability progress and take it to another level and make a national team like the USA team,” said Victor. “I think that’s phenomenal.”
This is an outstanding achievement, considering the fact that former professional ballplayers like John Franco and Willie Randolph grew up playing baseball in this organization.… Continue reading
Since its inception 1961, the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA) has supported the growth of youth baseball, showing kids how to play the game the right way. The GNYSAA.org website states their mission, “to serve the children of New York City and the Greater Metropolitan Area through baseball while promoting an attitude of professionalism and fair play.”
John W. “Jack” Kaiser, Joseph Russo, and Dominic Scala headlined the honorees for this year’s awards ceremony. These three men were all alumni from St. John’s University, what one of the speakers referred to as the mecca of college baseball in the northeast. Tom Sylvester organized the dinner and Victor Feld orchestrated a fantastic evening where high school players, former ballplayers, and current college coaches came together to commend each other’s achievements. Here’s some background information on this year’s honorees.
Jack Kaiser is one of the most decorated figures in the history of baseball in New York. His incredible baseball journey took off at St. Johns University where he became a student-athlete in 1944. His baseball talents were recognized by Varsity Magazine in 1949 when they named him as the College Player of the… Continue reading
When Bruno Franco, President of the Westchester Baseball Association, speaks about youth baseball, you can believe every word he says. For the past half century he has watched how the landscape and attitudes that define youth baseball have transformed a serene, national pastime into a callous, national industry. He despairs most about how youth travel teams have brought a 21st century focus on in-your-face, profits-motivated competition to what used to be a widely held enchantment with peaceful, fun days at the ballpark.
Mr. Franco is not a happy man.
In addition to his efforts on behalf of kids and baseball in Westchester, Bruno has also served as President of the New York City Baseball Federation (NYCBF) for ten years. “The Federation consists of all sandlot organizations in the city, on Long Island, in Westchester, and in Rockland County. Many travel organizations went independent because they don’t want to follow rules. They’re killing youth baseball by taking the best kids off their local teams in order to form super teams that play as much as 140 games a year all over the country.”
As a staunch supporter of sandlot baseball, Bruno also supports the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA).… Continue reading
Speaking with Frank Lo Piccolo of the Brooklyn, NY based Our Lady of Grace/Gravesend Athletic Association (OLG/GAA), you would think that the fate of youth baseball – or any other youth sport for that matter – lies at the mercy of parents who just “don’t want to take the time out to do things like this anymore.” He refers, of course, to the time consuming chores of driving kids to the field for practice or a game, combined with all that goes with supporting kids playing in local leagues, not to mention the travel teams that everyone seems to gravitate toward.
Frank’s Our Lady of Grace/Gravesend Athletic Association, only one of several youth sports organizations within the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA), exemplifies the highest dedication and commitment to teaching young players in the right way for the right reasons. County Baseball Publications caught up with Frank at the GNYSAA’s Annual Dinner held at Russo’s on the Bay this past January 22.
As the GNYSAA.org website explains, “In 1961 the GNYSAA, became the successor to the Journal-American Sandlot Alliance which was established in 1945 by New York Journal-American sports editor Max Kase.” In the half-century since Mr. Kase… Continue reading