Saco Bay News

“Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the …” Every fan of baseball knows the rest of the chant, so I’ll spare you.

In New England, we are born into baseball, at a young age. The sight of the green grass on an April afternoon meant a signal that summer was on its way. We all remember the stories from our Mom and Dads, about how the Red Sox would almost make it, and then having to surrender to the saying of “maybe next year.” They recalled Ted Williams, hitting for .406, and Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair for a home run. They are, however, rather silent on game 6 in the 80’s, against the Mets when a certain man, Bill Buckner just couldn’t get his glove on the ground. Baseball in New England is part of our lives, almost part of our DNA.

When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, the first time in 86 years, it brought in so many new fans, and young boys and girls who will now forever appreciate the love of the game.

That brings me to the point here, The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach. Once a haven for ball clubs back in the 90’s, and concerts featuring headline acts, had fallen into disrepair, with trees growing in the infield and the park grounds overgrown. Later on, several community groups got together to save The Ballpark and restore it to its glory days. Trees were removed, bushes trimmed away, and trash and debris were hauled out. Many people worked hard, because deep down, we all wanted baseball to return to the park.

After the renovations, and painting, and making the infield so nice that even Buckner could have made that play, baseball returned to Old Orchard Beach. Is it a 10,000-seat stadium? No.

Did they draw as many people as the Portland Sea Dogs? No. But those first few teams who played in The Ballpark made it special again.

It’s the difference between paying $50 for parking, $50 for food, and drink at an MLB park, or just going to experience the small town feeling of a baseball game. Almost like going to watch your kids play a little league game,

Ok, this brings me to the actual point of this. It has been announced that a new ballclub (as Tommy Lasorda called them) will be playing this season at the Old Orchard Beach Ballpark, located off E Emerson Cummings Boulevard behind the Police station.

Welcome in Wasabi Ventures Sports Management, which recently announced that it has purchased full ownership stakes in three new teams in the Greater Northeast Collegiate Baseball League. One of these teams, the Old Orchard Beach Bugs, will call The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach home.

Yes, you heard that right! Baseball is coming back to Old Orchard Beach!

The opening day game is scheduled for 1 p.m., June 2, at The Ballpark.

Until then, imagine the crack of the bat, your Cracker Jacks, and the 8-year-old kid next to you robbing you of a foul ball!

Brian Othot is a guest columnist and was a long-time suffering Red Sox fan before 2004.