Friday, 20 November 2009 00:00
On Tuesday November 10, at the Jericho Terrace in Mineola, the Jericho Athletic Association’s intramural baseball season celebrated a spectacular end to the first year of its revamped intramural baseball program, with the JAA’s 1st Annual Baseball Dinner. The dinner was a huge success that was attended by over 300 people. The highlight of the evening was our special guest, from the World Champion New York Yankees, Brett Gardner.
Boys and girls from kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as our varsity High School players came for an evening of lots of food and lots of fun. With over 50 gifts donated by the community, ranging from Knicks and Rangers tickets to Yankee jerseys and sports equipment, all of the children and parents eagerly participated in the Chinese auction, in which they picked their favorite prizes and allocated their sheet of raffle tickets in a way to maximize their chance of winning one of the items. Parents and children strategized and staked out the prizes which were available in a silent auction with items such as foursomes at a number of local private country clubs, to a VIP package for the U2 concert at the new Giant Stadium.
The program began with JAA President, Joel Sweetbaum thanking the dinner committee; Dinner Chairman Charles Doria, Harold Wanderman, Ray Herzog, Bret Pearlman, Steve Rothman, Robyn Levy, Joe Velotti, Lisa Goren, Doug Kiviat, Lisa and Andrew Rothstein, Andrew Marshall, and Lisa and Tom Goren. Sweetbaum then thanked the Town of Oyster Bay for all of their support before he introduced Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor, John Venditto, who briefly addressed the large crowd. Other invited guests were recognized, including Town of Oyster Bay Councilman, Anthony Macagnone, former JAA President Jack Schnitt, Jericho’s Superintendent of Schools, Hank Grishman, the Jericho Board of Education members, and Adelphi Baseball Coach, Dom Scala.
The winning playoff teams of the spring’s little league season were then awarded their championship trophies.
The highlight of the evening was the introduction of Brett Gardner, a member of the World Champion, New York Yankees. Brett told the crowd that he grew up in a small town in South Carolina, where he played numerous sports. He was not recruited out of high school, and attended the College of Charleston, where he made the baseball team as a walk on. Gardner’s baseball fortunes improved after playing in a summer ‘wood’ bat league in Virginia, and he was eventually drafted by the New York Yankees, where he quickly ascended through the Yankees minor league system, until his major league debut in 2008. Gardner then answered some very interesting questions from the audience about his life as a major league baseball player to his experience as a teammate of some Yankee greats. His candor was exciting and interesting for all in attendance.
All the children had the opportunity to personally meet Brett Gardner, have a picture taken with him, and also receive an autographed action shot of him playing center field. Even Mets fans were excited to shake hands and chat with a World Series champion.
The festive night came to an end with the announcement of the winners of the door prizes, raffles and silent auction items.