Former Red Sox Arroyo to Lead Worcester’s Little League Opening Day Celebration
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
“This Fan Fest and Spree Day is a spirited way our team can honor the kids and parents who keep youth baseball and softball so vibrant in our city. I was inspired to see all of the kids and coaches lining the infield for opening ceremonies last year, and I think the turnout this year will be even better. I’ve met Bronson once before and found him to be personable and energetic, so I think everyone will have a blast with him on April 21,” said Bravehearts General Manager Dave Peterson.
The celebration will take place on Saturday, April 21 at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.
Arroyo, who played on four teams in his Major League Baseball career, is best-known for his three seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 2003 - 2005.
He was a member of the 2004 World Champions and had a memorable appearance in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees that year when Alex Rodriguez slapped the ball out of his glove in a controversial tag play at first base.
Arroyo went on to play nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds — making the All-Star team in 2006 and winning a Gold Glove in 2010 — and one season with the Arizona Diamondbacks before retiring last season.
He is also a well-known musician and released his debut album, Covering the Bases, in 2005.
In his appearance at Fan Fest, he will address the Little League teams on the field and will also sign autographs and pose for photos with fans.
The opening day parade on Fitton Avenue is expected to begin at 9:00 a.m. and will lead kids onto Fitton Field for league introductions and the National Anthem.
Hank Stolz of Unity Radio will serve as Master of Ceremonies with opening day remarks from Mayor Joe Petty and District 4 Administrator Linda McGill before Bronson Arroyo pumps up the crowd with his pep talk. The event is open to the general public beginning at 10:00, with Bravehearts’ single-game tickets and merchandise going on sale as well as free autographs with Bronson Arroyo as soon as he is done speaking with the Little League players on the field.
Fan Fest also features free hot dogs, popcorn, and lemonade to the first 1,000 guests in attendance. Plus, fans have a chance to “Swing for Your Seat” in the afternoon — a promotion that allows fans to attempt to hit a home run in batting practice for a free Bravehearts season ticket this summer.
A scavenger hunt in the stadium is an annual staple at Fan Fest, and this year is no different. The MA Office of Economic Empowerment will roll out its $eedMA Program with a giant piggy bank scavenger hunt in the seats. The program is designed to help families invest in their child’s higher education through a 529 college savings plan, and it has already launched in schools such as Rice Square, Vernon Hill, and Union Hill in Worcester.
Related Slideshow: The History of Baseball in Central Massachusetts
Baseball and Central Mass. go way back - to the 1860s. The local historical landmarks range from Mudville to Hotel Vernon to Fitton Field. A version of these highlights is posted on the site of the new, yet-to-be-formally-named Worcester Baseballteam of the three-year-old Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
First Perfect Game
The first perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball was pitched in Worcester, on June 12, 1880, by J. Lee Richmond for the Worcester Worcesters – also known at various times as the Brown Stockings and the Ruby Legs - versus the Cleveland Blues at the Worcester Driving Park Grounds, located in the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds near Elm Park. Worcester joined the National League in 1880, replacing the failed Syracuse Stars.
NE Collegiate Baseball
A New England Collegiate Baseball League team played in Leominster from 1995 to 1999. Called the Central Mass. Collegians, they won the NECBL Championship in both 1995 and 1996, and During the 1995 season, they played a game against the Cuban National Youth Team in Worcester.
Wachusett Dirt Dawgs
The Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, who play at historic, and newly renovated, Doyle Field in Leominster, are a 2012 expansion franchise in the now-three-year-old Futures Collegiate Baseball League.The Dirt Dawgs’ 2013 season swung into action on June 5 with big expectations, but ended on August 8 with those hopes being dashed. They finished in the basement, with a record of 20-31 - 14 games behind first-place the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (38-18). The team is owned by prominent Leominster businessman John Morrison, who also founded, owns and operates Fosta-Tek Optics in Leominster.
Last month, the Futures Collegiate Baseball League announced the formation of the Worcester Baseball franchise, which will play its first season next summer. The team is owned by the family that owns and operates Creedon and Co. The prominent Worcester catering service will be the food-and-beverage vendor at home games at Fitton Field, at the College of the Holy Cross. Through Octobert 25, Worcester Baseball is conducting a name-the-team competition.
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