Local Little Leaguers Take the Field at Minute Maid Park
ALIEF YOUTH ASSOCIATION Hits It Big With the Help ofGrand Slam For Youth Baseball
“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.” – Yogi Berra.
Yogi got it right, it does keep parents off the streets and involved with the great sport of baseball, whether as coaches, managers, team moms or spectators. And baseball offers youngsters the opportunity to participate in the “great American pastime” on a neighborhood level.
Like pros, little leaguers from the Alief Youth Association in Southwest Houston walked on to the field at Minute Maid Park to the sound of applause as the organization was recognized at a recent Houston Astros game as the lucky recipient of the Grand Slam for Youth Baseball (GSFYB) annual ballpark refurbishment program. The group took to the turf at Minute Maid Park prior to a game in October of 2007 and was greeted by representatives from Houston’s hometown juice brand, Minute Maid, and the Houston Astros. It was especially meaningful, as the Alief Youth Association marked its 40th anniversary last year.
“Grand Slam for Youth Baseball was created to encourage and support little leaguers and help compassionate parents who are dedicated to a healthy way of life,” said Fred Arnold, Manager of Strategic Alliances for Minute Maid. “Parents are always looking for safe, healthy ways to keep their children active and be involved in their lives. Their tireless devotion to the area’s youth and community provide the foundation that makes this program work.”
“There are so many people who want to improve the little league facilities for the children in their community that it is truly difficult to select just one recipient,” says Marian Harper, Vice President of Community Development for the Houston Astros. “The Alief Youth Association was chosen through an application process and its selection marks the sixth ball field to be refurbished by the program. Grand Slam for Youth Baseball was created with the hopes that we can give the little league players of today the opportunity to succeed and maybe even become the major league players of tomorrow.”
GSFYB is a community outreach program created by Minute Maid, Houston’s hometown juice brand, and the Houston Astros in August 2002. The program includes sponsorship for City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s FREE Youth Baseball/Softball program through the provision of uniforms, equipment and instruction; refurbishment of one youth baseball field each year; college scholarships for Houston area high school seniors; and a unique fundraising opportunity for youth baseball teams and leagues (the GSFYB concession stand at Minute Maid Park) - portions of the proceeds go to the teams and leagues who work the stand. GSFYB is designed to make it easier for boys and girls to play, learn about and experience baseball, while fostering self-confidence, involvement, teamwork and fun among area children.
On hand for the announcement were: (back row) Mike Saint John, Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola North America and General Manager of Minute Maid; Todd Sorosiak, President of AYA; Jim Hoffmaster, Vice President of AYA; Alton Williams; Frank Cronin, Director of Baseball; (front row) Kendahl Sorosiak; Shelby Armer; Brooks Price; Joshua Williams; and Jamie Cronin.