Little Leaguers took part in a car parade at Town Park in Point Lookout on Friday as a way to pay homage to a season lost because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The parade was put together by Town of Hempstead officials and fire departments from Merrick and Island Park. Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and members of the Town Board were on hand to cheer parade-goers.
“This gives the local Little Leagues a chance to come down here, in a little bit of open space, and get cheered on,” Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said. “We just tried to bring some smiles to the kids’ faces and let them know they’re not forgotten. As soon as this gets past us, we will do anything we can to get them back to whatever season we can.”
Merrick resident Al Belbol and his son Joseph, 12, took part in the parade. Belbol, who coaches his son’s Little League team, said Joseph practices every day in the hope there will be a season this year. He added that the parade gives players a sense of hope.
“It means a lot to him to just be able to get his uniform on, feel pride in playing for the Merrick-Bellmore Little League,” Belbol said. “These kids are dying to play baseball.”
Some Little Leagues represented in the parade were Merrick and Bellmore, Long Beach, Point Lookout, Island Park and Garden City South. New York Mets Legend Ed Kranepool, who was on the 1969 World Series team, was a special guest for the event.
“Over the years, I’ve been to many Little League functions, and this is one of the greatest you can be part of,” Kranepool said. “Everybody be safe.”