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Baseball is coming back to Old Orchard Beach Ballpark

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

In New England, we are born into baseball at an early age. The sight of green grass on an April afternoon signaled that summer was on its way. We all remember the stories from our fathers and mothers, about how the Red Sox almost made it, and then had to surrender to the saying of “maybe next year.” They remembered Ted Williams, who hit for .406, and Carlton Fisk, who swung the ball for a home run. However, they’re pretty quiet about Game 6 in the 80s, against the Mets, when a certain man, Bill Buckner, 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.

Which brings me to the point, The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach. Once a haven for ball clubs and headlining concerts in the 1990s, it had fallen into disrepair, with trees growing in the infield and the park grounds overgrown. Later, several community groups came together to save The Ballpark and restore it to its glory days. Trees were removed, shrubs were pruned and trash and debris were removed. A lot of people worked hard because deep down we all wanted baseball to return to the park.

After the renovations, painting and making the infield so beautiful 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 to play at The Ballpark made it special again.

It’s the difference between paying $50 for parking, $50 for food and drinks at an MLB park, or just going to experience the small town feel of a baseball game. It’s almost like watching your kids play a competitive match,

Okay, this brings me to the actual point of this. It has been announced that a new ball club (as Tommy Lasorda called them) will play this season at the Old Orchard Beach Ballpark, located on E Emerson Cummings Boulevard behind the police station.

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

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

The opening day game is scheduled for June 2 at 1 p.m. 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 andd was a long-time Red Sox fan before 2004.