Pelham Bay Little League seeking sponsors

The Pelham Bay Little League is calling on the “big boys” to sponsor its teams.

By “big boys,” league president Vinny Prestopino means the area’s chain stores and banks.

Prestopino is heartened when businesses sponsor a little league team, which has been operating since 1954. However, recently many of the larger businesses in the area have not stepped up to contribute.

Prestopino feels some of the larger corporate businesses, including banks and chain drug stores, videostores, and fast-food restaurants, should be sponsoring teams. He said that he and others at the league have heard “no” time and again in the past year.

“Right now there are about 68 businesses sponsoring teams in our league,” Prestopino said. “The small businesses are really cooperative, along with the many long-established businesses. You don’t even have to ask, the check is just there. The trouble is getting the big guys, who taking alot of money out of our community, to contribute anything.”

Pelham Bay’s three funeral homes, Balsamo, McNulty, and Giordano, sponsor one or more teams, Prestopino said.

He also praised many of Pelham Bay’s long-established businesses, which are also regular supports of the league.

He noted that the league has received sponsorships from Citibank and Capital One Bank, but overall, his efforts at corporate sponsorship have fallen on deaf ears.

The overall number of sponsors has fallen from 72 to 68.

While the league is not in any immediate danger, Prestopino added that if the recession continues to drag on for a long time, the league could end up in a precarious position.

Joseph Balsamo, owner of Balsamo Funeral Home and several other businesses, said he plans on continuing to sponsor teams in the Pelham Bay Little League.

“I believe that team sports are a big part of keeping the kids off the street,” Balsamo said. “It is a positive activity for children, to teach them morals and good character. The real heroes are not the people who put up the money, but the dads and moms who take time out of their busy weekends after working all week.”

Each new sponsor pays several hundred dollars for a metal sign for the outfield, and a sponsorship fee.

“Now, more than ever,” Prestopino said, “with the family structure the way it is for many kids, we need team sports to help kids develop.”

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