Van Nest little league opens season with new mural

Van Nest Little League will have a lot to celebrate at their 58th opening day ceremony.

After an inauspicious close to last year’s season in August 2013 because of graffiti vandalism on the league clubhouse and scoreboards, the league is preparing to celebrate a big grand opening day on Saturday, April 12 with the unveiling of a mural that will depict the best of the community.

The well known artist named Garcia, and his assistants, who have created murals all over the Bronx, are donating their time and talent in putting up the mural.

“His murals have never been tagged over,” Joe DeFazio Jr., VNLL director of fundraising and marketing, said of Garcia’s work.

Garcia contacted VNLL and volunteered his services after seeing a news story about the vandalism. Also offering help free of charge was LaSorsa Auto Group, who donated supplies for the painting.

Having a clean field is important because it enhances the experience of the players and helps attract and retain new players, said DeFazio.

“We work hard at this league to make sure it is one of the best leagues in the Bronx, and that children have great experiences,” he said. “It leaves a bad impression for people who have been to our league, and for people who are coming into the neighborhood looking for a league. They are coming into this nice community, and if they see this at a little league, they might not want to play there.”

The field, on the campus of Bronx Psychiatric Center at 1500 Waters Place, and is also visible from Marconi Street, the highly-traveled access street for the Hutchinson Metro Center, he said.

Besides the unveiling of the mural at the opening day ceremony, starting at 9 a.m., La Sorsa representatives will be there exhibiting new model cars, said DeFazio.

Following with tradition that is the mainstay of VNLL, the league’s leadership will address an audience of more than 200 people before the season’s first pitch.

Community leaders and elected officials are also expected to be in attendance, and DeFazio expects that it may be the largest VNLL opening in years.

DeFazio’s has been volunteering with the league as a board member for the past four years, and before that donated his time as a coach. All together, as a coach and player, he has been with the league for 23 years.

He attributed the longevity of the league to its dedicated volunteers, who run the league, and to support from – and service to – the community.

For more information on VNLL, e-mail or call (718) 518-9303.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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