News from Around Banderas Bay | January 2009
|Jerry Bianchi Steps Up to the Plate and Brings Big Baseball Donation from Colorado|
Bob Cohen - PVNN
Last Saturday, more baseball equipment arrived for Puerto Vallarta's resurrection of its Little League program after a 10 year absence. Jerry Bianchi of Lakewood, Colorado, a winter visitor in our city for the last nine years pulled up to the baseball stadium in his van at about noon, with the kids, organizers and local press awaiting.
Jerry met the new Little League organizer Miguel Vargas last winter while looking to join a senior softball team during his stay here. He did play a few games, but even last year Miguel was talking up his dream about starting an official Little League in Puerto Vallarta. Jerry read the baseball equipment donation story that ran a few weeks ago and decided that he would do his part to see the league come to fruition. He emailed Miguel and myself and told us he would be coming to town in late January and would be bringing some needed goods with him.
With everyone waiting, Jerry pulled up in his van and the kids began to help unload the equipment that he had donated in Colorado and also some that he purchased. We lined up the bats, piled up the gloves, baseballs, helmets and other gear on the dugout bench. The donation included 60 brand new baseballs, 30 used gloves, 10 new gloves, 6 new bats, 10 batting helmets, 3 equipment bags and a catcher's outfit.
We would like to thank and acknowledge Triple Crown Sports who donated all the new balls, 6 new bats, 10 new gloves and 7 new batting helmets. Triple Crown, based out of Fort Collins, Colorado has sponsored and international softball tournament in Puerto Vallarta for the last 20 years and has been a friend of Puerto Vallarta for many years. Play It Again Sports of Colorado Springs donated the bags and helmets and Jerry donated the rest.
Jerry, who worked for 30 years in the field of renewable energy, and I spoke and surprisingly he had just become interested in baseball just a few years ago after playing when he was young. Kids and grandkids seem to spark many to watch their games and see the value of teamwork, competition, discipline and comradery, all things that tend to give kids an edge as they grow up and enter the adult world. In fact kids in schools cannot even play sports unless they have a decent grade average.
Jerry's grandson Jacob, a 12 year old, was on a Little League team that was invited to participate in the Cooperstown "Field of Dreams" tournament that included 96 Little League teams from around the U.S. Cooperstown, N.Y. is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, a place my Dad took me to see when I was 10 years old and a Little League player myself. Jerry's son and Jacob's Dad Joe created a website that included sponsors in order to raise money for the team and long trip to New York. It worked, so we will be integrating a website for the PV Little League as well. The Cooperstown Dreams website is CooperstownDreamsPark.com/thepark.html.
We met Oscar Mercado for the first time. Oscar is actually the co-founder and co-organizer with Miguel of the PV Little League project. Oscar, who also speaks English extremely well, takes care of the more tedious parts of the program while Miguel is busy promoting the league. Frank Torres, who lives in Puerto Vallarta part time also showed up and we did some fundraising brainstorming. Frank has quite an extensive background in coaching and recruiting players at different levels of age and his assistance will be invaluable.
The decision was made to start with 12 teams in three age divisions, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17. Each team must have 15 players in accordance with the official Little League guidelines. That means there will be 180 youngsters playing and there is still a need for more equipment, especially gloves. The league currently has 75 gloves and need at least 120 more. Also needed are more new baseballs and more batting helmets.
A decision was made to ask for sponsorships of $10,000 pesos per team for a full season. This will fully uniform the players this inaugural year with the sponsor's names being the team name. Much publicity for the businesses will be returned as the uniforms will be in full view and the newspapers will carry results and stories of the games, thus more advertising at such a small price. Sponsorship will also include banners for each sponsor to be hung in the outfield of the stadium.
Since the Little League is a non-profit organization sponsorship monies will pay for uniforms, new equipment when needed, pay for umpires for each game and travel to other cities such as Guadalajara and Tepic for out of town competition as well as other expenses.
Remember that the Puerto Vallarta Little League still needs your donations. Follow Jerry's lead and bring some gloves or other equipment. Just put them in your suitcase since one only needs casual clothes in the Puerto Vallarta climate. Most importantly, please help with a team sponsorship or a tax deductible cash donation. Let's give these kids an opportunity to enhance their lives at a young age that will lead them to become productive members and leaders of society.
For more information and for sponsors and donations one can contact;
Bob Cohen at bob(at)banderasnews.com
Miguel Vargas at tacos.park(at)hotmail.com
Oscar Mercado at mercadooscar(at)hotmail.com