By MICHAEL MROZIAK
Niagara Gazette — Last week, the Niagara Gazette proudly sponsored the City Championship, which brought the majors division champions of the four city-based youth baseball leagues together for a playoff series, won ultimately by Cayuga’s representative, the Jocoy Collision Dodgers.
Congratulations to the Dodgers for a fine championship run. I also want to extend congratulations to the other participating teams, the runners-up Hyde Park Tops Tigers, Whirlpool Harris & Lever Florist Yankees and the Midtown Tops Yankees. Although only one team could lift the Mayor’s Cup, all four teams got there because they were the best in their respective leagues. That shouldn’t be forgotten.
What also should not be forgotten are the efforts of several others who made it much easier for me to prepare for this tournament for my first time.
Thank you to John Forcucci, Athletic Director for the Niagara Falls School District, for providing us the NFHS Varsity Softball diamond, plus a working scoreboard and all the steps needed to get the field ready for play. Also from the school district, Donna Eagen has my gratitude for making sure any insurance questions were resolved.
Thanks to the members of the Niagara Falls Umpire Association for officiating all three games.
Thanks to the Cataract Little Loop Football Association for opening and hosting their concession stand during the games.
Many thanks to Doug Smith, my friend and our Monday baseball columnist, for once again taking the role of public address and getting a few chuckles from the fans. I’ve previously referred to him as Niagara Falls’ version of Harry Caray, and once again he didn’t disappoint.
Thanks to Mayor Paul Dyster for being there to congratulate the champions and offer a pep talk to both finalists. It should be noted that, as Doug pointed out in his column earlier this week, the mayor had an opportunity to take the microphone and speak but chose instead to speak more intimately with the players.
My thanks (and apologies) to anyone I may have inadvertently missed.
Last but not least, thanks to my boss, publisher Pete Mio, for once again agreeing to sponsor this event.
Here’s looking forward to many more years of a fine tradition in a town that still loves its baseball.
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I also want to take this time to address how we handle tryout and team registration announcements. Of course, we traditionally run such announcements on Mondays but lately we’ve been getting quite a few last-minute requests for postings one or two days after getting those messages.
I’ve allowed it for a couple of occasions, but I need to put that grace period to an end. As of now we’re sticking to keeping those announcements to Mondays.
For one thing, that space set aside on Mondays is one I can count on. On any other given day, advertising needs often affect what I can place and what needs to be left out.
In addition, if I allow it for this program, a rival program complains I’m giving special treatment. I don’t play favorites but that can create such a perception. Sorry folks, but sticking to Mondays will save a lot of hard feelings among other programs and save me a lot of aspirins.
By the way, if you fax in your announcement, remember the updated fax number for sports is 693-0124.
Thanks everyone for understanding!
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One more “thank you” I need to give is one to a complete stranger.
Arriving on my desk earlier this week was a very well-preserved copy of the Niagara Gazette from June 24, 1973.
Among the headlines was the Jamestown Falcons’ victory over the Niagara Falls Pirates in the season opener of the New York Penn League, a photo of then graduating LaSalle High School ballplayer Jack Weber, who was drafted that year by the Texas Rangers, and news that Niagara Falls would host the 1974 United States Midget National Amateur Hockey Association Tournament.
I was still a preschooler in 1973 but have foggy memories of sports later in the 1970s including New York Penn baseball in the Cataract City, when Niagara Falls had more than one high school, and when Niagara Falls was a player in local junior hockey with the former Mang’s Sharks.
Nevertheless, it was a fun relic to carefully look through.
To the gentleman who dropped off this 40-year-old gem, I wish I could thank you personally.
Respond to Gazette sports editor Michael Mroziak by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.