Chronicle, Martin Alarie The peewee AA Lac St. Louis Yankees took on Montreal last Friday at Beacon Hill Park in Beaconsfield.
BY MICHAEL PIASETZKI
When the Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C., after the 2004 season, there was concern whether the lack of major league ball would affect youngster’s attitudes towards playing the game.
Four years later, the answer today reflects the consensus back then. Kids have found other professional teams to cheer for, and registration numbers have not been affected as feared. Amateur ball, West Island style, remains an integral part of the local sports scene, both at the inter-city and house-league levels. “We never seem to have problems attracting kids to play,” said Robert Litvack, manager of the peewee AA major (second-year players) Lac St. Louis Cardinals, and director general of the Cardinals organization. “The dedication seems to be there, particularly among the higher-skilled players.”
That will to participate stretches down to the Lac St. Louis Baseball League’s inter-city A-level as well, where 65 teams are set to compete against each other this season. “Last year we had 56,” “said Victor Levis, director general of the Lac St. Louis Baseball League “There’s been a lot of late registration, especially at the younger ages, in several associations. I think it had a lot to do with the long winter we had. Overall, we’re probably up around five per cent. The number of teams playing in local house leagues is about the same as last year.”
Litvack, one of two veteran AA skippers in the Cardinals organization, the other being Jason Starr, is coming off a memorable 2007 season, having led his peewee major Cards to a Montreal Metropolitan Baseball League city championship. The only other area AA team to do so was the mosquito minor (first-year players) Lakeshore/Trois Lacs Yankees. As fate would have it, the Yankees turned out to be the last mosquito minor team that would ever win a city title. “The league has decided to do away with first-year AA mosquito,” said Litvack. “The reasoning had to do with travelling. These kids are nine going on 10 years of age, and it was felt they needed another year to simply concentrate on developing their skills before going on to competition baseball.”
For more information on the Cardinals and Yankees, go to www.lbicm.com. To find out more about the Lac St. Louis Baseball League, go to www.baseball-lac-st-louis.org.