In the first week of Rolando Little League play, T-Ball coaches did a great job keeping their players focused on their skills instead of the soil, overcoming the distraction of the ballpark sandbox. On Friday afternoon, the Padres met the Diamondbacks at Rolando Park on La Mesa's western edge. Who won? Who cares? Mostly 5-year-old sluggers, the boys and girls entertained with their antics.
To mark the opening of small ball, here’s a history of local Little League Baseball.
From its founding in 1939 (the 100th anniversary of the supposed invention of the game itself by Abner Doubleday), Little League Baseball has lived up to the pledge all participants learn and recite, written in 1954 by Peter J. McGovern, then president of Little League Baseball.
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best.
Although numerous baseball, softball, challenged and instructional divisions exist in the organization, the Little League Baseball Division (sometimes known as the Major Division) is the best-known, geared for boys and girls ages 9-12.
That division holds its championship each August in Williamsport, PA. San Diegans took pride in the Park View All-Stars from Chula Vista, who took both the 2009 U.S. and International championships with their booming bats. La Mesa (1957) and El Cajon (1977) represented the U.S. in the title game but came up short against Mexico and China, respectively. But La Mesa Northern won it all in 1961, beating El Campo, TX, with a team that included future San Diego State and NFL quarterback Brian Sipe.
San Diego County Little League teams are divided among eight California districts: 31 (North County), 32 (Coronado/Point Loma), 33 (La Mesa/Lake Murray), 41 East County), 42 (South Bay/Chula Vista/IB), 58 (Borrego/Warner Springs), 66 (Lemon Grove/South Bay) and 70 (Oceanside/Vista). Each has its own organization and board.
Local leagues serving La Mesa: