April 14, 2024
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TBO Announces Exciting Changes for 2018 Season

Winter made an emphatic entrance this past week, dumping four to six inches of snow on most of New Jersey last Saturday night. As Teaneck residents broke out their parkas and shovels, many found themselves yearning for spring, with warm sunshine, the smell of freshly cut grass and of course, baseball. Warmer days will be here soon enough, though, and even as North Jersey gets ready for icy winds and more snow, Teaneck Baseball Organization has announced exciting news for its upcoming 2018 season.

New Field

Leading off, TBO is thrilled to unveil Teaneck’s beautiful new ball field in Votee Park. The culmination of years of planning and hard work in collaboration with the township, Votee’s “New Field” has been completely redesigned and renovated. It features new, spacious dugouts with two-tiered benches, bat racks, and helmet cubbies, and a world class playing surface that can be adjusted seamlessly for different diamond sizes. While the renovated “New Field” will formally open in April 2018, early (p)reviews from 2017’s fall travel teams have been glowing, and all agree the diamond is a joy to play on.

TBO board member Chanan Vogel, who worked closely with the Township on the project, had high praise for all involved. “TBO is extremely grateful to Mayor Hameeduddin and the entire council,” Vogel said, “as well as Township Manager William Broughton, Public Works Director Fran Wilson, and Teaneck’s dedicated engineering department. Their efforts have resulted in a top-notch facility that our players and their families are going to love.”

Divisional Realignment, New Programs

Next up, TBO’s baseball divisions have been realigned to allow its young athletes to get the most out of their season. Not only will divisions now be grouped by grade rather than age, but groupings will be shifted to maximize each grade level’s experience. The league’s youngest players will still participate in less formal instructional programs as they have in the past. Kindergarteners and first graders, however, will now play organized Tee Ball, allowing for greater emphasis on the development of fundamental baseball skills. According to TBO board member Aryeh Haselkorn, “Building a strong foundation in fundamentals at a young age will help kids enjoy the game as they progress, enabling more kids to pitch, play the field better and feel comfortable batting later on. To that end, we are reorganizing our instructional and k/1 divisions to better focus on building those skills.”

Toward the other end of the age spectrum, the league will introduce an all new intermediate division for sixth and seventh graders. Intermediate baseball will be played on a 50’-pitching mound, 70’-basepath diamond, an interim step-up for developing ballplayers from the little league 46’-60’ diamond on which they play as grade-schoolers. “A major concern for our ‘graduating’ sixth graders has been adjusting to the 60’-90’ field used in high school, college and professional baseball,” said TBO Vice President of Baseball Moshie Solomon. “Most of the kids really did not have good experiences moving directly to the full-sized field. The intermediate field allows them to adjust gradually before they take on the big field in our eighth grade division, and sixth-seventh grade games will be much more competitive and enjoyable.” The intermediate division will also include leading and stealing, Solomon added, a feature the children ask about each year as they get older.

Professional Training Sessions

At the heart of the order for TBO’s announcements, the league will offer professional instruction and training for athletes and coaches at all levels. “Our volunteers will still be running the show for their teams,” said Haselkorn, “but we’re excited to enhance everyone’s experience with an assist from the professionals. This is going to make for better players, better games and kids that want to keep playing this great game for longer.” More information on TBO’s professional trainers will be available soon.

Softball: Mentoring and Smoother Game Play

Great things are happening for TBO girls’ softball as well. Aaron Goldwasser, TBO vice president of softball, explained that “Softball is entering an exciting period. We’re recruiting high school varsity players to act as coaches and mentors in the senior girls division. We are also rewriting the senior girls rule book to mirror high school, and we are re-working the younger girls’ rules to emphasize teaching, rewarding the girls for trying to make the right play rather than just throwing the ball to the pitcher.” While the details continue to develop, Goldwasser noted that fans should not expect to see “little-league home runs” (four-base errors), for example. Early responses to the softball changes have been very positive.

Interleague Play: This Time, It Counts

Rounding out the lineup of changes, the league’s teams will now be playing interleague games with the all new Bergenfield Baseball Organization (BBO). TBO kids can finally play with their friends and classmates from Bergenfield in real games throughout the season. “This is a chance for all Teaneck and Bergenfield children to play a sport that is loved by all, regardless of which side of the border they have their address,” said board member and longtime TBO parent Rina Mogul.

Helping Teaneck’s Ballplayers Maximize Their Experience

“There’s a lot going on these days at TBO,” said David Greenberg, TBO president. “I am glad to be a part of it.” Enthusiasm for the new developments has already been high, he noted, and parents are encouraged to register early.

“Youth baseball should be fun and meaningful for these kids,” Greenberg added. “We want them to have those warm memories we have when we think back to our little league days, memories they can share with their own kids 20 years from now. We’re committed to doing what we can to make that happen. That means giving them the best fields and facilities we can offer, making sure their coaches and instructors are helping them reach their potential and seeing that the games are competitive enough to be meaningful, yet fun and collegial at the same time. It’s a balancing act, but I think we really get it right. I’m confident that next season is really going to ‘knock it out of the park.’”

Registration for TBO’s 2018 spring season is now open. Discounted early bird registration ends on December 31, 2017. Visit www.teaneckbaseball.org for more details.

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