Local News, Sports

Flossmoor youth baseball keeps opening day traditions alive

Carlo Gozzi, president of Flossmoor Baseball and Softball, ended his opening day remarks Saturday, April 22, urging players and families to “bring back the ’90s,” a pitch for embracing community and setting aside the disunity often found on social media these days.

The season-opening traditions of the organization certainly conjure earlier times. 

  • Teams march east along Flossmoor Road on their way to the ball fields for opening day ceremonies on April 22. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
    Teams march east along Flossmoor Road on their way to the ball fields for opening day ceremonies on April 22. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The day began with a parade and spirit contest. Cheering teams marched from Parker Junior High parking lot in the 2800 block of Flossmoor Road to the Flossmoor Park ball fields east of the railroad tracks. 

The morning was brisk and damp, with temperatures in the low 40s and winds gusting to 15 mph. There was even an occasional bit of sleet. But spectators turned out in downtown Flossmoor to support the teams in spite of the weather.

“People who said community baseball a few years ago was dead, I think this crowd has proved them dead wrong,” Gozzi said, getting a big cheer from the crowd.

The proceedings then reached back further in time as local guitarist Manny Gonzalez reprised his performance of the Star-Spangled Banner last year by playing his rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s iconic version of the national anthem at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969.

Gozzi introduced Homewood-Flossmoor High School Principal Clinton Alexander who served as parade grand marshal and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. 

Alexander said afterward that although baseball wasn’t his sport — he excelled at track and football — he appreciated the opportunity to help celebrate Flossmoor’s youth baseball organization.

“I am so grateful to be the grand marshal of our parade,” he said. “We have a very unique and diverse community. We put students first and cultivate leaders of the future. I am so enthralled to be part of this and to continue the legacy we have before us.”

Gozzi also announced the winners of the spirit awards. Team spirit was judged by three former FBS board members, Cliff Steiner, Katie Sullivan and Megan Anderson.

  • T-ball: Texas Rangers
  • Softball Bantam: The Belles
  • Baseball Pinto: The Nationals
  • Softball Diamond: Peaches
  • Baseball Mustang: Mets
  • Softball Junior: Hurricanes Black
  • Baseball Bronco: Phillies
  • Pony: Rail Riders

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