A group of ballplayers from New Rochelle are on their way to Cooperstown this afternoon.
While some may one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, this group, members of the New Rochelle Braves U12 team, will settle for the Cooperstown Dreams Park instead.
The Braves, led by coaches Robert Nascimento, Joe Fama and Rick Rosenberg, will be competing over the course of the next week in the Tournament of Champions, an annual Summer Tradition with teams from all over the United States competing.
The Cooperstown Dreams Park mission and goal is to promote a high caliber of play and allow young players to experience the purity of baseball as it was meant to be. The Cooperstown Dreams Park and the Dreams Park “Road to Cooperstown” program offers unrestricted play baseball for independent travel/select and sanctioned teams.
The New Rochelle Braves -- all from New Rochelle -- have been together for several years, playing a regional schedule of games and participating in several local tournaments.
The boys have fund raised to cover some of the expenses and the team has received sponsorship support from local companies: The Allen J Flood Companies, Arlington Financial, JA Fama Masonry, D R Sales and Marketing, J O'Byrne Law Firm, Just Bagels, Rye Health & Fitness, Sammarco Stone & Supply, Inc., Springfield LLC, I Need My Space, Inc., Mulberry Interiors, Houlihan Lawrence, Stanz Cafe, Longford's Ice Cream.
One of the more interesting activities during the tournament is pin trading. Each player on the Braves was given a bag full of elaborate, intricate team pins to trade with other players from other teams at the tournament.
The New Rochelle Braves team pin displays the name of each player and their number within a baseball, arranged around a baseball diamond overlaid against a pair of crossed baseball bats. The top of each bat displays "12U" and "2014", a banner between the two bats displays the word "COOPERSTOWN". In the center of the baseball diamond within a larger baseball are the words "New Rochelle" against a backdrop of the New York City skyline. The Braves logo is contained within a second pin attached to the main team pin and spins. A red LED light can be turned on to flash a battery-operated blinking light.