The Tri-City ValleyCats are helping young baseball players get their fields back ready to play ball. Players are rebuilding four area fields, just in time for Little League to start. Megan Cruz has more on the project.
WATERFORD, N.Y. -- "I wanted to ride my bike over, but I knew it was too dark," said Waterford Little Leaguer Sam Carson.
That's because instead of usually riding to Garrett Field for a 6 p.m. game, on Friday, the kids were arriving at 6 a.m. for a special project.
"We're making like a new field out here, and the ValleyCats are working here. It's going to be really cool because I've seen the ValleyCats field, and I think it's going to be like the same thing," said Michael Talavera, Jr., another little leaguer.
This Waterford field is getting revamped courtesy of BlueShield of Northeastern New York and the kids' favorite baseball team the Tri-City ValleyCats. It's part of their 4 in 24 program, where they fix up four fields in 24 hours for free.
"You're gonna have new sod, we're going to rebuild the mound and play area," and so much more, said ValleyCats' Vice President and General Manager Rick Murphy.
The project, "4 in 24" is in its second year. Murphy said 40 leagues applied this time around, and Waterford's was one of the lucky four chosen for their very unlucky last couple of years.
"We've had three floods in two years," said Little League Coach Michael Talavera, Sr. "One opening day, we actually had the kids come in for opening day in a canoe. They actually rode out to their dugout. We had about a good two to three feet of water on these fields. It deteriorated the dirt, caused a lot of mud and muck. This field was just in bad condition."
Talavera said new sod alone would have easily cost $3,000, money the league just doesn't have. But since the ValleyCats are doing this for free, a brand new field isn't all the kids will be getting.
"Better uniforms, better equipment, better playing conditions, everything goes towards the kids," said Coach Talavera.
But people here say this homerun isn't just about the money.
"You look around, the kids have a smile on their face, their parents are happy, they're taking pictures, and you know you had a small piece in that day," said Murphy.
"I can't wait till they actually all come out and actually see the field done," said Coach Talavera. "They're going to love coming out here. I don't think I'm ever going to get them off!"
"I can't wait to slide in it!" said Carson.
"Go on the pitcher's mound and pitch to my father," said Talavera, Jr.
If you'd like to see a complete photo gallery of the all the other fields getting rebuilt, visit YNN Albany's Facebook page.
YNN set up a time lapse camera at the field in Waterford so you can see just how hard, and how quickly, they've been working.
Albany/HV: ValleyCats rebuild 4 baseball fields in 24 hours
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