The Bayside Little League had its time in the sun as they marked the start of their 2010 season with a parade down Bell Boulevard on Saturday, April 10.

Enthusiastic throngs of kids, parents, coaches, representatives and onlookers packed Bayside’s main drag to wave, smile, take pictures and, most importantly, welcome the national pastime that comes with the spring season.

“Little League baseball keeps kids active; gives them the exercise they need,” said Robert Reid, president of Bayside Little League. “But it’s more than that; baseball is a great way for kids to learn how to function as citizens and it builds long term friendships.”

Reid believes that the lessons learned in Little League are strong enough to resonate throughout other aspects of children’s lives, and many in attendance echoed this sentiment.

Among those on hand were City Councilmember Dan Halloran, New York Senator Charles Schumer and State Senator Frank Padavan. They all praised the League and each had a crack at throwing out the first pitch.

Padavan, a team sponsor for almost 30 years, said that he named his team Padavan’s Paragons because Little League is a paragon of virtue for the children who participate.

“This is a great opportunity for children to learn about problem resolution and how to work as a team toward a single goal,” said Padavan. “The also learn just how much their parents really care about them. Every parent works hard to make each season a success.”

However, a successful season does not just refer to a winning record or a .300 batting average; it also refers to friendships built through Little League participation, something that Councilmember Dan Halloran thinks might be most important of all.

“It all starts on the baseball diamond,” said Halloran. “This is a static community and kids who play ball together will be friends for the rest of their lives.”

Some Bayside little leaguers, including Joe Torre, went on to spend the rest of their lives in baseball, as Senator Charles Schumer pointed out.

“Little League teaches teamwork, courage, sportsmanship and how to win and lose with grace,” said Schumer. “We hope and pray that in 10 years, some of these boys and girls will be playing in the majors.”

More from Around New York