By Joe Anuta
College Point kicked off its Little League season Saturday, and the pint-sized sluggers who marched down the neighborhood’s main drag had high hopes for the season.
Ethan Subero, 4, predicted that in his first game — not only of the season but of his entire life — he would hit 15 home runs.
Ethan might have luck on his side, though, since he shares the No. 5 jersey with his favorite professional player: the New York Mets’ David Wright.
Ethan, along with his other teammates on The Little Avengers, lined up just north of College Point Park to march down the neighborhood’s eponymous boulevard to kick off the spring season, according to the league’s executive director, Rafael Rivera.
“I do this for the community,” he said. “Better the kids are playing baseball than video games or getting into mischief.”
Although with a mob of excited children ranging from 4 to 12 years old, the latter was hard to avoid.
John Buividas, 5, showed off a set of orange shades he had to keep the sun out of his eyes should any fly balls come his way.
“I’ve been practicing with my dad,” he said, detailing his exploits in the backyard of his house, which, according to Buividas, topped those of his old man.
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) was on hand to throw out the first pitch, having limbered up the day before at the Bayside Little League Opening Day.
“Little League represents the American ideal,” the lawmaker said, mitt in hand. “It’s about learning how to win, lose, how to be a team player and how to individually achieve.”
Halloran pointed out that the College Point players partner up with other leagues in the area, like the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League and De Phillip’s Athletic Club to make sure the older kids can have a competitive season.
But even for the youngest in the league, competition did not seem to be a problem.
As a group of the children carried the banner down College Point Boulevard, the blue team members initially did not want to concede any banner space to the red team. The result was a banner about 10 feet wide that kept veering wildly off course until two adults decided to grab each end and set the pace for the ballplayers.
The College Point league has been around since the early 1960s, according to Rivera, and about 200 children signed up for the spring season. The league also holds summer and fall seasons as well.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.