Having a home-field advantage always goes a long way in sports.
However, for St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, establishing that home-field advantage has been a lengthy process, simply based on available space throughout the borough.
As those who know Brooklyn are well aware, there’s really not much free space at all!
The basketball and volleyball teams are now lucky to call the state-of-the-art Hill Center on Vanderbilt Avenue home, and starting this year, the baseball and softball teams will also have their own Brooklyn digs.
In early January, St. Joseph’s announced a partnership with the local Youth Service League and American Legion setting up the Kings County American Legion Youth Recreational Athletic Facility in Canarsie as the exclusive home for the school’s baseball and softball teams.
Both squads had previously played at Padavan-Preller Fields in Bellerose and have switched fields several times over the years. The move to Canarsie allows the teams to establish themselves in their home borough just six miles away from their Clinton Hill campus.
“We are excited and grateful to be able to call American Legion our home, as a main objective of our administration this year was to give all Bears teams a home in Brooklyn,” said James Lally, the school’s director of athletics and recreation.
The complex has four baseball fields, two softball fields and batting cages. A renovation project is underway to get one baseball field and one softball field ready for NCAA competition for the upcoming season. The Bears will be the sole collegiate program to use the facility.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with St. Joseph’s College, and providing a home for their baseball and softball teams,” said Mel Zitter, director of the Youth Service League. “The core value for American Legion and Youth Service is to provide recreational opportunities for our area, and extending our reach to include St. Joseph’s College is exciting for all of us.”
The members of the Youth Service League and the American legion work year-round to ensure the fields are accessible to the youth of Brooklyn, and that dedication will now benefit the Bears and Lady Bears as well.
“After traveling all over the map for seven years, it is great to be home in Brooklyn,” said head baseball coach Jerry Sidman, who played his collegiate baseball at American Legion Field with John Jay College, Manhattan. “We’re thrilled to welcome friends and families of the baseball team to join us at our new home.”
“We are excited and grateful to begin the new season in Brooklyn,” said head softball coach Danielle Fazzolare. “Having our teams play on Brooklyn soil is just the beginning of great things to come for the Bears.”
The teams will christen their new home March 12 with non-conference doubleheaders, with baseball taking on Lehman College, the Bronx, and softball opening its slate against Baruch College, Manhattan.
Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” is famous for saying, “There’s no place like home!”
And now the Bears and Lady Bears can say the same thing – except they’ll gladly trade in the ruby slippers for athletic cleats.
Have a story idea for the “Good Sports” page? Please contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.