“The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day; The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play; And then, when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same, A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game…”
On July 13, Ernest Thayer could have written these words for Garden City’s own. Playing on the hallowed ground where the likes of Babe Ruth, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter have played before them, the Garden City Nine, our Bombers 8U team, played the Tenafly Tigers, at the corner of River Avenue and 161st in the Bronx.
The original Yankee Stadium field, across the street from the new stadium, is now a pristine children’s field, and was the scene of a showdown that New York Post sports writer George Willis called a tribute “for the love of the game.”
In the opening ceremonies, Garden City’s Darren Williams and Michael Busch exchanged lineups with the Tenafly co-captains. Then a color guard from the 2nd Battalion, 25 United States Marines marched onto the field. The color guards carried the flag as recording artist Victoria Herrmann performed a beautiful rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" a cappella.
Then New York fan favorite, and true baseball fan, Jacob Morris, director of the Harlem Historical Society, threw out the first pitch to Tenafly catcher Trent Rayman. The game opened with a bang. Batting third, Garden City’s Luke Sibblies crushed a home run to left center field, to the cheers of the Mudville throngs. Then Tenafly struck back, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first, which proved to be enough. Tenafly was a powerhouse of good pitching, solid defense and timely hitting.
Garden City continued to chip and fight back. Joey Abbate pitched the second inning; showing off pinpoint control, Dave Debusschere would follow him. The Busch brothers, Matty and Michael, provided a righty-lefty attack. John Kwiatkowski and Dan Hernandez-Arroyo, two of Garden City’s seven left-handed players, both got base hits. Darren Williams and Mchy Walker, were patient hitters who both reached base safely with restrained eyes. Walker’s enthusiasm made the day, as he himself had never been to a major league baseball venue before.
Garden City’s Tim O’Hare continued to show off his defensive prowess on the field where the likes of Bill Dickey, Elston Howard, Johnny Blanchard, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada mastered the tools of ignorance before him.
The Bombers, Matthew Busch, lamented “Tenafly was very prepared. CC Sabathia and Zach Wasserlauf were tough on us, and they obviously had worked very hard. Yet, their prevailing motivates us to work that much harder, so when we face them again, we will be that much tougher too.”
After the game, the Bombers and the Tigers packed their equipment and watched the older Bronx Bombers battle the Los Angeles Angels, and prevail as they usually do. Who knows, that in score years from now, some of these young Bombers and Tigers could be on that big stage.
“Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light. And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has Struck Out…”