Jr. Giants of Rancho Cordova Visit S.F. Giants Baseball Game
Going to a Major League Baseball game is a pretty big deal for most kids. Taking a tour of the baseball field immediately before the game is an even bigger deal. How about running out to your position on the field only to have one of the San Francisco Giants come and take his position next to you and sign your baseball moments before the first pitch? Imagine the excitement through the eyes of a child.
Nine incredibly lucky Police Activities League Junior Giants from Rancho Cordova had this amazing opportunity on Sunday when they were awarded the “Players Take the Field Award”. Of the whole experience, Junior Giant shortstop, Nickolis Impinna simply and appropriately said, “This Rocks”.
The day began at 8:00 with donuts and a quick sign in. Soon everyone was loaded on the Sacramento County Sheriff buses and the journey to AT&T Park was underway. After getting to AT&T Park, all the teams lined up to make their way around the field in a Junior Giants Parade. There are over 75 Junior Giants affiliates, and many were on hand to walk in the Junior Giants Parade. The highlight of the parade might have been all the kids realizing they were on the “big tv screen” as they came through the gates.
After the parade, nine slightly nervous Junior Giants awaited the minutes before the game. Giants fans everywhere should be more than a little envious of the nine Junior Giants who took the field: Zachary Taylor, Damien Musgrave, Nickolis and Anthony Impinna, Ethan and Gavin Hanson, Sabra Boylen, Monique Newton, and Monae Newton.
Each player ran out to their position with their own Giants practice baseball in hand and actually stood in the field to the cheers of thousands of spectators. As the Giants players came out, all graciously signed the kids’ balls and then took their positions on the field. Seeing kids run off the field with signed baseballs in hand is a wonderful thing to see. All were overwhelmed at the magnitude of the experience.
The Rancho Cordova Junior Giants were chosen to receive the “Players Take the Field Award” out of 75 Junior Giant affiliates because of the Rancho Cordova Police Department PAL’s outstanding commitment to community service. There are currently over 15,000 Junior Giants. Officer Zach Hatch of the Rancho Cordova Police Activities League beamed with pride as “his kids” lined up to take position on the field. As an officer who spends his time building relationships with the youth of Rancho Cordova and who takes the offensive against future crime, Hatch knows the struggles that youth in our community are facing on a daily basis. Of the award, Hatch is heartfelt when he says, “I’m proud of my kids”.
In the most recent slew of budget cuts, Officer Hatch was scheduled to leave his position with the RCPD. Chief Meeks understands the value of keeping the PAL program going strong and fought to keep Hatch in his position. Meeks feels strongly about the upbringing of our youth and says of the PAL program, “This program is important today and will continue to be important in the future… If I’m ever faced with a budget decision as difficult as the County’s, they’re going to have to take this program out of a death grip from my hands. We have civic minded citizens that are being groomed from this program”.
The Junior Giants baseball program is only one of the many programs RCPD PAL runs for the kids in the Rancho Cordova community. The program is not only about baseball, but also promotes good citizenship, healthy eating, team work, and self confidence. Junior Giants opportunities are open for children 5 to 18 years old and is completely free for the kids. The Junior Giants Community Fund also sponsors the equipment, uniforms, and tickets to the games, essentially providing the opportunity for the children to become involved in such a well rounded learning experience.
In a time where extra curricular programs at school are being scaled down and families might not be able to afford to sign their children up for other athletic teams, it’s nice to know that the Rancho Cordova Police Department has no intention of abandoning this program. In fact, it seems there are countless events for children to participate in.
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