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Bayside Little League commissioner discusses league’s growth after COVID-19 pandemic

Jun. 12, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

Bob Reid has served as the commissioner of the Bayside Little League since 1991 and under his leadership, the league has become a community fixture, taking part in park cleanups and parades. He has also overseen a large growth in the league after the COVID-19 pandemic.

little league

Photo courtesy of Bob Reid

According to Reid, there are approximately 250 kids currently playing in the spring session. He noted that the amount of kids playing in the league is larger than even before the pandemic. Additionally, with 113 of these kids playing in the pee-wee level (ages 4-6), many of them could be a part of Bayside Little League for a long time. The league’s highest age group, the majors, is for kids ages 11 and 12.

little league

Photo courtesy of Bob Reid

“What [this league] does for the community is it gives the families a program for their children to get physical activity,” Reid said. “Physical activity is so important. And we support the local programs that are in Bayside. We did a massive park cleanup in April. We’ve participated in the Bell Boulevard Christmas parade. We also did the St. Patrick’s Day parade and marched in the Memorial Day parade on Northern Boulevard. We had about 100 participants with the program marching [at the Memorial Day parade].”

Reid estimated that between 70 and 80 people, including players and their families, partnered with the city Parks Department before the start of the spring season to help clean the fields and parks where they play. Other events that Bayside Little League holds each year include Easter egg hunts at baseball fields and Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween.

little league

Photo courtesy of Bob Reid

For 73 years, Bayside Little League has been serving the neighborhoods of Bayside, Flushing, College Point, Auburndale, Whitestone and Douglaston. Reid noted that the league formed an alliance with four other Queens Little League organizations about six or seven years ago. These other leagues include College Point Little League, Dwarf Giraffe, Glen Oaks Little League and Little Neck-Douglaston Little League. This alliance allows for the teams in each league to face each other in their respective age groups, granting the kids with the opportunity to face all these different teams. Between all five leagues, there are more than 1,000 kids playing.

“We contribute [our growth] also to the alliance,” Reid said. “When you show people out in these places others playing baseball, it draws more people to come out. Hopefully they go to the neighborhood they live in and bring more kids in.”

The alliance covers a large portion of Queens, allowing for those involved to leave a larger footprint on the borough. This grants each league a great opportunity to grow.

Reid expressed a desire to expand to larger age groups. While the current highest age group is for 11- and 12-year-olds, there was a period in the past that Bayside Little League welcomed kids through age 17. He noted that over the last decade, many kids ages 13 and up would leave to play travel baseball. Still, Reid expressed optimism about enough of the 12-year-old kids returning at 13 for them to expand to a higher level division. He said he’d love to regrow the higher levels, known as the junior and senior program.

One of the biggest factors to the league’s current success that Reid cited was the hard work put in by the 51 volunteers running the program. These volunteers, including all the coaches, are giving back to the community through the contributions they’ve made to Bayside Little League.

“To give to the community something for their children, that’s what it’s been all about from day one,” Reid said. “We’ve been very successful in teaching children how to get along with others and how to be a team player and work together as a team. We don’t just play baseball, we teach it.”

Reid said that even if a kid doesn’t return to the league following the conclusion of a season, he is hopeful that they have at least developed a love for the game. He feels that the program has done a good job in accomplishing this over the years.

little league

Photo courtesy of Bob Reid

Reid said he would like to see Bayside Little League continue to grow. A long-term goal of his is to see someone who played in the program grow up to be a Major League Baseball player.

little league

Photo courtesy of Bob Reid

“On a personal note, I’m very proud of the volunteers that we have that devote all that time to keep the program going,” Reid said. “They work very hard. I have six board members who don’t even have children involved in the program, but they still volunteer their time because they feel it’s very important to keep it alive and going for the kids. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve kept it going during the pandemic. Now it’s growing again.”

In the past, Bayside Little League had the privilege of being able to meet former professional players from Queens, including Mike Baxter, Dave Valle and George Carroll.

Bayside Little League has been a sponsor for several local community organizations, including the Northwest Bayside Civic Association and We Love Whitestone.

As the spring season wraps up at the end of June, Bayside Little League will be holding a free picnic for the players and their families. Reid said there will also be rides and games available for these kids at the picnic.

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