Care and Share and Kids & Baseball in Salisbury

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Dorchester Banner/Gloria Rojas
Some of the boys and girls who got a chance to see a real live baseball game, through Care & Share and the Adventist Church.

SALISBURY — Crabs and oysters, marshes and rivers have always been enduring features of the Eastern Shore. Through the years, off and on, baseball too has been an important part of the Delmarva legacy. Years ago, Cambridge fans of the minor leagues could collect autographs from future major league greats like Jimmie Foxx and Carl Furillo. Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who broke barriers by signing up Jackie Robinson, came to Cambridge to fish on the Choptank, duck hunt at Hoopers Island, and talk baseball with Fred Lucas, a force in organizing baseball on the Eastern Shore.

It must have been some conversation, because Branch Rickey called Fred Lucas and told him to pick out a site for a baseball park in Cambridge. Rickey donated $68,000 to build Cambridge’s Dodger Park on Linden Avenue. After the Eastern Shore League shut down, Fred Lucas would buy tickets to Baltimore Oriole games so that Cambridge youngsters could witness professional baseball. That tradition is reborn today.

In Cambridge, a number of people committed to building community, planned a trip taking Cambridge youngsters who had never seen a professional game to visit our minor league team, the Delmarva Shorebirds, in Salisbury. Pastor Cesar Gonzalez of the Adventist Church, and Dave Cannon, board member of Care and Share, did the organizational and fundraising work. Care and Share, who sponsors the Santa Swim, paid for the tickets, and brought Santa and Mrs. Santa (currently on vacation) to enjoy the warm weather, the youngsters, and the game. So on Saturday, a busload of eager boys and girls climbed on the bus supplied by the Adventist Church (with assigned driver) and Pastor, along with some chaperones. This community trip left from Waugh Chapel.

While the game is serious baseball, minor league parks cater to kids … with music, entertainment, and contests. The Delmarva Shorebirds at Perdue Stadium do it up in lively form. Tay Breon found it all to be a lot of fun while Tayshawn Gandy announced “It’s exciting.” The kids clapped and cheered the players between bites of hot dogs, hamburgers, and popcorn, experiencing the full range of baseball tradition. Kyle McCready’s “I like it!” was echoed by Kasyia Jackson’s opinion, “Cambridge should have its own baseball team.”

Pastor Cesar Gonzalez of the Adventist Church is committed to building community and breaking down barriers. He says, “There are too many things that divide and too few that unite. We have to work harder. This trip was a chance to work with new people. It will be memorable for the youngsters and for the adults as well. We have to keep doing these activities.” Dave Cannon, board member of Care and Share says, “This is a way of giving back to the community I grew up in and where I have been blessed. All donations to Care and Share go back to the people of Cambridge.”

The evening ended with beautiful fireworks and great memories. Want to know the score? Grasshoppers, 2 — Shorebirds 1 (and Cambridge, won!)

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