Without an official electronic scoreboard everyone – from the umps to the players to the fans – has trouble keeping track of the count, the score and the inning, said Trevor Mallory, president of the Gulfport Little League.
Right now, they are going by a standard score book, he said.
“We have a parent at each game who keeps a handwritten score,” said Mallory. “At our away games, it’s pretty much the same situation. For us to be one of the first leagues in our district to have working scoreboards to go along with the nice fields that we have will top off our facilities. We get compliments from away teams when they come to our fields.”
Soon, runs, hits and who is at bat will light up home games like the big leagues.
Councilmember Christine Brown asked at the May 5 council meeting if the city could investigate the cost of new scoreboards and a PA system. Other council members agreed and directed city staff to research pricing.
“Little League is so important in the fabric of our community that we need to support them in every way and scoreboards would definitely help with attendance and help the kids feel good about what they’re doing because they will be able to see what’s going on,” said Brown. “And, of course they need their own PA system as well” versus borrowing the old one from the city.
Games in Gulfport are played mainly at Tomlinson Park located at 19th Avenue South and 54th Street South, and also at Hoyt Field located at 56th Street South and 23rd Avenue South. Currently, the Gulfport Little League has a total of five teams and 65 kids participating ranging in age from 5 to 13.
City staff members are looking for prices and Mallory is looking for sponsors, said City Manager Jim O’Reilly. “Many years ago, the beverage companies used to donate toggle switch models because they wanted their logo visible if you agreed to sell their product.”
Council will most likely put the technology into next year’s budget depending on the cost, said O’Reilly.
The council’s interest and action with regard to the league’s technology needs “solidifies to me how much the city of Gulfport really missed the game of Little League baseball,” said Mallory. “We are all working together to make this be a success for the youth for the coming years.”
And, Mallory knows what success looks like around a ball diamond.
Right out of high school, he was drafted as a pitcher in the second round to the Toronto Blue Jays. He grew up in St. Petersburg playing Little League at the Lake Vista Recreation Center.
As an ex professional baseball player, he said he appreciates everything the City of Gulfport is doing to help him make the Little League a success.
“To have 65 kids our first year back, we haven’t even scratched the surface, yet,” he said.