Some of New York’s best young baseball players celebrated on one special night.

By Clifford Davis

Friday night at Maestro's on 1703 Bronxdale Ave in the Bronx New York, Tony Melendez and members of the TM Baseball Academy held their first annual baseball banquet. This night was to celebrate baseball players of the TM family from 7u-18u and it was a very special night. Kids of all ages who have aspirations of becoming great college baseball players and future major league stars were being celebrated for their hard work and their dedication to the sport they love the most. For a sport that is lacking interest from young kids today, this night was a reminder there are still young guys and young girls out there that still love the game of baseball.

The night begin with all the members of the TM teams lined up in order by which age group they play for, starting from 7u ending with 18u. Family, friends and a few politicians waited the teams arrival into the room to give them the standing ovation each one of them deserve for being dedicated, hardworking and understanding what it takes to be the absolute best at what it is they want to be; baseball players. Each team came out separately, their names being announced one by one, walking in the room as family and friends clapped and screamed in admiration of their heroes. Once every member of one team was announced they posed for pictures along with their coaches and parent coordinator, then out came the next team.

Once every team member was announced and applauded, everyone took their seats and we listened to guest speakers’ talk and congratulate these hard working ball players, their families for being supportive, the coaches and Coach Tony and his wife. We heard from Coach Tony's pastor who christened the opening of Tony Melendez baseball academy 7 years ago and who last night christened the first annual baseball banquet, we heard from politician Michael Benedetto, also Coach and his wife each gave humble and emotional heartwarming speeches.

Once the speeches were finished it was time to celebrate. Cartoonist Angelo Martinez was on hand drawing beautiful portraits of everyone, TKA made an appearance and had a lively wonderful performance, and more importantly, all the ball players had smiles a mile long, enjoying their night. This night was all about our ball players. They put in the work, they try as hard as they can to play the game they love with excitement and joy.

As much as this night was about the young players who grind every day to be the best, it was also about the parents for the support they give, being there for their children, for the coaches who take time out of their busy life to help these kids stay on track and more importantly for Tony and Jess, putting together a small baseball facility 7 years ago and being able to turn into a foundation of success and hard work. Joy, happiness and celebration is what can be best described on this night. As much as the interest in baseball is in decline, on this joyous night baseball was very much alive. The future was on display as kids of all ages reminding us the game of baseball isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

We all have our favorite baseball players that we look up to, our idols and heroes, but on this night our favorite baseball players were the young kids walking into a room full of people screaming for them, celebrating them. Our idols were the coaches who put the time in and never take a day off or time off, who do their best to make sure these players do their best, Tony and Jess who run the operation of the best baseball academy in New York City. Our heroes are all the parents who these young players are fortunate enough to have the support and love from. Who sacrifice so their child can play the sport they love, getting involved to make sure that child is motivated and dedicated every day.

TM 1st annual baseball banquet was a success. We celebrated everyone who was involved in the success but more importantly we celebrated the players who deserve it. Baseball may be on the decline in the city among our youth, but not with our kids at TM baseball academy and not on this night. Music, smiles, and happiness. On this night we were all a part of the team, we all were a family, as we celebrated our rising future stars.