If you’re like most kids growing up in Hampton Roads, you took a trip to Harbor Park or old Met Park to see the Tides in action. As a little kid, you watched the players with amazement thinking to yourself, “how can they hit a ball that is thrown so fast?” The grass at Harbor Park seemed to be so much greener than the grass at your little league field, and boy does the field look big!
Most kids can only dream of playing on that big field, but thanks to the Norfolk Tides and their commitment to the community, high school baseball players get a chance to play on the field each spring. The Norfolk Tides just wrapped up their high school games last week. They host between 4 and 5 games each year. It is used as a fundraiser for the high school teams. The players sell tickets to the game and a portion of the ticket sales goes back to the teams. Not only do the teams get to play on this amazing field, but the teams get much-needed money for their programs.
Heather McKeating is the Director of Community Relations for the Tides. It is her job to keep the Tides organization involved in the community. Throughout the year, the Tides have done little league field renovations, player hospital visits, mascot appearances with a host of other community-related involvement. “We like to give back as much as possible and letting high school teams play on the field is like making a dream come true for so many young players… It’s a great way for teams to raise money,” said McKeating.
The Tides organization is eager to help groups and partner with them to raise awareness for a greater cause. And the connection is the great game of baseball. It even says on the Norfolk Tides website, “Being able to positively affect the lives of our fans is a goal we strive to achieve every day.”
Playing at Harbor Park is truly a dream come true for most of the players who get the chance. Who doesn’t dream of hitting a home run on a professional baseball field? It’s also a proud moment for parents, family and friends who get to see their son or friend take the field at Harbor Park.
So if one day you take your little player to Harbor Park and they see the big huge field with wonder in their eyes, you can tell them that if they stay with baseball and make their local high school team, that they too may one day play on this great field.