US Ambassador donates new equipment to former dumpsite’s little league
When The Manila Times last interviewed the United States’ (US) ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Harry Thomas Jr., the proud New Yorker generously shared stories about his colorful childhood in Queens where he played his favorite sport—baseball.
Growing up in the 1960s, Thomas vividly recalled how the boys in his close-knit neighborhood—“where everyone knew everyone”—would come out and play the very American bat-and-ball game at the park or sometimes even along the short drive of some 20 or so houses.
“We weren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but you [still]thought you were. You thought you were like anybody else because you didn’t lack for anything. It was great. It was a great childhood. It really was,” he happily remembered in this section’s June 12 article titled, “From small town boy to super power envoy.”
Eager to share such experiences with today’s generation of children, the US Ambassador visited the famed and former Smokey Mountain dumpsite in Tondo, Manila on July 17, which is now a housing community for impoverished city dwellers. The fun-loving envoy turned over a backstop, baseball balls, bats, t-shirts, and a set of quick-release bases for Smokey Mountain Little League players at a ceremony marking the start of a baseball clinic on a site that has come to be called “Field of Dreams.”
Present to witness the generous and meaningful donation of the US Embassy were Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Ricardo Garcia; Gawad Kalinga Executive Director Jose Luis Oquiñena; Smokey Mountain Little League Chapter leader Emmanuel Llave; Sen. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara; businessman Toby Claudio Jr. of Toby Sports; and 2013 JCI Manila President Jonas Ang.
As expected, Thomas threw ceremonial first pitch as he invited a very impressed group of youngsters to play ball.