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Posted on Sat, Jun 15, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Rec & Ed's youth baseball teams swing-in the season on newly-renovated fields

By Lisa Carolin

The magic of baseball isn't limited to watching the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Saturday morning, Ann Arbor Rec & Ed's team of the 7- and 8-year-old Tigers — along with the Sharks, the Owls, the Lugnuts and more — gathered at the newly-refurbished Veterans Memorial Park baseball fields ready to swing-in the opening day of the youth baseball season.

PAWS, mascot for the Detroit Tigers, even made the trip for the big debut of both the season and the fields, which have been completely renovated using red clay to create less dust less dust and better-repel water.

"The fields look great." said Kyle Kerbawy, Rec & Ed coach of the Tigers. "I'm happy to be here today."

His players agreed.

"It's going to be a good game," said 8-year-old player Charlie Andrew-Vaughan.

Seven-year-old Tigers teammate Charlie Beeson is hoping the new field will bring the team a bit of luck, after losing last year.

Teammate Rhys Burman, 7, was walking onto the pristine baseball diamond for his debut with the Rec & Ed team.

"I'm excited because it's our first game," he said. "The fields look big."

Burman, along with all players, had their name announced and received a high-five from PAWS on his or her way out to take their place on the baseball diamond.

Ann Arbor's Rec & Ed, has 1,720 kids enrolled in this year's summer programs, which include baseball, softball, coach-pitch and T-ball for 5 to15 year olds.

"Rec & Ed guarantees that all the players get to play in each and every game," said Elyse Bairley, team sports supervisor. "The main outcomes we want to achieve is for the kids playing in the leagues is to have a great time, learn the game, develop a sense of sportsmanship and fair play, and increase their self-esteem through participation in the activity."

"I hope we win," said Sofi Maranda, 7, who also is making her playing debut.

Her mom, Sooji Min-Maranda, said she was delighted with her daughter's program.

"I'm impressed and excited," she said. "They take baseball seriously but have a good time."

Kimberly Ringer from the band All Directions, performed the National Anthem, and led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Once PAWS threw the ceremonial pitch, the 2013 Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Youth Baseball season was officially underway and ready for plenty of beautiful days for a ballgame.

For more information on Youth Baseball teams, go to



Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

They've changed the shirts?! Man, it's just not the same without the old logo they used to have on the front of the shirts back in the 90s. I had practically every color from all my years playing.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

I was hoping that field 1 would drain better now after all the work, but it still has problems.


Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

Too bad all the fields were sprayed with pesticides the prior evening, great timing Ann Arbor. Thanks for exposing the kids to chemicals.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

That's pretty awful. Those chemicals can do some pretty horrible stuff to animal bodies.


Sat, Jun 15, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

It would have been great to see the older kids get to play on the new Vets fields, after so many years of paying to play on substandard fields, and having to reschedule games due to flooded fields. Does anyone know how Rec and Ed decides who plays where?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Good question. I know they wanted the younger players to get a chance to have the introductions for one or two times in their life, thus why they open at Vet's on Opening Day. Beyond that, the scheduling is done based on field availability taking into account that Rec and Ed offers youth baseball and softball with the following leagues. T-ball, Boys 1st CP, Boys 2nd CP, Boys 3rd CP, Boys 4th Baseball, Boys 5th baseball, boys 6th baseball, and boys 7th/8th baseball, plus girls 1st/2nd CP, girls 3/4 CP, Girls 5th, Girls 6th, and girls 7th/8th softball. That is 13 different youth leagues playing 2/3 games per week, plus the fact that Rec and Ed offers Adult softball and kickball as well. Adult kickball is Wednesday and Friday. Adult Softball is Sun-Friday. Fitting all of these leagues in gets to be a nightmare scheduling wise. It's worse when teams have to change games due to a lack of players, or when weather cancels scheduled games (like tonight).