Franklin Township Baseball League Kicks Off 70th Season

Township Councilman James Vassanella displays the shirt he wore when he was a member of the FTBL.

There wasn’t the traditional teams parading up Franklin Boulevard, but the atmosphere was no less cheery on April 2 as the Franklin Township Baseball League began its seventh decade of youth baseball.

Rather than the larger parade, the teams lined up in the FTBL’s baseball Dekalb Street complex majors field and paraded out onto the main field when they were summoned.

The FTBL is the longest-running youth sports program in the township.

The morning’s keynote speaker was New York Yankees great and Somerset Patriots manager emeritus Sparky Lyle.

“Everybody ready for opening day? That’s what I want to know,” Lyle said.

“I love opening day, always have,” he said. “It’s just good to be here … let’s get it on, good luck.”

Lyle then threw out the first pitch before meeting with players and parents.

Township Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), who played in the FTBL, said “to be back here is an absolute honor and an absolute privilege.”

“This is about community … we support this complex, we support this league, we support the mission of this league,” he said. “Mostly we support the players.”

“This is the best day of the year,” FTBL board member John Brewer said.

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed the event. To see the video, click here.

Here are some scenes from the event:

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