Open Letter to YSA Players from Al Morales
This year has been a challenge for YSA and for you, our valued players. In addition to terrible weather, we have been dealing with an intolerable situation in the Manhattan permit office. We appreciate your loyalty and understanding.
YSA has always led the charge for good time slots and for safe and well-maintained fields for our leagues and the entire baseball and softball community in Manhattan. Now we are paying a price for our leadership. We’ve been taking a hit because we’ve been asking a lot of questions, requesting meetings and now demanding an investigation of the Manhattan permit office.
For more than 10 months we have been requesting honest answers and transparency as to why our softball league is being denied permits and use of restrooms we’ve paid for and have been using for more than 35 years. YSA, our players, and NYC citizens need to know why we’re being downsized and in some cases eliminated from some parks.
Looking back at our communications with the parks department, we’ve established that this has been a pattern going back many years. We have evidence that there is no field shortage and probably never has been. There are more adult leagues competing for space and the permit office, instead of doing a better job of communicating and identifying available time, has lied to us for years about the needs of youths leagues, and then allocating the permits to other adult leagues, giving them time we’ve been using productively for decades. With a bit more work effort they could have found time for everyone.
What’s happening here is that someone in the Parks department decided that despite our being a team player, it was time to attack us regardless of the service we’ve been providing. When we gave them ideas on how to improve things we were good. When I didn’t agree with what they were doing YSA fought to play, protect and enjoy baseball and softball in Manhattan. When we won that fight, our relationship with the department soured and the targeting began.
The new rules adopted in 2012 (and only implemented this 2018 fall season) are not being correctly applied and are being used to removed softball from certain locations. In addition there may be abuse and misuse of authority and power for no good reason.
The Manhattan permit office won’t meet with YSA and the softball community and explain why this is happening. After months of lies and deceit, we did meet in May, at our insistence, and they sat there and placated us.
When we finally met with the Deputy Commissioner (second in command) we thought our concerns were actually being heard, but in fact that office had already met a month earlier with other sports groups that would later be given fields we’ve been using for 35 years. They let us present our case with no mention of any meeting and asked us if we have any ideas on how to fix the field allocation problems. My response was to bring us back into the loop as we’ve been for decades, tell us what the real problems are (if there are any) and stop taking away fields we’ve providing a heck of a service on and turning them into idle fields for no good reason and without notice. I let them know that I will be more than happy to do what I’ve done with every Manhattan Commissioner prior to this one for four decades — brain storm, come up with suggestions, advice and contributions that have been fruitful for parks and the city. They never responded to my offer.
As the year draws to a close, please be assured that we are continuing to fight to offer you the best softball leagues on convenient and safe fields and protect the rights of all New Yorkers to use parks for organized recreational activities.
Play Ball is an initiative from MLB and USA Baseball that highlights the many ways baseball can be played, including outside of traditionally organized baseball leagues and tournaments, ranging from playing catch, stickball and Wiffle ball to participating in skills competitions like "Pitch, Hit & Run." PlayBall.org serves as its online home, featuring coaching tips, parent resources and health and safety info. It's also a resource to find out how to gets kids involved in Play Ball activities and get links to youth-related news and events, plus searchable maps for local community leagues. Check it out!