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Editorial: Play ball!

We tip our baseball caps this week to Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Woodside) and the Long Island City YMCA for bringing Little League baseball to the children living in the Queensbridge Houses. At a time when the city and many businesses are retrenching and watching every penny, Gioia was able to persuade Silver Cup Studios and J.P. Morgan Chase to put up the funding for the newly create league that will serve more than 100 children this summer.

In its first year, the league will have eight teams serving kids 6-12 years old. On opening day, the councilman said the Little League was a fulfillment of a campaign promise to create positive opportunities for the children living in the Queensbridge housing. That he was able to do this in his first year in office is an enormous accomplishment.

Once “America's favorite pastime,” baseball has been overshadowed by basketball in many parts of Queens. Some people may have concluded that the kids living in the Queensbridge Houses have little interest in baseball. Not true. Gioia knew: If you build it, they will come.

We applaud all the men and women who are giving of their time and talents this summer to teach children the game of baseball.

One small thing. It would have better if Gioia had resisted the temptation to put his name on the Gioia-YMCA All Stars League and on all the uniforms. Like the Flushing councilman who plastered his name on corner trash baskets, it doesn't look good.

We hope that the founders of this league are right when they say that is this just the beginning. Life in the Queensbridge Houses can be tough. Drug dealers, gangs and other criminals have taken their toll. Anyone who can bring a little sunshine into the lives of the families living there deserves the public's enthusiastic support and gratitude.

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