A “Field of Dreams” on Block Island
“If you build it, he will come.”
Forget organized baseball, and all of its formality, old school backyard-style baseball came to Block Island this past week.
On a beautiful summer’s day, some parents and their children played a game of pickup baseball at Heinz Field. The young boys smacked the ball around, made some nifty plays in the field, and just had a fun time playing the game.
The game was advertised on flyers posted around the island by Matt and Kristine Murphy, and their two nine year-old sons, Sam and Max, as “trying to get some kids together for a backyard-style baseball game.”The Murphy family may not have built the field, but they made the effort to get the word out about the game, or games, and some young ballplayers did come to play.
Kristine said two of her sons are “identical twins, and they love baseball. Matt was the head coach of their Little League team during the spring,” she said. The Murphy’s youngest son, William, four years old, also played ball.
Matt, whose parents own a home on the island, said they explored baseball camps to enroll their kids in, but then thought: “What if we try to find some kids on the Block who want to play.” The Murphys spend a few weeks on the island during the month of July.
“A handful of kids showed up our first week and we all had a ton of fun,” said Matt. “One of my boys said it was the most fun baseball game he’s ever played. This is backyard style baseball. I think he really liked the less structured style of play. Hopefully, we’ll get more kids to show up next Monday and it’ll be even more fun.”
Matt said he converted to a Red Sox fan after growing up as a Yankees fan. “I was a Yankees fan in the 80s growing up in Bridgeport, Conn.. But I lost interest in baseball for a while until I was out of college and living in Boston. Raising three boys in Boston, it’s almost impossible not to be a Sox fan. They pulled me back into baseball and into Red Sox fandom. My kids are Red Sox fans, of course.”
The Murphy family congregated at the Little League diamond at Heinz Field on Monday at 4 p.m. where they played some pickup baseball. Two boys from Brooklyn, New York, Henry and Charlie Hilger, joined them. Henry is nine years old and Charlie is six years old.
“We saw the posting for the game at the store near The Oar” restaurant in New Harbor, said Stephen Hilger, the boys’ father. Stephen said the family was staying at his mother-in-law’s house on Lewis Farm. “We spend time on Block Island during the summer. Any moment free we come to Block Island.”
Stephen said his family is both Red Sox and Dodger fans. “Jackie Robinson is our favorite Brooklyn Dodger. We love the Dodgers because they’re from Brooklyn.” Stephen said it was an interesting experience watching the Red Sox play the Dodgers in the World Series last year. The Red Sox won the series four games to one.
Both of the families remarked about the enjoyment of just getting together to throw the ball around, and letting the boys have some fun; a “Field of Dreams,” of sorts.
The boys will be playing another baseball game on Monday, July 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Heinz Field. Children in their age range are invited to play. Bring your baseball glove.