Friday, June 22, 2007

Fathers' Day in Troy, NY

Stories of fathers and sons bonding over baseball tend to be misty-eyed accounts of white folks tossing a ball in a corn field or a respectable middle-class grandfather introducing the little ones to the game via the season tickets he's held since just after the Korean War. The New York-Penn League's Tri-State Valley Cats and the New York Department of Temporary and Disability Services want people realize, however, that the joys of baseball aren't reserved for the middle class:

The Tri-City ValleyCats and one of the state's largest human service agencies are teaming up to let non-custodial fathers on welfare know they are still a critical part of the lives of their children. The minor league baseball team will give one deserving father the chance to throw out the first pitch of a game against the Lowell Spinners on June 27. Children are asked to submit an essay of 100 words or less on why they think their father should win the honor. Ten winners will receive two tickets to the game. The grand prize winner gets to watch their father take the mound for the game's first pitch.

Officials with the Office of Temporary and Disability Services hope the evening will continue its statewide efforts to promote responsible fatherhood and let low-income, non-custodial fathers on welfare know about the services available to them.

Sounds like a nice little program, although I'm not sure how I feel about making a contest out of it. How about simply finding a way to get these dads and their kids to the game and dispense with the essay contest/first pitch spectacle?

That quibble aside, it's nice to see a government agency thinking about ways to deal with a problem that doesn't simply involve throwing money at it.