Major Leagues support local team

The 13-year-old Masonic Lodge Padres of the Babe Ruth youth baseball league received a welcome surprise before Wednesday night’s game at Collins Field.

Coach Daryn Fogle presented each of the roster’s 10 players with a replica San Diego Padres cap — in the Major League Baseball team’s alternate camoflauge colors — along with other assorted merchandise that had arrived just in time for the game.

“I was trying to think of a way for these kids to connect with a Major League team,” said Fogle, who sent an e-mail to Padres headquarters requesting the items. “They called me the next day and said they’d be thrilled to help out.”

The 2002 season is the first time Babe Ruth youth baseball has used big-league team names, and Fogle thought he would at least ask if the Padres could donate some “Saturday-night specials” to his club.

Not only did the Padres send a stack of camo caps, they also provided the team with trading cards, souvenir pins, a lunchbox — even a computer mouse. Attached was a letter from public relations director Tim Katzman.

“Hope these items add something to the kids’ season,” he said. “I’ll be in Portland for a visit this summer, so perhaps I’ll pay your team a visit.”

“The kids were really excited to get that kind of recognition,” said Fogle, a former San Diego resident. “And if my players don’t already have a favorite team, I figured, why not get them to become Padres fans?”

The new caps turned out to be good luck for Fogle’s Padres as they went on to beat the other local 13-year-old team, the Hood River Ford Mariners, by a score of 9-0. See page A16 for details.

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