Dear friend and supporter of my work with the children in Ukraine (since 1991) as a volunteer.
Please take a look at the following and then you decide whether asking for 48 baseballs for 41 children from orphanages (internats) is not worth the effort.
Thank you. Basil - Vasyl
Ukrainian Weekly - December 8, 2013
On August 8, I along with others received an e-mail from Liza Szonyi- Donovan of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, New York Branch. There was an invitation to purchase a ticket to attend the second Ukrainian Heritage Night at Citi Field on September 26 – a wonderful event to show all in attendance examples of Ukrainian culture.
I checked my travel plans for Ukraine and noticed that I would still be overseas at that time. Then I had this idea. What if the New York Mets were to donate baseballs to be used by the children during the Ukraine Little League baseball championship in Kremenets? I could then announce this donation during opening ceremonies on September 18.
On August 27, I contacted Ms. Szonyi-Donovan and requested four dozen balls for the children. She, in turn, contacted the Yonkers Branch of the UCCA, which was in touch with the Mets. All remained silent.
On September 16, while I was in Kremenets, and hearing nothing, I lowered my expectations and asked for baseballs that the umpires generally toss aside during the game because of a blemish. Those baseballs would be welcome as well. Later that day, I heard back from Ms. Szonyi- Donovan, who stated the Mets needed more information about my work in Ukraine. The Mets received my article published in July in The Ukrainian Weekly and the info about the official Ukraine LL web- site, www.ukrainebaseball.org.
I was confident that the Mets would help me after reading the article. On Sunday, September 22, the closing ceremonies were held for the 38 boys and three girls at Ukraine’s LL championship. My hope was to announce that the New York Mets had donated the needed baseballs, whether new or scuffed. That was not to be. A swing and a huge miss by the New York Mets.
In the October 27 edition of The Ukrainian Weekly, the UCCA proudly wrote that nearly 500 Ukrainian Americans descended on to Citi Field on September 26 to celebrate Ukrainian Heritage Night. How wonderful! So, that is 500 people, and the admission was $25 per person, plus drinks, hot dogs and souvenirs. Do the math.
Yet, according to Google, 4,498 miles away in the little town of Kremenets, Ukraine, there were 41 children from four orphanages that could have used a few new baseballs and at least a couple of scuffed up baseballs. A swing and a huge miss.
As they say “maybe next year.” A swing and a missed opportunity by the New York Mets to help the almost forgotten children.
I am always hopeful. Please contact me if you wish to help in 2014. Thank you.
Basil P. Tarasko
District Administrator of the Little Leagues in Ukraine