Mets Pinch Hit in Effort to Save Downtown Little League Season

Parents hope that they will be watching their kids play ball on the Battery Park City ball fields again this spring. File photo by Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Downtown's Little Leaguers may be getting some big league help in saving their upcoming season.

Much if not all of the league's season could be lost if repair of the fields takes too long, leading parents and community leaders to push the Battery Park City Authority to get the job done as quickly as possible.

That's where the New York Mets come in.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement on Friday that he has asked Mets owner Jeff Wilpon for help from the club's consultants on how the Authority might expedite the repairs. The Coney Island field of the Mets minor league team, the Cyclones, was also flooded during the storm, although both the Mets CitiField and the Cyclones MCU Park are natural-grass fields.

"Jeff Wilpon and the ownership of the New York Mets have graciously offered to provide valuable technical advice to help move this process forward as quickly as possible," Silver said in a statement. The Mets consultants inspected the ball fields earlier this week.

A Mets spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.

In the meantime, Authority chairman Dennis Miel said in a statement Friday that the Authority has a plan to move the project along faster. "We will initiate both the removal of the turf surface and inspection and assessment of the drainage system before the contract work starts as a way to compress the timeline of the overall project," Mehiel said.

The Authority issued a request for proposals for the ball fields replacement earlier this week. Although the document calls for the fields to be completed by May 24, it also encourages contractors to propose work schedules that would finish the fields earlier. Downtown Little League president Bill Martino has said that the fields must be ready by May 1 in order to rescue even part of the season.

The deadline for responses to the RFP is Feb. 4.

Community Board 1's BPC Committee passed a resolution earlier this week calling on the Authority to convene and emergency board meeting to award the RFP as soon as responses are in.