UKR Baseball Benefit
The Brooklyn Cyclones, who hosted the 2017 WBC Qualifiers, are opening their doors for another important event this weekend.
On Sunday, June 26, 2022, the High A affiliate of the New York Mets, will sponsor an Eastern European Experience Day.
Eastern European baseball and softball national teams, including Ukraine, Moldova, Estonia and Georgia, have recorded greetings for the fans. These, along with photos and biographies honoring Cyclones front office staff with ties to Ukraine, will be shown on the jumbotron between innings. All the walk-up music will also be switched to popular Ukranian music for the night.
The national anthem will be sung by Voice of Ukraine participant Alena Krutienko. The event will include dance and musical performances paying tribute to the Eastern European culture. There will be Eastern European food provided by the East Village Ukrainian restaurant Veselka.
A ceremony is scheduled to honor front-line workers, of Eastern European decent, who’s beat covers the local Ukrainian community. One of the most important guests of the night, Peppa Pig, will be on hand to greet the night’s special fans.
The event is something the club was already working on in November 2021. The brainchild of Dimitry Sagalchik, a friend to the WBSC Europe, the original plan was to help introduce baseball to the Eastern European community where the stadium is located.
The initial arrangements included inviting ESOL parents and schools to the game. Families will receive a handout outlining rules of baseball, to help both parents and kids alike understand how the game compares to more traditional European games like soccer.
The overall goal was to unite Russian-speaking baseball players building a local community that may one day represent their respective countries on the national level.
This is something that Sagalchik has experience doing. In the summer of 1988, Dimitry became part of the first group of people to build a baseball program across Eastern Europe. He continued this work until he left the continent in 1991. New York City is now his home but he remains connected to these communities throughout Europe. He hopes to bring that early experience back around, helping to grow the sport he loves to its next level in Europe’s baseball and softball landscape, with the help of kids who have more opportunities to train for the sport.
When the war broke out in February of 2022, switching the focus of the event, to include fundraising and assistance for the efforts on the ground in Ukraine, was a given.
According to Cyclones’ VP Steve Cohen, Brighton Beach, part of Brooklyn, has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the USA. “We also have several members of our front office who are from Ukraine. We have seen, first-hand, just how much of an impact the recent events have had, even thousands of miles away. We felt we owed it to our staff, and our community, to show our support during these difficult times.”
The club has given tickets to all the Ukrainian refugees, allowing them to attend the event for free.
The team, who normally wear the traditional uniform colors of their parent club, the New York Mets, will take the field in a blue and yellow uniforms inspired by the Ukrainian flag. Those jerseys will then be auctioned off, along with a few additional items, such as a baseball signed by the 2015 Ukrainian national baseball team and an autographed poster from the event, with the proceeds going to benefit the World Center Kitchen and the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The Auction opens on June 26, 2022 at 8:00pm EST (4:00 CET June 27, 2022) and closes on July 9, 2022 at 6:00pm EST (12:00 CET July 10, 2022)
While ticket and auction sales will benefit the charities mentioned, there is another group posed to benefit from the day’s events.
The U-12 Ukrainian Little League D.A. team will also have a representative from Little League on-site collecting funds on their behalf. Little League has already sponsored the team’s participation in the July tournament taking place in The Netherlands.
The proceeds collected during this game will be used for transportation and pocket money needs for the team while they are in The Netherlands. 100% of the on-site collection for this game will be given to the Ukrainian Little League team.