FCCJBL in the News
June 1, 2006 - Jewish Ledger
Play Ball! Fairfield County Jewish Baseball League Hits a Homerun
by Stacey Dresner
Courtesy: The Jewish Ledger
-- The Fairfield County Connecticut Jewish Baseball League's (FCCJBL)
baseball season last year ended on a high note - Stamford Mayor
Dannel Malloy threw out the first ball at the last game and Cantor
Arik Wollheim of Congregation Agudath Sholom sang the National
Anthem and "Hatikvah."
"All of the kids were in uniform and lined up on the first and
third base lines - just like the World Series," said League
Commissioner Seth Marlowe. "All kids should get this kind of
After more than five years, the Fairfield County Jewish Baseball League is growing by leaps and bounds, due to Marlowe's dedication.
Just two years ago, the league included players from just three
Stamford synagogues -- Congregation Agudath Sholom, Young Israel of
Stamford and Temple Beth El. While
the league had 108 players last year, this year 124 kids are
enrolled, including kids from 13 more congregations around Stamford,
Greenwich, Westport and Norwalk.
all of his work building the FCCJBL, Marlowe was honored last month
at the United Jewish Federation's annual meeting with the UJF Ben
Zinbarg Family Outstanding Adult Leadership Award.
"First off, to win an award named after Ben Zinbarg is very
exciting and humbling," Marlowe said. "Ben was a
cornerstone of the community building efforts in Stamford and I
cannot be any more flattered. This whole league for me is so
rewarding. It's like a real life fantasy Baseball League on one hand
and at the same time, just to see all those kids on the field and
know that they are getting exercise, fresh air and having a good
time is so satisfying. I always knew we could make this into a real
nice product for the kids and parents. And we are helping to build
bridges across the different lower Fairfield County towns and
communities. I am so proud of what's been accomplished with a
little-- perhaps a lot -- of hard work."
One of Marlowe's goals has been to increase the number of players in
the Jewish league, by reaching out to all of the synagogues in
"2005 was a great re-building year for the league. We ended up
with 108 kids in the program and a total of 6 teams - two in the
majors; two in the minors and two in t-ball...We attracted many new
faces to the league last year as a result of the marketing effort to
the shuls around lower Fairfield County. We ended up with kids from
11 different shuls attending 12 different schools," Marlowe
While the League's base synagogues are still Agudath Sholom, Young
Israel and Temple Beth El, the League now has kids whose families
are affiliated with Congregation Shir Ami of Stamford, Temple Sinai
of Stamford, Greenwich Reform Synagogue, Temple Sholom of Greenwich,
Congregation Beth El of Norwalk, Beth Israel of Norwalk, Beit
Chaverim of Westport, Temple Israel of Westport, Conservative
Synagogue of Westport, Ahavath Achim of Fairfield, Chabad of
Greenwich, Chabad of Stamford.
"We also have a number of unaffiliated families where we are
perhaps the only link to the Jewish community for them,"
This year the league expanded out to 8th grade "to give kids
through the end of middle school the chance to play," Marlowe
explained. "Little League ends at age 12; then there are Babe
Ruth programs. So we again provide an alternative that does not
exist for kids who just want to play."
The league, which plays its games on two baseball diamonds at
Newfield Elementary School on Pepper Ridge Road in Stamford, also
began a new "Intro to T-Ball" division for pre-K kids.
"That group, which, is comprised of 3 and 4 year-olds has been
a big success," Marlowe said.
Marlowe said that having a Jewish Baseball League is important to the
families of Fairfield County.
"It's an opportunity for the kids to play without the
competition associated with today's city Little League
programs," Marlowe explained. "Many of these kids would
opt not to play for that reason, and for the kids in observant homes
who do not want to deal with missing Friday evening and Saturday day
games because of Shabbat.
"In addition, we have two autistic kids in the program this
year who just wouldn't get this kind of opportunity. They and their
parents are having a great time."
Marketing the League
Marlowe's marketing efforts for the Jewish Baseball League over the
past year include enlisting David Shavrick, Creative Director at
OgilvyInteractive, to design a league logo which can be seen on the
players' uniforms and on the league website that Marlowe launched.
And after reaching out to rabbis in Fairfield County, Marlowe was
approached by David Lipson - a player for the Minor League Nashua
Pride and son of Rabbi Mark Lipson of Temple Shalom in Norwalk.
Lipson came out to conduct a pre-season clinic for the League's
Major and Minor league kids this spring.
"He was just great with all the kids...We are now all Dave
Lipson fans and look forward to his season with the Nashua Pride.
How great would it be for our kids if Dave makes the Majors and
these kids can say that they learned baseball from him?"
Marlowe also contacted representatives of the upcoming Maccabi Games
to be held in Stamford this year. To show support for the Maccabis,
he had the Stamford Maccabi Games logo imprinted on all of the right
sleeves of the teams' shirts.
"I thought it was very important to provide a link with the
Games," he said. "We are working on a program for our
pre-game for this year's Championship Games that recognizes both the
coordinators of the Games as well as a few of our players who are
all Maccabi Games athletes."
© 2006, The Jewish Ledger/ NRG Connecticut LLC