PATERSON, N.J. – The longtime home of the Old Timers Youth Baseball League, Pennington Park Field is looking pristine for a new season after years of being out of the game.

In September 2021, Hurricane Ida flooded the nearby Passaic River, all but drowning the ball field. But FEMA money has covered 90 percent of the construction of a brand-new turf field, now completed and ready for opening day.

“This is new for them, this is our premier field that we have in Paterson for our youth,” said league president Abraham Aguayo.

Now a coach, DJ Osorio remembers the pain of Ida.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said Osorio. “So many places Ida could have came, and she just so disrespectful, went wherever she wanted, pushed everything around, ruined it for our kids over here. Pennington Park, this is our place.”

Pennington Park field is one of four baseball fields in the city to be given new life in the past year. The next field to get the treatment is Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the most important ball fields not only in Paterson’s history but in the history of baseball. Once home to Negro Leagues baseball championship games, the stadium is a national historic landmark. Workers are putting on the finishing touches for its grand re-opening next month.

It’s all part of the movement in the city to bring more kids to baseball. “The movement is going in the right direction,” said Osorio. “We have to build our future with our youth, our youth is what’s going to carry the baton once I’m gone, once all of us are gone, who’s going to do it. You give them a place where they can be themselves and they can push the game of baseball and continue to build on it.”