On May 17 the Dirtbags, parents, and coaches helped clean up Cemetery Road. The team picked up trash on a half mile stretch of the road
The Dirtbags will be visiting other neighborhoods once a month during their season, which ends in October.
The work is an effort for the team to thank an Okeechobee community that has supported them throughout the years.
The Dirtbags hosted their first hometown tournament last October, as a fundriaser for their upcoming trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2022.
The tournament was a success, with locals in Okeechobee who attended the tournament taking advantage of half-price for their ticket if they wore purple. Prices ranged from $10 per day to $15 for the entire weekend.
The team is in the initial planning and fundraising stage of the trip to Cooperstown. Back in January they offered longtime umpire Darrell Croft a chance to join them on the trip.
Croft has been an umpire for 37 years, helping officiate local baseball and football games for the youth in Okeechobee. When Dirtbags coach Ruben Guerrero learned that one of the requirements for competing in the tournament in Cooperstown was to bring your own umpire, Croft was the first person to come to mind.
Croft was unaware that the team was offering him an all-expenses-paid trip to Cooperstown until the meeting on Jan. 4, when Guerrero stood up and gave a speech on behalf on the parents and youths on the team.
“You’ve dedicated years to baseball and softball in the community,” said Guerreo to Croft. “You’re always willing to officiate our gamed with honesty and integrity as well as a positive attitude. On behalf of everyone on the Dirtbags, I want to invite you on an all-expenses-paid experience to Cooperstown, New York. We can’t think of any other umpire we’d like to honor and show our appreciation to for their dedication to this sport.”
Guerrero mentioned that Darrell has been a fixture of local sports in Okeechobee for so long that he remembers him back when he played in Okeechobee as a youth.
“I think everybody needs to experience one bad call from Darrell,” said Guerrero with a laugh.
The Dirtbags have tentative plans to hold another fundraiser tournament later in 2021.