By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In another sign of Philadelphia’s long recovery back from COVID-19, it’s Little League season. The Fairmount Sports Association opened its baseball season Saturday.

It’s a familiar sound of spring, a dad cheering on his son.

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“I’d rather be out here than the first row of the Phillies, man,” dad Marc Brutus said. “I love it. It’s good to see the kids back out having fun.”

Brutus’ son, Carlos, is the catcher for the Cubs in the Fairmount Sports Association league.

Saturday was their first at-bat since 2019.

“Get out there play. Get off the PlayStation and the Xbox. Get out here and play some real ball, and the social aspect of it too,” Brutus said.

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The 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions. It happened just as the softball, baseball and T-ball seasons were warming up.

“It was definitely heartbreaking because we were fully registered,” Fairmount Sports Association President John LaCorte said. “Everybody was fully prepared to start the season. The building was prepped. Everybody was ready to go, and then the shutdown came. So, it was definitely heartbreaking for us and the kids.”

But even with COVID restrictions lifting, this season was also put in jeopardy.

The park was the epicenter of a homeless encampment over the summer, and when the inhabitants left, the field was in disarray.

In a partnership with the city’s parks department, the diamonds were renovated by local developer Bock Development Group. Its president, Tom Bock, threw out Saturday’s ceremonial first pitch.

And as dad watches his son, “Carlo the Catcher,” as he’s known, play his first game of the season, he says this is what this time of year is for.

“It’s just good to have them back out here,” Brutus said. “It’s spring. It’s time for baseball.”

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While the diamonds were renovated for this season, the rest of the field will be resodded for next season.