It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill dinner party over at the governor’s residence in Hartford Monday night. Oh there were celebrities alright, but young rambunctious ones who may not have know who Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was several weeks ago, but are now fans thanks to the stellar dining experience at his house.
Members of the Westport Little League, the team that made the state proud by going to the U.S. Finals last month, were the special guests of the governor and wife Cathy Malloy for a celebration that included choices middle-schoolers like best when it comes to fine dining… pizza, sliders and ice cream.
“I’m glad there’s good food like pizza,” said ace pitcher Harry Azadian as he and teammates, decked out in khakis and blue dress shirts, prepared to work the buffet and settle in for the poolside al fresco dining experience complete with an ice sculpture shaped like a baseball mitt and table centerpieces of junk food.
Teasing each other that some of them had to do a quick Google search to determine exactly who the governor was, the seventh and eighth grade players quickly made themselves at home with the fish pond being of special interest.
For Malloy, it was an apparent respite from the rigors of the job. He was at ease, laughing and engaged as he sat down to dinner with the team. As he watched them he reflected how his learning and physical disabilities as a child prevented him from playing organized baseball.
“But if I could I would have played any position,” said Malloy, a Yankees fan who received a New England Region shirt and baseball cap from the team. “I have the greatest admiration for these guys.”
Also clearly enjoying the special dinner was team coach Tim Rogers, who is also the chief financial officer of Travelers personal insurance division. As Rogers watched his team enjoy the fete that was underwritten by Travelers, he admitted his days of Little League coaching are done.
“I may move up and do some coaching with the older kids,” he said, noting that this was son, Drew’s final year to play Little League so he too will move on. “You know how it is, you follow your kids.”