It begins with T-ball, a group of kids barely taller than a bat, their hats covering not just their heads but often most of their faces, their shirts dangling well below the knees. They scramble as one, like a school of fish, chasing ground balls or hiding from pop flies. They get distracted by dandelions, clouds traveling across the sky or sudden onset napping, using second base as a pillow.

And yet somehow they learn the game of baseball and over the years in Little League, from T-ball to the Minor and Major leagues, they grow to become players and teammates, expert in turning double plays and stealing home for the winning run. And along the way their parents also grow, some as fans, other as coaches, shouting encouragement and drying tears (their kids and their own) after strikeouts and tough losses.

And every year it begins again on opening day, with a parade down Circuit avenue, the entire spectrum of Vineyard youth baseball on display, walking together in their new uniforms, gloves at the ready, the sidewalks filled with cheering parents and a fire engine revving up the energy with horns a plenty.

No one is immune to baseball fever, not on Little League opening day, which this year is Saturday, April 28. The parade begins at 9 a.m. starting at the Oak Bluffs police station, heading up Circuit avenue and ending at Viera Park. From there the official opening ceremony takes place at 10:30 a.m. at Penn Field in Oak Bluffs, and then the games begin all over the Island. Pick a field, any field. You won’t be disappointed.