Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ricky Lately ... with the SB Buzz

When your married compromise is a big part of the equation. My wife lets me watch ESPN, SNY, YES and a lot of other bullshit that I like and she hates without complaining. So it's only fair that I watch shows that she likes once in a while. She loves HGTV, Ghost Hunters, The Real Housewives of Orange County and Chelsea Lately. I mostly hate these programs, but I do my best to watch at least a few minutes with her now and then as part of the marriage give and take thing. However, I must admit when it comes to Chelsea Lately I'm completely sold. Yes I know it's a quote unquote "a girl show" on the E-Channel but she's brilliant, hilarious, and great late night TV.Chelsea along with her midget sidekick Chewy
give you the buzz/scoop on Hollywood. I usually hate sensational Hollywood TV shows but Chelsea’s is different. Her clever wit, charm and great attitude poke fun at show businesses making her a good watch and very interesting. She keeps the fake glitzy superficial entertainment world completely Real. She's excellent.

So in the spirit of the great Chelsea Lately I'm going to give you the softball buzz that I've seen and heard in Match 2009 as we head into the season.

True E Softball Story: Softball Economy
Softball Buzz:
Times are hard. League Fees are due. Corporate sponsorship is down. A lot of players god forbid now have to pay league fees out of their own pocket. Economist say that in recessions people continue to spend on liquor and cigarettes instead of necessities like food and water, my guess is that most mid level to lower players will pay and the elite softball players/pitchers will still get a free ride.
Translation some sucker will foot most of the bill.

True E Softball Story: Wall Street Lives
Softball Buzz: I'm not talking about the big companies that reside downtown I'm talking about the Wall Street Softball League WSSL Despite the economy, my sources say they have 8 teams and are keeping this 49 year old league (est. 1960) alive. I say good for them and good luck to my old school friends Willie J and Pete Martinez. I have many good and bad SB memories of this league and would hate to see it go down.

True E Softball Story: Bailout Plan in Chelsea
Softball Buzz: Keep Hope Alive!!!The long standing and highly competitive legendary Chelsea Lob Ball league was in trouble. High Costs and diminishing teams had this NYC softball turf institution on the ropes. Word is they now have 7 teams and Dio and Juan have the league coming back for more. Good job.

True E Softball Story: Bob is Homeless but still in business
Softball Buzz: The Charter league, run by Bob Morello, on 54th street's Dewitt Clinton Park ,needs to find a new address for another month or two as Dewitt Clinton Park (formerly known as Donde Caja La Vaca") is still under repairs. Bob is in negotiations with the parks department to find a temporary home until the new turf field is done.

True E Softball Story: When Will 54th Street be Ready??????
Softball Buzz: Sources say June 1st, but with construction you know the old line from the movie Money Pit "TWO WEEKS" applies.

True E Softball Story: Gunny's Saturday League
Softball Buzz: Conflicting reports everywhere. Some people say 6 teams, Some say 9. Gunny was seen on the lower east side weeks ago putting up flyer's old school style. The jury is still out, but he was quoted as saying his pot is $5,000. Stay tuned.

True E Softball Story: What Recession?
Softball Buzz: Business is better than ever for Gunny's former partner Steve Jimenez as Steve's Saturday league 20 teams, enthusiasm, and improved competition.
Steve is continually trying to improve his product. If Steve focuses on properly communicating prizes and playoff structures he should have a banner year. If not, his reputation could suffer.

As for another league that doesn't seem to be feeling the pinch according to sources is the corporate monster that is Yorkville sports. Al Morales still has plenty of teams, he just has to find a way to squeeze them all in as 54th street is unavailable . Then again its not like Yorkville cares, they didn't even finish their fall season last year. Why should they care, they have a monopoly on the fields.

True E Softball Story: Park's Department
Softball Buzz: Still as difficult to deal with as ever. The government can't even handle field permits and these are the guys we are asking to fix the economic mess?

True E Softball Story: Career Change??
Softball Buzz: Inwood Hall of Famer Gilbert Gonzalez has spoken about wanting to retire and become a commissioner. Besides the fact that he is still stud player, Gil won't quit just yet b/c he thinks the Park's Department politics is a tougher game. Oh yeah, after he told me wanted to retire he ran like 2 miles after practicing softball for 1 1/2 hours.

True E Softball Story: Big Apple League
Softball Buzz: Still going strong with 12 teams. Their has been a lot of mergers and recruiting wars going on as Working Class and Pipe fitters have under gone radical changes, while the Bombers are rumored to be on a recruiting rampage. The Bombers have bulked up their offense with former Working Class and Diesel players and are rumored to sign more illegal slinger pitching. Bomber manager Rudy appears to be going after big time illegal pitching even with Cedric and supposedly Langer in the fold. Cedric will most likely never leave Rudy, but maybe Langer is on the move. In any case, Softball Beast Miranda of Clemente fame who throws side arm like Dan Quisenberry is rumored to be on their radar .As for 2007 BAL Champion, West they are now called Hell's Kitchen. I am the general manager, and honestly I have no idea what will happen. Right now everything is on paper. The softball gods don't care about paper.
Perhaps, Hell's Kitchen and other Big Apple teams will get a clearer view of their 2009 prospects on April 5th when scrimmages will take place on the Great Lawn, Unfortunately, only 2 fields are currently available. Hopefully, Diesel and Hell's Kitchen can figure out a way to play 2 games as it would be nice to see who is on my team before the season starts.

True E Softball Story: Looking for Team
Softball Buzz: Softball legend Jimmy Meyers is looking for players on his Central Park 2pm Tuesdays league. If your interested contact Jimmy at his email Jimmy is a great guy and I highly recommend playing with him if your schedule can swing it. I wrote about the lack of player development and opportunities the other day, this is a ground floor opportunity to get out there and play. Do It if you can.
True E Softball Story: Never Say Never
Softball Buzz: Jimmy Meyer's longtime softball teammate Richie Christy is back from the dead, I uh mean Staten Island. Richie has been showing up to tournaments, scrimmages,and hanging out again with his softball buddies. I hope it lasts as Richie is a very good player who is a lot of fun to hang out with. NYC Softball is better with him than without.

True E Softball Story: Speaking of Players on Milk Cartons
Softball Buzz: Johnny Castillo. I haven't spoken to John in over 2 weeks, but when I did speak to him he said he's doing well, gaining weight, and playing ball again in the Dominican. I'll keep you posted on this, but softball needs Castillo back, say what you want but he's hardly boring

True E Softball Story: Softball Sleeper
Softball Buzz: If fantasy softball existed Tommy Colon would be my sleeper. In the couple of weeks that I've played this winter/spring, the most improved player I've seen is Tommy "Spider" Colon. His swing look very fluid and he has demonstrated very good bat speed. He's being used in the middle of the Westlander lineup and is showing improved confidence. I've actually been a a big Tommy fan for years as his hard work combined with his humble personality makes him a joy to play softball with

True E Softball Story: How is Ricky Balboa doing?
Softball Buzz: When I started my diet on February 3rd I weighed 228lbs. Make no mistake their has been No Easy Way Out and as MR. T warned
their has been a lot of PAIN!!!!
When I first started dieting I felt like Apollo looks in this picture below

beaten and in disbelief how how hard this fight would really be.Today thanks to diet, exercise, a supportive wife and the Flu I weigh 209 lbs, 4 pounds short of my goal. Almost there, hell I think I will aim for 200 lbs now. Of course this will not help in me in softball at all except maybe I'll be able to keep score faster :)))

Anyway, that's all for the SB buzz for now stay tuned, good luck this season, and check out Chelsea Lately she's funny (unlike my nerdy softball self) . Holler!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You Either Die a Hero or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain

Not another Blog based on a corny Superhero "Batman" quote?

I mean wasn't the classic blog

I say no, I'm too much of a geek to let a good superhero quote go.

Anything said that turns into a quote is because it is based on elements that ring true in your life. Even if it is a sad truth like "You Either Die a Hero or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain".

And as much as I hate to admit it this quote is so true in softball

Top Ten Reasons "You Either Die a Hero or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain" in Softball

10. Compensation.
I remember back in the day feeling shocked and appalled when I heard rumors that certain players where paid to play. I must have said a million times "I will never pay anyone". But the reality is that innocence is long gone.One way another, players are paid. Either through money, favors, drugs, liquor, rides, or providing shelter certain players that you think can get you over the top are compensated. I've done it. I know others have done it as well. Is it wrong ? Or is it doing what it takes to win/compete? Either way, it does shows one's moral progression/regression. You have now become to some degree, no matter which way you justify it, what you once despised.

9. Using Wringers
Virtually every team sneaks a player or pitcher in their roster at playoff time. Sometimes its by hook or by crook, but in the lust to win circumventing fair play and honesty for a chance to win goes out the window. You know its cheating, but you do it anyway b/c the competition if given the chance will do the same.

8. Loyalty
This goes hand in hand with #9. The solid player who shows up week in week out rain, sleet, hail, snow and pays his umps fees, and shows up early to practices before games is most likely the number one guy you bench in the playoffs to sneak a stud on your roster. Deep down you know you lose a little bit of your soul with this one.

7. The Circle of Life
I remember when West first came to Inwood.
They were great. They won the league their first four years. They had everything. Power. Pitching. Defense, a good manager and vicious Hecklers.
I hated them. Castillo hated them. All we wanted to do was beat them. Until we joined with the Highlanders we couldn't.
Back then I never thought I could play with them let alone be friends.
Nowadays I love John Sheppard, play on West, and have pretty much become the General Manager for the team. I now play on the Team I hated. I think this is so cool. It shows how I have evolved past ignorance hate and jealousy and made new friends. I am a better man for it.

6. Spoiled Sponsorship
Back in the day, everyone was down to chip in and pay their share of the league fee and fancy expensive uniform costs. It wasn't even an issue. Nowadays forget it. Everyone is looking for a free ride. I know this is part economic, but in reality most winning teams receive some sort of sponsorship or some rich guy foots the bill. I've been spoiled lately and been able to play mostly for free. A lot of guys have. So when your asked to pay the league fee, say $100, you finding it shocking and appalling. We've transformed from free spender to a softball Ebeneezer Scrooge over time.

5. Hypocrisy
You tell yourself you will never play with a certain guy again.
But you do anyway. Why? B/C your a softball whore who wants to win. So you have to deal with some asshole's shenanigans that ruins your softball escape from reality all b/c you want to win. You call him. Pick him up. Pretend to like him. Pretend to be interested in what he says. It's like when you were young and did anything to try and fuck that pretty girl who besides being fine was annoying and uninteresting. You are not being true to yourself. Their does come a point when even if you win you lose. Usually you lose self respect for yourself. These are High risk High reward actions, that mostly backfire.

4. Close Mindedness
Recently a couple of kids have reached out to me looking for a team to play on. My first reaction is that they will probably suck or will just not fit in. While I may be right, all these guys want is a shot. The big problem when running a team is finding the time to try new guys out. You don't want to be put in the awkward situation of telling someone their is no vacancy/room for them at the softball inn. If your not referred by a stud player with a good recruiting background it's tough to trust someone new that shows up out of the blue. In some ways that makes me sad, b/c I remember when I was horrible and some light skin Cuban guy taught me how to play. Player development is hard nowadays b/c of the pressure to win. That bothers me

3. Blogging
The opinions expressed in this blog aren't always the most popular. They are stubborn, obnoxious, loud, controversial ... just like me. But they are never boring or lack inspiration. Sometimes it frustrates me when no positive change happens and I feel like I am blogging/talking to the wind. Some people say I have too much time on my hands, others applaud my efforts. My blogs make me a villain to some and a cult Hero to others, I guess it all depends on how you view illegal pitching :)))))))

2. The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
When you win everyone comes gunning for you. They love to Hate you. They want to beat you. Becoming a Champion makes you a villain.

and the Number One Reason "You Either Die a Hero or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain" in Softball

1.People Never really Misses You Until your Dead or Gone
If you run a league, umpire with honor, or play on successful teams, at some point you will probably piss someone off. You will suspend a key player, call a rain out too early, make a bad call, strikeout in a key spot. Shit happens!!!!! But when the day comes that the league folds or you stop playing that's when people really know how Super you really are.
Ironic huh?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Parks Deptartment at work???

(blog by Juan)

Was I seeing things?

The parks department was actually fixing a field in Inwood Park. Yes, I saw it and I have the pictures to prove it:

A truck with a small tractor pulls up to field 1 (the baseball field).

That's 4 parks dept employees fixing field 1 (baseball).

A little machine to flatten out the infield. Amazing. Where has this shit been all this time?

In our 10 plus ears of playing Softball at Inwood Park we have NEVER seen a parks employee so much as pick up a rock on our fields. To be fair, they have for the most part at least been cooperative with our field crew, Chelo. That is, until this past year which was a fucking nightmare.

PS, they only fixed the 2 baseball fields and didnt touch the softball fields which looked like crap.

On a related note, I also noticed recently the flats at Van Cortland are getting a major rennovation. They're actually building more fields and doing something with the vast open park. Its about time! Lights? Turf? We'll have to wait and see....

Friday, March 20, 2009


After my trip to Puerto Rico, I played softball the same day I got back.
I felt good.
I was happy.
I was reunited with my dog and friends.
The softball season was here.
Hell both the MLB and the Fantasy Baseball season were almost here.
Funny that I mention Hell, one of my favorite pieces of literature in High School, (back in the days when I actually read), was Dante's Inferno.
Now why the fuck am I bring up Dante's Inferno in a softball blog.
Besides the fact that I am a wack job, when I was young I liked this piece of literature b/c I admired the writer's, Dante Alighieri, originality.
Most people think of hell as a place that's hot and you burn for your sins.
He thought differently, and that caught my attention.
He broke down hell into 9 Circles.
The 9th Circle was the worse according to Dante, that's were they sent Traitors.
No one likes a Rat I guess.
All of the sinners punished in this circle were tortured with ice.
To him Hell was Cold and soon after I got back from Puerto Rico I could relate.
I was scheduled to play in a huge 20 team modified tournament in Pelham and was excited about the event.
However, as the weak wore on I felt worn down, sleepy, sore all over, I was experiencing flu symptoms.
Except I had too many stubborn fool symptoms in me to rest.
I decided to try and "get through it" and sweat it out.
Big Mistake.
The Night before the game I woke up at 2 AM freezing.
I was shaky and shivering in bitter cold, but at the same time I was sweating bullets.
I had entered Dante's Inferno.
I had the Real Deal Flu.
I felt like a straight up crack head.
I swear to God I looked like Chris Rick in New Jack City when he played the legendary crackhead Pookie.
One Minute Normal
The next a mess

This was total loss. I couldn't play softball. I couldn't play in a Poker tournament scheduled for that night
I couldn't drink on St Patrick's Day. I was sick as a dog with The goddamn FLU.
This was Hell.
I had just experienced March Madness - one minute the thrill of happiness and hope, and then I was thrown into the Flu Chamber of Hell.
My next 3 days consisted of sleep, staring at the ceiling, turning left, turning right, taking drugs, waiting, sweating, shivering, and lying in bed bored out of my fucking mind.
Anyway, thanks to my family they nursed my back to health and I am almost 100%.
March Madness


March has been maddening month for me and I'm not even a college basketball fan. I don't usually do Part I & II for blogs, but March has been such an extreme that I feel it's a must.March is the month where most ball players starts to get ready for the softball season. Playing pickup, tournaments, buying new gear, making there phone calls.

Well for the family March always begins with vacation.

My wife Astrid birthday is in March and we always try and go away somewhere together. This is always a Boomerang type gift for me b/c I get to enjoy the good life that vacation has to offer.

This year we went to Puerto Rico "LA ISLA DEL ENCANTO" - The Island of Enchantment. A vacation from softball right before the season begins isn't a bad idea and this year our trip got off to a great start as left town right before a major snow storm hit.

I was excited as the trip began

and things got off to a very smooth start as we settled into our hotel La Concha

Before we knew it we were exploring Old San Juan,

and having drinks in cool local little graffiti Dive bar

After a long night of drinking, the next morning always required some coffee to get me going on my morning workout.

Yeah you read that right, I worked out on vacation. I now weigh 217 lbs, lost 11lbs overall. Diets don't take vacations.
After my workouts I would relax at the beach and pool all morning, have lunch, and then set out on some sightseeing with La Flaca

Despite such good husbandly intentions I always seems to stumble into some random bar
The grand daddy of all drunk tourist experience was the Bacardi Factory. It was there that I learned that being a rum "blender" could be the greatest job on earth.

It was hard saying good-bye to the Bacardi Factory,
but at I took comfort in the fact that I could take a few souvenirs home with me at the end of the day.

Anyway, everything was not beach and rum on this trip.
It was time for nature and for that we visited Yunque National Rain Forest.
This place was beautiful and a new world.

The Day we went it poured rain non-stop. Which actually was perfect for a Rain Forest.

Things got a little crazy as I felt I was in an episode of LOST

But we met Puerto Rican Yoda guide Frankie and had a great time

Frankie also said that getting in touch with nature was a good way to find peace. He said this Peace would help me in Softball this year.Then he also asked Astrid if she had a sister.
After the Rain forest it was back to the spoiled tourist life and we were ready to Party and celebrate Astrid's birthday at the Amazing El San Juan Hotel. It feels like NY in there. As you can tell my dance moves are stuck in the 80s.
Sorry about that picture.No matter we were happy and enjoying a wonderful time The WBC was in town and all the players were staying at El San Juan
I actually got to say Hello and Buena Suerte (Good Luck) to Jose
Oquendo, Felipe Alou, Moises Alou, Miguel Olivio, and Miguel Tejada. Not that it helped them that much.
The NY vibe to El San Juan Hotel got some softball feel to it when I met up with NYC softball legends Freddy Suarez of DEA fame and possibly the greatest drunk hitter of all time Lousito Gonzalez of the Cardinals.

We had a blast!!!!!!!!!!The six degrees of Softball separation are not that far away. I returned to NY hungover but also relaxed, refreshed and ready to begin softball and

then .. to be continued in Part II

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Softball vs Running
written by guest blogger Juan (aka Blondie) Moreiras

I started “running” about a year ago and since have run about 10 races in Central park and the Coogans Race twice. Softball, been doing that for a long time, though I hardly play anymore, I'm still in tune with the scene. That being said, from my perspective,which is better?

Softball: competition can vary greatly. Some games are lame, boring and complete mismatches, others are intense, exciting and played a very high skill level.

Running: competition is what you make of it. You’ll always be competing against your own previous times or you may just be inspired to catch up to the old lady who ran by you. You may be just be happy finishing.

Advantage: Softball

Playing Time / Participation
Softball: Only the best players will play in the “big-games.” You can always find a place to play if you are at the very least a marginal player, willing to pay a fee, and will show up consistently. Otherwise, its survival of the fittest.

Running: Anyone can one run and no-one cares what you look like or how you perform. In the end, everyone’s a winner.

Advantage: Running

Softball: The feeling of making a big play, getting a game winning hit, or just being part of winning a championship is amazing. Great moments like that stay with you forever. Quite simply, there’s nothing like it. You win – you’re a star. You lose – you feel pain. High risk and high reward.

Running: Except for the super runners at the front of the races, there’s not much glory here. You will feel great coming through the finish line, but it won’t be an everlasting memory.

Advantage: Softball

Softball: Contrary to myth, many softball players are in excellent shape and are superb athletes’. However, the game itself, is for the most part is not a real workout. The practicing can be an awesome workout if done right (not just BP).

Running: Well, it is “RUNNING”, not walking, not sitting on a bench or standing around the outfield. How hard you run is up to you, but you will be running and pumping blood for a few miles.

Advantage: Running

Softball: Great players can skip many games, take vacations, and basically show up when they feel like it. They will still bat 3rd, play SS, and probably do very well. Others will benched on their behalf. That’s just the way it is; winning trumps all. If you’re stud player, everybody knows you.

Running doesn’t care who you are and what you’ve done in the past. Every mile is exactly the same distance and if you are not prepared you will suck. Once you hit the road, everyone is an equal.

Advantage: if you’re good - Softball, if you’re a scrub - running. It’s a tie.

Softball fun can mean many things to different players. For most, fun=winning. But for many guys, just hangin’ out at the park playing, watching, drinking, smoking, is quite fun.

Running: I admit, running is not fun. Let me clarify, the first and last 100ft in a race is fun – a DJ is playing music, people are cheering and you feel great. The rest is simply work. You will warm up after a mile or two and feel good, but its not really fun.

Advantage: Softball

Fans / Atmosphere
Softball has its fans depending on where you play. Central park is full of tourists and an occasional celebrity who will watch games. Players will bring families, wifes and friends to watch occasionally. Then the ever present groupies. The fans are usually not a factor and many times there are very few if any. Its not MLB, so it’s really a players game, that is, unless you playing, you probably have something better to do.

Running; the atmosphere is great for fans. They support the runners with sign and banners, they cheer everyone, there’s music, free massages, free food and drinks. In the Coogans race there was a Mariachi band on 181st playing Guantanamera for the runners. How can you beat that?

Advantage: running

IT’S A TIE!!!! I think you’re best of if you can do both. Running will help your softball game, and Softball will help you relax - maybe not.

PS Blogging is a lot of work.