Saturday, July 30, 2011

Living Legend Treasures ... look beyond 1st impressions ..."Que me lo den en vida"

It's been my experience that while 1st impressions may be the longest lasting, they aren't always absolute. Its been my experience both on an off the field, where I can remember either giving off or receiving a bad 1st impression, and as a result, either being hated or hating someone. Poor first contact can be hard to overcome, yet on numerous occasions, sometimes quickly, sometimes gradually, a special metamorphosis happens where hate turns into friendship.

One such example of where this happened to me in softball, is my relationship with Central Park Legend Edgar Gonzalez Sr.
Odd Couple
Man did I fucking hate this guy when I first met him. He just wouldn't shut the fuck up as he was definitely one of the most evil hecklers I ever met. In fact we almost threw him out of Inwood the very first time we met him. Never in my wildest dreams could seeing myself becoming friends with him, but that's all changed now - been that way for while actually.

Edgar Sr. is an acquired taste and over the years, I'm glad I've formed a friendship with him. I like seeing him at the ball park as he makes me laugh and I appreciate his knowledge of the game, Back in the 70s and 80s he was considered one of, if not, The Best SS in NYC. Here are some old school pictures of this living legend in his hey day

Another Living Legend who I didn't hate, but gave off an annoying 1st impression to me was Bobby "Larry Merchant" Fishman.

Always witty. 
Always talking. 
Always sarcastic. 

This guy is a one man show, a true piece of work. But again like Edgar Sr over the years I have really grown to like him b/c he's unique, different, and very New York.

Recently, I was lucky (punn intended) enough to get both of these guys together at the same time while I interviewed Bobby

These guys could easily get a TV show together. Classic

In the case of these two living legends, I'm glad 1st impressions weren't the most lasting as they are to be treasured now as el Gran Combo so eloquently sings

"Que me lo den en vida" - translated means give me my accolades/due while I am alive when I can enjoy them, not when it's too late.

You guys are Legends

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nicer than the 72 Dolphins

They aren't haters like the 72' Dolphins

 but they are perfect - so far. So Move over 72' Dolphins as the Jaguars

from the Prospect Park Softbal Women's Softball League (PPWSL) are undefeated at 12-0 are are looking to stay perfect.
Congrats ladies and don't stop as perfection is rarely attainable.

Hot New Softball Prospect from Spain

Last Sunday in Central park players discovered a hot new softball prospect

who just arrived from Spain and gave her a tryout.

Interesting. Wonder who she signs with, definitely a difference maker.


Avid Softball player Johnny Castillo moved to the Dominican Republic years ago. Or did he?

This picture was taken last Saturday at 128th Street

The  resemblance on the left is uncanny? Castillo?

Right Temperment for the Job

When I umpire I like to be professional. For me that means:
  • Taking control/ownership, 
  • Being enthusiastic, 
  • Letting eh players play, 
  • Treating everyone the same - with respect, courtesy, and consideration.
  • Never being confrontational
I wish I was more laid back, but at least the players know I care and always give my very best for them. One of the more laid back & friendly umpires that I know is Eddie Hiraldo and recently while taking a break from calling the Wednesday Night softball action at 54th Street

Recently I caught up with laid back Eddie

Eddie is a great guy ad solid ump who may miss his occasional call but he definetly has the love of the game and the right temperament for the job. Never confrontational.
 God Luck Eddie - your always a pleasure to talk to.

A96 Over 90 Degree uniform in effect as Cee gets an F during the Playoffs

The playoffs arrived last Saturday Above 96th (A96) street at the 128th East Harlem Softball fields and players not only had winning money on their pre-game mind

but also keeping cool was the priority on this blazing 99 degree hot day. As everyone from A96 knows
that when the weather gets hot

 it's time to break out the nice cool wife beater uniform when you play softball and last Saturday everyone has fully decked out


My team the Hustlers defeated the Hit squad and moved on to the next round thanks to the amazing Ichiro like hitting of Flaco

who was simply a flash on that hot astro turf surface.On a down note, after employing 2 umpires all all season only one official showed up for this playoffs match up and he was terrible.

The officials name is Cee

and on this day he earned an F rating in every aspect of officiating. Maybe he needed to wear a wife beater.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

It's simple. 
  • If you play in a league with open pitching, then you can throw open (broken wrist/turned shoulders).
  • If you play in a league with modified pitching, then you can't throw open (broken wrist/turned shoulders).
Simple. Or at least we wish it was.

As covered at nausea in this blog for years, it's quite evident its an issue that very few leagues can get  firm internal control over. The following video is an example of a pitcher throw open / side arm
Dan Quisenberry Style

 in a modified league.

So fucking wrong.

This is obviously illegal and unfair. A just commissioner that understands modified pitching rules and promotes competition would warn the player to confirm to standards or be placed on a ban list. As we all know this might not always happen. So what do you do then? Whine? Complain? Quit? Cry? Point Fingers? No. The proper response to sling in a modified league is sling b/c "What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander". If some team is playing by a different set of rules, then you can't be denied the chance to take that same action. No one understands this more than Carlos Contreras
Carlos can throw both modified and open softball. In fact, he is one of the very best open pitchers in the tri-state area. He knows and respects the difference between the two art forms. If he is in a modified league, then he throws modified unless someone else slings. A few years ago, Carlos played against me in a modified softball league in Brooklyn. All year long he threw modified. In the playoffs, our modified pitcher did not show up and our manager decided to  pitch a slinger against his team. Carlos response was to throw sling. How can you argue against that? We couldn't.  It's only fair.

In response to the illegal pitcher throwing in the video above, Carlos took the same approach and started throwing sling

(he even gave up along shot - wow sign that guy up). I applaud Carlos and others like him who respect the game and only seek fair competition by the same set of rules. It is honorable.

I always say "Live by the Sling, Die by the Sling" so if you going to cheat be prepared for the illegal pitching flood gates to open in your leagues as the tidal wave is tsunami like and cannot be stopped.

More importantly, ask yourself if your league is constantly having the same debate over legal and illegal pitching then obviously the system is broken from top to bottom. Aren't you sick of it? I know I am.

Friday, July 22, 2011

SB Administration .. Can't Tell me Nuthin ... My God .. My God ,,.. Instant Classic

The most annoying fucking part of running a league is ADMINISTRATION!!!!!!!!
It's a thankless under the radar crucial part of every league. Some commissioners are brilliant at it

others are learning .. sort of

and some just suck at it. We all know that
cool ghetto picture in queens
and getting your league constituents information is vital, but sometimes you have to deal with a lot of bitch ass people that in all reality Can't Tell Me Nuthin

about running a league.  They just whine and complain. Complain and whine. Never say thank you - Bitch style - the worst part is when they start off a sentence by saying "I don't want to me difficult" .. that is such bullshit. You are fucking difficult, but you are the customer and need to be catered to so I deal with it Professionally.

Administration by its very nature requires patience as tedious but necessary things like schedules, permits, rain outs, illegal pitchers, protest requests, umpire issues, rosters, etc  have to be done and are NOT FUN. Playing is fun or at least its supposed to be fun. But why are people so fucking obsessed, ungrateful, and demanding for no fucking reason over simple administrative issues. You should know by now if your commissioner is a dick or on top of his game before you make his life so fucking miserable try working with him, if you know he's doing his best in a difficult situation. Show some love.

Anyway, let's look at some common softball administrative issues all commissioners deal with and what they are really thinking

Top Ten Annoying SB Admin Issues Commissioners have to deal with

10. Softball Admin Issue : I can't play that day b/c I will forfeit
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : How can I help/accommodate you?
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : I don't get paid enough for this shit. get 9 scrubs and play. Deal with it.

9. Softball Admin Issue : My schedule is too strong
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : In constructing a schedule, fairness and competitive balance are my number one priority.
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : Man up bitch. Embrace the challenge

8. Softball Admin Issue in July : What is the playoff structure
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : X number of teams make the playoffs
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : It's July haven't you read the rules yet you loser. I'm not your mom or school teacher. Take ownership of your team. I'm sick of baby sitting you

7. Softball Admin Issue : Why can't my pitcher be allowed to throw in your league
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : Your pitcher does not confirm to the pitching rules of this league.
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : He's a slinger you cheater - duh

 6. Softball Admin Issue : I would like you to consider my protest and not brush it off b/c it's only softball and not that important.
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : All protests that are properly filed will be reviewed for validity based on league and ASA rules
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : Fuck. I hate protests b/c it only costs me time and money and it takes away from what really matters  - the action on the field, but I will do it to the full extent of the governing law/rules b/c it's only fair and best for my league. Also, I want to fire the umpire who fucked up and has made my life miserable.

5. Softball Admin Issue : Can I pay you a little at a time?
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : We can work something mutually beneficial out
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : Do you pay for the movie before, during, or after you see the show? Pay now and save me the aggravation of sicing my henchmen
after you later.

4. Softball Admin Issue : Are we playing tonight if it rains?
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : If the field and/or weather conditions are clear play will commence as schedule
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : Do I look like God

to you dude? As Pusha T would say

My god .. My god .. what a stupid fucking question. Please never call me again. Even even if your on fire. My God .. My God

3. Softball Admin Issue : When is our next game? I don't have access or use the Internet, email, or text messaging. Please fax it to me
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : OK
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : OK Mr. 1985

1. Softball Admin Issue : Can I request umpires? B/c I hate this one motherfucking ump
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : The head official decides which umpires are assigned  to which games, but I will communicate your request and appreciate your feedback
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : I'm blaming everything on the head umpire on this one buddy. That's his job, I am so out of dodge on this one. Good luck sucker

and the Number One Annoying SB Admin Issues Commissioners have to deal with

1. Softball Admin Issue : During a game will the umpire decide the calls.
 Politically Correct Commissioner Response : Yes
Answer your commissioner is Really thinking : I've never heard a dumber question in my life .. My God My God

P.S. If you have a good commissioner please appreciate him, the job sucks but someone has got to do it.

"I Dare You" SB lookalikes Conrad and Goldman .. SB Time Machine

Today the SB time machine found two lookalikes .. Central Park tough guy Legend Joel Goldman

and 70's tough guy actor Robert Conrad

go ahead I dare you to knock that battery off my shoulder. Go ahead I dare you.

Eerie likeness. Eerie

P.S. Joel still owns and uses that calculator and cassette player Conrad displayed in his late 70's commercial - LOL

Right Guys to stay Cool with

It's 100 degrees today. Stay cool, Drink water and visit Bernie, Smokey, or Panama.

Vendors a key part of the game in NY park ,  and recently CNN recognized them.
another satisfied customer
Great guys

No Buster Douglas Here

Lawertime "LT"
Lawyer Time 2011 - finally a team

went into last nights final two regular season games undefeated at 11-0. We were hungry and not over confident which helped us avoid a Mike Tyson - Buster Douglas scenario

as we hustled a  2-0 game versus the scrappy Legends to avoid the upset. With that win under our belt
Belt - get it pun intended - nice socks by the way Sito
we moved on to the highly anticipated nightcap versus the talented 9-1 Knights. This game was for more than 1st place and an undefeated season, much more. It was personal as it was a rematch of last year's semi-finals were the Knights painfully eliminated us from the playoffs. We wanted this one and we got the win thanks to excellent pitching from Lou 22 and sparkling defense from team sponsor and second baseman Mike. Mike's defense was so good that LT shortstop Sito had to take off his championship belt he earned from the previous week and sport his wife beater

 as he handed the belt off to Mike ( well done Mike)

Mike has provided steady defense and timely hitting all year and his teammates were totally behind him for his effort last night as he proved sponsors can play

More importantly, regular season is over.  
Undefeated means nothing if you don't win it all - ask the 2007 Patriots
No one is perfect but we want a Perfect season

Carter Turns Back on Mean Gene Jimmy Paparrazzi

Recently roving SBI reporter Mean Gene Jimmy Bitros caught up with avid softball player Johnny Carter who seemed to try and avoid the paparazzi by turning his back on him when he asked him uncomfortable questions regarding his head scratching inability to hit Bitros during pickup games

John is having a very good season. This righty on righty match up thing versus Bitros must be an aberration. These guys love each other. Don't quit John you will get to Jimmy

Speaking of quiting, I would be remiss if I didn't remind John of the following


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Special Ranger Coaching Staff Round Table .. captured by the insider

SBI lead interviewer Mean Jimmy caught up with the Ranger coaching staff at the Ball Park cafe to shoot the breeze as they prepared for a big game
Charming bunch

Prodigal Son Returns .. Hungry for Action .. Speaks with SBI

In his series of interview with Park personalities Mean Jimmy catches up with Big Marty who has returned to NYC after being away to tend to personal matters

Good to have you back Marty - this guy is a pleasure  - Big man, Bigger Heart

Jeter's Dad plays pickup and is interviewed .. twice

The insider would like to congratulate future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter on reaching hit # 3,000 in grand style a few weeks ago with a homer to go along with a 5 for 5 day. Everyone knows that Derek is very close with his father Charles Jeter
 who is a Ph.D and substance abuse counselor. But what most people don't know is that Charles plays pickup in central park with "Los Locos".
SBI lead interviewer Mean Jimmy spoke to Charles both before

and after his 3,000 hit

It's a small world

Rare Moment : SB Weekend Bernie Awakens

A few weeks ago I introduced many of you to Softball version of Weekend at Bernie's Recently the insider's #1 softball interviewer Mean Gene Jimmy got a rare "awake" interview with Marc "Weekend at Bernie's" Rosenthal and caught up with him. - enjoy
Can't make this up

SBI very own version of Mean Gene speaks with Angry Jack

Pro Wrestling has "Mean Gene" Okerlund

to interview the wild and zany entertainers of Pro Wrestling

So I figured I needed my own softball version of Mean Gene to interview all the unique softball personalities out there so with his consent I've made Central Park legend Jimmy Bitros  

my number one interviewer. Today Mean Jimmy interviews with Angry Jack


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Greater Good endangered by the Veil of Democracy

On the way to softball games, I've observed a lot of war training going on below 96th street

which is ironic b/c a True B96 war is currently taken place in our country right now as the US Debt-Ceiling fight has reached DEFCON 1 status.

Now I know this is a softball blog and politics might bore you, but let's take a quick peek at this story as I think it is similar to political self-interest issues that damage the greater good that many softball leagues go through and more importantly, just cuz' you’re in the softball community doesn't mean you can't grow.

The issue facing the US is simple: Our country doesn't have enough money to pay its bills. The US has about 172 billion coming in, but owes like 304 billion - Yikes!!!!!!!!!! If Washington lacks the money to pay its bills, interest rates could skyrocket and the value of the dollar could decline, and important things like
·       Social Security
·       Medicare/Medicaid
·       Unemployment Pay
·       Interest Due
·       Military Pay
·       Veterans Checks
·       Food Stamps
·       IRS refunds    

won’t all get paid.   

Tense negotiations between top Democrats and Republicans, reflecting core ideological principles on taxes and the size of government, have become a race against the clock. Administration officials have warned that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 could trigger a partial default with global economic repercussions. Default is unacceptable.

To avoid default there have been some ugly/tense negotiations going on between President Obama and the congressional Republicans to raise the federal debt ceiling. Obama has indicated a preference for a "grand bargain" that would save up to $4 trillion over the next decade through a combination of spending cuts, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and reforming politically popular programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.  At the heart of Obama's call for more tax revenue would be allowing tax cuts from the Bush presidency to expire at the end of 2012 for families making more than $250,000. His plan would keep the lower tax rates for Americans who earn less. In other words, he is still cleaning up Bush's mess. 

Obama is not looking to raise any taxes until 2013 or later. He claimed he has "bent over backward to work with the Republicans" and not force them to vote on any revenue hikes in the short term -- a politically toxic move for the GOP's conservative base.  Obama expressed frustration with the unwillingness of congressional Republicans to compromise and called on them to stop posturing and catering to their interest (conservative Tea Party). The president has gone on television to declare himself willing to consider some startling moves: alterations to Social Security cost-of-living formulas, raising the age at which retirees qualify for Medicare, and large dollar figures for deficit reduction over the next decade.

Republicans aren't having any of that as resistance to higher taxes is now a bedrock principle for them. They have shown no sign of accepting higher taxes on the rich as part of a so-called "balanced" approach to debt reduction. They consider tax hikes detrimental to the economic recovery, blasted the president for failing to produce what they consider to be a legitimate spending cut plan, and adamantly argued that increasing the burden on "job creators" now would derail what has already proven to be, at best, a shaky economic recovery. 

Republicans have refused any concessions of their own, instead demanding that the president yield totally to their way of thinking which is “any change in current tax rules must be offset by an equal or greater cut in some other tax”. They have not yet agreed to alter even the silliest parts of the tax code in ways that raised more revenue. The only deal they would contemplate is one that was 100% spending cuts, 0% tax increases -- that is, all their own way, which is total unconditional surrender by the president. That ain't happening

The Republican plan is a political trap. They propose three short-term increases in the amount the government can borrow while at the same time registering the disapproval of Congress for such a move. The president would be required to identify spending cuts equivalent to each debt ceiling increase, though there would be no guarantee Congress would adopt the proposed cuts. Translation  they are throwing the country a band aide and keeping a bullet in their political chamber to use against Obama and further their political interests.

This is all political bullshit. It's time to put aside hard-line partisan positions in order to reach a deal. It’s time to set politics aside and at least avert financial Armageddon. If not it’s not only the GOP who is the loser, it's the whole country. Pull together, not apart

While softball is nowhere near as important as raising the debt ceiling, many leagues have similar sneaky power tripping self-interest members/groups/teams where political trap agendas are disguised & hidden behind the veil of democracy and ruin the competitive nature and credibility of a league.

It’s time for these types of leagues to pull together, not apart – you know who you are.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dogs Chasing Cars and Morty's Game go Ivy League

Previously featured in classic insider blogs, Los Locos and Morty's Game  have now gone up a level to the Ivy League as Columbia student Jessica
went live on location this past Sunday to film the Central Park Experience.

Don't know how she wandered into Hecksher field #2

but I think she got what she was looking for and more - A true NY Central Park experience -To The fullest . Good luck Jessica - and let us know how everything turned out - welcome to NY softball lore - you will never be the same again

Resounding A96 Success

As previewed last week, the 7th Annual Robert Trillo Charity Softball tournament went down this past weekend and it was a RESOUNDING SUCCESS
on some many levels:
Level # 1 Financially we raised over $$$$4,000!!!!!!! for Cardinal Spellman High School athletic program in the name of our late friend Robert Trillo -  A deep hearted thank you to all who donated. Thank you

Level #2 Most importantly, the Turnout was amazing. It was very large fun crowd of enthusiastic fans and players who made this event special. 
(special thanks to Inwood original Richie Gonzalez left who came from Florida for the event)

Level #3 Fun -The games were so much stress free softball fun. The players gave it their all on the field to show everyone they still got it

even though they (and the announcer) may have been a bit impaired (sideways video proves that - ughhhh)

Great Time

as we had four teams that played all day

Level #4 Great Food and Beverages were Awesome  - Top Notch

Level #5 Prizes were given out with little Sammy (batting below)

winning a large screen TV. Holler!!!!!!!!  I had to point that out to prove to all you B96 people that even though A96 people may wear wife beaters

but our raffles are legit!!!!!!!

Level #6 My Team - I arrived a little late to the game b/c  my "ace pitcher" Guby and I went to the Dominican barber shop

to look presentable, but luckily the rest of my team was ready for action when I arrived

and they made me so proud and happy with their excellent off and on the field support.

Thank You Everyone - Next year the event will even be better