Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31st Proves Legends Never Die

Today is December 31st and I want to wish a Happy New Year to you all. Next year has now become this year and it is a time to look forward to the adventure that lies ahead. 

However, I would be remiss to note that December 31st, 2012 marks the sad day exactly 40 years ago that the baseball world lost one of its greatest stars.  Following a massive earthquake that devastated the country of Nicaragua, Roberto Clemente helped organize a relief effort for victims of the disaster and accompanied one of the aid packages on its flight on New Year's Eve 1972 to ensure that the goods reached the proper hands.  Tragically, Clemente's flight crashed off the shore of Puerto Rico, costing the Pirates superstar his life at the age of 38.  Clemente was posthumously honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal and a Congressional Gold Medal by then-president Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress, and given immediate entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the BBWAA waived its usual five-year waiting period.

I highly recommend the following video narrated by the great Bob Costas on MLB network that captures his essence as a player, man, and hero

in every mass email I send out I write "it's more than just a game".. Clemente proved that.

Legends Never Die

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Season Review : 5 of 10 ... Rangers ... it comes in 3's #1

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the fifth of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations 

Season Review : Rangers

Record: 20-12
Final Standing: Lost in Semi-Finals
Insider Analysis : Fuck! Fuck!! Fuck!!!!

The old superstition "It Comes in 3's" is based on the idea that when two unlucky events occur within a short period, a third will happen soon. This is doubly true with the Rangers as :
  1. For the 3rd consecutive years the team lost in the Semi-finals one game away from the finals. 3 - fuck, fuck, fuck
  2. This would be a series of three straight days of elimination for me in September 2012.
I'm so hurt and disgusted I can't even further analyze.

Season Highlight:
From a team standpoint : A well played mid season sweep of perennial league powerhouse and 2012 runner up Radio Free, without Armando, was a very nice accomplishment.

The team was full of many good guys and two individual players performances clearly stand out :
 (1)  Brilliant non modified pitcher Armando who almost single handling won numerous games
 and promising young Oliver
who delivered mightily in numerous post season games.

What Next : Honestly, I don't know as after another bitter defeat, the team is fractured yet their is still a core. Let's see

Season Review : 4 of 10 - Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the fourth of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations 

Team Review :  West NY
Record: 16-4
Final Standing : Champion
Insider Analysis: Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde

Doctor Jekyll - I pretty much really liked everyone on this colorful Jersey City team 

as we won, had talent and few holes, and partied a lot

Mister Hyde - numerous reasons that the team was schizophrenic and not shangri la
1.    Once our guys were there they were no problem, but getting guys to show up was hell between travel, late game times, and face it the league was in Jersey. (over half the team was from NY). It was a logistical nightmare. We actually played several games with only 9 guys and some with only 8.  We need a new manger next year or we will fold. I can't do this again.
2.    We lost all 4 games by one run and nearly were eliminated in the semi-finals.
3.    Weather - we had over 10 rain outs and/or cancellations. The most painful was a Game 3 semi-final game on a make-up Friday night that was cancelled after one inning because of a freak thunderstorm. One inning so frustrating.
4.    I ran the league and at times I was subject to a conflict of interests.
5.    I was also the manager and had to make unpopular decisions that for the most part worked out. Props to Jimmy Meyers as a special softball consultant.

Season Highlights: 
1.    Ironically one of my proudest moments was a game we lost 5-4. We played a top team with only 8 players and actually had a 4-2 lead in the 7th before we were defeated. 
2.    We played three games on 2 consecutive nights in the middle of a blazing hot July and won them all. The final two was a double header with only 9 guys and in each game came back from early deficits to rally. Ironically, being short guys was a gift and curse
3.    Honorable Mention to Jimmy Meyers and Dino for Championship MVP honors on both sides of the ball and of course to the team cooler

Season Review : 3 of 10 .. 1-800-Candela

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the third of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations  .

Season review : 1-800-Candela ("Fire")

Record: 25-6
Standings : Champion
Insider Analysis : B96 

This league and team was in the Bronx on Saturdays and it was B
to the fullest

which was very cool.

Honestly I was only on the team because of Gil. The team was essentially a very good and deep neighborhood squad full of players who have played together for years. We had pitching, solid hitting, depth, and desire. I was an outsider and cracking the lineup was not going to be easy, but I was confident my time would come. My time did come, time and time again, but regardless of consistently very good performances questionable management

remained loyal to the struggling status quo. Many times to a costly fault.Whatever, not my team to run, not my neighborhood, and I was smart enough to stay quiet and be patient. On the surface it appeared they didn't need me but they did as my patience was rewarded with many memorable moments that earned me softball street credibility among my teammates.

Season Highlight: The championship was a best of five series in which we convincingly swept games 1 and 2. However, on the following Saturday we returned needing to win only one game and the entire team played to avoid the embarrassment of losing three straight rather with the grit needed to seal the series. In games three and four we just could not hit water if we fell out of a boat. Series tied 2-2. Horrible.

In game 5 we lightened the mood a bit as we switched from our blue jerseys 
to our red
for good luck. It was crunch time now and I was shocked that I was benched. Huh? I didn't deserve it but Gil explained to me that I would be brought in to play first base in the middle of the game. 1st base? For this team I had played outfield and catcher all year and this would be my first game at 1st base all year. I knew I had a lot of experience at the position, but others did not and asked me if I was comfortable with it. My response was simply "I got this".

Ironically early in the week I thought to myself I haven't made a big play defensively in a while. Well now was my chance. I immediately had numerous chances, some very difficult, and did very well. The most excited play was a diving stab in the top of the 7th against an excellent hitter which I snared and then fed the pitcher. Gil,  covering the bag for the 1st out. I will always remember the sound of the entire park after the play - both the cheers of my teams and fans, and the silence of my opponent. Felt good. The last out also required a diving stretch of an errant throw to cap the championship. People who had doubted me were now calling me the man.  Vindication and a truly powerful experience as I was so proud of myself for sticking things out.

2 Honorable mention Side Notes:

  1. The season got off to a very good start as we won by turning a game ending triple play on a base hit in the very 1st game of the season.
  2. I lost some very cool hick videos that I took after the championship that really captured the moment and went crazy looking for the while trying to write this piece. Hopefully those lost videos will tun up. Oh well, at least it wasn't a lost season.

Season Review : 2 of 11 - Business as Usual

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the second of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations 

                            Season Review : Charter Fabric
Record: Irrelevant - All I know is we lost only 1 game
Final Standings: Champion - again
Insider AnalysisYawn. 

We won the Championship for the 11th time in 12 seasons. Don't get me wrong I know I don't take winning for granted as when you've been on top for so long you know everyone on the other side of the field is highly motivated to beat you, but the reality is that the Charter Fabric league is rarely blog worthy. Great field and venue but we have deep pockets, dominant power pitching, dynamic young play makers
 highly skilled experienced players

and most other teams just don't. When you factor in these huge competitive advantages generally the competition attracted to this league

 is overwhelmed.

Season Highlight : In a rare competitive moment my boy Chucky collided with me in the outfield 
causing an NFL style hit and in the very same game  he hit a game winning 7th inning grand slam to erase a three run deficit. But memorable moments like these are generally rare on Wednesday nights at 54th street.

Business as Usual

Season Review : 1 of 11 - More than Winning Feels Good

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the first of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations 

Season Review : Dead Rabbits
Record : 6-10
Final Standings : Last

Insider Analysis: Fuck....Fuck ....Fuck 

I won 5 Championships in 2012, ironically the same number that I usually wear in softball 

yet I start my team season review blog series with a team that found a way to finish last. Why? Because I've always felt losing hurts more than winning feels good and this team proves it. We didn't suck. We went into the season with high hopes as we were good or at least we thought we were going to be good. We had pitching, youth, experience, commitment, and desire. Yet we missed the playoffs and it hurt bad as we all put our heart, blood, sweat, and tears into this shit. We cared.

What went wrong? There is a long list that I will not get into because the bottom line is that it is all excuses. I hate excuses especially finger pointing weak and lame ones. There will be external moves to address weaknesses, but the most important move is for every returning player, starting with me, to look into the softball mirror and decide if they are happy with their reflection.  Look for solutions from within, take responsibility, and play better going forward. 

I've been a part of winning championship teams in the morning league before and now I have missed the playoffs two years in a row with two different teams in the very same league. It hurts. Coming back will not be easy as the road to redemption rarely is. 2013 Rabbit Season can't get here soon enough.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Comeback.. No where else to go

Adam Levine "My Life"

"My life, my life
Makes me wanna run away
There's no place to go, no place to go
All the confusion
It's an illusion like a movie
Got nowhere to go
Nowhere to run and hide
No matter how hard I try"

The most obvious form of a Comeback in softball is rallying from a large deficit, but it does emerge in other forms like :
  • Coming Back from a bad season or prior performance
  • Coming Back from a benching to be the Man
  • Coming Back from an embarrassing moment or an error
  • Coming Back after a bad call
  • Coming Back from an injury
  • Coming Back a few games down in a playoff series
  • Coming Back to haunt your old team

You get the idea as Comebacks are thrilling, inspiring, and most importantly character revealing. They say America loves a Comeback. I know I do, both inside and especially outside of sports.Whether it be in music (props to 50 cent), 

politics, finance, career, personal, etc. Ironically, before you comeback you have to fail, face adversity, or at least get lost somewhere along way. This sucks as no one wants to fail at something or worse yet, lose a piece of oneself . That's why Comebacks are meaningful because they require the courage to change and to ask deep questions like "what's really important to me"?  "Is it worth the effort?" that only can be answered by one's very one conscience.

From an emotional standpoint the number one thing that fuels a comeback is Desire. You have to want to comeback, you have to want to sacrifice, you have to want to fight. It's not easy, but if it were easy then anyone could do it and that's why comebacks are special because not everyone can do it. 

Right now I want to come back ... to the blog that is it is a very important part of my life and there is no place to go.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November Rain

It was a cold damp dreary day here in NYC and on days like today I'm reminded of the Guns and Roses classic "November Rain" 
as "Nothing lasts forever and we both know hearts can change, it's hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain"

As much as we would like it to go on forever, the on field action for 2012 will soon be over as the the last few remaining leagues are finishing things up. Yeah you read that right some leagues are still playing. While many of you have put away your gear until spring many brave souls 

are still playing at this time of year.

Your probably thinking its late November why is anyone playing? Let's explore

Top Ten Reasons People are Still Playing Softball at this time of year

10. Hurricane Sandy

All fall leagues got pushed back 

People would rather play outside in November than watch that pathetic team.

8. Softball Developmental Fall LeagueMLB sends prospects to play fall ball in Arizona to hone their skills. Softball sends them to Inwood

7. They are just stupid. Get  a load of the weirdo wearing #5 with only a t-shirt on in under 40 degree weather- Kuku

6. Recession - Leagues and Umpires sucking every last dollar out of players before the Christmas

5. Nothing Better to Do

4. Like a bad relationship they just can't let go - Denial

3. Daylight Savings - "So never mind the darkness we still can find a way Nothin' lasts forever even cold November rain"

2. Exercise - Trying to work off the couple of pounds gained over the Holidays

and the Number one Reason people are playing softball at this time of the year

1. Love - the heart wants what the heart wants

OK OK I know 'nothin' lasts forever Even cold November rain ' .. the games will return

Friday, November 23, 2012

Anniversary Marks Jet Math How 31 Divided by 25 Equals 44...Perpetual Pain

Flashback:  November 22nd, 1981 - 31 years ago exactly yesterday. 

On that day a little fat Spanish kid who had barely picked up a football in his life (and knew even less), had family in Miami (built in Dolphin hate), watched a team in green play in Shea Stadium vs. the Miami Dolphins. 

Both teams were 7-4-1 at the time. and it was a good game. The Dolphins lead 15-9 in the fourth quarter when a pass to Jerome Barkum
from Richard gave the Jets a one-point lead, and moved them into 1st place. I thought to myself, wow these guys are good.

That's the day my 25 to Life 

Jet Fan prison sentence began

Flash Forward: November 22nd, 2012

Patriots 49 Jets 19 - Pathetic. Just fucking Pathetic.

The team is just a joke, a bad joke.

A 4-5 year cycle of Perpetual Jet Pain continues

  • Phase 1 - Hope - New regime
  • Phase 2 - Excitement - New players
  • Phase 3 - Heartbreak - Steeler Loss
  • Phase 4 - Anger
  • Phase 5 - Clean house
We have entered phase 5 and I am a true fan, but this not even Pro football anymore. 

Clean House

  • Mr T (GM) out - get a football man to run the team, not a capologist (numbers guy)
  • Fat Boy Out - he's embarrassing
  • Sanchez Out - getting worse, not better
  • Teebow out - nice guy bum should never even have been brought here
  • Holmes Out - asshole
  • Cromarte Out - thug has gotta go
  • Scott Out - older player at end of career
Except for returning Revis Start over - again

It's now been 44 years since the Jets have won the Super Bowl.

44 years and counting, I'm a good fan but it hurts and I am sick of it

Thursday, November 22, 2012


The NFL was the George Halas, Lamar Hunt, and Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The NHL has the Stanley Cup 

 Now Citysoftball will have the Castillo Award.

Named after CitySoftball Hall of Famer and Legend Johnny Castillo (left below).

We used to have a championship belt

 but it kept getting lost. This year we have had a demand for a Championship Trophy from the Afternoon league so we have decided to name the award after our friend who moved away several years ago and Inwood hasn't been the same since.

This week The Aguillas and Parrilla will now vie for the coveted award.

Deal with it 

P.S. The naming of this award occurs today November 22nd, Castillo’s B-Day.

Congrats #5

Saturday, November 10, 2012

CitySoftball Responds to the King via Press Conference

In riveting and legendary press conferences
 Mayor (not King) Bloomberg did an amazing job of informing and updating the city of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. One of his decisions that was not as popular was the closing of many NYC Parks the following weekend, even in non impacted areas like Inwood Hill Park. Many Inwood players were unhappy and one bravely came forward to file this commentary (his face is hidden by a hockey style catcher's mask to protect his identity)

In response to this controversy CitySoftball held the following press conference
(Please note due to Extremely High Permit Costs our budget could not afford a cameraman, lead speaker, and sign language interpreter so we had to make do as follows)

Bottom Line: The aftermath effects of Hurricane Sandy remain an ongoing tragedy, but closing the park last week was wrong. It was safe. Sorry but King Bloomberg 

you didn't need to flex on this one. Bad call.

Sb 8 Mile Friendly Reminder

Remember everyone that even though though the weather has been absurd
 the season is not over. I remind myself that everyday on my bus ride to work. I used to hate the bus, but now I look forward to it as an opportunity to jot down my ideas

and organize my observations, experiences, and thoughts. Kind of like that really bad movie 8 Mile (phat song but horrible flick (only good when Em' raps)) and I've been known to walk the Softball 8 Mile before 


and I am doing it again everyday to both work 
and games

On the Softball 8 Mile I've listed down the following posts coming to an Inbox near you soon:
  • SB Press Conference
  • 1 Inning
  • Managers vs Player - Winning
  • Empty Field
  • It Comes in 3's
  • When an email mattered "LT"
  • Game Ball
  • Ronda Beane
  • Hangover
  • Live by the Sling Die by the Sling
  • Kenepa
  • Season review - All Ronda's teams
Time to get off the bus and get to these pipeline topics are a friendly reminders out there to my beloved readers, as well as all you anonymous comment leaving folks out there, that I come in peace, and hope to cure the softball amnesia caused by my recent absence. Time to get off the bus and make my writings come to life