With an off week this week due to the Mother’s Day Holiday, I had an opportunity to catch up with Vido Creales, the league’s Chairman. Vido is also currently in charge of overseeing the league’s finances.
Q. About how many years have you been playing stickball?
A. I’ve been playing Stickball for 19 years.
Q. What is your favorite thing about stickball?
A. One of my favorite things about Stickball is every Labor Day Tournament. I look forward every year to travelling with my family to other parts of the country to play Stickball with old friends.
Q. I know you have been a part of The Board for some time now, exactly how many years has it been?
A. I’ve been on the board of the NYESL since 2001. I was part of a group of individuals that were able to help bring the league back on its feet after our former President, Steve Mercado, passed away on 9/11.
Q. What made you get involved with the running of the league?
A. This is my way of giving back to a sport that has provided me with great memories and friends. I consider Stickball as a social support group that I can turn to when needed. Stickball is about family and doing good things for yourself and others and that’s what I’m doing by giving my time, energy and effort to this cause.
Q. What separates the NYESL from all the other leagues?
A. The thing that mostly separates this league from all others is the foundation on which it was built. The founding fathers Frank Sanchez and Frank Calderon had a vision and they carried this through. It is our responsibility to continue the tradition and keep Stickball alive on Stickball Blvd and others parts of the country.
Q. There have been several changes to the league this year as mentioned earlier by Bombi. What has been successful?
A. We made a few changes this year that still need time to work themselves out. For example, the home run rule has added a new dimension to how games are played on Calderon Field (1). The same can also be said about the Sanchez Field (2), while on the Mercado Field (3) this is an non-issue. Another major change has been the taking over the responsibility of selling the food on Stickball Blvd. So far things have gone as expected, but the league needs the support of the players to make this work.
Q. Now that three weeks have been played, how is the new Home Run rule working out?
A. We believe it to be a good change. Our first priority is safety and we’ll do what it takes to ensure that we have a safe atmosphere when playing Stickball. As with any change it takes time to get used to, but so far things are working out great.
Q. I believe we have only had one really good day of weather this season, temperature wise anyway, do you think the HR’s will increase as the weather gets better?
A. HRs will increase on windy days because of the weight of the ball, but on windy days last year you would also see an increase in the number of homeruns.
Q. How is the Memorial Day Tournament looking so far? I read on Facebook that the Heat won’t be attending this year, how many teams are expected to participate?
A. The Memorial Day preparations are ongoing, but things are going smooth so far. The board is working hard to make sure this is a successful tournament as it has been in the past. We have about 15 teams committed to playing this year, so we’re looking forward to seeing our extended family once again in the Bronx.
Q. Do you think the league will ever get away from the pumped ball?
A. Pumped balls have become an integral part of how Stickball is played in the New York Emperors Stickball League, so I do not foresee our league going back to non-pumped balls.