As we get close (only a few days away) to the end of our 2013 season, it’s a good time to look back on what has happened throughout the year and what to expect this coming weekend.
The NYESL went through several changes this season. In my opinion, the league saw many improvements. The board saw new members being added, some of which have been around for many seasons and some that have proven that they are in for the long haul. Adding members to the board only makes the league stronger and the league is looking to gain strength and stability.
Along with organization additions, the league took on the handling of the concession stand, which included a full and impressive spread during the Memorial Day Tournament. Bad weather, it felt more like Columbus Day, ruined the MDT turnout and with that so were the sales numbers. The regular season concession was a hit, and the plans are to continue to generate revenue by keeping the concession stand all season long. The board gave back to the players by offering food and refreshments at the end of the season, free of charge. The league also introduced playing music throughout the day by use of a speaker and a variety packed iPod. This made time on the Blvd, entertaining to say the least. The league also introduced scoreboards on every field and although several of us still write our lineups in chalk on the street, the use of the scoreboard was a fabulous idea. Now everyone, players and spectators were able to see how the games were going and did not have to ask around for a best guess as to what inning the game was in or the score.
I briefly touched on Memorial Day before and here I want to mention once again the winner of this year’s Memorial Day Tournament. The Gold won this year’s MDT pretty convincingly too. They beat the Tampa Thunder pretty convincingly to celebrate another championship during their 20th year Anniversary. Congrats again fellas.
The regular season in the NYESL had several storylines. We saw the rise of a team to 2nd place for the first time in their existence. We saw a low seeded team battle like a champion to eliminate a top team. We saw several playoff battles with incredible plays and clutch at bats. We saw a dominant team do it again too. Yes, we saw The Gold take care of business and win another regular season title. They did it against Leland who battled through injuries and personal battles to get to the championship once again. Congrats again to The Gold.
Labor Day in Puerto Rico was yet another great tournament. Although only 8 teams participated, 5 from NY and 3 from Puerto Rico, the hosts definitely made us feel at home. There was good weather, including a few cooling showers, good food and refreshments, souvenirs, medals and trophies for the top three teams. We also some incredible unity as players that joined the Saints for the tournament volunteered to help out their NYESL brothers on Leland during their time of need. Faced with a tragedy, the loss of a young life, Eddie and son had to leave Puerto Rico to be with their family. Already with a thin roster, Leland was going to forfeit out of the tournament. The Saints decided that this would not happen as many stepped up and said they would play with Leland to ensure that they continue in the tourney. That show of brotherhood and love paid off as an inspired Leland team went on to win the 2013 Labor Day Tournament. The Saints were rewarded with a 3rd place finish, which included a trophy and medals. This was definitely one of my proudest moments of the NYESL, to see teams and players unite for each other, especially during the most difficult times makes me feel good about what we are doing here in this league.
And now the Columbus Day Tournament is upon us. This is usually a time of buzzing around the NYESL, as players tend to switch teams during this time. Roster changes are always going to take place, we’ll see which are the most interesting this time around. New teams tend to rise for this tourney along with teams outside of the NYESL. Joining the NYESL for the CDT will be SugarHill and Puerto Rican Pride from the Manhattan league. We welcome them with open arms. This tournament is the last for the NYESL and hopefully will be one of the best as long as the weather holds up and the stickball brotherhood shines throughout the weekend. I want to wish everyone good luck and health this weekend. Oh, and good weather of course!
See you on the Blvd!