Before I introduce the first team, my name is David Hernandez and I currently play for the Silver Bullets. I want to give a shout out to Kevin Santana, from the Royals, for doing the team introductions for the past several years. This idea gives us all something to look forward to leading up to the stickball season. There has always been a lot of talent within the league since the beginning of stickball and this year is no different. Many teams have a new look, whether it’s new players, old players returning, or new team names. The competition is at an all-time high this year. I can honestly say, this year’s NYESL title is up for grabs. The Emperors and The Gold have been at the top of the chain for years but they have a lot of teams going after that spot this year. Each week I will be introducing a new team until all 9 teams are mentioned.
This week is dedicated to the Ravens. If you have not heard of these guys, then you better wake up. This team is filled with amazing talent from veterans, leaders, hall of famers, family and most importantly, the brotherhood that holds it all together and keeps them coming back for more. The Ravens were created in 1998. The team lasted 2 years before it joined the Young Bloods in 2000. After seven years, the Ravens were brought back in 2007 and have been around since. This group of men have stuck together for years and every year, they come back with the same group as the previous. That is what I call loyalty. This team has been through it all.
They are one of the three teams to win a NYESL title within the last 16 years although recent years have been a bit of a struggle. For two straight seasons, 2014 and 2015, the Ravens had a record below .500 on the season and sat at the lower end of the standings. But that all changed last year. In 2016 the Ravens ended the season over .500 and now this season they are ready to aim even higher. Captain Artie Saylor said, “I want to do better than last season and we want the NYESL title. The team’s all-around performance could be improved. We know we can compete with the best at the highest level.”
I can tell you one thing; these fellas are not to be taken lightly and I know from playing with these guys in a Labor Day Tournament in Tampa a couple years ago. There is no surprise that the Ravens will be returning the same group of men from last year with a new addition. The Ravens are happy to have ex Raven, Gil Velez, return after playing with the Saints. He will be a big asset to the development of this team this season. This team can compete with any team around and when they have all their pieces, they can be the best of the best. Question is, will they have all their pieces week in and week out? The Ravens are one of my favorites because at the end of the long Sundays, you can always count on them to be around and have a good time. I think it is safe to say that the Ravens are back and out to make a statement.