The Bronx Emperors take the 2009 NYESL Title!

  It was one of the hottest Sundays of the year and it might as well have been the middle of winter because nothing was going to stop the Bronx Emperors from capturing this years NYESL Title. The Bronx Emperors as they did 25 years ago won the 2009 NYESL Championship. This was the 25th Anniversary of the New York Emperors Stickball League and it was a team goal to repeat history in both the Memorial Stickball Classic and in the 2009 playoffs. Although the goal was accomplished it was no easy task. They had a formidable foe in Leland Legends who this year led the 2009 NYESL in most categories most notably Wins (19), Runs Scored (145) and Fewest Runs allowed (54). The stage was set and the battle lines were drawn with many in attendance torn between both teams as many of these same Leland players wearing orange had once don the Red & Black. We had the Leland contingency in foul territory down the 1st base line serenading the Bronx Emperors players as they batted while the Bronx Emperors followers (Bklyns own Al Sr.) set up shop directly behind home plate and jeered, mocked and taunted the #1 team in 09 regular season.

            The game started around noon and from the start the sun became a factor as the Bronx Emperors came out swinging and put the ball where Leland couldn’t see it, in the air. The Bronx Emperors over the past 2 years have shown the ability to adjust and once they saw the vaunted #1 defense having trouble seeing the ball they strayed from their line drive hitting and put the ball in the air. The best 3rd baseman in the game Caban set the tone with a 2 Run Homer bringing in Co Capt Vido who lead off the game with a seed. Al Jr. then rocketed a double and Co Capt Tito laced a double to give the Emperors a 3-0 lead to start the game. Lelands defense was baffled but they felt confident enough in their offense. The same sun that shined above them was now in play for the Emperors defense and Leland Captain Eddie F led the inning off with a line drive single. Leland scored 1 run in that inning but left 2 men on base and later that would prove to be costly as throughout the game the Emperors defense made the plays needed including a bases loaded 1 out jam. The Emperors then added runs in the 4th and 7th innings and would take game 1 by the score of 5-1.

Game 2 Leland came out gates as if shot out a canon. Eddie F again as he did the whole serires lead off the game with a seed followed by Boobie and Dave. The Emperors came to bat down 2-0. For 5 innings the score stood the same until Eddie F hit what his team felt was the nail in the coffin but in true Emperor fashion as they have done many times in 09 they came back in the bottom of the 7th down 3 runs. They stormed back as Ant Live,Tito,Eric and Chungo got clutch hits to give their team a chance and had the tying run on 1st base with Co Capt Vido at the plate. Vido hit a line drive into the tree that gave all in attendance rooting for a sweep hope that a walkoff was in the making as anythining in the air all day was being lost in the sun but to no avail Mid outfielder Edwin saw it all the way and made the catch to seal the 3-2 Leland win. After a brief break both teams were as ready as any team would ever be.

Game 3 NYESL CHAMPIONSHIPS  equivalent to Game 7. Winner claims Braggin Rights as the best Stickball Team in 2009. I have been here before actually 15 times. Out of those 15 times my team was second best 8 times. I remember each and everyone of those loses and they are not glowing memories. But on this day my team would persevere. The Bronx Emperors battled thru the heat and the pressures of 2nd place. To a man all year long we carried each other and played for one another. We played the best offensive team in Stickball in a winner take all. A team in Leland that was playing for more than just Braggin Rights. A team that avg 6 runs a game and yielded less than 1.5 runs a game. A team that a week earlier swept the mighty Gold. This is what my team needed to overcome and just like we did in the Memorial Tournament and the Columbus Tournament prior we did. Game 3 was ours and each one of our players knew it. It’s no disrespect to Leland Legends but the Bronx Emperors have been battled tested and we have stood side by side for 3 years now. We have a belief in one another that was built thru the character of the players. My players on this championship team have all sacrificed something for this team and all of us were rewarded for our unselfishness. We took the field with the sun now nestled in the clouds. History is within our grasp and the best defense in my eyes in the game shut down Leland Legends. We scrapped for a run in the 2nd inning as Al Jr. Tournament Co MVP ripped one of his filthiest hits in these playoffs and he had a few of them he advanced to 2nd on Tyrones rope. 2nd baseman Ant Live did what nobody else does better, he gave us what we needed. He hit a deep fly ball that allowed Vido Creales to tag from 2nd base. The best defense in the game then held on to the 1-0 lead until  Co MVP Vido Creales whose play epitomized our teams desire for this chip. He came to bat in the 6th inning and hit a ball that ricochet off Lelands 2nd baseman Mick and headed toward home plate. Vido taking nothing for granted continued to 2nd base and hustled his way toward third and while all this was taking place the Leland defense unraveled and failed to retrieve the ball but Vido did not quit just like the team he plays for did not quit. He continued running in the 6th inning of the 3rd game in the 20th inning of stickball that day after running all year and all these playoffs for our team and made one of the greatest hustle plays I’ve ever seen in the playoffs with his team cheering every step of the way. Running harder than any of us could. No one would have blamed him for stopping at 2nd base, but the moment was to big and he cemented the victory with his infield Home Run and put his team in the history books. The Bronx Emperors became Champions again. Congratulations to the 2009 25th Anniversary NYESL Champions!!
Way to go- Arnie,Choo,Joey,Gil,Al.Jr(Co-MVP),Jay,Caban,Ant-Live,Tye,Chungo,Eric and Co MVP Vido*.. Thank You Tito

2009 NYESL Champs