The Stickball Tribune Part 7: The Emperors

It’s called the New York Emperors Stickball League for a reason.  The Emperors were the first team on Stickball BLVD. and a lot of their members have been called founders, board members, etc…  Even today, The Emperors are led by Vido Creales, who is actually the NYESL League President as well.  I don’t know how he does it with a wife and two kids to be honest.  It’s also safe to say that having the league named after your team comes with serious pressure.  It doesn’t seem to bother the Emperors, as they are one of the most successful teams to ever play the game.  Just like any other team, The Emperors have seen their share of players come and go but seem to always put it together and field not only a competitive team but championship teams. 

I grew up watching the Emperors play.  I specifically remember their games as I watched my brother Eric Santana play with them for a couple seasons.  I used to sit there thinking those guys were great.  I must have watched that MDT championship game 100 times on News 12 (recorded on VHS, no youtube at the time).  I even remember Wayne sliding into home in the rain to win a MDT championship (On News 12 as well, just as a highlight).  As we started The Royals, the Emperors immediately became our rivals.  They will try as hard as they can to get Eric out of the game all the time and it pissed us all off.  We then seriously went off on each other every game.  That was about it though.  There is one thing that they have that we don’t and that’s championships.  They’ve established a winning culture there and 2014 was no different. 

We have seen plenty of changes for the Emperors but the biggest one came when the league learned that The Gun Hill Bombers (Youngbloods, now Ravens) were dismantling with half of their team joining forces with the Emperors.  Led by YB/GH captain Tito Rivera, joined by him were players Eric Rivera, Rich Torres (40 oz.) and Chungo.  Most of the original Emperors have left and went on to new teams but Vido continues to field a great team for the Emps.  Even with these changes things have not slowed down for them.  Joined by them are some great players.  Starting with Anthony Caban (Bango), who is actually one of the most powerful forces at the plate in the league; a true anchor in the Emperor lineup.  We also saw Mike Carrion join the Emperors in the 2013 Columbus Day Tournament (which they ended up winning against The Royals).  This came as a huge surprise to many as Mike is the son of the captain of the Saints, Pete Carrion.  As someone who plays with family, I’m sure that was no easy decision.  He has been huge for the Emps and contributes on a high level.  The Emps have also seen the emergence of Rick Torres (Rich’s son), as he has truly become one of the best outfielders in the league.
The Emperors will have their entire team returning for 2015 in hopes of successfully defending their 2015 NYESL league championship.  They also would like to welcome back longtime friend to Vido, Vic Luciano who will be coming back to stickball after not playing for a few years. 
The Stickball Tribune Part 7

Kevin