The Stickball Tribune Part 8: The GOLD

Gold represents many things to us.  It can mean something rare, something expensive, beautiful, and unattainable or many cases something meaningful.  The stickball team THE GOLD represents many things to the NYESL as well.  A winning culture; they are the most successful team in stickball history.  They are commonly called The Yankees of stickball for a reason.  No team in the history of the sport has more championships then The Gold, its actually not even close.  Just when you think someone else has a shot and they won’t win it, think again.  They have created a standard for themselves.  Win or bust.  There are no moral victories with this team.  It’s championship or failure.  It’s become a clear expectation.  The Gold just like any other team on the BLVD. has had its share of player changes throughout the years but not matter what they still find a way to be the team to beat.  Every team has its story and The Gold it’s no different.
Just like many other teams and players, I grew up watching The Gold.  In fact I watched them as much as I could to learn what I can.  I remember playing as a kid trying to learn this game alongside others on the BLVD.  The Gold is the best team out there; why not try to emulate them.  Player’s like Albie Santiago (who I consider the best player I’ve ever played against) actually took the time out to teach me how to hit at the plate.  After playing against him for years I knew why that was a wise decision to do so (kills us every time).  Even an older veteran like Ralph Martinez who was smart enough to spray the field with his hits took the time to teach me to go opposite as well (Thank you sir).  Outside of the actual field itself I grew up seeing these guys everywhere.  From their hangouts in my Dad’s basement to family parties on Holiday occasions, I was just always around these guys.  Times have definitely changed.  One thing you have to respect about The Gold no matter what is the fact that they do what it takes to win.  Every. Single. Time.  That may be the reason why many players/teams clash with them.  No one can understand their mindset but those who play for them.  Simply because no one else has achieved the success they have.
2014 was a different year from The Gold.  Albie now lives in Florida, Ed Betances(One of the greats) is unfortunately not playing at the moment due to injury (Get stronger soon!).  One can notice that they just weren’t the same squad.  But that did not change a thing.  While most other teams are hoping for the chance to at least win ONE championship, The Gold in 2014 raked in 2 out 4 championships to add to their resume.  2! It’s amazing what these guys have been able to do.  And with the talent they have, none of us in the NYESL should think they won’t be in the running once again.  They are bringing back some of the most talented players on the BLVD.  “We have a lot to work on this year but we’ll definitely bring it together,” says Josh 
Infante.  The Gold is bringing back almost everyone such as Dusty who is one of the best players to ever play this game, Steve Gold who is one of the best short stops to ever play the game, Josh who has come into his own and is their most recent MVP coming after the CDT win.  Watts, Angel Sr., Carlito (one of the most feared hitters in the league), Alex, Chuchie, Pito, Pete all return as well.
The Gold also had some additions this year.  Some us may remember him but Tim Hunter (formerly of the ravens) is returning to the BLVD. this year.  Good hitter with good hands as well.  Warfield is also joining The Gold this year.
The Gold is also losing a leader this year.  Ralph Martinez is now living in Florida with his wife and made the big decision to go south.  I’m sure he will be back for the MDT but he will definitely be missed by the Gold on the sidelines.  Good luck in FL!
Rich has been leading The Gold to championships for years and he will continue to do so as he will be returning to lead this team once again.  Very few people have been around for as long as Rich has and he continues to field great teams throughout the years.  “We are on a mission, just because we win a lot doesn’t mean we aren’t hungry” Rich has said this to me at a meeting and it’s no wonder why they continue to win.
“Stickball, not just a game, but a tradition”
The Stickball Tribune Part 8