THE STICKBALL TRIBUNE
2016: The BronxEmperors
The Bronx Emperors have always been a force to be reckonedwith and 2015 was no different. The teamthat the league is named after always finds a way to find success. Just when you think they are down for thecount, they find a way to get it done, pick up marquee players and piss a fewpeople off along the way.
The history of the Bronx Emperors is quite a story. From being a family team created to generatesome youth into stickball to a dominant team that will do whatever it takes towin (literally anything, lol). This teamhas been HOT for years! Last year alone, they had one of the most dominantyears EVER. The Gold was the only teamto have a better year (22-1-1 in 2010)than the Emps did in 2015 after finishing with a record of 20-2-2. Not only did they have a great regularseason, but the Emperors finished wining 2 out of the 4 major championshipslast year and could have actually won 3 out of the four if it weren’t for somequestionable blunders in Tampa.
With a dominant team come dominant players. When you take a look at last year’sstatistics for the Emperors top 2 players, it is just straight eyepopping. They have the top 2 MVPcandidates in the same lineup with each other exceeding what was asked of themto do in their roles for this offense. Anthony Caban probably put together the best season EVER at theplate. With a stat line of a .524batting average, 6 HR’s, 35 RBI’s (that’s almost 1.5 RBI’s per game!) and 26extra base hits, Caban put together a complete year that I don’t think we willever see again. Vido also had anincredible year. When a team decides ona lead off hitter you want someone who has the best chance of getting on base tostart the game. And no one in the leaguewas better at getting on than Vido. Witha batting average of .581, its hard to believe he hardly ever made an out lastyear.
Those guys weren’t the only ones who did what they had to dofor this team to be successful least year. One of my favorite guys on the BLVD Ant LIVE put together a great seasonwith a .450 batting average. A veteranon this team who doesn’t normally get the credit he deserves. Defensively they were dominant as well. No one was better than the Emps as they onlyallowed 38 runs all season. To beat themlast year you had to play a complete game. I would know as we lost to them 3 times out of 4 (we lost 4 games allseason). Their defense is definitelydriven by the play of their outfield. Ricky Torres has definitely come into his own in the outfield over theyears and has proven he’s one of the best OF’s in the game. With him out there is veteran Mike Carrionwho has made his share of amazing plays. As one of the quietest guys on the team, Mike plays harder than mostguys on the BLVD and is also good for a few head first slides here andthere.
The Emperors will be returning their entire team in2016. No new additions. Why would they need any? After the seasonthey had in 2015 there’s no reason to break that chemistry. Returning to the team in addition to thosealready mentioned will be Eric, the oppo threat Chungo, Line drive hittingTyrone, captain Tito and Victor.
“Our goal is to match last year” says Vido. “We want to play defense and offense the sameway to come out on top again”. TheEmperors won 2 chips last year but Vido feels like they definitely could havewon all 4 and it has made their team even more hungry to try to obtain thatgoal this year. “We will build uponthose losses and have learned a few lessons along the way. There’s always something to learn from lossesand we had two major disappointments” says Vido. For a team that is looking to better anamazing 2015 will be difficult but this team sounds like they are poised to doso.
Hate them or love them, to be considered the best in theBLVD you have to beat them first. Willthe Emperors continue their dominance? We will find out in 2016.
–Kevin – Royals – #23