Softball is no different as the powerful forces of competition, money, and time make everyone both a hunter and hunted, members of some endangered species trying to forestall their extinction.
One team, Merrill Lynch,
could no longer forestall their extinction. Due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 the actual firm Merrill Lynch no longer exists as they were ("bailed out") purchased by Bank of America. Though they tried to fight it for 2 years, the recession and overall difficulties of keeping a good team together finally claimed the softball team known as Merill Lynch.
Much like the economic ripple of a firm that goes out of business, the loss of Merrill (and long time championship rival Morgan Stanley) from the NY Chapter of the Wall Street league http://www.eteamz.com/wssl/index.cfm? has left a tremendous void. Long known as a team with loyal strong players like Larry "Tony Soprano" (left below),Steve Acosta (right)(had to throw this real Tony Soprano picture in here - love you Larry)
Johnny Castillo (left) and Frank Degnnaro (right)
they played strong ball and built a winning tradition and lasting friendships
These guys were around so long that when Franks' son Joey (left below)
grew up he played on the team from 2007-2009. C'mon how often do you see that? Now don't get me wrong these guys, including me, were all far from saints, but much like the A's/Yankees of the 70s, Mets of the 80s, bad Boy Pistons, or "Americas Team" Dallas Cowboys of the 90s they were the guys you loved to play against, beat, and of course hate.
They are missed.
But the circle of softball life must go on so I've hung up my Merrill jersey
and moved on to my new corporate team, Pershing, who has done an excellent job keeping the NJ Chapter of the Wall Street league alive and kicking thanks to efforts of manager and excellent player Jason Dee (middle below)
I would be remiss in this blog if I didn't note the efforts of former Merrill player/manager William Jomarron (far right - nice hair)
who has served as the leagues commissioners for years. Through these difficult economic times he should be commended on keeping the Wall Street league alive as he has put his heart and soul into the league. When asked about the Merrill Lynch team Willie had the following to say "perennially we were always in the finals and our winning tradition and competitive spirit to succeed far exceeded all other teams except for Morgan - our old nemesis"