Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rare SBI MailBag Response "Is Anybody Out there?"

While I sincerely appreciate, respect, and need my readership, I usually do not respond to Anonymous comments b/c if someone doesn't have the common courtesy (nice way of saying balls) to sign their name to a comment, then they don't deserve to be acknowledged, but today I will make a rare exception. In response to my instant classic softball consumer conscious blog I received the following anonymous comment

"Ricky, your league is great but your pot is too small. good fields,decent umps,OK management. Raise the pot make the trip above 96 street worth the ride. Winning is fun when you win $omething good. peace"

My Response
Thank you for your readership and insight Mr/Mrs "Anonymous". To properly respond, I will borrow the following lines from Eminem's amazing new song 'Is Anyone out there'

Is anybody out there? It feels like I’m talkin to myself No one seems to know my struggle And everything I come from Can anybody hear me? It guess I keep talkin to myself It feels like I’m going insane Am I the one whose crazy?

As my partner (who is on vacation) and I have repeatedly said for years WE DO NOT WANT "the pot is too small" greedy softball mentality in Inwood. If you want to gamble on winning a big pot, then go play in the other leagues I detailed in the attached blog above and deal with horrible costs, fields, 1-1 counts, crooked /incompetent umpires/commissioners, and illegal pitching/rosters.

Inwood is about competition, good softball, fair treatment, honesty, nice fields, fun, and quite frankly not about the money as god knows we make zilch from the league. Zilch. Outside of Gunn sports (which allows illegal pitching), I honestly do not know a big money league in Manhattan that pays big $$$$ (some big money Dominican leagues came up short at pay day time this year, we NEVER come up short or make you wait with our prizes).

Also, some of the best below 96th leagues in NYC like the Big Apple, offer NO Cash prizes yet have wonderful competition. So I guess your "make the trip above 96th street worth the ride" comment is a bit myopic. Softball ignorant is no way to go through life son, so come play at
Thank you for your readership

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This blog is NOT for softball teams/players interested in playing in by far the best, fairest, and most affordable fall softball league in NYC -
Rather I want to inform all the Softball Sucker Marks out there about our competition (if you want to call them that) and let you know about their fall leagues so you can waste you money

So called Competition is as follows
#1 Yorkoff Fall Softball - Their website says "Fall softball will begin play the second week in September. The season fills up VERY FAST so get your registration and $$$$ in ASAP! It's ONLY $970.00 team for the season and you get a whopping "

6 regular season games
officials for the game
permits for the field
playoffs for the top 4 teams
$1,000 cash prize to the Overall League Champion; $500 cash prize to runner-up.
Hurry up Softball Suckers Hurry Up and sign up. What a joke.
P.S These charlatans fired me as an umpire b/c they said I owed them money but sent me an email last week regarding bringing a team to their league. Natural Born liars so be sure to hand them your hard earned money.

#2 EMS Fall League

LEAGUE FEE: $600.00 for playing in a 1-1 count league against stacked teams that cheat on rosters on the worse Fields in the city, 145th and Lenox Ave.

Wow what a deal. Hurry Up Softball Sucker Marks and sign up

#3 Bronx All Stars -

2010 SUNDAY Fall League info is as follows:

League fee is $ 450. 00 Plus $80 Forfeiture Fee (Returnable)
This league plays 1-1 counts, on eh quality fields in Pelham and 259th street and normally has over 40 teams. The accept teams on a first come, first serve basis. What is first come? Teams that come up with the full amount of league fee are considered first.

Let me translate this a bit clearer for the softball sucker target market out there - just pay and your in sucker and you won't get any individual attention or consideration. Worry about everything else later. Just Pay as we don't care if you even know what a glove is. Just Pay.
Funny and Pathetic all at once

In brief, as you can tell I have blatantly challenged the so called stiff softball competition in my blog this year b/c I am not afraid to challenge the establishment. Some of these league copied/stole Inwood fall league market and constantly bad mouth us so now it's time for Inwood to let you know the Truth. You decide where you want to play. Don't be a sucker

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Always Next Year vs. All In

In 2007 with Boston trailing the ALCS three games to one to the Cleveland Indians Manny Ramirez
was heavily criticized when he said
"Pressure? What pressure? We're confident every day. It doesn't matter how things go for you. We're not going to give up. We're just going to go and play the game, like I've said, and move on. If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something. Why should we panic?"
Classic Manny being Manny, as he and his Red Sox team were a loose, experienced, and confident team that would come back to win seven straight post season games and earn another championship.
The "There's always next year" is a cool baseball/softball saying, but unlike Manny (and other MLB players) in softball we don't have guaranteed big money contracts. Softball is more like the NFL and is a year to year sport where player loyalty/happiness is fleeting commodity. So while "there is always next year" a manager/team/player should also keep in mind that it is possible that "Now will Never Come Again" and would be wise to take an
approach to the season and deal with next year, well next year.

Friday, August 20, 2010

90 Feet baby 90 Feet

Last night in the Jersey City Division of the Wall Street League my team Pershing played game two of a playoff series against Equity. Unfortunately, due to a last second rain out on Monday and circumstances beyond their control the league was left scrambling for a field on Thursday (game day) afternoon. Commissioner William Jommarron did a great job of obtaining a field in association with the parks department at the beautiful Roberto ClementeBaseball Sports Complex in Jersey City
Usually Softball players hate playing on baseball fields b/c the dimensions are confusing for positioning outfielders and infielders. Well that problem got magnified for everyone involved when a gentlemen who physically ran the facility informed us upon our arrival that he would not allow us to put the bases down at 60 feet (ASA distance) b/c he did not want to damage the infield grass. The only way he we could play softball was to play the game uses 90 foot bases - Baseball style.
Without argument we wanted to play so we did it Yes you read that right we played softball at 90 feet
Goddamn that shit is far

but definitely fun

as we were moving all over the place trying to get to the bag without needing CPR. The only distance that was regulation was the pitcher's mound were our unsung and reliable ace Santos led us to victory and a finals appearance.

I would like to say thank you to Pershings #1 fan and score keeper

Jennifer for her help with the pictures and videos (certain game video was too large to upload but thank you for your kind effort).

This 90 feet game was weird, but definitely a memorable softball experience.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Remembering Howie Dixon

Remembering Howie Dixon

Sadly Howie passed away last Friday. He was a good man and a central park legend. He was very well liked/loved by most who knew him and that was evident in his time of need when many players, no players is the wrong word, friends is a better choice, unselfishly gave their time, money, and heart to help him when he needed help the most.

Special guest writer Jimmy Bitros, a friend of Howie for over 20 years, wrote the following Tribute to this good man.


"Most of you reading this blog probably never played ball with, never knew, and likely never heard of Howie Dixon. But to those who did know Howie, his tragic death last Friday from cancer will change us forever. He was a kind and gentle man with a mischievous edgy side that never failed to get a laugh on or off the softball field.

He perfected the art of stepping in and out of the batters box between pitches in what is now known as the "Howie Shuffle". But when he focused, Howie was a pesky hitter who always seemed to come through when it counted.Howie was not a young man but when he had a bat in his hand you never took him for granted. He was not an easy out and wore pitchers down with foul balls until he saw something he liked. Then he usually made the most of it. In fact, as ill as he was, just about 3 months ago, in early May, on the very last at bat of his life, he hit a line drive single right up the middle. And then, sadly, Howie did what Howie never did before, he asked for a courtesy runner. He was just too tired and weak to run the bases.

Even when he hit ground balls to the infield he would streak down the line to first base like a man 30 years younger. And on many occasions, I heard a player say "Do you believe how fast Howie is? How old is he anyway?"

Most importantly, Howie was an interesting guy who could talk to anybody about almost anything from baseball and the old negro league to boxing and pop culture. His personality would actually change depending on who he was sitting with at the time. Howie could also drive you crazy during the game. Between his endless good-natured chatter, his Howie Shuffle, and his Pete Rose type stance, every one of Howie's at bats was an adventure.

Most of all Howie loved being behind the plate in his catcher's gear,

arguing calls with the umpire (he and Charlie were very close), distracting batters with his chatter and giving birth to the loving phrase, "Howie Shut The Fuck Up!"

Howie Dixon will be missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him. And the longer he is gone, the more we will miss him.
Howie was the kind of Friend that got under your skin... in a good way.. a very good way! So even if you didn't know, never met or even heard of Howie Dixon, you may now better understand why he will be missed by those that did. God Bless Howie Dixon."

Thank you Jimmy. That was perfect. Your the Man.

Howie's wake will take place on Wednesday, August 18 at Owen's Funeral Home, 216 Lenox Avenue at 121st Street from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by services from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

As a special Tribute a very sad insider will keep this post up the next 2 days without interruption in his honor b/c it is so much more than a game.

Rest In Peace Howie

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paparazzi follows Diesel's Playoff Analyst

Yesterday the stars were aligned properly as Diesel finished in 1st place in their Division and earned the number 2 seed overall in the Big Apple Playoffs. The team dealt with slumps, errors, losses, and failure and found a way to make it though the regular season.

Good job but everyone knows the real season begins in the Playoffs. How will Diesel deal with success? Good Question so for the playoffs we brought in championship manager and lead analyst John Sheppard to discuss strategy with the current Diesel Brain trust (see below)
but like the lovely, talented, and weird Lady gaga

John has no love for the paparazzi.

Despite this incident with the press, Diesel still hopes John comes down to all our games as your are now part of our misfit family.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Last Regular Season Weekend Big Apple League "Rollercoasters, Proper Star Alignment, Recovery, and X factor"

The Topsy turvy roller coaster ride known as the Big Apple Softball League Season concludes this Sunday. The ups and downs, twists and turns, and mood swings of the long season has some of us falling off and trying to get back on the self medicating sobriety wagon.

However, all that really matters now is this very last Sunday before the playoffs as teams are trying to seize the moment and build momentum going into the playoffs. This year is unique in that heading into this last weekend playoff slots 1 through 8 are not yet officially set. A myriad of complicated, wild, and confusing scenarios could occur if the softball stars
are aligned properly. In the end though Al Davis said it best and and everything else will take care of itself.

Teams will be licking their wounds and chops as they smell blood at the finish line by putting their best ten on the field. Going out there and playing your best is a must as anything can happen and it usually does, so hopefully you've generated enough good karma with the softball gods
and things will work out for the best.

As for my team (sorry i couldn't resist), Diesel and our honorable manager
Jimmy Bitros
its been a roller coaster season of recovery, restoring respectability, redemption, and resiliency. Like other teams we will go as far as our defense and pitching carry us, but my heart, gut and experience tell me we need an X-Factor. In the playoffs you always need an X-factor to go your way - a call, the seeding, a break, or a player. Our X-Factor is Gilberto Gonzalez. As John Rosenmiller manager of the two time defending champions Choice "Evil Empire" Parts says "He's a gamer". When focused and happy he can be the softball X-Factor on both sides of the ball we need down the stretch. That's not that big of an if, b/c I know he has pride and will give us a chance on both sides of the ball.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Eminem raps in his amazing new song "NOT AFRAID"

"I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid)
To take a stand (to take a stand)Everybody (everybody)
Come take my hand (come take my hand)
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just lettin you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road (same road)

Do you like being taken advantage of and targeted as SOFTBALL SUCKER MARK by the following fall leagues:
259th Street
EMS ???
Bomba's League in the Bronx ???
(and that's just naming a few) by having them draw you in on the same road of bullshit with the delusional promises of a big $ pot or them holding the field monopoly card over you where you feel you have no other choices. Face it these leagues and most others in the fall are full of it and just want your money. They care ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about you, fair competitive play, good field conditions, and providing an excellent softball experience for their patrons. You might as well call up the hustler Matthew Lesko ( The Question Mark guy), the self-proclaimed federal grant researcher, and infomercial personality, and give him the code to your ATM card b/c like Lesko those leagues are playing you for a sucker based on your greed, desperation, and sadly your love of the game.
Take a Stand against all those fall leagues full of illegal pitching,1-1 counts, dangerous/lousy fields, double talking commissioners, and just overall bad service by coming to play at INWOOD HILL PARK
this fall. I personally guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Why? We care. We put our heart and soul in this league each and every year and pride ourselves on putting the enjoyment and welfare of our teams first.
Don't be a softball sucker mark anymore. Come and play with the best.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beer Spokesman

Pro Athletes frequently get hired as beer spokesman. What if Softball players could get hired as well? So without much further ado, let's Top Ten and see which softball enthusiast would be hired by major beer distributors:

10/9 Miller Lite and Corona

In the 70's Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner made this classic Miller Lite commercial
perhaps Miller Lite would consider a remake with Dio Jackson and John Sheppard as modern spokesmen

then again maybe Corona should just give them a call

8. Natural Light

Edgar "The Natural" Gonzalez Jris the natural and obvious choice.

7. Heineken
Aaron "Harrooooo" Fernandez would be the perfect spokesman for as they could film him drinking a beer on the field during an actual game thereby showing that it is possible to consume a strong imported beer and play the outfield at a high level in 95 degree weather.

6. Coors Light - the silver bullet

Everyone loves the NFL head Coaches Coors Light Commercials
and softball has many players that could star
in a Coors Light commercial, but anyone who knows anything about softball's knows that the game's best drunk hitter Lou Gonzalez is the perfect most deserving pitchman.

5. Guinness
A strong beer needs an imported beer aficionado and in softball the biggest imported beer fan I know is Jack "Bandanna Man" Cutler. Bandanna Man would let fellow drinkers know about the rich flavor benefits of Guinness as well as try and make them rich by handicapping sports.

5. Dos Equis
The current beer spokesman touts himself as the most interesting man in the worldin softball a logic choice would be Marc Rosenthal
b/c if awake, I can see him saying the following famous Dos Equis pitch "I don't drink beer often but when I do I make sure it's Dos Equis: Stay thirsty My Friend Stay Thirsty

4/3. Budweiser and Bud Light
Bud usually has the best commercials

but the worst tasting beer. A good spokesman for them would have been my old Merrill Lynch teamas they always brought out the best and worst in softball.

However, If the crew at Merrill refuses to the the spot I'm sure the marketing genius at Budweiser could create a funny spot with Juan Parra and his ugly Legends Jersey2. Michelob Ultra

from Contact would make the perfect below 96th street well dressed handsome metrosexual (man crush) young urban pofessional spokesman for this light beer

and #1 Softball Beer Spokesman would be

1. Bud Light Lime

For this obnoxious bright hideous tasting beer

the perefct spokeman would be any fool (like me) who wore a bright hideous 2010 Uptown Chiefs champiosnhip t-shirt. ughhhh

Taking Charge Myth

When the pressure is on and the team needs them the most,
Great players


Usually the lethal combination of ability, desire, experience, and mental toughness makes them the natural choice to take charge.

However, a common fallacy is that you have to be a stud player or a loud vocal rah rah guy to take charge. You don't. Don't get me wrong, you always need athletic skills/savvy, but taking charge is a mindset. You have to have conviction and confidence in what you are doing as a manager and a player and stick to it. They say "He who hesitates is LOST", and if you don't take charge of your play you will be lost regardless of your ability. For example, Bobby Fishman
is a good older player and by his own admission perhaps not the most talented, but Bobby is effective and competitive b/c he always takes charge when he's on the mound.

To take charge you don't have to be an asshole or bully, you just have to accept responsibility for your play. No excuses or whining allowed. A lot of players, including myself, have the problem of worry about other players, situations, umpires, or external factors. If you want to take charge you have to control yourself and focus on your game. If you own yourself, then you will be in control and taking charge and confidence will flow from there.
In life and in softball, those you take ownership and charge of themselves are usually the most successful. So next time don't be afraid to say "I got it" in the boardroom as well as in shallow RF :))))