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Memorial Day Tournament
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Spirits are High but Weather is Wet

The Emperors Home field has been renamed to Steve Mercado Stickball Blvd.
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The Emperors Home field has been renamed to Steve Mercado Stickball Blvd
It's been a wet spring here in the northeast and although the NY Emperors Memorial Day tournament has had a charmed history and has never being rained out, this year it looked bad - real bad. It was misty, drizzling or pouring throughout most of the weekend, but somehow, some way, the tournament occurred and the Bronx Emperors, wet and weary took the Memorial Day Championship away from the Gold, the Memorial Day 2002 champions, by defeating them 5-0 in the final game.

The event opened up with a dedication to Steve Mercado, the league's past president and one of the firefighters who perished during the 9/11 tragedy. Led by Bronx Boro President Adolpho Carrion Jr. and several other community representatives the Emperor's home street was renamed to Steve Mercado Stickball Blvd. Steve's family and friends were all in attendance to participate in the ceremony and then watch his firehouse brothers and representatives of the NYPD then faced off in an exhibition game to open the tournament. After that the formal competition was scheduled to begin, however the rain limited the amount of games to a handful.

With the rain lifting on Sunday, the teams attempted to cram in a full weekend of play. The competition was intense and impressive with tight games highlighted by a few notable come from behind wins. But when Monday morning brought rain in uninterrupted torrents the only thing that seemed clear was that this year's tournament would not be completed. However, taking advantage of the breaks in the clouds and dealing with the slippery asphalt, abbreviated elimination games were played and the tournament went on.

Aided by the clutch hitting of Davey Hernandez (voted tournament MVP) and the team's tremendous defensive play the Emperors went on to defeat Gun Hill, the 60 Boys and the Gold, the three top seeded teams. Cablevisions Bx 12 came down and broadcast the finals to perhaps the largest viewing audience ever to watch a stickball game.

Congratulations to the Bronx Emperors 2003 Memorial Day Champs and to all the players and fans who participated in the tournament. For more info check out the NY Emperors Web Site.

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