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Major Stickball League Opens 2003 Season

Fastpitch Stickball Click for bigger picture
Fastpitch Stickball, a great playground game has been refined into a league sport.

The Major Stick-Ball League (MSBL), based in the metropolitan NY area, is gearing up for another season of fast-pitch stickball. Anyone who remembers the excitement of this schoolyard sport is invited to come down to PS107 in Flushing, Queens on April 5 from 11a-1p for "Field Day" where players and teams join the league. Opening day of the Spring season is April 12; it lasts six weeks, followed by two weeks of playoffs.

Fastpitch Stickball

Fast pitch stickball requires just a few players per team. The pitcher stands a fair distance away, firing a hollow ball at a strike zone, a boxed area marked on the wall (eliminating the need for a catcher) which is declared as the strike zone. Using a stickball bat, the batter swings away. Fair balls, not caught by a fielder, are considered hits, the amount of bases awarded determined by the distance of the shot.

The MSBL has refined these basic rules to allow for consistent league play. The pitcher is 55 1/2 feet away. Tennis balls are brazed (as in flame-charred) to wear away their felt cover. Aluminum bats are used because some of the pitchers can throw the ball at speeds upwards of 90 mph (wooden sticks can't take it). A metal or wooden strike zone is pasted against the wall; this eliminates ball/strike arguments because a distinct noise can be heard when the strike zone is hit.

According to hard-core stickball player and league member Dave Luongo, in a typical game, each teams puts 3-5 players on the field, whose ages range from 16 to 60. "Each team plays two seven-inning games every Saturday. There are 3 seasons and playoffs each year. We have about 25 teams registered for this year's play but we've advertised on ESPN to try to expand it."

If you're interested in attending a game, joining a team, or just learning more about the MSBL, call 845-223-1861, or visit (opens in new window).

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