1999 Stickball Classic Finals
(BRONX, 10/3/1999) Three teams, each linked to the Bronx, participated in
today's finals. The Latinos won the Bronx competition and the right to
represent the borough back in late July by defeating several teams including the
Bronx Knights in a tough fought 4-3 game. The Bronx Knights were able to
reach the finals by winning the Jersey City games in early September.
Similarly, the Emperors, who had also been knocked out of the Bronx
tournament, went on to take the Staten Island crown.
Two weeks ago these teams won their semi-final matches. The Latinos earned a
bye in the first round of today's competition due to their tremendous 34-2
victory over the Brookfield Bombers. In today's first game, Jason Alvarez,
this year's Stickball Classic Longball Winner, provided a home run and five
RBIs to lead the Knights to a 7-4 victory over the Emperors. With this win,
the Knights earned the right to enter the final game.
The competition between the Latinos and the Knights was as much of a grudge
match as it was a battle for the championship. Passions were high and the
team's captains engaged in several heated arguments over close plays and rule
The Latinos scored all three runs in the first inning. The Knights then
settled down defensively and were able to contain the hard hitting Latinos for
the rest of the game. The Knights scored their first run in the fourth inning
and the second in the bottom of the seventh. While the run scored, a close
play at third base prompted a highly controversial call by Curtis Sliwa, the
Stickball Commissioner. Sliwa overruled the third base umpire, declaring that
Russell Carrasquillo had successfully slid under the tag and was safe. The
enraged Latinos protested that Sliwa had no right to overrule the call and
threatened to forfeit the game. Luckily, after a 20 minute screaming match,
cooler heads prevailed and the game continued. However, the Knights were
unable to take advantage of this opportunity, leaving Russell stranded on 3rd
and allowing the Latinos to emerge victorious.
The conclusion of this year's Stickball Classic ends the competitive stickball
season. There will be ball played throughout the fall and winter (these guys
are serious players), but the competitions will be over until next year. To
the players and fans - best wishes until the 2000 Stickball Season.