Around The Horn 22
The Spirit of a Community League
The last ATH was in 2014, when I undertook to pay homage to the great Tommy T, a sad undertaking to be sure…
Our league has its share of “stuff”, and it’s easy to simply ignore its “feel good” moments. Last Friday (6/23/2017), in the early game between Fortinet and Stokes, we had one of those moments with an exclamation mark”!”
The Fortinet squad took an early 2-0 on a blast by Dave “Gentle Giant” Gareau. Stokes’ bats were quiet through 2. Following a leadoff walk to Joe Arbesfeld, Neil Ram came to the plate and promptly blasted one toward the fence and way over the head of left-fielder Joe Amar. As Ram rounded 1st, he lost his balance and fell in a heap, caught between 1st and 2nd, an easy tag out while still down. Fortinet captains Amar and Dahan apparently turned to one another and their own teammates and in an incredible gesture of camaraderie and league spirit, Phil Dahan approached Ram, now back on his team bench, pointed his finger toward the fallen player and said, “you can have 2nd, you deserve it, no courtesy runner, YOU!”
NOT charity, rather charitable, and the Stokes team stood in unison, rhythmically clapping Fortinet’s gesture and the player. Rambo advanced to 3rd (see beaming photo below, photo credit Avi Posesorsky) and then scored on his own on a single. A little kindness can go a long way.
Buoyed by their unselfish action and resurgent with confidence, this after a difficult week while umping a game, Ram came to the plate next inning and launched one to deep center field, over the heads of Dahan and Brian Gutenplan, the entire Stokes’ bench yelling, “Stop at 1st!!!”. Third at bat, another key hit to the right side and in his final at bat, a chance to drive in the winning run, Ram lined out sharply to left-fielder Albert Mamane. His hitting line on the game ~ 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and a ribby. Repeat: A little kindness can go a long way.
The game wasn’t without its moments with some tough calls but featured two teams that battled back and forth with Fortinet pecking away throughout and taking a late inning lead and, more importantly, the two teams kept their collective cool and no lines were crossed. Stokes eked out the win in their last at bat as the home team but if ever a game deserved to end in a tie, this one did.
That act of kindness way back in the 3rd inning might have been the difference in the score of a game that ended with a one run result. And, as the day wore on, Stokes’ people starting feeling that perhaps, what Fortinet did should be paid forward. And, since both teams entered the game with the same record, what harm what it do to finish the day with the same record, all things being equal? A unanimous team vote and the game was recorded as a tie. Team Fortinet merited the Franc Jeu Point (ask someone with a kid in hockey).
To be sure, there weren’t many choir boys on the field that day and now that the story is out in the open, there will surely be detractors who will argue about the result. Say what you will, I’m thinking that the result isn’t the story; the tie isn’t the story and those who miss the point, need to reread the story until they get it…Their spontaneous gesture, done in the moment, personified the values and sportsmanship our league stands for.
Around The Horn 19
June 26th, 2012
In 1999, Vladimir Guerrero hit in 31 consecutive games for our beloved Montreal Expos. The Major League consecutive at bat hit streak is held by Walt Dropo at 12 in 1952, jointly with Pinky Higgins of the Redsox who also had a 12 consecutive hit streak in 1938. It’s time to include team Nikkos’ own Stewart Libstug in this elite company. Last night Stewart got two hits in his first two at bats to extend his own consecutive at bat hit streak to 19. Until he swung at an awful pitch and ended the streak in his 3rd and final at bat, his season’s BA over 11 games played stood at an AMAZING .846!!! None of the veterans I spoke with were able to recall as prodigious a streak in their time in the league. Way to go Stew!!!
We’re approaching the half-way point of what’s shaping up to be a very competitive season. To date, while only 4 out of 12 teams are above .500, games are close and competitive and you can expect some movement in the standings in the 2nd half. Several games have come down to the wire. Stokes has won at least two in their final at bat.
So tell me, how many of you prognosticators actually had Yagel Bagel pencilled in for a 10-1 start? Fielding 14 or 15 players in each of their first 10 games, they’ve shown depth and had contributions up and down the lineup. A great blend of youth and experienced veterans has this team locked in on most nights. Lone loss, a back and forth battle versus defending league champs Emmis, decided by a single run. And here’s another impressive stat ~ after 11 games played, their runs against per game average stands at a miserly 6.55. Sure helps when you’ve got a SS with the kind of range that Captain Kosow displays game in and game out…Alas, championships aren’t won in June and as last year’s 20+ win Phoenix discovered in the playoffs, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over…
Speaking of Emmis, last year’s champs seem to be on a mission to repeat. Deeper this year and fighting off the injury bug, they have managed to forge an 8-3 record to lead their division…Mark down Stokes as a team to watch in that division in the 2nd half led by the resurgent Perry Katz and his team leading .714 BA and 22 ribbies…Nikkos’ Mark Rothpan leading the league with 32 rbi’s…
Best new name in the league, incoming spare ~ Giorgio Porcari ~ roll that over your tongue a few times -now that’s Delissio!
Many members and a few non-members took advantage of the Le Diamant Golf pass offer made to league members and alumni in appreciation of our support.
For $650, you can purchase 12 rounds of golf, a per round cost of $54, taxes included!!! The passes can be used at ANY time with reservations allowed up to 4 days in advance. Passes can be shared or used with guests. You can also make use of all the facilities on the day you play (have your wife and kids meet you for a swim after your round) including the driving range, putting green, swimming pool and mini-putt. You also get a free post round beverage (beer on tap or soda) with each coupon.
Coupons are still available ~ To get yours, call Howard Pascal at 514 816 9535 or email at
Around The Horn 18
April 17th, 2012
Tryouts are this Saturday April 21st, with the weatherman calling for 4* and a chance of snow?!
It’s only a matter of time though before we’ll be wielding the bats for real…In the meantime, our banquet host, Le Diamant Golf Course and former league member Mike Sochaczevski has extended a fabulous offer to league members and alumni in appreciation of our support.
For $650, you can purchase 12 rounds of golf, a per round cost of $54, taxes included!!! The passes can be used at ANY time with reservations allowed up to 4 days in advance. Passes can be shared or used with guests. You can also make use of all the facilities on the day you play including the driving range, putting green, swimming pool and mini-putt.
Take advantage of this exclusive DDO Softball offer by calling Howard Pascal at 514 816 9535 or email at
Around The Horn 17
January 31st, 2012
The days are growing longer ~ usually we mourn less daylight as it inevitably means our season is drawing to a close. Today, despite our looking forward soon to sunny days at the park, we have first to mourn one of our own. Mike Lipson has lost his battle with cancer. Our league has lost another good man to this insidious disease, though not usually so young.
I’m not going to pretend that I knew him well. That will be left to his lifelong friends to speak of. I was fortunate to play alongside him on several Tournament teams, winning ones. I was as fortunate to have played against him, to have had him take me out of the park more than once in 2008, a season that saw him lead Dagwoods to a league championship with 14 homers, 71 RBI’s and a .667 BA in 23 games. That was shortly after his having led us to our tournament win in August.
Team Dagwoods - 2008 Season Champs (Mike Lipson - Front Row with Yankees Cap). Click Photo to Enlarge.
And why does any of that matter now? Maybe it doesn’t but it's how he won that made him respected by all who had the privilege to play with and against him. After posting solid numbers for a couple of seasons and monster ones in ’08, he surely had the right to adopt the traits of some of our elite egos. But does anyone ever remember Mike Lipson without a smile on his face? We can all still hear that gregarious, hearty, honest laugh that seemed to emanate from the soles of his cleats. He was positive in every way. He valued and respected those he played with and against. Most importantly, he remembered. He remembered the times he shared with you even though you both knew you might never share the same bench again.
2008 Duplantie Tournament Champs (Left Photo: Mike Lipson - Middle Row Far Right, Right Photo: Mike Lipson - Front Row Far Right). Click Photos to Enlarge.
Over the past couple of years I saw Mike a few times fighting the good fight. The last time at our park was summer of 2010, at least that’s when I think it was. He was in street clothes while our team had a practice or maybe it was a practice before a game. He asked me to pitch to him but to go easy on him. Ha! Go easy?!?! This beast who destroyed me in ’08 was asking ME to go easy on him! He should only have known that my season could have ended right then and there as I prayed to G-d to groove him one that he could drive as far as possible. I would have stayed out there all day and night for that. We didn’t stop though until he made solid contact. Even Lippy couldn’t beat the “yellow ball”.
I never heard Mike utter an unkind word against an umpire or opponent. But what I’ll remember most about “Lipper”, though we only played together in tournaments, is how each and every time he saw me at the park, he greeted and welcomed me like a teammate. With Mike, once a teammate, you knew that you were his teammate for life. May we all dedicate this coming season to his memory…May G-d bless and keep his family.
…To Mike Lipson…