Diamond Dust - 5-24-2005 - by Jeff Traverso
LONGHORNS AND JETS ARE EARLY SURPRISES
With 1/3 of the season completed, there are two teams heading in very different directions. Coach Tony Perrone and his Longhorn squad currently have sole possession of 1st place by jumping out to a 7-1 start. TP has used 24 different players in his lineup and has been led by returnees Howie Sidorski and Luigi Brandi. Former baseball standout Kevin Montelbano adds another huge bat to this lineup while playing a solid 1B. RPSA veterans Randy Lewis and Rich Dietz add stability to the squad while Senior moundsman Tony Paletto shares the pitching duties with hard hitting Mike Malfetti. The Horns should be right in the mix come playoff time.
The Jets on the other hand have to be considered the biggest disappointment early on in this 2005 campaign. Last season Coach Frank Mele added 4 key players to the Jet roster and the moves paid immediate dividends as the
This season has been a much different story-although they are carrying a full 28 man roster the Jets have rarely had there "starting lineup" together. And lets be honest here, the loss of hard hitting leader Tony Anstatt to injury is a huge loss. Steady Eddie Ahearn and line drive hitting Dave Marinaro also lost some time to honeymoons. In 4 of the Jet losses, they lost by a total of 7 runs, so you have to think once all the pieces are back in place this team can get on a streak and make a run back to the playoffs.
Speaking of the playoffs, is this the year Ace and his Hitmen take a step to the next level? The additions of Brett Miller and Marc Galasso have been huge while speedy leadoff man Scott Terwilliger has smacked 5 HR. This team can hit with anybody so it appears defense and pitching will by the keys for them to get into playoff contention.
Many observers feel that if Anthony Menicola and The Lounge get into the playoffs, they certainly can make some noise. Unfortunately, attendance has been the story for this 1st year squad. It is hard enough to win games at Keshishin Field with a full squad but when you play with 9 guys the odds are stacked against you. The Lounge has suffered some brutal last inning losses and in 5 defeats they were only beaten by a total of 9 runs. Will the real Lounge squad ever be together?
Is there any doubt that come the end of July, Nick Manieri and the Guns will be fighting for that 6th playoff spot? The additions of hard hitting John "Paco" Clarke and RPSA veteran Bob "Loogie" Toleno have strengthened the offensive attack, but attendance remains a question mark for this club also. Will slick fielding Mike Alberque and Mike Mitchell be around enough to impact this teams' quest for a return to the playoffs-only time will tell.
The Vultures can certainly bang with anybody but their pitching remains a question mark. Can Pete “Bogie B" Bougades pitch this team to the next level? Rumors are also circulating that there may be a new man at the helm for this squad?? League officials have not been notified as of yet, but an announcement could be coming shortly!
The Big 3 appear to be a safe bet to be playing come August as the Sharks look for #5 and the Budmen and Zoo continue to try and knock them off. More about those 3 teams in the future…
Get Well to Vulture SS Mateo Giordano who suffered a broken nose after trying to field a bad-hop grounder-hopefully he is back soon. Speaking of bad-hops, the league has decided to hold off on buying 28 tons of dirt for the field at this time-We will try to redo the infield after this season or before the start of next year-In the meantime, we will try to eliminate the lip at SS and fill it in with dirt provided by the town. Also, we ask that every player help to SOAK the field before games-If your the 1st guy down at the K, grab the hose and start soaking-than pass it to the next guy-when this infield is watered, it plays much safer!
Hank Teel returns after a brief absence with an ankle injury-Welcome back Henry!
The Jumping Period will be announced in the next week or two.
Thanks again to the 2 Toms for all of the work they put in to keep this league running so smoothly. Tommy Grater continues to be down at K field scoring our games every night and making sure everything is running smoothly-if you're down there to watch a game, grab the book and give Tommy some time off to just watch a game. Tom “The Whizza" Carlock upgrades our site on a daily basis and puts in countless hours perfecting our stats. Thanks so much to both of these guys!!
Garo for the Day - No Show Violation List
List of No Shows who have been fined.
Let the Finals Begin!
Garo's Final Diamond Dust
IT'S OFFICIAL: SHARKS HAVE A DYNASTY
In the R.P.S.A., we don't like to use the word "dynasty" too loosely. We like to see a club string together 3 consecutive League Championships before earning that designation. Well friends, the Zoo Sharks now qualify, and have clearly established the first R.P.S.A. dynasty of the 21st century with their victory over the Budmen in a classic, hard-fought series. It would be a shame if this series were to be remembered strictly for the Game 5 massacre that the Sharks laid on the Big Red to capture the 2003 title, for this was a series with some incredibly dramatic moments, including a Game 4 that had to be seen to be believed.
Here is a brief series snynopsis. However, for Game 4, I will place the long recap that was never seen.
GAME 1 - Budmen 18 - Sharks 6 : The Budmen, leading only 3-2, break this one open with a 9 run 6th inning and go on to take a 1 games to 0 lead in the series.
GAME 2 - Sharks 16 - Budmen 15 : Many will later point to this game as the turning point in the series. The Big Red, looking to take a commanding 2 games to 0 lead, are up 14-5 entering the bottom of the 7th. But the Sharks go on to outscore the Budmen 11-1 over the final 3 innings to squeak out this all important contest and get right back in the series.
GAME 3 - Sharks 17 - Budmen 11 : Now, the momentum seems to have clearly swung the Sharks' way. They jump out to an 8-1 lead after 2 innings and are in control throughout. The Budmen close to within 13-9 in the 7th, but that's as close as they get as the Sharks go up 2 games to 1 in the series, needing 1 more win for the title.
GAME 4 - Budmen 12 - Sharks 10 (11 innings) (complete Game 4 recap to follow) Folks, we once again have the unenviable task of re-capping an R.P.S.A. playoff classic. Earlier on Friday, many in and around the league felt that this game might not even be played, as the weather forecast foretold a good chance of thunderstrorms invading the area by evening. But take my word for it friends, all of the fireworks on this hot, muggy summer night were provided not by Mother Nature, but by the Sharks and Budmen, two determined squads that put on a playoff performance that may never be forgotten by all who played and witnessed this ultimate nail-biting, white-knuckling affair. No, the tunderstorms never did arrive, and play ultimately went 11 long innings, but with nary a boring moment. It was the kind of game that had long-time R.P.S.A. veterans and former players on the edge of their seats, a game that was ultimately captured by Chris Heck's gutsy Budmen club, which came into this Game 4 matchup facing playoff elimination with a loss.
But let us start at the beginning. The Sharks, up 2 games to 1 in the best 3 out of 5 Championship Series, once again sent their ace, Pete Koop, to the mound in an attempt to nail down their 3rd consecutive league title. Budmen skipper Heck countered with Big Red pitching stalwart Joe Breslin. The air was heavy with typically oppressive late August humidity, and a slight breeze was blowing in from centerfield. But still, no one expected the kind of low scoring, defensive pitcher's duel that took shape right from the start. The first 6 innings of this game would take less than an hour to complete, and incredibly, would end with both teams knotted in a 1-1 ball game. The visiting Budmen were shut out on 5 hits over the first 5 innings by Koop, while Budmen starter Breslin also saw smooth sailing early on. Breslin actually retired the first 9 Sharks to face him, working 3 perfect innings, before Koop led off the bottom of the 4th by lining a single to rightcenter. The Southpaw Sage then came around to tally the first run of the contest from 2nd base a short time later when Sean DiMartino delivered a clutch 2 out single. It remained a 1-0 Shark advantage heading into the top of the 6th, when the Budmen finally got on the board to tie things up. Chuck Feinroth led off for the Big Red by bouncing a one-hopper off Koop's glove. the ball caromed over to shortstop Bob Murphy, who scooped it up and attempted to gun the ball over to 1st base in time to nip the speedy Feinroth. But in a stroke of bad luck, Murphy's throw happened to nail pitcher Koop, who was trying to duck, just behind the left ear, momentarily stunning the lefty and sending a hush over the crowd. After a brief rest and some time to compose himself, Koop returned to his pitching chores. But immediately, 1st baseman Mike Morgan booted Mike Dodds' grounder, and there were two Budmen on base with nobody out. But all that the Budmen could get out of such a promising start to their 6th inning was a sacrifice fly by Joe Baroni which tied the score at 1 all. And as the tension mounted at Hobart, play moved into the bottom of the 7th still knotted at 1 apiece. But the home team Sharks seemed to get a grip on this game in that 7th inning, and looked to be on their way to their 3rd straight title. And it was Budmen generosity on defense that helped pave the way. Koop led off the inning by grounding a ball that shortfielder Dodds ranged to his left to snare. But Dodds' throw to 1st was off the mark, and Koop reached safely. After Murphy skied to left for the first out, Mark Monteleone lined a single to center, setting up runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 out.
Then came a pivotal play in the game. Sean DiMartino hit a fly ball to fairly deep leftcenter, but it appeared for all the world as though Big Red centerfielder Frank Connolly was camped under it. Somehow, though, the ball skipped off Connolly's glove for a two-base error, allowing 1 run to score, and leaving runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Following an intentional pass to Craig Paskas that loaded the bases, Anthony Menicola came through, smashing a hard ground-ball single to left to plate 2 runs and give the Sharks a 4-1 lead. Pete Mychalko followed with a ribbie single, and D.H. Steve Becker then lofted a sacrifice fly to right which made it a big 5 run inning and gave the defending champs a seemingly impressive 6-1 lead. I say "seemingly impressive" here folks, because the Budmen were down to their last 6 outs, and had only scored 1 run on the night. So you really had to like the Sharks' chances at this point. But the Big Red rallied in the top of the 8th. Bob Witterschein led off by lining a single to left, and then Shark 3rd baseman Pete Mychalko failed to handle Joe Breslin's hot one-hop grounder for an error. With two on and nobody out, Feinroth singled in a run before Dodds flied out for the 1st out. But Connolly, atoning for his earlier miscue in the field, lined a double up the gap in rightcenter, driving in 2 to make it a 6-4 game. Baroni followed with a ribbie single to left, and suddenly, the Big Red was back in this game, down only by 1 run. But they failed to tie the game when, with runners at 1st and 2nd and 2 outs, Jay Setti lined out to Paskas in center. So, play headed into the bottom of the 8th with the Sharks clinging to a 6-5 lead. But the defending champs did a nice job of putting up a pair of what seemed to be crucial "insurance" runs. Rob Millner's 1 out triple was followed by Koop's sacrifice fly. Then, Murphy hit a 2 out double to right and came around on Monteleone's clucth single to make the score 8-5. So, here came the Budmen in to hit in the top of the 9th, needing 3 runs just to tie the game. Keith Bramley led off by drawing a surprising walk off of Koop. But the crafty southpaw bounced back to fan Witterschein for the 1st out.
Then, Budmen pilot Heck decided to pinch-hit himself for Breslin. And he came through. grounding a single to center which moved Bramley up to 2nd base. Immediately, Mark Rios was sent in to pinch run for Heck. Now, the top of the Budmen order was set to hit. And Feinroth came through again, grounding an R.B.I. single to center that made the score 8-6. With runners at 1st and 3rd, Dodds then singled in a run at make the score 8-7. Then, Morgan muffed Connolly's bouncer to 1st, allowing Feinroth to come all the way around from 2nd with the tying run. But the Budmen weren't through. Joe Baroni singled in Dodds, and the Big Red took a 9-8 lead as their bench erupted in delirium. But there was also an unsettling note. Apparently, Connolly had aggravated an old hamstring injury, and it was serious enough that he had to ask out of the game. So skipper Heck inserted Kevin Bramley in to pinch run for Connolly on 2nd base, setting up the first of three incredible bang-bang plays at home plate. After Randy Lewis lined to right for the 2nd out of the inning, Dave LoBello lined a single to center. But Shark centerfielder Paskas came up throwing, firing a perfect strike home to nail Bramley at the plate and keep this a 1 run game at 9-8. Paskas then led off for the Sharks in the bottom of the 9th, with his team needing 1 run to tie and 2 to win. But the righty slugger skied to rightcenter for the 1st out. The at bat came against a new Budmen hurler. Breslin, whom Heck had pinch-hit for in the top of the 9th, was replaced by lefty Dave Kaiser, who was attempting to nail down a thrilling comeback victory for the Big Red. But nothing would come easy on this night. With 1 out, Menicola delivered, lining a double to left and setting himself up as the tying run. But Mychalko flied to right, and suddenly, the Sharks were down to their final out. D.H. Steve Becker was due up, but Sharks' manager Pat Kensek put up Jim Holsworth to pinch-hit. And the southpaw swatting veteran came through, grounding a hard single past shortstop Randy Lewis into centerfield to knock in the tying run. Mike Morgan then popped up to end the inning, and extra frames were on tap. In the top of the 10th, the Big Red once again took a 1 run lead, but amazingly, another laser throw from Shark centerfielder Paskas averted further damage. Jay Setti and Keith Bramley got the Budmen off and running in the 10th when they led off the stanza with back-to-back singles. But Witterschein's hard grounder in the shortstop hole was converted into a force play at 3rd by Shark shortstop Murphy, who made an outstanding play. Rios then skied to right for the 2nd out, but Feinroth, old reliable, came through yet again, grounding a ribbie single up the middle to give the Budmen a 10-9 lead. The hit sent Witterschein to 2nd, but on Dodds' single to center, Witterschein was cut down by another perfect Paskas peg to the plate, once again sending the crowd to its feet. Now, the Sharks would come up in their half of the 10th needing to score 1 to tie and 2 to win, and you could have cut the drama and suspense hanging in the muggy air with a knife. But few were prepared for what was to follow. Pete Gartner led off by flying out to center, but Millner and Koop lined consecutive 1 out singles, putting the tying run on 3rd and the winning run on 1st.
What happened next almost defied description. Murphy lined a sizzling shot straight back to the mound, where Kaiser made a great play, snaring the line-drive for out number two. But then, in an ill-advised attempt to double Koop off 1st base, Kaiser fired wildly over, and Keith Bramley could not handle the errant throw. It glanced off his glove and rolled away, allowing Millner to score with the run that once again tied this game at 10 all. And the Sharks still had 1 out to work with, so they tried mightily to get the winning run in and finally end the 2003 season with their 3rd straight title. Monteleone grounded a single to left, with Koop stopping at 2nd. Then Sean DiMartino lined a hit to center. If Koop could score from 2nd base, the Sharks would win the 2003 Championship. The burly hurler steamed around 3rd, but now it was time for Budmen heroics from their centerfielder. Dave LoBello, who had moved to center to replace Connolly an inning earlier, fielded the hit cleanly and threw a perfect strike home, where catcher Witterschein applied the tag to Koop, ending the inning and sending the game into the 11th as the players and crowd went berserk. Now, in the top of the 11th, the first 2 Budmen batters were easily retired by Koop. But Randy Lewis scratched out an infield hit to short, and LoBello singled to right, Lewis stopping at 2nd. Then came a big hit. Jay Setti, only 1 for 5 until that point, grounded a clean single to left, driving in Lewis, and when Monteleone had trouble fielding the ball, LoBello too motored around to score, giving the Budmen a 12-10 lead. Finally, the Big Red held on in the bottom half, as Kaiser quickly got the first 2 outs before a single by Mychalko. But pinch-hitter Jeff Lane bounced out to 2nd to end one of the greatest games in R.P.S.A. Championship Series history. There were heroes aplenty on both sides in this one. In fact, there were even heroic performances by the two man umpiring crew of Tom Vercelli and Rich Menzella. Vercelli was filling in for veteran arbiter Hank Teel, and the skillful Teel would have been proud of Vercelli's performance. This was a marvelously called game by the men in blue, and it was ultimately decided by the players on the field, some of whom afterwards confessed to having goose-bumps at times as the drama of this amazing contest reached its peak in the late innings. So, we now prepare for a Game 5, winner take all showdown at 5:30 on Saturday. We just wonder what these gallant, resilient players on both teams can do for an encore.
GAME 5 - Sharks 39 - Budmen 9 : Well, we now know that Game 5 could not have differed more in terms of drama than Game 4. This was an old-fashioned blowout, but sometimes these things happen in sports. It doesn't change the fact that overall, this was a magnificent, hard-fought series between two excellent ball clubs, with a pair of standout games - GAME 2, where the Sharks mounted a marvelous late-inning comeback to erase a 9 run deficit and probably turn the series around, and of course, GAME 4, whcih was without a doubt one of the greatest games in R.P.S.A. Championship Series lore. Congratulations to both of these clubs - The Budmen, for being very worthy of being one of the final two teams, and the Sharks, for achieving the rare feat of a "threepeat". Stay tuned throughout the off-season, and visit our website often. In a few weeks, I will return with a final season wrap-up, and do some number crunching in anayzing the Finals. We will also try to have hot stove reports in Diamond Dust once a month or so during the off-season, as we examine rumors of player jumping, etc. And of course, complete 2003 season stats will be posted, hopefully by the end of September. Also, look for many of our website features to get significant updates as the off-season moves along. See you soon folks.
Bob "Bobaroo" Heck Retires! - by Randy Lewis
You on the other hand are leaving softball to run into the headlock (pun intended) of marriage. Well, it sounds as if your decision is final and on behalf of the remaining players, I would like to wish you and the Mrs., all the best. I trust that you will still show your face down at the field from time to time. Perhaps you would even consider umpiring a few games throughout the season in future years. You, my friend personify everything the RPSA is about. You’ve been a pillar in the league for thirty years and a role model to younger players for how the game should be played.
Top Ten Reasons we all love Bobby Heck:
10) Plenty of time getting the ball over to first base.
9) He sounds like he’s heckling you even when he’s not
8) If anything hurts…see Bobby Heck, he’s got an exercise for you
7) Missing equipment…see Bobby Heck. His softball bag is like a magician’s tophat.
6) Slumping….see Bobby Heck, he’s already identified the problem with your swing
5) Need your glove broken in…see Bobby Heck
4) He warms up with a shotput
3) Win, lose, or draw he’s buying the other team a round after the game
2) Nobody can add “aroo” to the end of someone’s name like Bobby Heck
1) The bouncing head when he runs
Feel free to add your own reasons on the message board Now, onto the games: We had yet another hum drum week in the RPSA. No major upsets or particularly close games. The upcoming games are really the ones we should be focusing on. Vultures – Guns (Tonight): This should be good one to watch. Both teams get around the bases as well as any team. However the defensive edge must be given the Vultures. This is the early game of a twinbill tonight at Keshishian. Vultures – 4 (Please be aware, game 2 between the Royals and Budmen is to start asap after the conclusion of this game.) Guns – Zoo (Saturday): If you would have told me before the season that the Guns would be involved in a feature game this early in the season, I would have said: “puff puff give”. However, they are involved in two feature games this week. Historically slow starters the Guns have themselves right in the middle of things with two big wins against the Sharks. Can the “Giant Killers” keep it up against a formidable Zoo team? Zoo -2.5 That’s a wrap!
7 things you should know about my friend Garo - by Al Barton
I knew Gary “Garo” Keshishian for close to 40 years. I remember Gary as a powerful hitter for the RP Elks BPOE Little League team in the mid-60’s, long before he became the czar of the Ridgefield Park Softball Association.
You may ask -- why only 7 things? Simple, 7 was Gary’s uniform number. He wore that number proudly to honor his favorite baseball player Mickey Mantle. Hell, he even learned to switch hit as a kid because of the Mick. I will make mostly 1970’s and 80’s references in this piece but I believe that even if you only knew Gary in the past few years, you’ll recognize my friend. I will be dropping enough names to make thingy Schaap blush. I hope I get them right and I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies or oversights.
#1 The RPSA was Garo’s baby -- Garo lived for this league with a passion that bordered on the insane. He created it, organized it and ministered over it. He put in hours that defy description. He did this every season for 30 years. Phone calls, fieldwork, sponsorship, bookkeeping, umpiring, scorekeeping, statistics and publicity…he did it all. And willingly! Ask those who have played in other leagues, are there any others like this one? How about 9-inning games? To Garo this was a no-brainer in 1974 because it enabled more players to be able to get into games. Think of how many times you went to an RPSA game and didn’t find Garo there. I would sincerely doubt that even old-timers could count on 1 hand the number of days he missed. You’re playing in this league today, like the hundreds and hundreds before you because Garo made it possible.
#2 Gary Keshishian was a player -- Many people are surprised that Garo was such a good player. Garo was a hitter who could punish the ball from both sides of the plate. (#7 remember?) He was an outfielder/1st baseman who excelled in Little League, Babe Ruth League and high school baseball. He played frequently in the early days of the RPSA, but as time went on he preferred to manage and allow others the opportunity to play. I can recall on many occasions pleading with Garo to include himself in the lineup, but it was his way to step aside and let others take his at-bats.
#3 Garo was a baseball/softball fashion trendsetter -- Now I’m sure that you have just re-read that statement and wondered, can it be? Yes it’s true that Garo was the guy who could be found on a 90+ degree Sunday afternoon tripleheader wearing dungarees, a Royals jersey and Royals cap plastered to his head as he drained beers at the Commissoner’s table -- BUT did you know…That he and Jim Woods dyed their spikes white in 1971, a la the Oakland A’s for the RPHS baseball season? Or that Garo’s Royals were the first RPSA team to wear Bicentennial red, white and blue jerseys in 1976?
#4 The Royals Win the RPSA Championship!!!! -- In September of 1974, the unthinkable happened, the “Ya Gotta Be Kidding” (apologies to Tug McGraw) Royals swept a Sunday tripleheader on the Hobart makeshift field to capture their one and only RPSA crown. Now of course the Torbals had the best team but most of them went away to college and that left the Royals and Rockets to battle it out for the glory. (Great scheduling Commish!) I met up with Garo that night of the championship, drunk off his ass in the St Francis parking lot (a popular hangout back in the day). I must say that I never saw him happier or more animated than in that glorious moment. Now Garo tried and tried over the next 3 decades to replicate that feat, came close in 1984, but never again grabbed the brass ring.
#5 The Trademark of the Royals is not that they wore blue and have a crown insignia -- The true trademark of the Royals is that Garo made it a player-friendly team. Win or lose, people enjoyed playing for Garo. He was never mean-spirited and never pointed fingers. Players good and bad were treated with respect and friendship. Seldom was heard a discouraging word. Garo made softball fun. Don’t believe it? Ask the legions that have “worn blue”…RPSA greats such as Tony Paletto, John Shields, Joe Fernandez, Steve Criscuolo, Steve Becker and Porky Lawlor. Royal legends such as Bobby Pole, Stevie V, John Cardiello, Alan Gramko, Steve Cody, Dave Azzara, Tommy Powers, Mike Nardone and the Konikoff Brothers. It didn’t matter if you went on to another team; part of you always remained a Royal. Garo would remind you that you were part of the Royals “all-time” leaders lists and you were always vain enough to pester him how far up the rankings you were (I was actually somewhere on the “doubles” list in the early 80’s). I signed with the Royals on the night of January 27, 1974. No lie. I was delivering beer for Overpeck Liquors and was making a run to 159 Hudson Avenue. Waiting on the doorstep that freezing night was Garo and his right-hand man, Jim Ray Todd. Garo announced that he was creating a softball league, had a team named the Royals and wanted to know if I was interested in playing centerfield. I readily agreed, was assigned #24 and signed a contract on the top of a case of beer on the Keshishian’s front steps….Schmidt’s of Philadelphia was the beer, if you’re interested. Softball, Beer and Garo: any questions?? Whether you were playing a Sunday morning independent beer game against Joe’s Tavern of Wallington (Jesus, why do I remember this nuts?) or an RPSA playoff game, Garo made you want to come down to the field.
#6 Garo was a gifted and funny writer -- The current RPSA crowd knows of the weekly on-line “Diamond Dust.” Popular and widely read, Garo had his finger on the pulse of the RPSA (besides we all read it to see if our name was mentioned). Long before Garo gave away “Diamond Dust” for free on the World Wide Web, it was published in the Sun Bulletin. Players would routinely drop 50 cents in the early 80’s and read about the weekly RPSA doings (and see if their names were mentioned in the paper). Now with all due respect to the legendary Milt Barry, “during the wild melee at the Westview, a piano was rolled down the steps,” people bought this paper to read Garo. In fact Garo quit his column on more than one occasion in a dispute over money with the Sun Bulletin management! Who can forget phrases such as “burly backstop” to describe a fat catcher or “veteran fly hawk roaming the outer garden” to describe an old guy chasing down a fly ball? It was all classic Garo. Garo wrote an hilarious diary of his senior baseball season at RPHS, as well as writing the “Foreword” to the 1975 Bad Company Yearbook. Through the years Garo had promised, or threatened, to write a history of the Royals which he claimed would be titled “They Wore Blue.” I can only hope he wasn’t bluffing and that a manuscript is found amidst the 900-plus pounds of RPSA scorebooks he left behind.
#7 Garo was “one of a kind” -- Now even if you think everything I’ve written to this point is, to quote the late Greg Quimby, “bullnuts”, I defy you to tell me that I’m wrong in this observation. You can’t find anyone else on this planet like Garo. Now I’m fully aware that the phrase “one of a kind” is sadly overused much like “hero” and “superstar” but come on, Garo was an American original! Ask yourself: Is there any other softball league that operates like the RPSA? Is there, in any league, one person who does so much? Want more proof? In all the years did any of you truly know anyone who disliked Garo? Did he have any enemies at all? Did you ever hear of him holding a grudge or speaking ill of anyone? He was genuinely liked and did not have a mean bone in his body. There was absolutely no phony in this mans’ game. No pretensions, no hidden agendas, what you saw is what you got. He was friendly, sincere and honest. Traits like that we don’t see around these parts enough anymore. I end my list now. I probably have said too much already. I’ll end with no references about Whitey sliding headfirst on the rocky infield of Roosevelt School, the Lakeview Jets, Steve Papsyzcki Day/June 1976 (see Frank Mele for the film), Dennis Buchman or Artie Carroll and the Fabulous Mudsharks. I recall the last time I saw my friend Garo alive. It was on the morning of July 4, 2003 just prior to the RP parade. I was in town to march with the RPHS Class of 1973 and as we were lined up and waiting to go, I strolled up to 159 Hudson and shared a cold beer with Garo. I chatted with him and his lovely parents until it was time for the parade to commence. Nothing remarkable in the moment, except that in retrospect, it was the last one we would share. As you celebrate Garo’s life this Saturday, envision with me if you will the following scenario. Garo is in a better place. He has just finished hammering the pegs into the bases, dragged and lined the field, hauled out the scoreboard. He has a cold one at the scorer’s table as he waits with a clean, fresh, scorebook and pen (never pencil) in front of him ready to post today’s lineups for a game with endless possibilities … “Yo coaches, 5 minutes to game time.”
2005 RPSA Season Preview
RPSA Season Preview 2005
The 2005 season is sure to present a lot of excitement. Before I begin, I would be remiss not to mention the great job done by Jeff Traverso and Tom Carlock to set the stage for a smooth and enjoyable RPSA season. There are many of us contributing in various capacities but these two have gone above and beyond the call of duty and deserve all of our appreciation.
Many would be hard pressed to recall an RPSA season where so many teams can claim to have a legitimate shot at capturing the crown. The consensus is that the Sharks remain the team to beat but many around the league are optimistic about their chances to dethrone the defending champions. This preseason has yielded as much if not more activity than any other in recent history. The departure of The Royals franchise cleared the way for the much anticipated addition of The Lounge franchise, and there are more than a few established RPSA players who will be playing with new teams.
The Sharks: 2-1 - As I mentioned above, most agree that The Sharks remain the team to beat. The owners of the last four RPSA titles have lost a couple of their big sticks but still warrant the respect as favorites to win it again. (Look, I don’t necessarily believe all this but I’m trying to be objective.) Until someone knocks these guys off, they command favorite status. The addition of The Lounge has translated to the departure of Anthony Menicola and Darren “OG” O’Donnell. Shed no tears for Mr. Kensek, as many of us anticipated he’s managed to “scrape up” some formidable replacements. In looking at The Shark roster, there are a couple of unfamiliar names, but the word on the street is all world slugger Mike Stevens has called on a couple of his tournament teammates to fill the holes vacated by the aforementioned Shark defectors. Speaking of Mr. Stevens, he will remain a part of what is sure to be a lethal lineup for Coach Kensek. Also returning, in spite of much speculation to the contrary will be Craig Paskas who many regard as the top player in the league. Many veterans return to the Sharks starting lineup including Mike “The Mouth” Paskas, Bob “Father Time” Murphy, Pete “The Ironman” Koop, Rob “Mills” Millner, Sean “Sliding Shorts” DiMartino, and Pete “Smiley” Mychalko. The Sharks have also added the utility services of RPSA veteran Joe Cimino. In spite of my (purely heterosexual) affection for some of the guys on this team, I really hope they lose.
The Budmen: 4-1 - Big Red has made themselves a staple of the RPSA classic. The only problem for them is they’ve run into a buzzsaw in the form of angry Sharks in recent years. The Budmen lost starters Rich Dietz, Tom Vellis, and yours truly to the Longhorns, but what figures to be the most difficult hole to fill is that of leadoff master Chuck Feinroth who has decided to go swimming with the Sharks. Like the Sharks, the Budmen were quick to react and fill the holes by signing Mark “Ri-Daddy” Rios away from the Vultures, along with some new prospects from whom they anticipate some big time production. They have also received a commitment from returning RPSA regular Kevin Collins. The Budmen will lean on the leadership of skipper Mike Dodds and Frank Connolly to propel Big Red into the post-season once again. Dan Breslin, Chris Heck, Dave Kaiser, Bob Wittershein, Joe Breslin, Dave Connolly, Joe Baroni, and the underrated Dave LoBello, head up the list of returning Budmen. The Budmen also welcome back former Budmen utility player Rob LoFaso back into the mix. The Budmen, more so than any other team has relied on their depth as a team to ensure their status as one of the elite teams in the RPSA, I see no reason to think this season will be any different.
The Vultures: 6-1 - In what could only be described as a disappointing 2004 in the RPSA for The Vultures, they look to bounce back with a championship in 2005. The Vultures will be led this year by Bogie “F” with the assistance of “The” Roc. This filthy animals have one thing on their mind (
The Zoo: 8-1 - It’s difficult for me to believe but as I’m writing this, I realize that I am placing the Zoo all the way down in the number four slot as favorites to win the league. This is only a testament to how strong the RPSA figures to be this year. Truthfully, to me, the 4 – 7 spots are all a crapshoot anyway. The Zoo has been one of the quietest teams this off-season acquiring only one veteran RPSA player in the person of Mike Taurozzi who has proven himself to be an impact player. What can I say about this Zoo team? Every year, you wonder how they’re going to do it. They haven’t gotten any younger, they haven’t gotten any faster but we all just know that they will be there in August and they are capable of beating any team in the league in a short series. The Zoo returns….just about everyone and there are also a couple of unfamiliar names which peaks my curiosity. I am speculating that Kirk did a little recruiting of some of his tournament buddies, but again, it’s pure speculation.
The Longhorns: 9-1 - Some may say, I’m wearing blinders due to the fact that I now play for the Longhorns, but…maybe I am. Truth be told, it took some restraint for me not to place this team higher. This team can flat out hit! To address the “attendance issues” of 2004, Coach Perrone, has added guys who he anticipates will be regulars in his lineup. The failure of the 2004 Stingrays team to reach the playoffs has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of these (now) Longhorns. For the most part, Coach Perrone has hung his hopes on promises of greater commitments and claims of a better understanding of the RPSA. In a batting practice session at Keshishian field, Howie Sadowski was seen chewing glass while taking his cuts in a demonstration of his resolve and focus on the impending RPSA season. There is no question, this teams boasts the sticks to smack the ball around, however, there will need to be more focus on defense and playing “small ball” for this team to see any action in August.
The Lounge: 9-1 - I don’t know much about anyone on this team but I am going to assume that Anthony and OG wouldn’t waste their time with a team they didn’t feel could contend. There is some speculation that other leagues and weekend tournaments could present Coach Menicola with similar issues which plagued the 2004 Stingrays. The newly expanded 28 man roster should leave few teams with the threat of a forfeit, but as we all know, there are no cake-walk games in the RPSA. Like every other team in the RPSA, The Lounge will need strong attendance on a regular basis to compete.
The Jets: 9-1 - OK, I know that’s three teams at 9-1 odds, but as I said, teams 4-7 are a crapshoot. Despite some late season struggles, The Jets re-established themselves as a legitimate contender in 2004. The Jets are another team that did not make any major off-season moves. They acquired the versatile services of Teddy Miraldi and John Clancy whom they hope will show up to more games than they were able to make for the Guns last year. The Jets will once again be propelled by the big sticks of Tony Anstatt, Dave Marinaro, Johnny “Show Me the” Way, Rob Heller, Matt Lewandowski, and Dave “Big Daddy” Searles. The defense will be solid up the middle with the gloves of John Rivera and Ed “The Newlywed” Ahearn. Let us not forget Mike LaMendola who will do something, somewhere, at some point in time, for this team.
The Guns: 12-1 - The Guns are one team that has become accustomed to being overlooked and underrated. They will once again play the role of underdog in this 2005 season. Frankly, I don’t think Skipper Nick Manieri would have it any other way. The Guns lost OF Mike Montenegro (to the Longhorns) but filled the hole and them some with the addition of John Clark (of Vulture fame) and former Royals Bob Toleno and Mike Richardson which will likely mean they’ll need to bring more beer to the games. Nary has a team looked forward to playing the always dangerous Guns, just ask the Sharks who dropped 2 of 3 to this team to open up their 2004 campaign. Chris “Pigpen” Reilly heads the cast of outfielders while Wally Bender, Mike Mitchell, and former PC standout Mike Ricca sure up the infield. These guys will win their fair share of games and are sure to be in contention for a playoff spot in late July.
The Hitmen: 16-1 - Something tells me The Hitmen will be better than I am ready to give them credit for. Wait, it Joe Mags that’s telling me that. To their credit, The Hitmen have been one of the most active franchises this off-season. Their roster reads as a who’s who of those who I don’t know. The big sticks of the aforementioned Joe Mags along with Tom “AceBurger” Burke will solidify the heart of The Hitmen Lineup while the gloves of Jim Leidemer and former Zoo shortstop Brett Miller will provide much needed leadership on the other side of the plate. The Hitmen have also added the experience and pop of former Jet & Stingray Marc Galasso who will likely be a big contributor to this Hitmen team. One name conspicuously absent from the Hitmen roster is that of pint-sized slugger Zach Johnson. I double-checked the Filthy Buzzards’ roster to see if he had been lured to the dark side but he doesn’t appear on their roster either. I don’t think the Hitmen are having visions of a playoff birth but an 8 win season would be very respectable for this team who is fighting for respect.
Here’s to a great 2005 RPSA season. Good luck to all teams. PLAY BALL!!!!!
Diamond Dust 4-29-05
The 2005 season is finally underway and I would be remiss not to mention all the people who are responsible for continuing the 30+ year tradition that we call the RPSA. First off, on the behalf of all league members, I would like to thank Jeff Traverso for stepping up to the plate this year as the “un-official” commissioner of the league after the departure of one Jim Holsworth. Jeff you are doing an excellent job and we hope you decide to stay on as the “official” commissioner for years to come (subtle hint noted). As you have all noticed Hank Teel has been down the field many times already this season, drinking beers, but more importantly, behind home plate, calling RPSA games, just like the softball gods intended. Tommy Grater, not enough thanks can be given for your amazing dedication to this league and the tremendous job you do game in and game out with the scoring of each contest. To all the members of the Executive Committee and the owners and coaches of the RPSA franchises for conducting the meetings in an extremely “professional” manner……………pause for laughter, and establishing the new rules you see in place for the 2005 season . The field crew headed up by several members of the RPSA to get Gary K. field ready for the season and especially T “mother f-ing” P for getting the Bob Cat down there for our use. Excellent A+ my friend.
Now for the important stuff, the actual on-field news. The 2005 season has gotten off to an explosive start with some really great games. The buzz around the league seems to be that everyone is aware of the fact that all teams have a good shot at making the playoffs this year and you can’t look past any games. The Lounge 2028 is a great addition for this league and they have some excellent ball players on their roster. If Anthony can get his full squad down there consistently, they are going to be a tough team to beat. Speaking of Anthony Menicola, it is too early to tell how much of an impact his departure, along with OG’s to the Lounge, will affect the 4 time defending champion Zoo Sharks. I mean it is near impossible to replace players of their caliber, BUT I am sure Patty K will have more than adequate substitutes for them. AND they still have Dawg, Mike Paskas, Koop; shall I go on, long story short, the sharks are still the sharks, which was very evident in their 9th inning, come from behind victory against the aforementioned Lounge 2028. The Sharks, however, did fall victim to a late inning, come from behind victory against the Filthy, Filthy, Filthy, Vultures. Maybe Bogie F is right, should we just hand the trophy over to the “triple crown” winners and not have a season? Let’s ask the revamped Hitmen, who happened to gain their first victory of the season by beating the Vultures 21-17 in a shoot out down at Gary K. field. Kudos to Ace burger and Joe Mags for a great job of recruiting in which they have added several players, both veterans of the RPSA (Brett Miller and Marc Galasso) and newcomers as well. The Hitmen have a very capable lineup, both in the field and at the plate. I attended their game against the Jets, a classic RPSA battle, and in a word – SOLID. They will look to make a run towards their first ever RPSA playoff berth.
The 101 Pub Jets have gotten off, to what some would call a slow start, however that would only be evident in their win loss record. They are 1-2 at this point, but loss to the newly named 101 longhorns 11-8 and they were in a dogfight against the Zoo until the Zoo exploded in the 8th inning of that game to gain the victory. Johnny Way has been at the helm for 2 of the first 3 games, due to Frank’s vacation plans, and has done a great job, especially with the absence of their premier # 3 hitter Tony Anstatt who was injured in the off season. Get well soon Tony, the Jets need you. Just don’t kick anymore bats my way.
The 101 Longhorns looked very good in their inaugural 2005 contest against the Jets. Skipper Tony Perrone was able to land the service of several RPSA veterans, namely Randy Lewis, Richie “flyhawk” Dietz and Tom Vellis of Budmen Fame. Also Tony Paletto is back with TP for another season. He was able to retain many of the studs from the Stingrays, but unfortunately will not have the services of one of the top players in the RPSA. Albie Roman has relocated to PA and will only be able to make a handful of games according to Coach TP, but I have a feeling that he will get his 8 games in and be right in the middle of the Longhorns lineup come playoff time.
Now for the Budmen, The Big Red. At many times, myself and other members of the budmen had heard rumors that we were decimated by the loss of several of our key players and that we were done. Very much true, except the fact that yours truly has now accepted the position of GM vacated by the departure of Randy Lewis and I spent the majority of my free time in the off-season (yes that is my pathetic life) and went on a recruiting bonanza. First big move was getting Mark “silky-smooth” Rios to play SS. Unquestionably one of the finest SS in the league. Then we had the task of replacing 4 other starters (Dietz, Vellis, Chuck & Setti) from last year’s squad. Not an easy thing to do. We went outside the league and brought in some guys that should and have fit very nicely into the Budmen lineup. But enough about us, guys who know me, know that I could talk about the Budmen for hours and NO ONE wants to hear that.
Cheers & Jeers
Cheers – To everyone who was involved in getting that beautiful sign on the first base fence commemorating Gary K. field. Very nice touch.
Jeers – To Mike “helluva nice guy” LaMendola for not wearing either of his Jets Jerseys in any of the first 3 games. We love Hefty Smurf and the Great Pumpkin.
Cheers – To Tommy “whizzer” Carlock on the work he did in getting the new and improved RPSA website up and running. Another EXCELLENT A+.
Jeers – To Hitmen Skipper, Tom “Aceburger” Burke. Please, Please wear some sort of a T-shirt under your hitmen jersey. You were scaring the little kids. At least hit a tanning bed or something.
Jeers – To Tommy Carlock for allowing Witt and Chris Choi to parade their torrid love affair on the RPSA message board for all of us to suffer through. Whizzer, block them out.
And last but not least
Cheers- To Bogie B, yes Bogie B (not F anymore until he umps a game) for creating those great RPSA patches in memory of Garo. I hope that all members of the RPSA purchase one and wear them on their jerseys. WE MISS YOU GARO.
So , I know this was a rather long Diamond Dust but I figured the first one after the start of the season should be as informative as possible. Things are shaping up for a terrific RPSA season and the competition is the best I have seen in my short tenor in the league. Mr. Randy Lewis will most likely continue his job as Diamond Dust journalist, but I will fill in from time to time. Good luck to all the RPSA teams for a healthy and safe 2005 Season.
Diamond Dust 6/8/05 - By: Randy Lewis
Diamond Dust 6/8/05
Well, we are just about halfway through the season and contrary to what was written in the previous Diamond Dust there aren’t a whole lot of surprises insofar as the teams who many expected to be occupying the top six spots are in fact occupying those spots. There will be some jostling for position, but I think many feel that the playoff participants will be the same six teams represented at the top of today’s standings. The Sharks took hold of the top spot this week by thumping the Longhorns for the second time this season. The Horns share the number two spot with Big Red but the Zoo is right there ready to leapfrog both of these teams should either falter in any way. Those filthy Vultures hold a half game lead over the Lounge (the team everybody hates) for fifth place. The Hitmen, Guns, and Jets are only three games out of the sixth playoff spot but it feels like it would take a streak like that of the 1947 Yankees for any of them to get back into the mix.
Jumpers: The jumping period has come and gone with very little activity to report. The Filthy Vultures have acquired the services of RPSA elder Jim Holsworth, who brings his softball savvy and wisdom to a team (with all due respect) that could clearly use some leadership. The Longhorns acquired the services of RPSA veteran and webmaster Tom Carlock. With the jump Carlock went from last place to first place overnight. Following the jump, the Longhorns fell out of first place. Could Tommy Carlock be “the mush”? Time will tell, but if the Jets start climbing and the Horns head south, I think Mr. Carlock will have a tough time finding a place to play in 2006. The most intriguing news of the jumping period is what didn’t happen. Dave “Big Daddy Longball” Searles stayed put. Amidst allegations of late night phone calls and backdoor dealings the burly slugger decided to grow roots and honor his contract with the Orange & Aqua. There is likely no one more surprised by this lack of movement than Dave himself.
All-Star Friday: The Annual All-Star Game will be played on Friday 7/1. The format will once again be Pub vs. Zoo with the Lounge (we hate em) playing on the side of the Zoo. There are yet some details to be worked out for All-Star Friday but we do know that there will be beer (mmmmm….beeeer) and the HR Derby contest will take place again. There will likely be a 7 swing (or 2.5 minute) max this year as opposed to last years’ 10 swing (unlimited time) format. We will once again allow the first 20 “PAID” players to participate. If you would like to sign up, instructions on how to do so will be posted on the RPSA message board before the end of this week. Early odds will be posted once we are aware of the participants but are subject to change on Derby Day.
- Why do we hate on the Lounge, let me count the ways:
1) We hate on them because they don’t show up to league meetings
2) We hate on them because they don’t update their stats
3) We hate on them because they don’t clean up their dugout after games
4) We hate on them because OG says we do
5) Why not?
- Note to the Jets: Can we please bring back the
- DD Cover Curse: Thank you Jeff Traverso for featuring the Longhorns in the title of your Diamond Dust article. Since then we’ve lost two games and squeaked out a one run win in the bottom of the ninth against the Hitmen. Jerkoff!!
- The votes are in: In the closest contest since the Budmen – Zoo finals of 2000 Chris Choi has been named the message boards “Most Punishing Member”. He narrowly beat out Witt for the honor. This was no easy feat, as one must be adept at making inane posts and then responding to them yourself. The contest could not have been any closer but what gave G-Nuts the victory was the fact that about 20% of all Witt posts were indecipherable. Hey Witt, R.I.F.
- Choi Choi Choi: We all owe Chris Choi many thanks for his tireless efforts to maintain the field. Choi has worked on the field after each game he’s been in attendance for and the impact has been quite noticeable. Many thanks Choi, you’ll be missed (click on link): http://www.aarrgghh.com/no_way/deereSex.htm
That is all.
Diamond Dust 7-13-05 by Dan Breslin
With roughly two weeks to go in the 2005 season, we are headed for one helluva good playoff year. As in year’s past, the Big 3 seem to be fighting it out for the coveted 1&2 seeds, which also allows each team the luxury of a bye in the first round. However, there is a monkey in the wrench, because the Hook em Horns can still definitely find themselves in 1st or 2nd place when this is all said and done. But this year there is something to think about regarding that first round bye. It has clearly been addressed that the playoffs will start on Monday August 1st due to the last week of July being scheduled for any and all rain outs that need to be played. So if a team lands the #1 seed and they have no rains out to be made up, they can actually go 2 full weeks without playing a game. Everyone knows that not playing for 2 weeks can seriously add some rust even to the most polished of ball players.
As I have said in the first paragraph of the Dust, the Zoo, the Sharks and the Budmen seem to be headed for a dog fight for those all important first round byes. The 101 longhorns still have a shot to gain one of those two spots but Manager T mother F-ing P will need all his players down at Gary K. field and get a many W’s as they can. There are some very interesting matchups still left in the season. The Zoo and the Sharks have a double header scheduled for this Friday and if either team sweeps that could be a huge momentum swing regarding the top 2 spots. I am sure there will be many Budmen and Horns down at the field for that twin bill. The Vultures and Jets still have 2 games left against one another and those are going to be 2 must win games for the men of Aqua and Orange because they are still fighting for their playoff lives.
The Longhorns have tremendous talent but they seem to also have some trouble fiding enough playing time for everyone on the roster. TP has, on a couple occasions, had to place himself and others on the bench in order to get everyone time. I believe if TP can get his lineup set and get big Albie Roman playoff eligible, they will make some noise in the playoffs.
The Jets have been playing inspired ball lately and I believe with the addition of Jaime Compesi in CF and of course league miminum Dave Searles, Johnny Way will have the Jets flying high for their strectch run. Dola, please wear the orange shirt one time this year.
The Vultures are still sitting pretty for a 5 or 6 seed but their play as of late would have people wondering what happened to the men of the claw. After setting huge, almost impossible off season goals, Bogie B is faced with a lot of questions. Can they rebound from last year’s playoff lost and try to make it to the 2nd round? Can he keep all the players on his roster happy by finding them all playing time? Only time will tell.
The Lounge 2028 is, in my opinion, the team you do not want to play in a short series. They demonstrate ridiculous offensive power when they have their A squad and can easily take the first 2 games of a best out of 3 series. Anthony and OG have played solid D up the middle and with Monte in the 3 slot, they possess one of the most potent 2-3-4 punch in the league. And let’s not forget about the RPSA Home Run Champion Fran Wilson. They can score runs at will, but the main question remains – Who will Anthony have in the lineup for the playoffs?
The Zoo is certainly at the top of its game and clearly playing the best ball in the RPSA. With Steve C, Kirk Bleich, Tom Carey, and RPSA rookie of the Year (I think he is a rookie) Tom Howard all hitting in the 600’s, their lineup is sick. Utility player Bob Kilmurray is having a great season and all the games I have watched, he has been a model of consistency all year. If they carry this momentum into the playoffs, they might be able to stop the Sharks run at their 5th consecutive title.
The Budmen have retooled the Big Red Machine and with their new additions they have seen no affects from the loss of 5 key players. Mark “silky smooth” Rios is having a tremendous year both in the field, which was expected but also at the plate. He is hitting to all fields and coming up with big hits every time its needed. Dave Lobello is on fire hitting .660 and Bobby Witt has reverted back to his 10 time MVP days with one hell of a season. AND YES THE BUDMEN STILL HAVE MIKE DODDS; ENOUGH SAID.
And The Sharks. The sharks are the sharks, still the team to beat and will be until at the end of the year, another team is holding the trophy. They are lead by their strong nucleus and let’s not forget Patty “all I do is win” Kensak. Petey Koop, Craig Paskas and Mike Stevens look to lead the Sharks to their 5th straight RPSA title, which would tie the record set by , I believe Viva Roma (will check on that).
Home Run Derby
The 2005 Home Run Derby was a huge success with 20 RPSA players participating. There were several big time hitters in the contest and in the end, Fran Wilson was standing alone as the Champion. It was a 3 man battle in the finals between Frannie, Regan (Lounge) and Tom Howard (Zoo). Tom went in as the leader with 5 in the first round and elected to go last. Fran wound up winnig after belting 3 HR’s to win the derby. Thanks to Randy Lewis who headed up the derby and the field crew for getting Gary K. field ready for the contest.
The 2005 RPSA all-star game saw the Zoo stars winning for the 2nd staright year, 22-18. Now, the overall game was exciting and the talent on the field was the best that the RPSA has to offer, BUT we saw one thing that was the deciding factor in this game. Patty K. clearly out coached the Pub’s Mike Dodds, who in a word – HORRIBLE. With the talent he had on the Pub team, you would think there would be no way to screw this up. Well Dodds found a way and the kicker; after being a class act and giving up his spot to Eddie “I love getting drunk at the all star game” Ahearn, he had the nerve to put himself in the game and get an at bat. Dodds, you should be ashamed of yourself. To the all-stars, great job and Congrats to the Zoo.
The 2005 season is heading towards a fantastic finish in which we will more than likely see some classic battles in the playoffs. Every team that makes the playoffs, whether they are the #1 seed or the #6 seed, has a legitimate shot at winning the title. The Sharks are looking to keep their consecutive streak alive, but I can tell you being a member of the Big Red, everyone is itching at the chance to call themselves the 2005 RPSA champions. Good luck to all the teams.
Diamond Dust with Dan "Back it in Beep Beep Beep" Bres
The Budmen grabbed the 1 seed, by which many (mostly Longhorns) have said we backed into the 1 seed, and even provided myself and others with a lovely beep, beep, beep chant similiar to those of a truck backing up. very nice touch fellas. The Zoo came in as the #2 seed after posting a 17-7 record, same as the Sharks but owned the season series.
Now here is a look at the first round matchups.
| #3 Sharks vs. #6 Lounge - This is a huge series for both the Sharks and the Lounge and i think the story line here has to be the fact the Anthony and OG, as everyone knows, were members of the last couple championship teams and decided to bring the lounge into the RPSA leaving the Sharks an enormous hole to fill. The Sharks are still the 4 time defending champs and have to be the favorites to repeat once again. HOWEVER, the loss of Robbie Millner to a broken ankle, I BELIEVE IN A CO-ED GAME, and the fact that Menicola and OG will be in the opposing dugout, Patty k has his work cut out for him. He still has the solid nucleus of The Paskas boys, Petey Koop, Broderick and Stevens so i am not going to start questioning them just yet. |
The lounge comes into the playoffs on a hot streak by running the table and winning every must have game to reach the playoffs. Anthony has his A squad eligible for August, but we will have to wait and see if he can get his guys down to the field each and every game. I have a feeling that Ant can be pretty d**n persuasive when he has to be and with Monte, OG, Fran and Regan playing very well lately, the will look to make some noise. I have said it already, they are the one team i would not want to play in a short series. *side note- thanks to Ant and the irrigation system he installed, the field should be in great shape for the playoffs.
| #4 Longhorns vs. #5 Jets- In this matchup we have one of the original franchises in the league going up against a first year squad (mostly RPSA players though). The Longhorns are a ridiculously stacked teamed when they have all their guys at the field. HOWEVER, TP has told me on occasion that guys are more worried about their playing time then they are about putting the best team on the field. TP has handled the situation beautifully this year and has gotten enough playing time for everyone and i believe they have about 14-15 guys eligible to play. With Malfetti, Howie, Espo, Big Ray and the others they have a great shot a winning the whole thing. BUT, there is a fly in the ointment here for TP. Albie Roman will possibly miss some time due to work and Randy "i hate the budmen" Lewis expecting his first child could be out also, that is 2 tough guys to lose.
The Jets are riding a 7 game winning streak and after a stretch of the season where many counted them out, they find themselves in the #5 seed. Johnny Way has been given the full time coaching job and has done wonders with the Jets lineup. Newcomer Jaime Compesi can flat out play. He is definitely making a name for himself in the RPSA. Tony Anstatt seems to have regained his form and Dave Marinaro looks like the professional hitter we have all come to know. With Dola on the mound and the leadership of veterans such as Teddy M and Matt Lewondowski, the jets could be in position to pull off a huge upset over the longhorns. The Hook em Horns swept the jets in the regular season but this is not the same team that played in those games.
ODDS - (for those gambleholics out there)
Sharks - even
Budmen - 2-1
Zoo - 2-1
Horns - 5-1
Jets - 7-1
Even though the sharks are actually the #3 seed, until they are defeated you have to put them as the favorites.
Good luck to the Sharks, Horns, Jets and Lounge.
Season Ending Diamond Dust by Jeff Traverso
Paskas and freinds jump to Lounge!!! Sharks may be in trouble!
This development has created many questions concerning the 2006 RPSA season, not only for the Shark franchise, but for possibly 3 other franchises as well! After the Paskas move was officially confirmed, Coach Kensek openly stated that if he couldn't add 2-3 quality players for next season, he may have to fold the legendary Shark franchise!
I personally would be deeply saddened to not have a Shark franchise in this league, but apparently some of the players they are pursuing are also in discussions with 2 or 3 other teams. I'm sure I don't have to spell this out for everyone but some coaches and players have asked to keep this information confidential for the time being and I will respect those requests.
It appears that the Zoo/Hitmen/Jets/Lounge and the Budmen are all solid heading into next season, while the other 4 clubs have huge question marks! Although Longhorn Owner/Coach Tony Perrone has confirmed that his squad will be back, one has to wonder what the Horns will look like after a season of early hope turned into a season of turmoil. Rumors have some key members leaving the Horns in search of greener pastures.
Nick Manieri has infromed me that his Guns will be back for next year and that he is adding the necessary players to field a full and very competitive team. However, those may be the same players that are in negotiations with 2 or 3 other clubs so nothing is a done deal as of today!
The Vultures appear to be the key player in all of these moves-Obviously, the players in question are currently Vultures and may actually remain wth the club depending on a few variables, but upper management became a huge problem for the Vultures this season. After Bill Mcgroarty handed over ownership to Pete Bougades this season, Bogie quickly decided running a team wasn't for him and he handed over the team to a reluctant Rocky Renaudo. Rock also did not enjoy running the club and one could just sense that the Vultures were a team divided. The league still recognizes Pete Bougades as the franchise owner so things may get very interesting over the winter.
Speaking of ownership of franchises, this may become an important factor during the off-season so I want to list the current owners so there are no surprises:
I would like to do a review of this season very soon but I felt this information concerning our future in the RPSA was more importatnt at this time.
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