Love the Huddle
On Stickball Boulevard in The Bronx, old timers revive New York’s classic street game, and bring a few youngsters along for the ride.
It’s day two of the 2013 Emperor’s Stickball League Memorial Day Tournament on Stickball Boulevard in the Bronx. The sidewalk is lined with beach chairs and benches. Hundreds of people are there to watch the games—relaxing in the sun, but staying wary of zipping rubber balls and bats tossed by burly Hispanic men motoring to first base. There’s chicken and rice, empanadas and beer. Salsa music pumps out of two speakers, each with a red stencil of a stickball batter painted on it. Some people dance on the sidewalk. Others chat about the days when they were younger over old photos of chiseled teenagers glistening with sweat, laughing loud at the memories.
But the players on the blacktop wear scowls. One belongs to Ricardo Torres, Jr., nineteen, batting for the Bronx Emperors, the reigning tournament champions who’ve also gone undefeated so far this weekend. Though already well ahead in this game of self-hit stickball, a Bronx tradition in which players toss the bal…