“We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

LONG ISLAND, NY – We are in the second half of the baseball season and many of you out there can say that your teams are in the playoff hunt. Even those that aren’t, have enough time to go on a Rockie-like tear and sprint to the finish. So, every game counts. Every play is important. Across our great nation, fanatics from California to Ohio to Massachusetts and Florida, sweat out every swing, curse every called strike and lobby for the death penalty as punishment for errors. In places like Milwaukee, Denver, Detroit, Arlington and Chi-town, sports radio shows are brimming with phoned-in trades, suggested demotions and lineup changes. People rooting in Philly, Seattle, Houston, Cincinnati or – dare we say? – New York demand success, damn the high ticket prices and holler for benchings and firings. Suffice to say, the pressure of the post-season tournament is officially in a higher gear and only a privileged few will qualify.

What separates the men from the boys? What gets your team in and sends ours home? Well, a group of septuagenarians from Long Island has the answer…. FUNDAMENTALS.

“Why, it’s elementary my dear Watson. It’s elementary.” Sherlock Holmes, describing the level of play of certain teams to Bob Watson.

Sal Frosina pitches to Joe Friedman at Baldwin Park. (Photo by Joel Cairo of Newsday / July 14, 2009)

As reported yesterday in the local papers, a group of 70+ year-old ballplayers with a cumulative total of more than 1,400 years in experience, were so disgusted with a certain NY Metropolitan dropping a game-losing pop-up against a certain American League team from the Bronx, that they decided to reintroduce MLB’s finest to the virtues of fundamental baseball. The Bristal All-Stars, replete with dentures, pace-makers and a definite joie de vivre, decided to put the fun back in fundamentals and send an instructional video to their beloved NY Mess, uh… Mets.

They cover everything from touching the bases to catching fly balls, eschewing these basic – or fundamental principles:
Don’t admire long drives.

  • Run out ground balls.
  • Use two hands when catching pop-ups.
  • Never showboat on the field.
  • Call for outfield flies with authority.
  • Know how to bunt.
  • Back up plays, especially at the plate.
  • Put your body in front of grounders.
  • Tag up.
  • “When I was growing up, if you didn’t know the game, you didn’t play. I was that simple.”Mr. Sal Frosina, 71, on the loss of the aforementioned standards on today’s players.

    Gosh, that makes sense, doesn’t it? Could you imagine the change in your team if its Management eschewed the teachings of fundamentals to the point that players didn’t play if they didn’t know them? Living in a city in which the local National League representatives have missed the post-season two years running by one game – on the last day of the regular season – fundamentals mean everything… Just ask Lou Castillo.

    Grote2DMax tomorrow…

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