During the opening day ceremony Douglas "Dougie" Ruiz took the mic to announce this season will be his final season as a player in the NYESL.
"As the start of the Bronx Stickball season is to start in 2 days, I would like to announce to my Stickball community that I am retiring from Stickball at the end of the season making it my last year playing in the NYESL. I first placed a stickball bat in my hands in the spring of 1967 when my brother Roy took me to play in the playground of Patterson Projects in the Bronx, New York. It was not until my family moved across town that I began playing regularly as a 10-year-old in 1972 at the schoolyard of PS 47. It was there that I learned to play all 4 facets of the game of stickball off the wall( single, double, triple, home run) fast pitching in (known today as MSL Major Stickball League) one bounce pitching in(played in East Harlem back in the day) and hitting by yourself what we all play today. Through the years I have had the pleasure of playing and competing against past, present, and future greats of the game. To the younger generation that is playing the game today, may the game bring to you the same joy and pleasant experience it brought me. As it was told to me when I was a young player, Douggie, keep the game alive and teach the next group of kids that come up behind you the game of stickball and keep the tradition of this game alive. May you be as good to the game of stickball as it has been to you. I love this game and everything it entails, competitiveness, bragging rights, and trash-talking. I will see you all on Sunday as I begin the countdown to my final at-bat where I will lay down my bats and headband and say my goodbyes. God Bless and stay safe." - Doug
As an era comes to an end another begins as two players who grew up on the boulevard made their big league stickball debut. Tyler Creales, son of Vido Creales, made his big league debut for the Thunder as he recorded his first big league hit. Another future young star Jacob DeJesus, son of Joseph DeJesus Jr., was called up from the Taino family farm system. It's going to be great watching these two young stars grow within the game.