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“Lefty” Hits a Home Run at SBA Dinner

Syosset Baseball Association’s 55th season serving the community with youth baseball came to a close on Monday, Nov. 2 with the Annual Awards dinner held at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury

Each year, this year-end event highlights the accomplishments of the season’s 9-12 year old Divisions with awarding of their trophies for their spring intramural season accomplishments, as well as acknowledging the participation of all Syosset Baseball Association travel players for the 8-12 year old Divisions.

The evening kicked off under the umbrella of Game 5 of the World Series with the Yankees playing the Philadelphia Phillies. This didn’t seem to dampen the spirits and attendance of the over 400 players and parents who attended the event. The Blackberries were in full gear throughout the evening reporting scores and updates as the buffet opened for everyone to enjoy their dinner.

As this evening was prior to Election Day, Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and several of his team members joined the festivities and wished everyone in attendance a fulfilled evening.

President of Syosset Baseball Association, Rob Jolson opened up and welcomed everyone attending and immediately identified that the guest speaker for the evening would be Hall of Fame Pitcher Steve Carlton. Mr. Carlton, although it wasn’t shown on television the evening before at Game 4, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the World Series game in Philadelphia. Immediately the following morning, Mr. Carlton made his journey north to Syosset to be with Syosset Baseball Association for their Awards Dinner during Game 5. To help all in attendance understand the baseball icon theywould have the pleasure and opportunity to share their evening with, a stat sheet of Mr. Carlton’s career accomplishments were circulated throughout the tables to help facilitate questions being asked by the players in attendance.

Steve Carlton career highlights: 4,136 strikeouts…fourth all-time behind Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson, second as a lefty behind Randy Johnson; 329 career wins, second behind Warren Spahn for lefties; 4 Cy Young Awards, 10 All-Star appearances among others.

After a short introduction of himself, the conversation turned to the audience for a barrage of questions from eager SBA players with some great questions on his career, position, and background. Mr. Carlton was extremely responsive back to the kids with in-depth replies sharing stories of his historic career leading to his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1994 and visits like this one throughout the United States. He shared his insight on many topics as the array of questions were put forth. One question was, his 300-win accomplishment and would we witness another 300+ Major League Baseball pitcher. In reply, with the game changing as it has, Mr. Carlton feels that we’ve seen the last of the 300+ career win pitchers. Other questions ranging from what position he played in little league, his favorite catcher, favorite pitch, the ongoing current steroid issue in baseball, were just some of the many questions that Mr. Carlton graciously responded to.

Upon completion of the question/ answer session, Mr. Carlton took to a meet and greet, again accommodating photo opportunities where asked by players as they received a signed Philadelphia Phillies photo of Mr. Carlton signed with the HOF ’94 inscription on it as the keepsake memory of sharing their evening with this great baseball player.

Throughout the evening raffles were plentiful with complimentary raffles provided by The Great American Baseball Company for a complimentary week of baseball instruction at Syosset during their week in August 2010, 2 books- compliments of The Great American Baseball Academy signed by Special Advisor to George Steinbrenner, Mr. Ray Negron “ONE LAST TIME, SNY apparel, The New York Islanders with 4 complimentary tickets to an upcoming game in the 2009-2010 hockey season, a goodie bag from The New York Mets including a World Series DVD and a goodie bag from The Long Island Ducks including a signed baseball from Ron Flores. A special thank you to all of these organizations for their generous donations to our Annual Awards Dinner.

A silent auction of sports memorabilia was ongoing throughout the evening under the direction of Steiner Sports including game used items from Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, a signed Joe Namath regulation size helmet, framed autographed photos, a signed deck board signed by Tony Hawk, among other items.

The Syosset Jericho Tribune and The Syosset Advance provided complimentary copies of their current publication to Syosset Baseball Association to distribute to all attendees, which featured articles on the 2009 A Year in Review for each attendee to take home with them as another keepsake of their great year and accomplishments in the 2009 intramural season at Syosset Baseball Association.

A special raffle was available for all in attendance for an opportunity to have a hitting instruction lesson from New York Yankees Batting Instructor, Mr. Kevin Long. Those in attendance were all notified of the winners with the understanding that this date would take place in the spring 2010 season at Mr. Long’s schedule once the 2010 schedule is finalized and his time would be available for providing this instruction to the designated winners. Congratulations to the winners that will be enjoying this memorable professional instruction from Mr. Long: Brendan Moran, Aram Moghaddassi, Jake Ritter, Matt Anez, Justin Zak and Ryan Root.

Lastly, the trophies for all Divisions were handed out to our 9-12 year old Divisions, travel participation plaques for all 8-12 year old players and a President’s Sportsmanship Plaque awarded to 2 10-Year-Old Division teams that played through 3 days and 13 innings in a playoff game.

As the conclusion of the evening drew closer, it became apparent that everyone in attendance would be going home to watch the World Series Game 5’s conclusion with the Yankees on the short end of the score.

It’s now time to turn toward the 2010 season as registration for 2010 has opened up on-line and registration forms will be mailed out and available on-line for download for any mail-in opportunities. Syosset Baseball Association during this registration time encourages, looks forward to, an asks anyone who would like to volunteer their time to Manage or Coach as well as sponsor a team, to please advise accordingly on the registration form or send an e-mail to Syosset Baseball Association with their request.

It won’t be long before Pitchers and Catcher’s report and SBA will be launching the 56th year of serving the Syosset/ Woodbury communities with youth baseball. We are presently working on putting together our 2010 year and will have evaluation details as they become available for our 9-12 year old Divisions as well as other 2010 season details.

Events for Syosset Baseball Association can be found on their website www.syossetbaseball.org.