HICKSVILLE, N.Y (CBSNewYork) — Baseball fans know the Major League all-star game was played Tuesday night, in Miami.
But some truly veteran ballplayers say the real all-star game was held Wednesday on Long Island.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the Bristal Assisted Living All-Stars lined up for the national anthem on a field in Hicksville. They’re in their 70s and 80s and long retired from their careers, but still feel like the boys of summer on their own personal field of dreams.
“It’s a lot of camaraderie, a lot of fun, fortunately our bodies allow us to do this, so why not take advantage of it,” Bernie Rosen said.
Some of them can still hit, like Leo Ionna who blasted a deep drive over the right-fielder’s head and chugged around the bases for an inside the park home run.
“I’m glad I made it,” he said.
This ear, the Bristal All Stars donned Yankees and Dodgers hats to honor the 40th anniversary of Yankee legend Reggie Jackson’s three consecutive home runs against the Dodgers to clinch the 1977 World Series.
When the umpire ruled that a ground ball was turned into a double play, the Yankees manager did his best Billy Martin impression.
“Are you kidding me, he was safe!” the skipper shouted.
With surveys saying the youngest generation is badly out of shape, these ageless ballplayers credit a different mindset from a different era.
“Growing up in Brooklyn, this is what we did before TV. We put our books down and went outside and we played stickball, or punch ball or whatever,” Al Bonfardino said.
When the last out is recorded, they have a special way to celebrate.
“We get together with the guys. We don’t go to bars anymore. We go to delis and get something nice like sodas. The beer’s later,” Joe Ditaranto said.
Unlike the 77 series, this time the Dodgers beat the Yankees 4-2.