Colonie Wiffle Ball still alive and well through pandemic

Sports

COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There will be World Series games in New York in 2020.

That’s thanks to Colonie Wiffle ball. Even a pandemic couldn’t stop a league that started playing ball back in 1976.

“We’ve said on many occasions before all this, this didn’t need to happen,” Mike Ilyadis said. “But everyone else said we’ve got nothing else to do.”

“We’re grateful that we were able to lock down a set of rules, make sure everyone is staying safe, staying within the COVID rules and everything like that, and get a season in,” Anthony LaValley said.

“People gotta wear masks, people gotta wear gloves at the plate, and we separate balls so similar – the same pitchers aren’t touching the same balls,” Ilyadis said. “Everybody is using their own bats.”

This storied wiffle ball league managed to get 45 games in here at Ilyadis Field, and that’s nothing. They’ve done over 100 games before in a season, and they’ve got the stats for all of them.

“My dad and a lot of the neighbors around here actually grew up playing ball against neighborhood kids and they would play against rival streets,” Ilyadis said. “When they did that kind of stuff they kept stats, they played World Series, playoff games and they played out in the streets.”

“As you pass somebody on the list who played in 1970, 1980 and you have more homeruns than him it’s just a cool, cool thing to say ‘Oh I passed this guy who used to play 20 years ago,'” LaValley said.

“Credit to Mike. He’s put a lot of hard work into this,” Anthony Gadani said. “Prepping the field, we’ve added cameras the past couple years, we have a Youtube channel, our Instagram is really budding.”

It still comes back to one main goal for Colonie Wiffle ball.

“Basically it’s just about love of the game,” Ilyadis said. “It’s about bragging rights at the end of the year.”

“We just love playing, we really do,” Gadani said. “I mean everybody is good friends and we’re all in a chat, this and that, so we have fun with it.”

“It’s often hard as you get older to get friends, to get family and stuff like that together, and this gives us an excuse to see each other five, six, seven times a week,” Ilyadis said.


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