They’re sticking with it!
Brooklynites can get a taste of the street game stickball on July 9, when fans of the old-timey ball game face off in a match before a Cyclones game at MCU Park. Stickball was popular in the first half of the 20th century and waned after, but the game is still alive and well in Kings County — and this stint in Coney Island can only create more buzz, according to the event’s organizer.
“The game itself has a rich tradition not only in Brooklyn, but in New York City,” said Jay Cusato. “We want this game to keep going, we want it to live on, and we hope this event does get people interested and hopefully they come out and pick it up too.”
Cusato, a Brooklyn native who lives in Park Slope, is also the director of the short documentary “When Broomsticks Were King,” which will play on the park’s enormous screens after the stickball match.
The game is similar to baseball, but is played in the street with a broomstick and rubber ball, which made the game more accessible to kids without regulation bats and gloves.
This is the second Stickball Day at MCU Park, and Cusato said that the inaugural event helped bring a wave of youngsters to participate in the game.
“Once kids who don’t know what it is see what it’s all about, they jump right in,” he said.
For this year’s game, Cusato’s Brooklyn team will play against the Staten Island club, one of about 10 games they will play this summer, he said. The layout of the match will vary a little from last year’s, said Cusato, in order to more closely mimic playing in a narrow street.
The player and filmmaker hopes that the MCU Park game becomes an ongoing tradition, and that the game becomes so popular in Kings County that the borough can field its own league of teams.
“Everyone on our team is really excited about it,” said Cusato. “We’re hoping it can lead to the type of thing where people every year become attracted to the game of stickball.”
Stickball Day at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (917) 572–2727, www.groupm
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