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October 03, 2003 - Image 116

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-03

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Sunday Morning Game Celebrates 25 years

Special to the Jewish News


ick-up baseball has a long tradition in the
U.S. But you won't find many, if any,
pick-up softball games with a 25-year his-
Indeed, neither Cliff Walkon nor Barry Leder
knew they were starting a tradition when they
formed a weekly pick-up game in Southfield in
1978. "We were looking to play ball with no obliga-
tions," says Walkon. "We wanted a casual game that
was just for fun. So we called a few friends and the
game got its start."
The games, now played at Drake Field in West
Bloomfield, begin with the first warm Sunday in the
spring and end when autumn's chill is too much to
bear. About 36 mostly-Jewish players participate.
Over the years, the original players merged with a
group led by Carl Brown, Neale Stone and Andy
Blinder. Don Rudick, Marty Levin, Jeff
Weinberger and Kevin Sack joined when their regu-
lar game ended.
"Everybody looks forward to showing up, playing
ball and then going home to their family for the rest
of the day," says charter member Eddie Lederer. "It
sure beats blowing a whole day on the golf course."
Mike Lipson joined the game five years ago.

"They brought me in with open arms even though I
only knew a few of the guys. It reminds me of the
old days of softball games in Detroit. You go to the
playground and see who's around, choose-up, play
ball and have fun!"
"They're a great bunch of guys, I really enjoy the
relaxed atmosphere," adds Bruce Schlain.
Leder's son, Brent Leder, now 25, attended his
first games in a baby stroller. He soon graduated to
batboy, then joined the game. Today's players range
from 14-year-old Adam Finegood to 82-year-old Iry
"The games are tough. Some hitters put the ball
over the fence, and you'll see some great plays," says
Leder."The difference in this game is we don't care
who wins when it's over, and we rarely argue a play."
"Most of us only see the guys on Sunday morn-
ing," adds Walkon. "Many of us only know each
other by first name. Some show up for a few weeks
a season, some show up every week. You never know
what you're gonna get. But we get a good, competi-
tive game just about every week."
"We've been lucky," says Leder, "For 25 years,
good friends, good baseball and great times. It's been
much more than a game for us all."
Senior forward Abby Urnovitz is wrapping up a
four-year basketball career at Berkley, including two
years on the varsity. Jenna Nusholtz plays on

Berkley's JV squad and Lindsay Acker is on the
freshman team.
In addition to the six Jewish Lakers previously
mentioned in this column, West Bloomfield's varsity
football team also includes senior starting guard
Jeremy Zaks, and junior two-way lineman Ryan

The hometown Detroit Bashers and Motor City
Hit Men both made good showings in the 14-team
B'nai B'rith Labor Day international softball tourna-
ment. The Bashers eventually beat the Hit Men in
the semi-finals, 32-19. But the visiting Montreal
Metro International edged the Bashers in a 16-14
Katie Solomon captured the women's club cham-
pionship at Franklin Hills Country Club. The men's
champ was J.J. Modell. Tam O'Shanter's men's
champion is Daniel Gordon. Lynda Thal won the
women's title. Other Tam champs include Gary
Cohen (men's senior), Barbara Pianin (women's sen-
ior) and Kory West (junior).
Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit's co-ed
cross country team has begun its season. Tryouts for
the girl's basketball team will be held Oct. 14-15. ❑

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