San Diego stickball: Sidewalk Slammers vs. Street Rookies!

Players prepare to go to bat during a stickball tournament in San Diego's Little Italy.
Players prepare to go to bat during a stickball tournament in San Diego’s Little Italy.

A stickball tournament was held today in San Diego’s Little Italy. I watched one game between the Sidewalk Slammers and Street Rookies, and was able to snap a bunch of action photos. Sometimes these tournaments include teams from New York, but I was told that the five teams today were all local. Stickball has become a very cool downtown San Diego tradition!

Young player on the Sidewalk Slammers team takes a swing during the early innings of a fungo-style stickball game.
Young player on the Sidewalk Slammers team takes a swing during the early innings of a fungo-style stickball game.
A teammate is ready to strike the bounced rubber ball with a taped wooden broom handle. Lots of people were watching on either side of Columbia Street.
A teammate is ready to strike the bounced rubber ball with a taped wooden broom handle. Lots of people were watching on either side of Columbia Street.
Stickball fans watch the action while seated or standing. Music, drink and good times on the sidewalk in front of The Firehouse Museum in Little Italy.
Stickball fans watch the action while seated or standing. Music, drink and good times on the sidewalk in front of The Firehouse Museum in Little Italy.
Halfway through the 3rd inning and the Sidewalk Slammers trail the Street Rookies.
Halfway through the 3rd inning and the Sidewalk Slammers trail the Street Rookies.
Members of the Street Rookies, in yellow shirts, watch as their offense tries to score more runs.
Members of the Street Rookies, in yellow shirts, watch as their offense tries to score more runs.
He calls himself a Street Rookie? This guy hits the ball really hard. A line drive far down the city block.
He calls himself a Street Rookie? This guy hits the ball really hard. A line drive far down the long city block.
A runner scores by touching the chalk home plate, and the Street Rookies extend their lead.
A runner scores by touching the chalk home plate, and the Street Rookies extend their lead.
The next batter prepares to bounce the rubber ball before swinging. This type of self-pitched stickball is called fungo.
The next batter prepares to bounce the rubber ball before swinging. I learned that self-pitching the ball is technically called fungo.
Another hit! Fans go wild! A downtown San Diego street makes for a very unusual stadium.
Another hit! Fans go wild! A downtown San Diego street makes for a very unusual stadium.
Time out! A car is pulling out of a parking garage and into the asphalt outfield. During the action, pedestrians and onlookers are sometimes in the field of play.
Time out! A car is pulling out of a parking garage and into the asphalt outfield. During the action, pedestrians, dogs and onlookers are sometimes in the field of play.
Three teammates take the field at the top of a new inning. A great game is underway.
Three teammates take the field at the top of a new inning. A great game is underway.
An athletic move and lightning fast throw. If I recall, the play was very close and the runner was nearly out.
An athletic move and lightning fast throw. If I recall, the play was very close and the runner was nearly tagged out.
Another defensive play. A Sidewalk Slammers runner is safe at second base.
Another defensive play. A Sidewalk Slammers runner has safely made second base.
Another time out! The KUSI television van is leaving the scene. They had several live shots of the local stickball tournament this morning.
Another time out! The KUSI television van is leaving the scene. They had several live shots of the local stickball tournament this morning.
Someone watches the game from high up on their balcony. I believe hitting a fly into a building is considered a foul. Unlike baseball, a foul or a strike is called out. Tough rules.
Someone watches the game from high up on their balcony. I believe hitting a fly into a building is considered a foul. Unlike baseball, a foul or a strike is called out. Tough rules.
Some fielding action on the sidewalk right in front of me! Fortunately, I didn't manage to get in the way.
Some fielding action on the sidewalk right in front of me! Fortunately, I didn’t manage to get in the way.
Chasing the ball! A game played primarily in the Northeastern United States is being enjoyed several thousand miles away!
Chasing the ball! A game played primarily in the Northeastern United States is being enjoyed several thousand miles away!
Encouragement and friendship on the streets of San Diego.
Encouragement and friendship on the not-so-mean streets of San Diego.
This game is over. The members of both teams exchange high fives. Good sportsmanship and fun.
This game is over. The members of both teams exchange high fives. Good sportsmanship and fun. That’s San Diego style!
The Sidewalk Slammers get a team photo. Five local teams are competing in this tournament.
The Sidewalk Slammers get a team photo. Five local teams are competing in this tournament.
And here is the final score. Sidewalk Slammers 5. Street Rookies 12.
And here is the final score. Sidewalk Slammers 5. Street Rookies 12.
Watching a Memorial Day weekend game of stickball in San Diego's Little Italy.
People enjoy watching a Memorial Day weekend game of stickball in Little Italy.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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