|The Hot Seat XXIII - Sekander Yosofi|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 17 June 2011|
2) How long have you been a part of the SASL? How did you first get into the league?
Since even before the very beginning. How I got into the league was I when I was at an engagement party (Sol's I believe) and I overheard a few guys talking softball and w/o hesitation I immediately interrupted (not knowing anyone lol) and asked who plays and where and what time yada yada yada. I grew up in Queens and all of my friends were very competitive sports guys including myself and we played baseball religiously, I mean RELIGIOUSLY. No exaggeration, during the summer we'd literally play from sun up to sun down AND THEN some. No rain, sleet or even snow in some days slowed us down lol, and in some cases darkness from the night couldn't deter us ha-ha. Once I moved to Long Island I left my friends and lost all of that. I went a good 4-6 years without playing any real competitive baseball and when I heard softball (even though it's not baseball) I made sure to know where these guys played, and see where it goes. Ramin told me some school but didn't go into specifics (he probably didn't want me to come ha-ha) but I kept asking and someone was nice enough to tell me it was behind Plainview school and he even told me how to get there. I showed up and that is how I got to meet everyone I know today from SASL.
3) Pretty much all your time has been with the Outlaws. Why is that?
When I originally showed up to Plainview, I didn't know a single person there. The one guy who was nice enough to give me directions wasn't even there, but even him I didn't know. Everyone was like who is this kid it felt like. No one seemed too interested in me I guess since I was so skinny they probably didn't think much of me, I don't know, nor did I care. Arby introduced himself and was like let's have a few throws so we did. The first throw he threw I was looking the other way just stretching my arm and by the time I looked back the ball was inches from me and I dropped it ha-ha. After that he probably thought I was some scrub and said ok you can play 1 game, go to RF and you'll be fine. No disrespect to the RF position but it gets the least action and maybe I was put there for that, minimal risk. Ramin came to bat (probably 1 of only 2 or 3 lefties at the time I think), and they wanted to move me but I kept saying I'm fine leave me alone, so he hits a moon shot way over me and I ran it down, dove and caught it just shy of the fence. I don't remember who said it but he said soon after that "Dude, your stock just sky rocketed". After the game I suppose most thought it was a fluke play, Ramin and the Outlaws felt it was good enough to pick me up. Rest is history... I was pretty much an unknown but I knew what I had to offer to any team and was very confident with my talents, and I felt Ramin saw that and decided to pick me up. I'm grateful for it as it led me to have numerous new found friendships throughout the years which I'm grateful for and loyalty goes a long way with me personally.
4) Have you ever been tempted to go to another team?
The only realistic time I saw myself playing for another team was in 2009 when we initially decided to not return due to many of the guys traveling and attendance would have been too much of an issue to overcome. Basically me and a few other Outlaws were suppose to play for Dynasty, but then a few chips came together and I felt (albeit last minute) it was enough to assemble a potentially great 2009 Outlaw squad. So we decided to go that route instead of taking a year off. Dynasty I'm sure was disappointed by it but ultimately I hope they understood where we came from and respected it even though they did get the short end of the stick with what happened. It wasn't with bad intent with how it all unfolded. Unfortunately so many things happened so last minute that devastated us as a team and we basically went from championship mode to rebuild mode, if you will. It was too late to turn back, we moved fwd with a skeleton squad for the entire season. Sonny's wife was expecting his first child, Danny had a freak accident at work tearing ligaments in his throwing arm which required surgery, Ahman moved, Greg was out the picture last minute for most of the season, and the most heart breaking loss was when one of our closest friends David who became very ill, was diagnosed with lymphoblastoma (cancer of the blood) and suddenly passed away shortly after being diagnosed, he was only 23, shook me and the guys who knew David to the core, where softball was no longer on our minds. Personally 'til this day I think of him and miss him, from a talent stand point he would have easily been a top 3-5, 5 tool talent in the league. It was just an extraordinary chain of events that took place almost simultaneously that led to an unsuccessful 2009 season. Nonetheless it was an experience we learned and grew from, and hopefully myself and the few other guys don't have to experience anything like that ever again. Props to Dynasty for being class acts about the whole thing (but I'm sure they were greatly disappointed) and inside I felt bad about it as well. I've also considered creating my own team, but at most it's been a thought I've been kicking around here and there over the years but nothing has lead me to take it more seriously than that so far...
5) You said creating your own team. Aren't you the captain of the Outlaws now?
I am, like I said they were thoughts here and there I was kicking around, but never gained real traction
6) The Outlaws have been a staple of the SASL almost since inception. They have the second most championships in the history of the league behind the Softballers. Do you think the team gets the proper respect or admiration it deserves?
At times I don't think we get enough, and other times I think we get too much of it. I understand we have the 2nd most 'ships in history, but it's not like we have 10 and Softballers have 12 lol, it's Softballers 3, and Outlaws 2, followed by SWAT (1) and Dynasty (1). It's still a relatively young league with many capable teams and if I become complacent as a captain, I risk it reflecting through the team and our guys may fail to perform at their potential because of it, and before you know it, we'll quickly become irrelevant. So there's a lot of effort that goes into ensuring that the team maintains a high level of competitiveness to stay ahead of the curve. Also, we haven't won since 2007. We've taken our lumps the past few seasons and people still fear us, which is flattering I guess; But as more and more seasons go by without winning, the more we become a faint memory, and the less weight our 2 'ships will carry, we're very fortunate in having our core still fully intact with the addition of more great players to help us get back to the promise land. As far as I know we haven't sat on top of the SASL mountain since 2007 and haven't performed consistently well during the last few seasons. I think every team gets it's respect mostly because it seems sometimes everyone just strokes each other's egos and are too PC. I promise you there are certain teams that hate other teams and it's raw, fierce competitiveness when they play, and that's what I love to see. On the message boards however, everyone respects everyone within' reason, Outlaws are no exception to that I think... AGAIN, Outlaws haven't won the championship since 2007, and that's my focus, that needs to change.
7) The Outlaws for some time were referred to as one of the, if not the bad boy team of the league. Do you think this was a fair assessment at any point?
The team is full of guys with big, brash, opinionated personalities. It's funny too because when we first started out, Outlaws was a team full of, well, big, brash, opinionated personalities. With as much the team has changed throughout the years, it still somehow manages to be a team with a very similar overall personality of the original Outlaws. Sometimes things change progressively and you don't really notice until you take a moment, step back and reflect. I can't say that with this team. As the league becomes more competitive guys are willing to change teams and play for people they're not as familiar with. Outlaws from the beginning played with all the different characters we have and succeeded because at the end of the day we were friends, family. The core is still intact but the core has grown to almost the entire team. Our entire team is our core and at the end of the day, we are sincere friends, and we feel like we are a family. We have all the dynamics of a family on our team, good and bad, and I wouldn't trade it for anything... So it doesn't matter what we are labeled as or assessed as by the rest of the league. We all have a special understanding with each other and we're on another level of comradery that can't be matched.
8) Who is the most vocal person on the Outlaws this year?
I'd say a different person steps up every week. Of course I put in my 2 cents before every game and during the game sometimes. But there isn't much I need to say because everyone knows their roles and if anything becomes out of synch, the guys take it upon themselves to call each other out before it even gets to a point where I feel I need to come in and say something... Overall everyone is outspoken, but if I have to pick one person? I guess myself, or Daniel. But Sonny shares his mind, Greg, Manish, Ramin etc. No one is discouraged to speak up. Whatever it takes to motivate, inspire us, we're all ears...
9) This year there have been some ups and downs for you guys. After starting strong with wins against the Ballers and Empire, you went 1-5 against the Pros, SWAT and Wolfpack. Is the team still finding its way?
Every team is always continuing to find its way until it finally does find and wins the championship. No question we started the year out very strong. But it's naive to think that any team can perform at that high of a level for the course of an entire 24-28 game season. The talks of a few guys mentioning how Outlaws may go undefeated how we're the most lethal offense bla bla bla. Maybe it got to our heads a little bit, who knows, but I knew it wasn't going to last forever. I knew we had the toughest first half schedule, since the rainouts, we played top 5 teams in the first 6-7 weeks. We're not a team full of 18 yr olds we got a lil banged up and some guys played out of position because of that, even during the funk we know we can still compete with those guys from top to bottom so I'm not too concerned about it, we're back on a winning track, and that stretch of struggling games will be remembered come playoff time if we get the chance to play any of those teams again. Basically we hit a funk, which will happen over the course of a full season. The key is it hasn't broken us, and we're still standing strong through our toughest stretch. We went 5-5 against the top 5 teams which isn't great, but it's far from terrible. And even then we were banged up, a few guys injured and didn't play. We have a favorable schedule from here on out and we'll look to capitalize on it.
10) For those that don't know, where Ahman Hatami this year? He been a part of the league and the Outlaws for a long time. In fact he was one of the first people to do the Hot Seat.
Dude moved to Dubai 2 years ago. Completely sold out. Outlaws have disowned him. ha-ha (I'm kidding). He really did move to Dubai a couple years back, he comes and plays when he can, hopefully he can contribute something for us this year when he shows up. We still keep him on the roster in case of emergencies, he'll hop on his private jet and come over if we ever need him
11) Speaking of Dubai, most people know the legend or folk story of Shekeeb. The playoff plate appearance rule has been referred to as "The Shekeeb rule". Does he really fly in from Dubai just to make games? Do the Outlaws have that hard a time recruiting that they have to go to international extremes for their roster?
hahahahahaha, that's funny, Shekeeb did not always live in Dubai. Up until however many years ago he lived in the states, went to Hofstra (I think) and lived in Nassau county. He moved for business purposes and even though it may be considered the "Shekeeb" rule, everyone who was a part of the original SASL knows the dude is no ringer, he's just fast, and he's always been an Outlaw before Dubai, during Dubai, and will stay an Outlaw after Dubai. How can someone be disqualified from the playoffs due to him traveling for personal/business purposes at no fault of his own? I understand the minimum AB rule is needed due to ringers and stuff, but Shekeeb became scapegoat for it, but it doesn't bother us or him. He doesn't fly in for just the games, he has a set schedule and whenever he is in the states (usually a few weeks at a time) He spends his Sunday with his softball buddies... Outlaws are only as good as their weakest link. We swept Empire w/o Shekeeb. We've worked hard to assemble a team where when Shekeeb is here or not it wont make or break us; And I'd like to think this year is one of those years where I feel we're a great team w/o him, imagine how we can be WITH him. Brother Zee said it best I think during the opener when poor Shekeeb played after landing at the airport, suffering from a 102 fever, ear infection, only 5 or 6 hrs of sleep, he said something along the lines of "You know you're a pretty good team when Shekeeb is your worst outfielder"
12) Staying on the subject of the Outlaws roster, allot was said about the Outlaws roster in the beginning of the year and the "legitimacy" of some of the players as far as being SA's. Every now and then on the message boards people would make jokes including a 1/50 or 2/25 type comment. What are you thoughts on that?
They're gay, those are my thoughts on it... I came to the league well before the season started about my boy Bobby. Danny is 1/4 Lebo (put an "S" before the "O" lol) and I was told (BY THE LEAGUE) cool beans. So we went on with no issues about it. As a matter of fact it only became an issue when certain teams had an issue about it for competitive reasons obviously. Listen, if the league came to me before the start of the season saying this wont fly, I'd have no beef about it, and that would've been the end of it. That wasn't the case though, and he put in over a months worth of practice (easily over 50 hrs) Paid his team fees, ordered his jersey, even played the first week, and then we come to find out he can't play now that the league decided Danny is considered an NSA and you got to get rid of someone. I think the league only acted on it because there was such an out cry about Outlaws having 4 ringers and yada yada yada. Dude, with a full lineup he's not even a starter on our team, lmao. It potentially sets up a dangerous precedent where if enough ppl %^&*# about a topic that is in their OWN interest, the league will react because of it. Imagine, having to tell your friend, after all the effort put forth and early success, committing to your team/league and not others, that all of a sudden the league says this and that, we got to let you go. Of course he was pissed, and it put me in a very awkward position. Top it off poor guy ended up having to go back another team/league that he already turned away to see if they can now squeeze him in. It's like getting a job offer you decline and now you have to go BACK and ask for that job because the other situation didn't pan out at no fault of your own... As upset as I am how it went down, I will give the league the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to "growing pains" of a potentially great league.
13) Do you think people in the league have it out for the Outlaws or was it an isolated incident?
I never really thought of whether anyone is out for the Outlaws or anything. I mean even if they are, what can they do about it? It's not like the league is run by administrators that all happen to play on the same team, right? ;) I don't want to think anyone is out for the Outlaws but I also don't think it was an isolated incident. I don't know how many other teams had the same issue, but maybe Outlaws were the most threatening of the bunch and they made a stink about it fearing that might have given us an unfair advantage. But like I said earlier, the kid is a good player don't get me wrong, but with a full squad he's not even a starter on our team. He's not even a 2nd basemen, we were short on the position and he played there against the Softballers, luckily he wasn't tested too much at the position.
14) You mentioned above about the league being potentially great. In your opinion what steps or adjustments need to be made to get to that level? Even if it were just one thing.
The league is already great, and it's continuing to only get better. The things that are generally liked by everyone FAR outweigh the things that people dislike the most about the league. As long as the guys running the show continue to have the ambition to make the league as close to perfect as possible. We can all just imagine how it may get. What I personally love most about the league is like everyone before me said, the sense of community. We all fraternize and network among each other, that it almost feels like you're a part of an actual fraternity. Also there's a feeling of some sort of professionalism, and what I mean by that is that none of us here are MLBers or former MLBers, a good chunk of us played HS ball and fewer maybe at some collegiate level. We have (whether we agree aloud to it or keep it inside like some shameful secret lol) the feeling like we're professional players. With stats, camaraderie, playoffs, amazing trophies, award ceremonies, BBQs, all star events, it's truly a league, that I can say no other league, in LI, maybe NY, and I'd go as far as the eastern seaboard has to offer. And iA it'll continue to get better.
I'd like a standard 24-28 gm standard and I'd hate to see divisions, please no divisions lol! I understand with rainouts it's hard to make up. Maybe, in the future when the entire league is rained out, don't make it up since at the end everyone plays the same amount of games anyway. But in cases where some of the league is rained out and some aren't, those games should be made up. Still involves work, but it's more feasible in my opinion. Like in yrs past (I think only happened once or twice though) You'd have a team get a higher seed or make the playoffs when they go 12-10 or something and the team below went 10-10 and the makeup never happened. (esp. when teams avoid it to give themselves pct points and a better chance for seeding or post season). Also get bigger with the sponsors, I don't know how much I can do individually but if enough heads get together, maybe we can work on sponsorships from NBA and/or MLB, maybe get enough money (wishful thinking) and build 4 softball fields of our own and screw Nassau county! We can build it in Kunals backyard, and each field would be unique, one dirt field, one clay field, one artificial grass, one sand etc etc), play on Sundays and charge other leagues to play rest of the week, we'd play for free and beautiful fields, how bout it, huh? I even did the measurements, Mitchell field is the ideal setup and is bigger than what we need, Mitchell is 750' by 700' (about 13 acres) but it goes back almost 400 feet, we only need 260-285 foot fields, put the 4 fields against each others back and a lil compact we can get away with 6-7acres, booya! Anything is possible!
16) True or False: Sekander Yosofi is the best pitcher in the league?
Eh I'm only a pitcher out of necessity and I feel that I'm good at every position. I play other positions whenever the situation calls for it, But False, Wahid is the best pitcher IMO, but don't sleep on me homie.
17) In your opinion, who's the most underrated and overrated teams in the league this year?
Hmm have to think about this one, With no explanation off the top of my head? Assuming I can't pick Outlaws for either one, I'd say Wolfpack and/or Desert Eagles is the most overrated, Grays most underrated, Titans also, they are still a great team, just got hit hard this year by bad luck, they're def. under performing, but it's something that sometimes are simply beyond your control
18) So you're saying the Outlaws are the most overrated?
Maybe. MAYBE they are, MAYBE they aren't, MAYBE they should prove me wrong if I am saying so. A lot of maybe's, but one thing is for certain, they wouldn't shy away from the challenge.
19) Finish this statement: By the time his SASL career is over Sekander Yosofi would want to be best known as _______________________________
The President of the United States that once played for the SASL, hahahahaha
20) On the boards you have made mention that you went 19 for 19. Is their any hard evidence to support this claim?
lol I can look for the books but no there is no hard evidence, but I do keep the teams stats going way back to 2006 on a lil spreadsheet I make. In 2007 I went 2 for my last 2 against vs. Softballers in the season opener followed by an 8 for 8 performances vs. both Force and Hustlaz the following weeks going 18 for 18 total. It was eventually broken up by the Titans (I just looked it up). Including walks I believe I went 19 or 20 straight at bats w/o an out.
21) What do you do when your not playing softball?
22) Why do you play in this league?
I signed a lifetime contract that I can't get out of ha-ha j/k, I believe I answered this question a few lines up. For those already in the league they know a well as I do it becomes self explanatory once you play, but for those that don't, just read above
23) Any parting words for all that will read this?
Ready or not, here we come, you can't hide >=)
SHOUT OUT TO OUTLAW NATION!
24) Sekander Yosofi you are now off the Heat Seat
I'll send you my bill.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 17 June 2011 )|
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