BROOKLYN BULLDOGS – HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Brooklyn Bulldogs started as a traveling baseball team from the 78th Precinct Youth Council in 1996. However, the organization’s travel program actually started a few years earlier, first under the name 78 White Soxs, then 78 Barons under John Ottavino who also helped run our recreational baseball program.
We are very proud of all our players. Our goal is to teach them the fundamentals of baseball while having fun playing the game.
We believe that the purpose of any athletic program is to win. We should all strive to be better than the rest of the field in every aspect of baseball. However, we WILL earn our victories with honor. We WILL NOT sacrifice values and standards to win. We WILL NOT cheat, nor exploit an athlete to achieve a victory. In addition, if we lose, we lose with dignity, knowing that we played our best and gave our all. We WILL always respect our opponent, knowing that they, too, are striving for victory. We WILL treat our opponents as we would like to be treated.
We believe that baseball is a TEAM sport. Success will depend on the united efforts of players and coaches. We MUST ALL be striving for the same goal – TEAM victory. Personal goals must be secondary to TEAM goals, although one tends to support the other.
Above all, we believe that each individual involved is responsible to become all that he or she can become. Players should constantly challenge themselves to achieve, improve, progress and learn. Each person that joins this TEAM accepts the commitment to become the best that can possibly be. This not only reflects skill development, but personal development as well. Striving to excel is a never-ending goal. WE WANT TO BE THE BEST!
The coaching staff of the 1996 BULLDOGS was Marc Lussier, Richard Gutekunst, Gee Gonzalez, and Gabe DeAngelo. They would like to express their gratitude and fondness to the original Bulldogs. If during that first year had they not done everything we asked and exceeded our every expectation we would not be here today.
*Robert Caridi-First Base, Outfield
*Jerry DeAngelo-Outfield, Second Base
*Gee Gonzalez-Catcher, Third Base
*Maryann Gutekunst-Catcher, First Base
*Marc Lussier-Pitcher, Third Base
*Marco Oppedisano-First Base, Outfield
*Nicolas Panken-Second Base, Outfield
*Benjamin Stapelman-Shortstop, 2nd Base
*Justin Sumner-Pitcher, Utility (Co-Captain)
*Billy Zitelli-Pitcher, Shortstop (Co-Captain)
The Legacy – 1996 Bulldogs
In the summer of 1996 a group of 12 young and talented boys, and Maryann Gutekunst, ages 9 & 10, came together to play baseball under the name “BULLDOGS.” The Team consisted of players from Holy Name of Jesus and three 78th Precinct teams. The surprising thing about this Team was the enthusiasm and dedication to the game from players and parents alike. We competed in local leagues around Bay Ridge and Marine Park. By the end of the summer of 96 the Bulldogs were Amity’s Champions and Parkville’s Runners-up.
The Bulldogs were invited to a national tournament at Cooperstown Dreams Park in August of 97. In order to define our point of origin we took on the name “BROOKLYN BULLDOGS.” The BROOKLYN BULLDOGS have come to represent the 78th Precinct’s best 11 & 12 year old baseball players who compete in local, regional and national tournaments. The success of the Bulldogs in it’s simplest terms can be attributed to: i. mutual respect between players and coaches, ii. providing players with the necessary tools to outthink their competition, iii. teach players that their actions both good and bad have an affect on them and those around them, iv. hard work, desire and heart.
As our Team matured on and off the playing field we realized there was a need for young ballplayers to experience the bulldog philosophy. By the 98 season we enlisted the help of two top quality coaches who recruited 9 & 10 year olds for a Cub Divison. In 2005, the Bulldog Family consisted of seven traveling teams, 9-15 year olds. In 2006, we expect to have a 16 year old team and a college level team.
MARC LUSSIER: OUR FOUNDER AND INSPIRATION
Every once in awhile someone joins an organization and makes a remarkable contribution. For us, Marc Lussier was that person. Known as Mr. Bulldog, Marc not only founded the Brooklyn Bulldog baseball travel program but made it flourish into one of the strongest in the area. But what you may not know is that for more than 10 years, Marc was a board member and, at various times, our treasurer, Commissioner of all Baseball and, Basketball Division Director. He also built the back stops, designs our logos, pumped water from the fields, managed the ordering and distribution of equipment and uniforms, and much more. Most remarkably, Marc coached Bulldog and intramural baseball teams – even though his son had moved on to high school and college ball.
His dedication to the organization was obvious. But to understand what was most special about Marc you had to watch him in action when coaching. To him, “the kids came first” was not a mere trite phrase. It was reality. And you only had to watch how the kids reacted to him to know how true that was.
This is NOT a memorial tribute – Marc is still with us and we appreciate it greatly!