Brighton Town Council Member Jason DiPonzio shows his stuff at the first pitch at the Game at the Corners

Brighton Town Council Member Jason DiPonzio shows his stuff at the first pitch at the Game at the Corners

[5/1/22 Jason DiPonzio preparing for the first pitch. Except where indicated, photos by David Kramer]

Brighton Town Council Member Jason DiPonzio had not thrown or caught a softball since 2004. Nonetheless, Jason was excited to toss the ceremonial first pitch of the 23rd season of the Game at the Corners played every Sunday at 9:30 am at the Twelve Corners Middle School softball field. SEE ALL ARTICLES AT END

As Jason warmed up, he was surprised by how quickly his softball instincts returned: “It was like riding a bike.” After a few pitches, Jason was landing strikes and fielding the catcher’s return throws with aplomb. His ceremonial first pitch was definitely on the mark.

5/1/22 DiPonzio delivers the ceremonial first pitch. Catcher Darrol Schmerl.

Jason joined two other Town of Brighton elected officials — all with athletic pedigrees — in throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the season. Town Supervisor William Moehle played baseball and basketball when growing up in Michigan. Councilmember Robin Wilt played and coached rugby. Jason runs marathons.

In The Boys and Girls of Summer complete 22nd season of the Game at the Corners. unofficial commissioner David Esan gives the history of the game:

The game has its roots in pick up games played over 40 years ago at the Hillel School. As families grew, the game disappeared. It started again 23 years ago. The theme is to have fun, and hopefully to pass the love of softball to a younger generation. All are welcome to join us.

5/2/21 Brighton Town Supervisor William Moehle pitching at the Game at the Corners, left fielder Neal Rogachefsky, shortstop David Kramer [Photo: B. Davis] From Brighton Town Supervisor Bill “Shohei” Moehle throws out first pitch, goes two for three with 2 RBI’s in the Game at the Corners

5/6/18. The Game at the Corners (left) Brighton Town Council Member and 25th State Congressional District candidate Robin Wilt [Photo: Nicholas Wilt]; (right) Robin hurling a strike to Neal Rogachefsky with Michael Raff manning second base.  Photo: David Kramer from Brighton Town Council Member Robin Wilt pitches in at the Game at the Corners

Before the game, Jason elaborated on his own experiences with baseball and softball:

Talker: Tell us a little about your personal and professional lives. How long have you been a Town Board member and what motivated you to get involved?

Jason: I have been an attorney for 27 years, being in private practice for the entire time.  I started my own practice in 2007 and after working for almost 25 years in Downtown Rochester, I moved my office to an office park off West Henrietta Road in West Brighton.  My practice is concentrated on estate planning, estate administration, elder law and real property tax foreclosure litigation.  I’m a Rochester area native and I’ve lived in Meadowbrook for 19 years.  I’m single and live with my rescue dog, Lupo.

I have been a Town Board member since January 1, 2012, having been elected in November 2011.  I became involved with Town matters by submitting my resume for a position on the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2009 and being selected to serve on that board.  In 2011, there were 2 openings on the Town Board and based on my service to the town, I was motivated to put my name forward to the Brighton Democratic Committee and was designated to run for one of the 2 open seats.

Sunday’s game was played in ideal softball weather: sunny and not too warm. 5/1/22 Ed Maruggi batting and pitching. Ed played some softball in Florida over the winter so he was in fine early season form. ¹ Charles Boyar catching.

Talker: What is your previous experience with softball and/or baseball? Have you ever played in an organized league?

Jason: I played Little League baseball when growing up in Gates. I did play in an informal attorneys’ league in the early 2000’s for a few years. We played at Ellison Park and the Harley School. It was great to get together with co-workers outside of the work environment. My softball skills are rusty at best.

Talker: Do you have a favorite baseball team? If so, why did you choose that team?

Jason: I am a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan.  My mother has family in the Boston area and we would visit our cousins frequently during the summer.  The first Major League Baseball game I ever saw was at Fenway Park.  It wasn’t easy growing up as a Red Sox fan in an area dominated by Yankees fans.  I remember the torture in 4th Grade when Bucky Dent hit his home run to put the Yankees in the lead in a tie-breaker game to see who would represent the AL East in the playoffs.

Bucky Dent’s 1978 home run. Editor’s note: I remember getting home from high school early enough to watch the home run and Yaz popping out in the 9th inning. I leaned towards the Yankees so I didn’t share Jason’s anguish but can imagine the feeling.

I remember further torture being a senior in high school and watching the ball go through Bill Buckner’s legs to allow the Mets to win Game 6 of the World Series. Redemption finally came when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.  I went to Boston to watch the victory parade.

(SEE 30 years ago when Billy Buck broke Rhode Island’s heart)

5/1/22 Steve Wehs taking a healthy cut.

Talker: I know your main sport is marathon running. How did you get into marathon running? Do you still participate, esp. in runs here in Brighton?

Jason: I’ve been running fairly regularly since college, doing mostly shorter distances.  In 2011, I signed up for a distance training program through Fleet Feet to run the Flower City Half Marathon that year.  I went on to run marathons in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toronto and Rochester in 2012 and 2013.  I’d love to run another one, but between time commitments for my 2 jobs  as well as an aging body, I will probably be sticking to shorter distances for the foreseeable future.  I do enjoy the 4th of July and the Brighton Believes 5k races here in Brighton.

David Kramer after the game at the Brighton Farmer’s Market as Womba performed. [Photo: dt] ¹


¹ I left the game early to go the Market with Jason. According to Ed, we missed an odd event: “On the field: there was a guest appearance by a chicken during the middle of the game. Was this one of your minions sent over from the Farmers Market?” I was not involved in the intrusion.

Other chickens have appeared on ball fields, most notably the San Diego Chicken. In 1976, I actually met the Chicken. Ted Giannoulas was a friend of my friend Brian Schultz’s family. Giannoulas did a short performance at Brian’s bar mitzvah where he did his famous chicken impersonations.


2015 Game at the Corners

Pick up softball games still exist

Opinion Page, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 2015.

At Young Woman’s College Prep, Brad Rosenbaum aiming to hit 1.000

2016 Game at the Corners

The Boys of Summer are back at The Corners

Ball in creek disrupts Game at the Corners; Blake hits for the cycle

Casper scores the winning run at The Corners

Umpire added to Game at the Corners. Players subtracted

Who’s counting at the Game at the Corners

Celebrating the Fourth of July at the Game at the Corners. And much more.

“Crooked Arm” Brancato brings 19th Century base ball to the Game at the Corners

First Girls of Summer at the Game at the Corners; Talker wins it with three run walk off homerun

Farewell Boys and Girls of Summer! Under-40 MVP smashes 5 home runs off Over-40 MVP in Sunday finale

2017 Game at the Corners 

Who’s on first at the Game at the Corners? The Rabbi.

2018 Game at the Corners

Brighton Town Councilmember Robin Wilt pitches in at the Game at the Corners

2020 Game at the Corners (almost)

The Brighton Farmer’s Market is back. At the Game at the Corners, the boys and girls of summer hoping to play ball.

2021 Game at the Corners

Brighton Town Supervisor Bill “Shohei” Moehle throws out first pitch, goes two for three with 2 RBI’s in the Game at the Corners

The Boys and Girls of Summer complete 22nd season of the Game at the Corners.

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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