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Brooklyn Rays refuse to strike out - Embattled baseball club keeps pitching as things disintegrate around them

Joe Mittiga isn’t giving up on his field of dreams.

The 28-year-old laid-off commodities broker is bullish on his baseball teammates, the newly formed Brooklyn Rays.

The only problem is his team has no uniforms, no field, and no league.

The squad may be willing—but they are unable to play baseball this fall, because their team was dissolved three games into the short season.

That’s left Mittiga with the task of raising money so that he and his 14 teammates will be able to play ball in the spring.

“Most of the guys on the team are very young and could be missing out on the opportunity to get scholarships,” he said. “A bunch of the guys could be in the minor leagues.”

Mittiga, of Clinton Hill, is one of the oldest players on the team. Most of the 14 guys range in age from 17-20, he said, and do not “come from a lot of money.”

A dispute with team’s the former head coach led to the squad’s disbanding.

And the Queens Alliance League, of which the team was a member, prohibits players from jumping from one team to the next during the season, effectively ending their year.

Undaunted, Mittiga recently set up a website, www.pleasehelpusplayball.com, with the hope of raising money for the new team.

“The least amount we need is between $4,000-$5,000,” or roughly $400 a man, he said. The money will go toward a $2,500 league fee plus equipment and uniforms.

“I wanted to show these guys that we do have a team—and I want everyone to be committed and have something to look forward to next spring.”

Mittiga, who pitches and plays third base, said he is a lifelong New York Yankees fan, but would have no problem wearing a Rays hat. The major league team from where the name originates hails from Tampa Bay, and is currently playing the Boston Red Sox for the right to play in the World Series. Mittiga said Tampa’s Rays embody what his guys are all about, he said.

“They came from worst to first place this year. I want to stress to them that we came from a bad situation too—but we stuck with it,” he said.

Mittiga hopes it is that unflappable spirit that propels his squad back on the baseball diamond.

To donate, go to the website www.pleasehelpusplayball.com or call 718-614-2182 for more information.

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