Johnny Billera Uses Rolled Up Socks and PVC Pipe to Stay Sharp in Queens

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Johnny Billera is from Forest Hills, Queens in New York, right in the middle of ground zero of the virus.  He has been playing in the Long Island Midweek baseball league, as headed up by Tim Hott, most of his adult life.  He started in the league when he was 18 and he’s still standing and playing 25 years later.  His current team is the Midville Dodgers of the competitive 25-over division.   

“These are tough and scary times,” said Johnny.  “This situation requires all of us to be on the same team.  Everyone has to pull on the same side of the rope in order to rid ourselves of this insidious disease.  Everyone has to do their part to ensure the safety of our entire country and across the world.” 

What are you doing to stay engaged with baseball?  “I have a tee in my apartment, and I made a homemade ball made of two rolled up socks and some tape. I use a 33” PVC pipe as a bat and take swings into the wall.  In order to get the green light for this I had to promise my wife I wouldn’t break anything. So far so good!” 

Johnny combines his rolled-up socks with a specialized conditioning routine, utilizing body weight exercises, fitness bands and yoga.  We asked Johnny if there are any fitness routines the family shares during this period.

“My wife and I both share a passion for fitness, so we’ve been able to work out together at home,” explained Billera. “When the weather allows, we get out for a run.  At this time, it’s impossible to visit family, but it’s crucial we maintain communication. We FaceTime our family and friends several times a week to stay in touch. 

Johnny also plans on getting back into the MSBL national tournament scene.  “I’d love to do either the Arizona (World Series) or Florida (Fall Classic) tournament soon. I participated in the Florida Fall Classic tournament way back in 2001 and it was really amazing.  I’m long overdue to get back to that!” 

“I’ve been playing MSBL most of my adult life and it’s been the most consistent thing I’ve ever known,” continued Johnny.  “Year after year it’s always been there for me.  The competition, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the fun have been second to none.  I’d like to give a special shout out to Tim Hott for being an amazing league president.   He’s been consistent season after season to ensure the league is well organized and competitively balanced.