KITCHENER — Frenemies Jack Fireman and Larry Lynch were on a collision course along fastball’s basepaths for years.
Now, these one-time rivals will team up in an effort to relive fastball glory.
Fireman — the free-spending and flamboyant Toronto trial lawyer and one-time owner of the most-hated team in fastball — has joined forces with champion of the underdogs, Lynch.
Fireman has dragged his old Toronto Gators, International Softball Congress world titlists in 1993 and 1995, out of the swamp to take another tail swipe at global domination.
ISC hall of famer Lynch, who led the threadbare and now-defunct Waterloo Twins against their arch-rivals, the old Gators, will coach the new Gators.
“I remember one time Larry said he wouldn’t cross the street to say hello to me,” Fireman recalled.
“But even back then, there was mutual respect.”
Or maybe not.
“(The Gators) put us through a lot of anxiety back in the early nineties. I never respected what Jack did — taking my best players and everyone else’s,” said Lynch, a longtime Kitchener resident and director of public works for the Township of Mapleton.
“But he did what he set out to do.”
With the majority of those old Gators now in their 40s, the club will compete in at the International Softball Federation world masters championship in Turin, Italy, in 2013.
Blasts from the Gators’ past like ace hurler Darren Zack, infielders Craig Crawford, Dave Hoffman, Adam Smith and Chris Jones, along with outfielders Brian Paton and Terry Challis have signed on.
Other members of the Gators’ crack pitching staff headed to Italy include Todd Martin, Mike Crawford, Mark Bendahan and Brad Baker.
Fireman and Lynch have combined forces in the past.
In 2001, Fireman briefly became a Twins’ sponsor and special adviser and Lynch was Fireman’s coach for his squad at the Maccabiah Games, also known as the Jewish Olympics, in 2009.
Time has a way of blurring the battle lines, even for these two.
“Larry is the best coach in the sport. This guy is brilliant,” said Fireman who couldn’t resist one parting shot.
“I heard that Larry was such a terrible ballplayer he had to become a great coach quickly.”
Fans can watch the revived Gators at the Legends of Fastball Classic slated for Kitchener’s Peter Hallman Ball Yard in June.
“We’ll have a lot of fun,” said Lynch, who will also help coach ISC world senior men’s contenders, the Chicago-New York Gremlins, also making an appearance at the Legends.
The tournament, which features a 10-team men’s division, along with masters’ and juniors’ divisions, runs June 21-24.
The two-time defending ISC world champion Jarvis Travelers and New Zealand’s national team will be among the competitors.
In other fastball news, a quartet of locals has been added to the senior men’s national team pool, Softball Canada announced Tuesday.
Kitchener’s Ryan French, Brandon Horn, of Waterloo, and Elmira’s Adam Hiller and Ben Wideman are among the 38 players who will vie for a spot on Team Canada.