I was deeply honored to receive a call in October from Steve Sigler, founder of the national Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL), who informed me that I had been inducted into the MSBL National Hall of Fame. I could not be more thrilled.
Obviously, I couldn’t have received this award without the help of many, many people. A lot goes into maintaining a league this long (since 2003), and I want to thank all of those who’ve made the EMBL engine run for the past fourteen years:
• Managers: Managers spend countless hours running their teams. Being a manager is a whole lot more work than simply making out a line-up on game day.. They recruit the players for their teams, purchase the uniforms, collect the money, and set the tone for the team. There are too many managers to thank individually here, but they have all made the league possible.
|• Umpires: The umpires – and especially the umpire-in-chief - have devoted thousands of hours to the league. They have showed up on time, made the difficult on-field calls, and even, in the case of our umpires in chief, arrived at the fields early to make the tough decisions about whether a game should be rained out or not.
|• Field Representatives: Since the EMBL doesn’t own any fields, we rent fields from area high schools. So we are very grateful to those HS coaches who have allowed us to play. We’ve mainly used Salem HS and Newton HS over the years, but also played at Rockdale HS, Sigman Field of Dreams, RYBA and Coolray Stadium, the Braves AAA affiliate. This has been a win-win for everyone - the schools make quite a bit of money for their Booster Clubs and we get to play ball!
|• Players: All the players who have joined the EMBL should be thanked. We can’t have a league without players! Remarkably, many who started back in 2003 are still with us. It’s truly a close-knit group of men who have formed strong bonds over the years. Many players have become friends outside of work, made business deals together, attended each other’s weddings, become friends with each other’s families.
At times, the league has acted as a kind of support group for players. When someone has a problem, others have often come through to help. For example, a few years back Ed Boyd was seriously sick with cancer. Tim Pearson, his manager, suggested a benefit tournament for his family, and that’s what we did. The tournament drew teams not just from the EMBL, but from Atlanta, and we were able to present the Boyd family with a check before Christmas. Seemed like everyone wanted to help this family in crisis.
|• Scorekeepers: We’ve had dozens of scorekeepers over the years, generally high school students who like baseball and want to make a few extra bucks. They work an often lonely three-hour shift in the booth keeping everyone apprised of the counts and scores.
And what’s my favorite part of running the league? Seeing happy faces out there playing ball on a warm summer night. Hope 2017 is a terrific year for all! .
HAVE A GREAT 2017 SEASON,