Keep Playing Baseball, Don’t Go Soft
By, Tim Sullivan
Growing up in North Graylyn Crest, my friends used to get together at Forwood Field and play a game of pick up baseball. Everyone was invited to join no matter what their skill level was at the time. We would play different developments in North Wilmington and develop friendships that lasted a lifetime. Some of those days on the field were memorable and we all became better at the game of baseball. It wasn’t until high school that the games became less frequent and when March came roaring in, the kids from the neighborhood all joined Little League Teams. The days of playing just to get a game together were over. Baseball became a little more serious than just a kids game. We learned to compete and not all the kids got to play every game. I used to miss those days of baseball until I discovered a League in 2002 that changed my life for the better.
I walked by a field of men in uniforms playing baseball. I thought it may have been a church League but this looked organized and some of these guys could really play. It looked competitive and the umpires were taking the game seriously. I asked some questions after the game and I was given a number to call. Ironically, I knew some players on this team and was invited to play in the summer of 2002 for a team called Gildea’s Raiders. This was a League dedicated to men who wanted to play baseball because they missed playing the game they loved. There were bankers, lawyers, police men, and everyday working guys hitting the ball around the park. MSBL is short for Men’s Senior Baseball League. It’s an organization that was started by a man named Steve Sigler in 1998 so that everyone who missed playing could do so again. MSBL has 325 local affiliates, 3200 teams and 45,000 memebers all over the United States and Puerto Rico. There are also six National Tournaments during the year. The biggest is the Fall Classic in November and last year our own Delaware Destroyers finished 2nd place out of the best 16 teams along the East Coast.
I am about to enter my 13th Season and I can’t be more excited to play. There is something about being with a group of guys who work hard during the week and use this as a release from the everyday norm. I go out and compete like I have no worries in my life. For those three hours I get to play and hang out with men who share the same passion. We may be rivals on the field but we’re all friends at the end of the game. The Fall Classic is my favorite time of year with these weekend warriors. We get a week of playing baseball on some of the nicest Spring Training fields in Florida. We also get professional umpires from the minor leagues to officiate our games. Sussex County has yet to field a League and I know there is some interest from people I have talked to at the beach. Whether you have played recently or just feel like getting out there again, there is a League for you. MSBL will continue to grow and if there are any interested readers that want to play, get in touch with Delaware Surf Fishing, and we will make this happen. Softball is fun, but baseball is a much harder challenge. Keep playing baseball, don’t go soft!