Seventy-eight days until the first pitch.
Bob Gorny says he will open a new league bank account when he returns from his Florida vacation early next month. Eventually, Bob will be able to give us a line-by-line, day-by-day accounting of our receipts and expenses.
Sincere thanks to Bob, who worked with the former treasurer for an equitable split for carry-over revenues.
We project having enough money that we can maintain our sponsor fees at $400 per team. Players will pay $60 to play in one division or $100 for both.
Our latest headcount
We are adding new recruits for both of our divisions, and we will continue our efforts until our rosters are filled in mid-April. An example of our outreach is in February edition of Senior Life. Mark Witkowski is featured, and he helps guide people to our league website.
Adam Kroemer is tracking our junior division recruits and hopes to have enough players for six teams again this season. Steve Sporinsky is doing the same for the senior group. He projects that we’ll have five teams but we could have six. Our headcounts rely a lot on communication with team managers, and we appreciate the help they’re providing. It is essential.
Our guidepost is that we would rather go with five strong teams of 14 or more players apiece than have six teams at constant risk of playing short-handed or forfeiting. Websites are a nice recruiting tool, but the most effective way is personal contact. If you know people age 52 or older from your workplace, your church, your neighborhood or elsewhere, tell them about us.
Just a reminder here. Both divisions will abide by last season’s bat eligibility rules. For the senior division, the longstanding rule has been that any player can use any bat approved by the USSSA, NSA, ISA or ASA. For juniors, players 64 and younger should use single- or double-wall bats, while those 65 and older may use composites. No bat should exceed the 1.21 bpf (bat performance rating).
A thought to consider: There are a lot of ways to cheat the system, and we know them. Please remember that there are no million-dollar contracts in adult slow-pitch softball, and it is a felony in many states if a ball hit by your illegal bat injures another player. Also, if you’re a guy who thinks Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa should be banned from the baseball hall of fame because they used steroids, you also should be a guy who doesn’t cheat on bats. Please don’t cheat.
Emery Hirschler has an interesting suggestion. Now that Major League Baseball has changed its infield rules, softball leagues might do the same. For example, there could be a requirement that at least two infielders be positioned on each side of second base. Infielders also could be limited to the infield skin until the ball is batted.
The idea has merit, especially in the senior division. We want to encourage our slower friends to continue playing. If deeper positioning turns every hard-hit grounder into an easy out, it can get discouraging. We won’t be doing it this season, but it’s something we should watch.
For the past few months, we’ve been concerned that the Michiana Senior Softball League page on Facebook has been promoting the Mid-America league. That was because the page administrator was one of the Mid-America organizers.
There already had been a lot of confusion among new and returning players about which league was which. If you type Michiana Senior Softball into google, our league page comes up under michianaseniorsoftball.com and theirs is under michianaseniorsoftball.org.
Confusion doesn’t benefit anybody. We want players who choose us, not players who are making a mistake. Fortunately, Mid-America agrees and has renamed its Facebook page. That clears the way for us to create a new one for ourselves, using our own name. We hope to do that soon.
It’s early, but we already have checks in from three returning sponsors.
OC Hardware will be back in the senior division. The store actually is known as Hardware Plus, at 611 Lincolnway W., Osceola. You’ll find almost everything that the big box stores have but spend a lot less time looking for it. One bonus about having this sponsor back is that the owner’s dad, Bobby Hughes, is a fan favorite in the OC team’s outfield.
Wesolowski Insurance — the Erie Insurance office run by Don Wesolowski at 216 S. Taylor St., South Bend — also returns in the senior division. Don has played a little softball himself over the years, and we’re hoping he’ll give it a try again someday. He’s been promised a hot dog and beer whenever he shows up at Byers.
Palmer Funeral Homes will sponsor a junior division team again this season. Palmer is in its second year as a sponsor, continuing the legacy of the former Bubb Funeral Chapel. Bubb still serves the community under the Palmer umbrella, which also includes five locations in South Bend, and one each in North Liberty and Lakeville. This is a solid, growing company that believes in supporting our community.
We’ll have three more sponsors expected to return, and two newcomers have committed. We’ll announce those in the next few weeks. We are grateful that these folks help us build our league. Depending on how many teams we end up with, we’re likely to need two or more new sponsors before the middle of April. If you have any businesses or organizations in mind, let us know.