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Attending were commissioners Steve Sporinsky, Mark Witkowski and Ken Bradford; and managers Snookie Ferency, Ron Betzer and Rich Sparks. Unable to attend were managers Ron Wilson and Gary Marcus.
The main topics included preliminary player head counts and the post-season tournament.
The early head count shows three teams with 14 or more players with three others ranging from nine down to three or four. Based on those numbers and expectations of recruiting newcomers, we will plan for a five-team division with the flexibility to add a sixth. The league alignment will be decided closer to March when we know better about our recruitment efforts.
A five-team league would have several advantages. We would be using two diamonds and requiring just two umpires on game nights. That also means we would be putting up two sets of fences before games instead of three. The team with the bye would have players available to substitute, so we should be able to avoid playing short-handed or forfeiting.
The main disadvantage is that a 20-date schedule would give each team four byes, for a total of 16 actual games per team. We could stretch the season to two more weeks, if we don’t lose games because of wet or hot weather. If so, including the double-elimination tournament, all senior players should have a chance for 20 or more games.
The managers prefer a double-elimination tournament that likely would begin Aug. 8. The winner’s bracket final would be Aug. 15 with the “if necessary” game on Aug. 17. We hope to have the senior and junior championships on the same night.
The managers decided to continue with last season’s bat rules, with all nationally approved bats allowed as long as they don’t exceed a 1.21 bpf (bat performance rating).
Four additional issues will be voted on by all players, if possible, at a summer meeting:
- By-laws that would qualify our league as a nonprofit organization.
- Will we continue to play at the Byers Complex for the 2024 season and beyond?
- Will we continue to use the temporary home run fences at the 250-foot mark?
- Will the senior division games begin in 2024 at 5:30 with junior games beginning at 7?
Other decisions and discussions of note include:
No games will be played during the July 4 week. Everyone gets a week off.
We are exploring the concept of an all-star game as a season finale. One idea is to play that game as part of an outdoor banquet-style event. We’re looking for ideas on that.
The managers also heard a summary of our treasurer’s report. With current fees ($60 for one division and $100 for both) and sponsorships ($400 per team), we’ll easily meet required league expenses. Any money left over could be used for uniform shirts, a banquet, league awards and/or sponsor plaques. If money isn’t available for all these items, the commissioners may have to decide which expenses have the highest priority.
There is an areawide shortage of umpires. One way we can help is to get training to umpire on our off-nights. Presumably, by working a Monday or Wednesday we may free up an umpire for our league nights.
We are attempting in several ways to attract more players, both at the junior and senior level. Anyone with a friend or acquaintance interested in joining the league can contact one of the commissioners or their manager.
Jerry AuFrance hosted the meeting at Holy Smokes Pizza, just as he did for the juniors on Tuesday. The commissioners are grateful for that.