Junior managers meeting of Jan. 17, 2023

Attending were commissioners Ken Bradford, Steve Latzke and Adam Kroemer; treasurer Bob Gorny; managers Jerry AuFrance, Snookie Ferency, Jim Nace and John Rice; and Ron Betzer, representing TAG, and Steve Sporinsky, representing Palmer’s.

The important topics included preliminary player head counts, post-season tournaments and bats.

The early head count shows four teams close to full strength, with Palmer’s at half-strength and TAG’s numbers uncertain. If the season were to begin based on current numbers, we would reduce the number of teams to five. The logical way would be to merge Palmer’s and TAG. Additional players are expected to join in the next few weeks, which may allow us to have a sixth team. We have a target date of March 1 to make that decision.

The managers are leaning toward a double-elimination tournament that would begin during the first week of August. Dates will be determined after we decide how many teams will compete – Aug. 8 for five teams, Aug. 3 for six. The winner’s bracket final would be Aug. 15 with the “if necessary” game on Aug. 17. These dates depend on the senior division tournament schedule because we hope to have both division finals on the same night.

The managers decided to continue with last season’s bat rules – single- or double-walls for ages 64 and younger, composites for ages 65 and older. No bat should exceed a 1.21 bpf (bat performance rating). We will come up with a method of tagging bats for easy recognition.

Four additional issues will be voted on by all players, if possible, at a summer meeting:

  1. By-laws that would qualify our league as a nonprofit organization.
  2. Will we continue to play at the Byers Complex for the 2024 season and beyond?
  3. Will we continue to use the temporary home run fences at the 250-foot mark?
  4. 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.

If we have a five-team league, and if the Byers schedule allows, we will be able to fit 24 games into a 10-week period by playing some doubleheaders. A proposed schedule has games scheduled on two diamonds, e.g. 1 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 4 in the early game with 5 vs. 1 in a late game. This would allow each team to play four double-headers during the summer.

Also, if we have a five-team league, any short-handed team will be able to borrow players from an idle team. We’ll create parameters for that.

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.

Commissioner Adam Kroemer has proposed an end to the “player of choice” tradition that allowed managers to recruit a new player directly to their teams. All newcomers, and free agents, will go through a draft on April 11. If we have enough newcomers to justify it, we’ll have a tryout/practice that night at the complex. Any player from last season will be allowed to declare free agency to join a new team with a March 1 deadline. Declare by contacting kenbradford@comcast.net.

Treasurer Bob Gorny presented projections that, 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 sponsor plaques. The league is looking at fundraising ideas that could help pay for additional items.

Bob also is working with the former treasurer to get money out of our old bank account. Ideally, this gives us a final break with that group.

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. The commissioners are grateful for that.

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