A social media home for adult baseball players

This could be the group you are looking for. 

Team sports are social by nature. Interaction between teammates, opponents and spectators is part of the experience. There's a bond that inspires friendships and a sense of community. That's certainly true of baseball. 

This bond manifests itself in numerous ways. Commitment to your team. Rivalry with another club. Fan interaction. Common interest within the basball community. Debate about teams, games or the rules of the sport. Competition within the circle of baseball isn't confined only to the field or stands. 

Baseball is experienced in many forms. Players go through different stages of play, from youth leagues to senior leagues to high school. For those with exceptional talent, college and professional play may be an opportunity. Once those levels of play have run their course, there are adult leagues available for players to continue making memories on the field.

Along side the players are the support roles. Coaches, training facilities, equipment providers all directly interact with athletes to help them perform. Families, friends, general spectators and hardcore fans bring a fun dynamic to the experience. Organizizers maintain leagues and create tournaments. Groundskeepers keep the fields in playing condition. 

The internet and social media bring other ways to interact. Pages about various leagues, trainers and equipment are innumerable. Forums for fans to debate and celebrate their teams are easy to find and join. More and more, pages pop up devoted to individual teams, not just pro or college level, but youth, high school and adult league as well. 

Looking for something

When I was finding baseball related content, after getting back on the field a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by the amount of Facebook pages and groups dedicated to the game. Pages focused on the current state of the sport and people's opinions of players, teams and the MLB dominate the baseball category. 

In both public and private groups there's a seemingly never ending appetite for debate on rule change proposals, team and league integrity, style of play along with controversial topics such as whether steroid era players belong in the Hall of Fame. Baseball brings out people's passion and there's no shortage of it in these conversations. I belong to, engage with and enjoy these groups, but they weren't what I was looking for to help me become a better player.

So I searched further and found many sites focusing on training. These are closer to what I was looking for. Some, like Ultimate Baseball Training, give a lot of good tips and drills designed to improve a wide range of skills. Others focus more on targeted skills, such as hitting or pitching. Some offer direct coaching.. Going through these, I find there are many opposing views of how to reach the goal of becoming a good player. Some are experience driven while others incorporate technology and analytics.

One common theme among the training focused sites is that, ultimately most, though not all, are trying to get you to purchase their training program. There is nothing wrong with that. I believe they help many young players trying to reach the next level. There is a lot of expertise that people can benefit from.  But what I was really looking for was a group, page or site aimed more toward adult players. At the time, I struck out. 

Every now and then, I'd go back to searching for baseball groups to join. I don't join every one because there is a lot of redundancy. There are only so many times seeing a post about whether the Astros are cheaters or if Barry Bonds belongs in the HOF one can see before it becomes a rerun. But when a group or page that carries a different focus comes along, I like to check it out. 

I found the MABL/MSBL group a while back. I think it's a good resource for people in an adult league, especially an MSBL associated one. Where this group is most valuable is in finding places to play, or reaching out to find players for your team. You will find some articles adding insights of the game. It's a good place for networking and connecting players to teams. 

My favorite place on social media

A little more than a year ago, while browsing baseball pages, I came across a new group that had just started. It looked like an interesting idea. It was focused on baseball training and work outs. But it was different in that it focused on adult players. In general, those that were past high school and college ball. Players who still played for the love of the game. 

Even the name sounded interesting, Baseball Training for Old People (later changed to Baseball Training for Older People). For short it goes by BT⚾️P. Being a private group, I had to request to join. There were a few questions asking why I wanted to join, whether I acknowledged I train at my own risk and if I was at least 18. After answering I submitted my join request. 

The next day, I got the approval and perused the page. The group was still new so there wasn't a lot of posts yet. There weren't many members either. I was one of the first 30 people to join. Still, what was on there was interesting. Mostly it was a few training videos. Less focused on skill specific training, they were aimed more at exercise and conditioning while adding a baseball component into the mix. One example was using a medicine ball to do Russian twists followed immediately by hitting off a tee. 

The group started as an idea of Josh Nichols with influence from his friend, Douglas Evans. Josh is a former high school and college player. He works in the field of mental health. Like many, he hung up his cleats as he was beginning his adult life, focusing on family and career. 

A similar story to many players in adult leagues, the itch to play was always there for him. It was a conversation with another parent at one of his son's baseball games that led him to consider playing again. He got an invite to come out one weekend to get on the field.

As of a few years ago, Josh rejoined the baseball world as a player. He landed on a team in Oklahoma City.  He hit the batting cages and took groundballs when he could. He found he was still a solid hitter. His teammates and opponent found out too. 

In 2020, he took a trip to Los Angeles. While there he went to a baseball facility with his friend Douglas. A conversation led to an idea for incorporating baseball into everyday workouts. After going back to Oklahoma Josh started the BT⚾️P group based on this premise.

In the beginning, most of the members of the group were his teammates and others from the league he played in. The posts were very focused on his vision of training along with posts from his first trip to the MSBL World Series in Arizona. 

This is where the group was when I joined in October. I was interested in the focus on traing for adult amateurs. I was curious to see how the group would progress. 

A bit more than a year later, BT⚾️P is my favorite page on social media. As all good things do, it has evolved from its original mission into a community with a broader intention. While small by Facebook standards, the membership of almost 700 players has the feel more of a clubhouse or dugout than an internet group. Players from coast to coast and overseas have joined. They all add to the experience and fellowship of BT⚾️P.

While BT⚾️P still has training videos it's become a home for adult players to come and feel welcome. It's a place to talk about your current playing experiences and plans. You can get and give tips that pertain more to older players. You can talk about camps and tournaments you've been to or want to attend. If you do something that adds generally to the world of baseball, they love to hear about it and discuss it. Talking about family, friendship and hardship is well received too. The sense of community can't be overstated. 

About 3 weeks after joining the group, tragedy hit my family. My dad passed away unexpectedly. Upon hearing the news, Josh reached out to me to make sure I was doing OK and to give me support. He made a short video graphic honoring my dad and posted it to the page. The support from everyone was overwhelming and definitely helped my spirits at the time. A month later, a package arrived by surprise. It was an engraved baseball in memory of my dad, courtesy of Josh and BT⚾️P. I'm including this because it makes a point that I believe is important about this group. Josh and the members aren't focused on the size of the community. They are concerned with the quality and comradery of it. 

That's what you find there. Members become friends from across the country or across oceans. They talk about each other's families and plans for the offseason. They also network with each other to find out about smaller or new events or find playing opportunities with new people. It was through friendships made in this community I was invited to play with Oklahoma in Arizona this past October. It was one of the best weeks of my life because of the people on the team. 

BT⚾️P goes out of its way to be a good place for its members. Though you are welcome to submit posts, they do need approval from administration. This isn't to stifle members' voices. It's to maintain the quality of the page. The vast majority of the posts get approved. The ones that don't are spam or product advertisements. While the topics vary, the members all add to the environment that makes the community so enjoyable. (note: Josh, at times, will make exceptions to the product ads rule; but, he usually requires a conversation first before the exception is made. It's very important to him that the integrity of the group remain strong, and it not become just another place for businesses to advertise )

BT⚾️P Live

Another aspect of the group is BT⚾️P Live. Starting in January of 2021, Josh started doing (mostly) weekly interviews with members. In each of these shows the topics very, but they usually focus on different aspects and resources the subjects bring to amateur baseball. Others focus on a player's journey through the game and their unique perspective of playing as an adult. 

I had the honor of being the first BT⚾️P Live guest, though at the time, the show didn't have a name or regular time slot. In that interview we talked about my path back to baseball and my custom wood bat company. I've been back on a couple more times, once to talk about the year in review for the group's anniversary and another to discuss my badeball themed writing. 

Most of these interviews have been educating and fun to watch. Interaction with the guest's through comments is encouraged. Some have discussed the mentality of the game, pitching and hitting. Others have highlighted events they help organize, such as Bruce Thome talking about the Rippey Ruckus, Stann Tate discussing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Summer Classic in Kansas City and John Rubinow describing his Pro Ball Baseball Clinic at Pirate City in Florida. Others have included Kevin Lammerding talking about the Hawkast1 podcast he hosts with Al Garza and Edward Lamarr discussing his 50 plus years of pitching, coaching and experience in baseball. 

The underlying theme of all the interviews is that they are a resource for the community of adult baseball. While products, websites and events are talked about, it's done in an informational rather than promotional way. And that's true of the page as a whole.

Because BT⚾️P is a private page, Josh has created other ways for non members to benefit from these interviews. They include a public page named Baseball Training for Older People HQ, a youtube channel and a podcast. The hope is that whether or not you want to be a part of the BT⚾️P community,  you can still benefit from the resources the interviews provide. 

I feel fortunate that I found this group and have been around to witness its growth. I truly feel at home when I'm interacting with other members. I mentioned before that it has the feel of a clubhouse or dugout. To me, it's like every member is part of one team.  It's my favorite place to talk about baseball when I'm not on the field. It is a great spot to come together for people that continue to play into their adult years . While I'm always looking for more baseball groups to join, I still haven't come across another like this one.

If you, a friend or family member still play baseball or want to get back into the game after years away, I encourage you to check out Baseball Training for Older People. It's a great site on social media for active adult players. You won't be disappointed. 

*pictures provided and used with permission by Josh Nichols*


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