Review and Resolutions: My year in Baseball and a look ahead

A look back at 2021 and a peek a what 2022 has in store

The last 12 months have been an adventure. From tournaments, league seasons and training to bat making and writing, 2021 has kept me busy with baseball activity. It's been a year of growth and discovery. A time of healing and new opportunity. As 2021 winds down and 2022 peeks on the horizon, it's a time for transition. A period to reflect on the past and to anticipate the future. 

805 Bats

January started with uncertainty. I was still mourning my dad's recent death. As a way to keep myself centered through the pain, I threw myself into my bat turning hobby. With urging from friends, I began offering to craft them for others. Going into the new year with a fledgling business, I didn't know what to expect.  I had an idea for what I hoped 805 Bats could be. I knew that I wanted to specialize in fully custom handturned pieces, each created specifically for the user. I set modest goals for the year and went to work. 

As the year went on, I learned new techniques in turning, tried some interesting finish designs and committed to creating unique turn models for hitters. As the bats started getting use at preseason practices, teammates began asking for their own. I sent a few to friends around the country. The feedback was encouraging.. The growth was modest, but I was happy. Making bats gave me something to focus on. Seeing them in the hands of players was inspiring. 

With the start of baseball season came an increase in bat requests. Players from the league were interested in having one of their own. After hearing about them on the BT⚾️P Facebook group more players wanted to try them. Increasingly, bats began going out around the country and even across the Atlantic. 

In June, a batting cage and family activity center opened in nearby Morro Bay. The very first time I went into Flippos to hit, the owner asked about my bats. The business is very supportive of the local community and was interested in locally made baseball and softball bats. I loved the atmosphere of the place and was honored when Von wanted to have 805 Bats of their own. Within a couple of weeks, Flippos was featuring 805 Bats for their customers to use in the batting cages. It's incredible how much use and abuse those bats take. It's one of my favorite places to go hang out when I'm not on the field. 

Throughout the season, a steady stream of orders came in. When the end of year tournaments and holidays approached, there was a lot of work to get them into the hitters hands on time. Getting a few done per week, I was able to get those orders finished. As 2021 comes to a close there's a lot more work to do. 2022 is looking to start out hot. 

This year has kept me on my toes. While building my bat brand, there have been challenges along the way. Lumber shortages caused from economic conditions prompted me to expand my search for supplies. When I started I used 1 source for billets. Because I'm only willing to use high quality wood for the bats, it took a lot of research and taking a few chances to find more sources for billets. So that lumber shortages don't slow down production, I now have 3 places I use to bring wood in from that offer high quality material. Billet prices have increased significantly but I've minimized passing that increase on in my prices. 

Overall all, this first full year blew away my early expectations. I have to give a lot of credit for that to others. Family and friends have been wonderful in spreading the word about 805 Bats. My teammates and league mates have been vocal about their use and approval of the bats.. Josh Nichols and BT⚾️P members have been huge supporters of the brand. Flippos has stepped up as the only physical location for people to try out a bat before committing to ordering one. To everyone that's helped grow and support 805 bats this year, thank you. You are All Stars!

Looking ahead to 2022, I hope to continue a steady growth in bat production. Sometime this year I'm hoping to start offering engraving as a feature. If free time presents itself, I'm hoping to add modifications to my outdoor production area so that weather and darkness won't affect turning time. My resolution is to continue the momentum that started this year and keep getting bats in the hands of those that want them.

On the field

2021 brought back a bit of normality to the ball field. After 2020 shut down most official play in California, it felt good knowing that there was going to be a season. 

Practice never took a break though. Once a week, my team got together for fielding and to hit. Individually, I worked on batting daily, infield drills a few times a week and pitching bullpens twice a week. My goal was to improve where possible. 

Play began with an MSBL tournament in Las Vegas in March. Our manager was unable to go, so I was tasked with managerial duties. I wish the results were as good as the feeling of playing meaningful games again, but we lost. Still it was a fun experience and it was great to be on the field competing again. 

A month after coming back from Nevada, the SLO adult baseball league started playing at Sinsheimer Stadium in San Luis Obispo. It was a relief to finally have the season under way. Overall, it was a fun season. Between my team's games and subbing for others, I played about 30 games through the summer. I saw time at all 9 positions, though most innings were at shortstop third base and catching. My batting avg rose .130 over 2019 and my on base percentage went up by .050. While the team's season results fell short of our goal, I was happy with the improvement in my batting. It set a good benchmark to improve on in the next season. 

Throughout the year, I eagerly looked forward to a return to Arizona. In October I made two trips there. The first was to play in the NABA World Series tournament with my local team, the Central Coast Outlaws. The next trip a few weeks later was to play with the Oklahoma Baseball Club who invited me to join them for the MSBL World Series. Both trips were fun and competitive. Getting to meet up and play with and against other players from all over the country is a treat. Playing on the fields in the Phoenix area is an experience every player should have at some point. I look forward to going back each year. 

A couple weeks after coming home, I played one more game, an exhibition in Monterey, CA. It was an unexpected but welcome opportunity to play on the field up there. I had wanted to play a game there since I was a 10 year old, and finally got the chance when I joined one of our league's  teams to play an exhibition against a Monterey area team. It was my first time playing on a turf field. It was a fantastic way to cap off a year full of baseball.

Looking ahead to next year, I've already began training. Batting and groundball practice weekly. Tee hitting and soft toss two more days a week. Also, throwing a couple days a week. 

Our first tournament is the NABA Kickoff classic in the Los Angeles and Orange county area starting January 15. I'm hoping it sets a good tone for the rest of the year. I'm looking to improve over my performance last year. I have a goal this year to play in at least one new tournament that I haven't played before. I want to help my league team have a solid season. And I'm hoping to cap it off with another two weeks in Arizona. 

Most of all, I want to be sure not to take for granted that I still have the ability and opportunity to play baseball regularly. I know I'm lucky for that.

The Middle Age Amateur Ball Player

I'm practically always thinking about baseball. Whether I'm working, playing, bat making or have down time, thoughts of the game are running through my mind. 

I've never thought of myself as a writer. But a few months ago I started writing out some of the baseball stories I was thinking of. It was fun to describe my season and the tournaments I attended. Discovering and writing about baseball places, people and events has been a joy, not just in putting it into print, but especially in reaching out and connecting with other lovers of the game. Stories like those about the Rippey Ruckus has given me opportunity to learn things I wouldn't have otherwise. It has been more fun than I anticipated. 

There are a ton of blogs and sites dedicated to MLB, fantasy baseball, the Hall of Fame and training. But I've run across so few that highlight and celebrate amateur adult baseball. The people that play for the joy of the game and those that support them. So my focus has been on adult leagues, players, organizations, places, people and resources that support them, as well as my own journey through baseball, bat making and writing. 

I'm humbled by every person that takes the time to read my articles. The readership and feedback adds greatly to the pleasure from writing and gives me inspiration for future stories. I didn't expect that so many would enjoy reading what I have to say. That readers share and spread my stories is ove4whelming. 

I'm looking forward to sharing more baseball stories in 2022. I'm planning to explore new tournaments, highlight more people that bring life to baseball and continue to document my own experiences. I'm very intrigued to learn about the Minnesota town ball culture and adult baseball leagues in other countries. I look forward to writing about small baseball towns, amateur adult histories and interesting events. I hope you enjoy going along for the ride with me. 

This story won't be complete without recognizing you. Without the support, feedback and help of my family, friends, teammates and you reading this, most of the great moments from this last year wouldn't have been possible. Next year wouldn't be looking as bright. So from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you! 

I hope each of you can look back on your own moments this past year with joy and feelings of accomplishment. I hope next year is full of hits, wins and celebrations as you take the field with your teammates. 


Play ball


  1. Great article, Ron! BT⚾️P has been tremendously blessed to have you in the group. May we all be filled with the joy of friendships, family, and baseball in 2022!


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