Thank you Ballers!

one year ago

A look back at the first year and what's ahead

A year ago, I started The Middle Age Amateur Ball Player while I was sitting on the patio of a rental condo in Scottsdale, AZ. It was the last day of the MSBL World Series tournament for the Oklahoma Baseball Club as we'd been eliminated from the 35+ division. I never really saw myself as a writer, but I wanted to be able to reflect on my baseball experiences in a more in-depth way than posting on social media alone could not provide. 

Sitting on that patio, began writing.

Everything has a beginning

Ron Andante
Starting is every player's dream

In my first post, Starting is every player's dream, I introduced myself and gave an initial look at my vision for the direction of this site. I wanted my site to be focused on amateur baseball, some softball and the personal connections that keep us coming to the ball field even as our bodies get older. In subsequent posts, I wrote about my father and how he was an integral part of my love for the game. I wrote about some friends I met through softball and the new journey they had ahead. And I wrote about my bat company, 805 Bats.

Looking back, the writing was rudimentary and the editing elementary, as I got the hang of writing to an audience and learning the nuances of the system I was publishing on. My first few articles after the initial launch had a distinct personal focus, though still relating to bat and ball sports. At the same time, the posts became more colorful with pictures and prose. The editing got better and the articles were often more in depth and researched. 

central coast outlaws at riverview
Let's keep growing adult baseball

The first entry that had good readership, and spread wide through sharing, had a sentiment that many adult ball players can sympathize with. The article, Let's keep growing adult baseball, was a call to action. Adult baseball doesn't always get the greatest coverage and the outreach is lacking in many parts of the country. If we want the sport we love to grow, thrive and live on for us into our sunset years, it's our responsibility as players to make it happen. Frankly, we need to tell people about it.  This truly seemed to resonate with readers, and I'm thankful for that.

Rippey welcome sign
What's the Ruckus about?

Ten days later, I published the first article that required me to do in-depth research. What's the Ruckus about? Was intended as a story about a small tournament, but turned into a story about a small town in Iowa instead. I was interested in the Rippey Ruckus, a friendly baseball event that organizers, Bruce Thome and Dave Hick, had put together to bring teams to play at the small community's Walt Anderson field. But as I learned more about the event and field, what I found is that Rippey is a baseball town, The town ball history, how the original Rippey Demons got their uniforms and name, and the love of the game of baseball in a town smaller in population than most schools had me wanting to learn more at every turn. The concerted effort to rehabilitate the field and make baseball a staple in Rippey once again was a testament to how the game can reinvigorate the sense of commonality a community can hold. 

The biggest highlight for me in the aftermath of that article was receiving emails from multiple elderly residents of the town. In those they gave me many first hand accounts of the town in its baseball heyday and sent pictures of their father, brothers and uncles suiting up for the local townball team, I felt very lucky to hear those stories.

Reader participation

Eric Berg at Target Field
Catchers 101

The next article was another popular one. Catchers 101, was a focus on the number 2 position. It talks about the attributes a player needs to be successful in squatting behind the plate and the abuse you're willing to put your body through to protect your team. This was one of my favorite articles to write. For one, I am a catcher, and really, they deserve all the recognition they can get for playing the most grueling position on the field.

But maybe even more enjoyable, I invited the members of the Facebook group, Baseball Training for Older People, to send photos and stories of their catching exploits to be included in the article. I wasn't disappointed. I received a phethora of photos of adult amateurs playing in big league parks, in their local communities and even a couple from across the Atlantic Ocean. It was fun and an honor to be able to have readers be the highlight of the story,

Creating a resource

As the new year approached, my vision for the site expanded. While it was important for me to keep the personal touch and highlight the beauty of adult baseball, I decided that I wanted to be a resource for ballplayers to come find information and other things related to their playing needs. And these resource posts and pages have been put to good use by those who have sought them out. 

Ron Andante
Adult Baseball Tournaments 2022

I started researching and accumulating information. On New Year's Day, I published Adult Baseball Tournaments 2022. In the post is an all in one listing of the tournaments held by the various organizing bodies in adult baseball such as MSBL, NABA and Roy Hobbs, along with links directly to their tournament pages. Also included was information about up and coming tourneys like the Rippey Ruckus and the Negro League Baseball Museum Summer Classic. I've already begun collecting information for 2023's list.

Because baseball is equipment intensive, I wanted to add links to popular sites for baseball gear. Since they are commerce sites, I had to apply and get permission to include them on my own site. Many agreed, and through affiliate agreements I have many links to equipment sites. For disclosure, if you end up purchasing from one of these sites after clicking through from my page, I do get a small commission. But, is about my love for the game and is not intended as a money maker. If I ever mention a specific product, it's because I believe in it and think it might be helpful. I won't throw glitter on something and try to convince you that you need it. I have the links as a resource for you should you want to find something from one of those retailers. That page is called Baseball Gear and can be found at the top of the home page.

Find a League
Find a League

As spring approached, another resource I thought would be helpful for players was a directory of leagues all across the country and even some international communities. For days I scoured the internet to find websites for adult leagues to form a single list that prospective players could search.  I want adult baseball to grow. And I want it to be easy for those that want to play to find opportunities. After creating a large list of leagues with direct links to their web or social media sites, I published the Find a League page. I asked readers to help me by letting me know if their league was missing, so that I could add it. The players didn't let me down. And the list is still growing, It has been, by far, the most visited page on the site.

Informative articles and guest authors

In the following months I wrote articles about finding the best bat woodpitching, and many other baseball topics. I wrote about my local league and included a page for schedules and standing as our league page was lacking.  While I did slow down on publishing during my playing season, new articles have been recently published, including ones focusing on the science of the game. Many more are in the pipeline.

Josh Nichols
Don't leave your fate up to the umpires

Inspired by the responses when I asked readers for input on articles, I invited some other players to be guest authors here. One of the most popular articles in the last year was written by Josh Nichols. A focus on a slugger's mentality, Don't leave your fate up to the Umpires had a lot of people nodding in agreement. Another guest, Eric Berg, gave a look into vintage baseball in his article, Greetings from Eric Berg. It's my hope that we'll see more from these two as well as occasional stories from some other adult players. If you are interested in being a guest author, feel free to contact me and we can talk.

What's ahead for adult baseball

I am typing this article on a computer. While that may seem insignificant, this is the first post that wasn't entirely written on a cell phone. When I told a friend that I've been doing everything from a phone they were surprised. It's fun but definitely restricting on what capabilities I've had up to now. 

The computer will give me more ability for creation and editing. But it will also help with some of the expansion ideas I have for the months ahead. 

I won't get into too many details. But the plan ahead involves a streamlining  adult baseball information. I'm working on bringing together more resources for players to improve their game, and hopefully, make it easier for us all to grow adult baseball opportunities and league membership.  Look for more stories from players as well. 

As these plans begin turning into action, I'll be rolling them out to you. Once again, I'm not planning on selling you on anything. This isn't a sales pitch. But I hope you enjoy these changes. I will be reaching out for your opinions and ideas to make each project better suited to your needs. 

I want to thank everyone that has helped me in this first year. I appreciate the suggestions, technical support, content contributions and especially your readership. I will continue to strive to be a resource, friend and story teller for you all. 

I consider you part of my dugout.


Play ball


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