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Why no Adult Recreational Baseball Leagues?

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  • Why no Adult Recreational Baseball Leagues?

    I played baseball through high school (back in the 80's) in Michigan. After high school the only real option to continue to play ball was to play in a recreational slow pitch softball league.....which I never really liked so I never played. Can anyone explain the reason that there aren't very many recreational baseball leagues for adult men? Is it because of increased risk of injury? Lack of available fields? What's the deal?

  • #2
    I played in a National Adult Baseball Association all ages league in the Chicago suburbs in the '90s, the 30+ Granite State League in NH in the '00s, and now the 38+ NH Baseball League. There were very few options when I first started looking in the late '80s, then the NABA and other adult leagues really exploded in the early '90s. I don't believe there is an all ages baseball league here in NH now, but I'm not 100% sure of that...all the leagues I know of are basically 40+ or 50+.
    The time commitment for adult baseball is huge...when I was in the NABA, many games were 4-5 hours due to questionable pitching and lots of walks. You can play a slow pitch game in an hour, which makes it possible to play on a weeknight instead of losing weekend time. Travel time tends to be bad due to the teams being fairly spread out, I've had 3 hour round trips for games around here. I think the teams are spread out because there is a minimum talent and fitness level needed to play reasonable baseball at all...almost anybody who can walk and move their arms can play recreational slow pitch at some level, but try to take a random group of 15 adults and find two people who can pitch and catch in a baseball game. You've got long throws across the infield and a huge amount of ground to cover in the outfield. Even in the dense Chicago suburbs, we were driving close to 2 hours round trip for most games.
    I think a lot of people fell in love with the idea of playing amateur baseball as an adult and then found that they just couldn't put the time in to actually do it if they had a family or travelled for work. Maybe the leagues for older players are sticking around because most of the players have kids who are grown or at least can do their own thing and the dads can take a good chunk of almost every weekend to play?
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
      I played in a National Adult Baseball Association all ages league in the Chicago suburbs in the '90s, the 30+ Granite State League in NH in the '00s, and now the 38+ NH Baseball League. There were very few options when I first started looking in the late '80s, then the NABA and other adult leagues really exploded in the early '90s. I don't believe there is an all ages baseball league here in NH now, but I'm not 100% sure of that...all the leagues I know of are basically 40+ or 50+.
      The time commitment for adult baseball is huge...when I was in the NABA, many games were 4-5 hours due to questionable pitching and lots of walks. You can play a slow pitch game in an hour, which makes it possible to play on a weeknight instead of losing weekend time. Travel time tends to be bad due to the teams being fairly spread out, I've had 3 hour round trips for games around here. I think the teams are spread out because there is a minimum talent and fitness level needed to play reasonable baseball at all...almost anybody who can walk and move their arms can play recreational slow pitch at some level, but try to take a random group of 15 adults and find two people who can pitch and catch in a baseball game. You've got long throws across the infield and a huge amount of ground to cover in the outfield. Even in the dense Chicago suburbs, we were driving close to 2 hours round trip for most games.
      I think a lot of people fell in love with the idea of playing amateur baseball as an adult and then found that they just couldn't put the time in to actually do it if they had a family or travelled for work. Maybe the leagues for older players are sticking around because most of the players have kids who are grown or at least can do their own thing and the dads can take a good chunk of almost every weekend to play?
      Thanks for the input. I never thought of some of those issues.

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      • #4
        Would really love to play amateur baseball. Still have to lose some weight first (5'7", 179 here lol).

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        • #5
          This is the league I play in. Not really for someone who played beyond high school but open to anyone who wants to come out and play for a while. Read up on the rules in the "about" section and start one up next spring! We've had good luck with putting notices on Facebook, craigs list, meetup, etc to get people to come and play.

          http://www.thevlb.com/
          If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve!

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          • #6
            There are a ton of MSBL / MABL leagues across the country. Luckily in NY, there are a bunch of adult baseball leagues. MSBL is popular because they have age defined divisions, although you can be 40 and play in the 18+ if you can still compete.

            http://www.msblnational.com/
            Baseball Happenings
            - Linking baseball's past, present and future.
            http://baseballhappenings.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              www.detroitmsbl.com

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              • #8
                aren't there so called beer leagues?
                I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dominik View Post
                  aren't there so called beer leagues?
                  Softball, normally.
                  Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                  Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                  Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                  Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                  Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tadasimha View Post
                    This is the league I play in. Not really for someone who played beyond high school but open to anyone who wants to come out and play for a while. Read up on the rules in the "about" section and start one up next spring! We've had good luck with putting notices on Facebook, craigs list, meetup, etc to get people to come and play.
                    http://www.thevlb.com/
                    I also played in something vaguely like this after my NABA team broke up and before I left the Chicago area, a running Sunday pickup game run by "The Wilmette Guys" but actually played in Northfield. I'm pretty sure we had one game with only 8 total players. Now I'm curious to find out if they're still playing, I remember taking part in a 30th anniversary game and they'd be getting close to 50 years now.
                    I looked at the VLB website and was really struck by the obituary page for Eick. My sister passed away recently and also suffered from depression, I can't help but think of countless little things that I could have done to make her life a little brighter but never got around to.

                    Originally posted by metrotheme View Post
                    There are a ton of MSBL / MABL leagues across the country. Luckily in NY, there are a bunch of adult baseball leagues. MSBL is popular because they have age defined divisions, although you can be 40 and play in the 18+ if you can still compete.

                    http://www.msblnational.com/
                    Funny how you can basically only play up until you're about 18 and can only play down afterwards.
                    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                    • #11
                      With the small strike zone used in the amateur game today, I've seen 7 inning games go on for 2.5 hours or longer. Back in my day, a 7 inning game only lasted 65-70 minutes at most. When we had DH's, we would pause for about 5-10 minutes between games, then complete the second game in another 65-70 minutes. Heck, there were times when we completed a DH in only about 2 hours. The amateur game needs to bring back the old standard K zone of shoulders to knees - this would reduce the amount of pitches per game, shorten its length to less than 90 minutes, allow pitchers to throw more curves & off-speed stuff which would allow some of them to pitch both ends of the DH like we did in the 60s. As was mentioned above, who has time today to play a 2.5 hour game or 5 hour DH's?????

                      Sadly, it is the same (if not worse) for men's fast pitch softball. There are even fewer leagues of this type than amateur baseball leagues. We still have plenty of slow pitch leagues many of which have gone back to using wooden bats to reduce the amount of offense. But that game is not as much fun as fast pitch or baseball.

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                      • #12
                        Yes, I'm digging through old threads.


                        A few years back, I played in an over 30 noncompetitive league: http://www.poncedeleonbaseball.com/ Pretty much an everybody plays league, which was good for me as I'm old, fat, slow, and never played ball. Had a great time....made some plays....enjoyed myself. Thinking about playing again next year. I like the setup they have. Games on Sunday mornings. 10 game season with a short playoff for the league "championship". Supposed to be non-competitive, but we know how it is when guys are involved. My only complaint is that I'd like to see it go wooden bat. Some guys take it REAL serious, and a slow pitcher combined with a -8 aluminum bat............ :dismay:
                        Will

                        Jimmy Dugan: ... But sneaking out like this, quitting, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. Baseball is what gets inside you. It's what lights you up, you can't deny that.
                        Dottie Hinson: It just got too hard.
                        Jimmy Dugan: It's supposed to be hard! If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

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                        • #13
                          I just went to the tryouts for the Central Texas Baseball League (ctbl.org) and got drafted! It will be my first time playing organized baseball in over 20 years. It is a competitive league with 18+, so it will take some adjustment for me (37)! Good thing the army kept me in such good shape, despite the injuries that got me medically retired. Being able to be back on the field, playing 2B, catching, 1B, and all those plays in the OF at tryouts was amazing! I even hit every pitch tossed at me (which really surprised me since I forgot what my stance was, too much slow pitch softball in the army). Of course game time speed and pressure will be much more difficult than tryouts with BP speed pitches, but I can't wait to get started!

                          I also didn't know that there were adult baseball leagues, and hope that at some point I can get into one that is at least 35+, so I don't have to compete against all these young guys right out of college ball! It will be a blast either way! Man, I feel like a kid again (though tomorrow I will pay the piper)!

                          PLAY BALL!!!
                          "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                          • #14
                            I play in the New Jersey independent Baseball League. We're close to 100 teams deep now. www.njibl.com

                            4.5-5 hour games? No way. We run a hard 3 hour time limit for 9 inning games. I'd most games are shorter than that. We play 9 am sundays and are done by noon. Makes it easy for old guys like me to schedule baseball in.

                            We have several divisions that go from the top of the line to the almost rec players. All Wood bat. You can jump in mens league baseball from 18 till death. I think the gap between 18 year olds and the old guys is that you have more important things to do on the weekends. We are mostly 25+ teams. Seems that's the age you calm down and want to play again.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Matt The Hammer View Post
                              I play in the New Jersey independent Baseball League.
                              I'm in this league, too.

                              Originally posted by Matt The Hammer View Post
                              We are mostly 25+ teams. Seems that's the age you calm down and want to play again.
                              Sounds about right. Or, you've had a bunch of kids, and a wife that encourages you to take a few hours for yourself.

                              EDIT: I just noticed your username and location. I think you're my coach.
                              Last edited by WoFMan; 03-11-2013, 08:31 AM.

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