T Nation

Baseball League Dilema


#1

It seems like when I post about some personal issue I already know what I'm going to do, I just post about it to hear other perspectives. This time I really don't know what I'm going to do. I've got a few months before I need to decide but I've sure been flip floppy a lot about this over the last week.

Thirteen years ago I stopped playing in the men's league baseball league I was playing in because my 1st child was born. This past spring I signed up to play again, this time in the Over 35 league. I enjoyed it and come Fall I signed up to play Fall Ball as well. Fall ball is a combined league of 18+ and 35+.

The fall team was me and two guys from my summer team with a bunch of kids from one of the 18 and over teams. I had more fun playing with this team and about half way thru the season the coach asked me if I would play on his summer team next year. The shortstop for this team (who I am very impressed with) overheard and chimed in "play with us".

I didn't take the invitation too seriously at first but over the next couple weeks I started liking the idea more and more. I talked to the coach again and asked him if I would start on his team. I hate not playing and I don't hit as well if I'm not in the field too. He said "Yes you will start, center field."

Shortly after that conversation I came into the dugout sucking wind from running the bases. I needed a few minutes to catch my breath but It was time to get back out on defense so I handed a ball to a young teammate and asked him to cover for me. Then I started having reservations about playing on the 18+ team because I started feeling guilty about starting while guys young enough to be my sons would be on the bench.

My wife told me if I'm good enough to start I shouldn't feel guilty about it and that I'd be setting an example to the young guys about what you can do at 50 if you take care of yourself.

After the last game two additional teammates asked if I was going to play on their team next year. I told them I was leaning that way. Inside, I'm feeling especially honored that the 3 players I consider to be the best players on the team were all interested in having me play with them.

The pros of playing with the young guys are:
- I like the energy better and it brings up my own game.
- It's less frustrating because they can actually make their plays. Playing with the old guys is a nail biter every time the ball is put into play. There is no such thing as a routine play in that league.
- My ability to steal bases has value. In the old league the catchers simply can't throw anybody out so just about everyone steals second if they get on first. (I've thought about stealing 3rd from 1st. I bet you I'd make it)

The cons of playing with the young guys are:
- They are not my peers.
- Young guys have a hard time scrapping together the cash to play and getting a team together can be iffy.
- When I played in the 18+ league before I had a hard time getting along with the young guys. I'd like to think 50 year old me is more mellow than the 35 year old redass I was but I'm not sure.
- Guilt about starting over a kid. No amount of rationalizing will make me completely comfortable with this.
- They play on Sundays and I could use a day off before heading back to work on Mondays. I'm pretty exhausted after the double-headers.

The pros of playing with the old guys are:
- They are my peers. It's regret of mine that when I moved to this town my one social activity was playing with guys much younger than me so I missed out on making friends.
- They play on Saturdays which gives me a day of rest before going back to work. Plus they play fewer doubleheaders.
- I have no guilt about starting over older guys.

The cons of playing with the old guys are:
- I'm less jacked to play with them.
- I get kind of pissed off standing around in the outfield with hardly any balls hit to me when I know If I was playing shortstop I'd be making at least two plays a game that aren't getting made. With the young guys I know they can make plays I can't so I'm content in the outfield.
- The pitchers are too slow. I like hitting off pitchers with more velocity because I find I do better if I can simply react rather than when I have to mentally make a decision when to swing.

Sorry about the length. Any input?


#2

If they are asking you to play, they must appreciate your contributions to the team. I have to agree with your wife on this one, if they want you to start it’s because you deserve it. This isn’t little league where everyone is supposed to get equal playing time, this is an adult league where the coach decides who plays and who sits based off of results.

I’m only 38, but I can understand your trepidation at starting over young guys. It would give me a bit of performance anxiety as well, at least to the point of making me try harder on each play. And your wife has an excellent point as well, showing these young guys who can’t see past 25 that you don’t have to be relegated to the couch after 40.

I would say take it if it’s available, you said yourself you are happier playing with the younger guys.


#3

I’m a little bit worried I might have just gotten hot in the short fall ball season and during a whole summer season I won’t do as well. In the summer season with the old guys I didn’t do as well. If my past history is anything to go by I probably will do well next summer. In my first baseball comeback at 32 years old I struggled to hit a little over 300 in the summer season then tore up fall ball, hitting about 450. That was exactly the story this time too.

I’ve pretty much decided I am going to play with the kids. Writing out the pros and cons above really made the choice obvious. My one real reservation is playing the sunday double headers then having to go to work on mondays. I’m going to have to get in conditioning this winter to handle that and I dread conditioning.


#4

Obvious choice, play with the young guys. If it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, go back to the 35+ league next summer.


#5

Update (Gee this new format makes rebooting your old topics easy):

I ended up playing in both the 18+ league and the 35+ league. This meant double headers on Saturday and Sunday which proved to be too much. I developed brutal plantar fasciitis and I lost 15 pounds. I started the season at 190 pounds and ended it at 175. I’m back to about 185 now. I had some hamstring strains also.

I was happy to prove I could still steal bases off good pitcher/catcher combos. I never got caught and a couple of the catchers I thought were college caliber. I actually got picked off 3 times in the old guy league (probably due to mental fog induced from 4 games per weekend). Fortunately only one of those pickoffs resulted in an out.

I was real happy with my arm. The previous summer I was able to throw well but only overhand. Trying to make sidearm throws was out of the question for my shoulder. My arm continued to improve going into this past summer and I was also able to throw sidearm which made it so I could move to shortstop for the 35+ team which was a huge relief for my plantar fascia. Chasing down balls in the outfield killed my feet.

Next summer I plan to play both again but not nearly as much. I’m going to play full time for the old guys. Our team came in last place and they need me to be there every game. The 18+ team was a good team and they don’t need me to win but young guys are flakes. They sleep thru game time, have job changes and work schedule changes, they move and one guy even missed a double header because his girlfriend broke up with him. (More on the girl below) So, for the young team I think I can help best by being a pool player and just fill in when they are short handed. This way I can get some time playing with them and I really enjoy playing with them more than the old guys, but I shouldn’t get overworked in the process.

Regarding the girl. I can’t say I blame the poor kid for getting his heart broke. The girl was so fine she looked like she stepped off the set of Bay Watch. The first game, I see this girl in the stands and during the whole double-header I’m saying to myself “Come on Edge, get ahold of yourself. She’s too young for you to be looking at and she’s probably the girlfriend of one of your teammates”. Of course I couldn’t control myself and I kept stealing glances. I was able to concentrate in the batters box though because I just ripped that game. LOL