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2017 January League of the Month: Columbus MSBL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

2015 MSBL Honor Roll inductee Rick Fryman is the president of the Columbus MSBL, an 18 team league that is hopeful of expanding to 20 in 2017.  They provide competition in 25+, 35+ and 45+ divisions and have been under the MSBL umbrella since 1989.  Rick took over the helm five years ago when 20 year league president and MSBL Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement award winner Jim Durham stepped down.  They also play their summer schedule in conjunction with Charles McCroskey’s Central Ohio MABL, also located in and around Columbus.

"We play what we call the President’s Cup together with the Central Ohio MABL,” said Fryman.  "It is a summer long competition with them that is really well balanced.  We’ve been doing this for two years now and last year were 8-9-1, which is as balanced as you can get.  Everybody loves it.”

Rick, who turns 50 in July, continues to manage and play with the Pirates in his 25-over division, this being his 18thyear as a player in the league.  He also is a frequent visitor to the MSBL World Series and Fall Classic in Florida and is hoping to make it to the MSBL World Series this year. 

The Columbus MSBL consists of a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, a position that Rick also handles.  "You have to be organized and lay out specific rules with a definite chain of command,” Fryman stated.  "You can’t have any gray areas.  Our board has a set of rules and it is our job to uphold them.  When you start waivering is when you get in trouble.”

One of the highlights of the Columbus season is their mid-season All-Star Game held at Huntington Park, home of the AAA Columbus Clippers.  "It is a day-long event with different age divisions, entertainment and a real fun atmosphere.  It is always the highlight of our year.”

Rick could also be called the ultimate trooper and the king of dedication. He drives 300 miles twice a week to play.  He lives around 140 miles from Columbus.  "I just love being around the young guys and enjoy managing them,” explained Rick.  "They keep me young!”

What advice could you give to young league presidents coming up through the ranks? "Stick to the bylaws and let them know there is a structure and implement it.  Be in charge.  Yes, there are always special circumstances but the players want to know someone is in charge so that all they worry about is playing ball.  Give them that opportunity and gladly accept the responsibility.” 

The Columbus MSBL begins the Sunday after Mother’s Day and they begin their double-elimination league playoffs the Sunday after Labor Day.  It’s a full year and usually winds up in early October, just in time for MSBL national tournament participation. 

We asked Rick what he is most proud of as a league president.  "They keep coming back.  Jim Durham solidified the league for all those years and our players are very loyal.  If they didn’t like what is going on they wouldn’t play.  That makes me feel good as a president.  We must be doing something right and I’m happy to be able to carry on Jim’s vision and dedication.’   

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