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MSBL League of the Month: Capital District MSBL, Albany, New York

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The Capital District Men’s Senior Baseball League, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that provides adult baseball for players and umpires 18 years of age and older in the Albany, New York area. They have 51 teams playing in five divisions (18+, 25+, 33+, 45+ and 55+) with their skill level ranging from former professional players to those who last played 20 years ago. But all have one thing in common – the desire to play baseball.

They were established in 1989 with four teams in one division (30+) and now boast more than 600 members playing competitive baseball. Players in the CDMSBL have played into their 70s. Their geographic focus is the Capital District of New York, but do have teams outside of the Albany area.  "We set up a table in the mall back in 1989 and took an ad out in the paper,” explained league president John Reel.  "We ended up with about 60 guys and four teams.  It took us five years to get to 15 teams but have steadily grown to our current size.”

Their season starts in late April and typically is finished by the last week in August with some age divisions play into September. The schedule is 15 to 20 games, depending on the division, and most teams play one game per week. The 18+ and 45+ age divisions play most of their games on weekends while the 33+ and 55+ play predominantly weeknights. At the conclusion of each season all divisions host a playoff to determine division champions.

Capital District league president John Reel, now in his early 60’s, was inducted into the MSBL Hall of Fame in 2004 and in 2015 was presented with the MSBL Lifetime Achievement Award by MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler.  John is also the founder of the league and the original president from 1990 to 2006, while being lured back to the helm in 2011 where he can now be found steering the ship once again. 

One thing that John is happy to discuss is his success with the Northeast Regional Labor Day Tournament, his brain storm that began in 1992 and is the longest continuous MSBL regional tournament in the nation.  "It takes a lot of energy and I haven’t run it for a few years now but it is still a great tradition in the Albany area,” said John.  "We had 12 teams the first year and have grown to as many as 30.  Guys look forward to it every year.”

John and his wife Diane live just south of Albanyand John is still seen out there on the field doing his thing. "I play for the Golden Marlins in the 45 and over division and the Platinum Marlins in the 55’s,” said Reel. "I’m not sure what we’ll call ourselves if we start a 65 and over division.” 

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