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2013 MSBL Honor Roll Inductee: Brett Mandel, Greater Philadelphia MABL

By Steve LaMontia, Executive Regional Director

Biographical Information:

Your name: BRETT MANDEL

City or town of residence: PHILADELPHIA

League name: GREATER PHILADELPHIA MEN’S ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUE

Town where league is based: PHILADELPHIA

Where did you grow up: NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA

High school and college, if applicable:NORTHEAST HIGH SCHOOL & HAMILTON COLLEGE

What do you do for a living: I AM A NON-PROFIT EXECUTIVE AND HAVE DABBLED IN POLITICS IN PHILADELPHIA

Family information: I AM MARRIED WITH THREE YOUNG CHILDREN

General Questions:

Describe your baseball resume: I GREW UP PLAYING BASEBALL AND ANY KIND OF STREET BALL – WIFFLE BALL, HALF BALL, WALL BALL – I COULD. I PLAYED HIGH SCHOOL BALL AND THEN CAME BACK TO THE SPORT AFTER COLLEGE, PLAYING MABL AND MSBL. MOST NOTABLE, I SPENT A SEASON SIGNED TO A MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT TO WRITE A BOOK – MINOR PLAYERS, MAJOR DREAMS(1997, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESS) AS A PAPER-LION-MEETS-BULL-DURHAM INSIDE VIEW OF THE LITTLE SHOW.

I HAVE PLAYED MSBL BASEBALL SINCE 1994 AND FOUNDED THE GREATER PHILADELPHIA MEN’S ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUE IN 2001. I HAVE SERVED AS COMMISSIONER FROM 2001 AND CONTINUE TO SERVE TODAY. IN 2008, I WAS INDUCTED INTO THE MSBL HALL OF FAME

What is your greatest baseball moment, either watching or playing: I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO PLAY IN A LOT OF EXCITING GAMES AND TO WATCH A LOT OF GAMES AND A LOT OF BASEBALL HISTORY IN PERSON, BUT THE GREATEST BASEBALL MOMENT FOR ME WAS WHEN MY SON AND I WERE ABLE TO HAVE AN ACTUAL CATCH (NOT JUST ME THROWING THE BALL AT HIS GLOVE AND HIM BOUNCING A BALL BACK). HAVING THAT CONNECTION AND THAT BASEBALL CONVERSATION LINKED ME TO SO MANY GENERATIONS OF FATHERS AND SONS PLAYING CATCH AND MEANT MORE TO ME THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED.

When did you start playing for MSBL and how did you hear about it: I FIRST HEARD OF MSBL BASEBALL IN 2004 WHEN A LOCAL TEAM PLACED AN AD IN A PHILLY PAPER. I TRIED OUT AND HAVE BEEN WITH THE TEAM – THROUGH A NAME CHANGE AND MANY UNIFORMS –EVER SINCE.

Do you still play: ABSOLUTELY!

What team and age bracket: I PLAY FOR THE PHILADELPHIA COMETS (2001, 2003 & 2012 GPMABL CHAMPIONS) OF THE GREATER PHILADELPHIA MEN’S ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUE.WE HAD BEEN 18+ BUT RECENTLY MOVED TO A 25+ AGE BRACKET.

What is the best thing about your league:WE TAKE THE IDEA THAT WE ARE SPENDING TIME AWAY FROM FAMILIES AND EVERYTHING ELSE VERY SERIOUSLY SO WE CANNOT HAVE A FLY-BY-THE-SEAT-OF-OUR-PANTS LEAGUE. WE WANT OUR GAMES TO BE THE HIGHLIGHT OF EVERYONE’S WEEK. WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO SECURE THE NICEST FIELDS AND ENSURE THE BEST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE GPMABL EXPERIENCE IS ONE THAT PLAYERS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND FANS LOOK FORWARD TO. THIS IS A LEAGUE THAT IS VERY SERIOUS ABOUT BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF BALLPLAYER S TO GROW OLD PLAYING THE GAME WE LOVE.

What is the funniest thing you have ever witnessed on a ball field: MY DAD COACHED MY PEANUT-LEAGUE TEAM AND THERE WERE FOUR KIDS NAMED “BRETT” ON OUR SQUAD.HE USED TO ALIGN US IN AN ALL-BRETT INFIELD AND THEN HIT POP-UPS FOR PRATICE, YELLING “BRETT – YOUR BALL” AS WE ALL RAN INTO EACH OTHER LIKE KEYSTONE KOPS, TRYING TO MAKE THE PLAYS.

Questions just for fun:Who is your favorite player of all time and why: I LOVED LARRY BOWA GROWING UP – SCRAPPY SHORTSTOP FOR THE 1980 WORLD CHAMPION PHILLIES.BOWA WAS AN ABOVE-AVERAGE FIELDER BUT NOT MUCH OF A HITTER, WHICH PRETTY MUCH DESCRIBES MY TALENTS. MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MIKE SCHMIDT FAN!

Who is the best player in the majors right now: IT HAS BEEN GREAT FUN TO WATCH YASIEL PUIG WHO MAY NOT BE THE BEST PLAYER, BUT IS SO EXCITING. EVERY DAY, MY YOUNG SON ASKS ME, “WHAT DID PUIG DO LAST NIGHT.” AND THERE IS ALMOST ALWAYS A GREAT PLAY TO CHECK OUT.

Who is the greatest pitcher of all time and why: I’LL TAKE SANDY KOUFAX TO PITCH ONE GAME TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE UNIVERSE…AS LONG AS THE GAME ISN’T GOING TO BE PLAYED ON YOM KIPPUR.

Are there any additional personal comments you wish to add about your playing or life thus far: I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT ABOUT HOW MANY MORE BASEBALL GAMES I HAVE PLAYED AS AN ADULT THAN I EVER HAD AS A BOY GROWING UP. THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT MSBL BASEBALL. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PLAY WITH AND AGAINST MY FATHER AND HOPE TO DO THE SAME WITH MY SON.

Are there any comments about MSBL you wish to share: IT IS GREAT TO BE A PART OF SUCH A LARGE AND THRIVING COMMUNITY OF BASEBALL PLAYERS. ESPECIALLY WHEN ATTENDING THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENTS, IT IS A KICK TO SEE SO MANY GUYS WHO MIGHT BE DOCTORS, LAWYERS, OR POLICE OFFICERS DURING THE WEEK, BUT STILL LOVE TO SUIT UP AND PLAY SERIOUS BASEBALL. I COULDN’T IMAGINE WHAT MY LIFE WOULD BE LIKE WITHOUT THIS OUTLET AND WITHOUT THIS COMMUNITY.

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