Arizona MSBL 45+ Division
Submitted by Chris Means, Arizona 45+ Reds
The Five Pillars of Arizona Reds 45+ Baseball:
HUMILITY: Don’t think too highly or to lowly of yourself. Look at yourself soberly. You can’t be all things. Be able to say, “This is who I am” and “This is who I’m not.”
PASSION:Don’t be lukewarm! Everyone is passionate when they’re winning, but the successful are passionate when it’s hard. Get better every day.
UNITY: Integrate individual talents for the good of the team. Don’t become fragmented no matter the circumstances. Unity in a losing effort can be molded into a winning team.
SERVANTHOOD: Regardless of your role, be a servant to the team and make your teammates better.
THANKFULNESS: Be thankful for success, but also for what you learn through adversity – that’s where great wisdom can be gained.
I reached out to all of our players and asked for their thoughts about playing on our team this past season. Below are a couple of the responses…
From catcher Mike Sinykin:
The main thing I enjoyed about playing with this team this year was team chemistry and the “never give up attitude”.
From first baseman Terry VanGundy:
This team believed in the following statement:
The Reds 2014 season recap: We started our season with a few new players. We managed to upgrade the few positions that were open due to guys dropping off, switching teams, etc. Half way through the season we were in third place in the division (top four teams make the playoffs). We then had a series of injuries, guys on vacation, unpacked bats, etc., that caused us to drop to fifth place in our division – with only five games left in the season! We righted the ship and managed to beat the teams we needed to beat in order to qualify for the #4 seed. We finished the regular season with a record of 12-8-1. We only allowed 142 runs in 21 games (less than seven per game), which was good enough for third lowest in the 45+ division.
Our first playoff game was against the #1 seed Angels (20-1). The Angels averaged almost 18 runs scored per game all season. They handled us pretty well and we lost the first playoff game 13-8. We were now in a “lose-and-go-home” mode. Our next opponent was the White Sox (the other team that had lost their first game). Behind some great pitching by our guy, Rick Urias, who later that month would be voted by his peers as the 45+ Division All-Star MVP, we beat the White Sox by a score of 14-11. One of the players on the White Sox is Brian Kingman. As some may know, Brian pitched for the “real” Oakland A’s back in the day – he was a major leaguer for over four years, played under Billy Martin, and played with a lot of those really good A’s teams from the early 80’s. Our manager, Tony Quilici, wanted to relay to each player on the Reds that Kingman called to congratulate him (and our team) on the victory we had over his White Sox. Tony told me that Brian stated:“You guys wanted it more than us, and you deserved the win. Good luck against the Dbacks.”
This was a classy thing for Kingman to do and Tony and I passed his comments on to everyone on the Reds. Coming from a person with the professional baseball pedigree that Brian has, this meant a lot.
Now we had to face the D’backs in ANOTHER lose-and-go-home game. The D’backs were the defending league champs from the previous year. With a very short roster on our part, Rick Urias AGAIN pitched a great game and we managed to beat the D’backs by a score of 6-1. They threw BOTH of their “aces” at us, but we just were “feeling it” (as they say).
Unfortunately, we did not “feel it” all the way through to the championship game against the Angels. We were in a close game (trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning). But defensive lapses on our part allowed them to score four unearned runs that inning. They had superior pitching going for them that night and we ran out of gas this game. We lost by a score of 7-2. It was small consolation to us that we held the league’s highest-powered offense to just seven runs (again with Rick on the mound). As I wrote to the team afterwards: “We played the Angels three times this season and they beat us all three games. All we can do is tip our caps and get ‘em next year”.