By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
The Fort Worth MSBL has been around for 20 years ago with many of the original members and past presidents still taking part. The FtWMSBL is currently under the guidance of Jon Beggerly, the league’s rookie league president this year. The league offers play in 25+ and 40+ divisions, totaling four in the younger division and six in the 40’s.
We spoke with Jon about the past and more importantly what the position of league president means to him now and in the future. Below are the topics posed to Jon and his responses in a Q and A format. Enjoy!
Were you able to get in a part or all of your season in 2020? We started late and played 10 games rather than the usual 15
When does the league begin play and when will it finish, including any playoffs? The league typically starts in March the week after Spring Break and runs 15 weeks (usually skip two for holiday weekends) with a two or three-week playoff.
When did you personally start playing in the league? I brought our Lone Stars to the league in 2015 when the league we had been playing in began to run into problems locking down fields.
When did you become president? I was ‘volutold’ I would have the honor after the 2020 season
Who were your predecessors and are they still involved in any capacity? Keven Herd and Michael Justice are both still active in the 40+ division. They both serve on the board I assembled as 40+ VP and League Treasurer respectively.
What is your most memorable MSBL moment as a president? Draft day – meeting prospective players, greeting returning managers and players that have volunteered help organize the draft.
What challenges did you face when you started the league or when you took over? We immediately started the process to convert the league to a non-profit 501c3. This type of organization is new to me so the learning curve has been steep, but members of the league who are more experienced with this type of organization have stepped up to provide advice and guidance.
What are your biggest challenges today? Expansion of the league. There is a large men’s baseball community in Fort Worth, but most teams play on Saturdays and Sundays and do not need to pay for lights. The FtWMSBL is exclusively a Friday Night League and the fees for lights drive up our price.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction? Knowing that we are keeping baseball alive for the men who still want to play.
What do you see for the league in the future? We hope the conversion to a non-profit will allow us to grow through donations and new opportunities within the community. Fort Worth ISD has already reached out and let us know that because we are a 501c3 organization it should be much easier to partner with them and use their fields. We are actively recruiting new coaches and players to expand to six teams in the 25+ division for the 2022 season.
What is the reason for the continued success of the league? We have built a community. The players and coaches are constantly spreading the word and bringing in new players.
What part of running the league do you enjoy most? Knowing that I have contributed to continuing this league – that we have made baseball available to men that want to play
Do you still play in the league? Yes, I still play and coach the 25+ Lone Stars (2022 will be our 12th season).
What is the history of your league team’s participation in any MSBL national tournaments? The 40+ division has assembled a team to participate in the MSBL World Series in Arizona almost every season since I have been part of the league
What would you say are the most important accomplishments in your league? Conversion to 501c3 non-profit status
How valuable is your relationship with MSBL? The MSBL has made all the behind-the-scenes parts of “running” the league possible. Everything is readily available and easy to execute. I have been part of other leagues that did not offer a fraction of the support of the MSBL. Knowing that insurance, fees, baseballs, and scorebooks are ready to go takes the headache out of it and allows us to focus on the teams and players.
What advice would you give to new league presidents? Listen to your league coaches and then do what YOU believe is best for the league. Read the rule book – it will take care of a lot of the controversy between teams. Your league is a network of professionals – tap into that. Find the guy good with web pages, find the artist, find the social media expert, and by all means, find the guy that works for the beer distributor and put him on your team!
How important is family support? Our games would not be what they are without family. We are blessed to have families that will tolerate the Texas heat and mosquitos on a Friday night. One of the benefits of playing Friday night rather than Saturday or Sunday morning is having the families at the game. There are two dozen children running loose between the two fields having a blast!