Arlington Arsenal: Dominating the DCMSBL 18+ National Division Landscape

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The DCMSBL consists of teams in 18+, 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+ divisions.  However, there is a powerhouse lurking in the 18+ National Division of the DCMSBL, located in our nation’s capital, that is as dominant as a team can be.  Legendary and MSBL Hall of Fame League President Larry Lombardi introduces us to the Arlington Arsenal manager, Ryan Hogan.

“I would like to see a feature on Ryan Hogan, who is the team manager of the Arlington Arsenal,” said Lombardi.   “His team has been one of the top teams in our 18+ division the last few years. Ryan’s team has taken over where the old 18+ Silver Spring Dodgers ran the table for quite some time in the younger age group.

By the way, Ryan started playing in the DCMSBL when he was 21 years old and he is now 38! He is a great guy, an excellent competitor, and a father of three little ones!”

Editor’s Note: As of this writing, the Arlington Arsenal is 10-1, in first place in the top 18+ National Division, and sports a run differential of 143 to 53.

We were able to catch up with Ryan, and he insisted that we include his older brother Dan on the call because he was the original manager of the team.  I asked them both about how Arsenal became a team.

“I graduated college in 2007 and Dan and I moved in together,” explained Ryan.  “We were sitting around in the winter of 2007 and talked about how much we missed baseball so we decided to try to put a team together.  We started calling old friends and ultimately in 2008, we joined the DCMSBL.  To put it nicely, it started out kind of rough because our old friends were a bit rusty.” 

“It took a while to gel,” added Dan.  “In fact, the second year, our dad told us we should look into playing softball!  But we hung in there and ended up playing in the championship game in 2013 and 2015, though we lost both times.  Players come and go, but it is really hard to lose pitchers.  We have always concentrated on obtaining quality arms.  It has paid off nicely.”

Suddenly Ryan was thrust into the Arsenal leadership role, as Dan moved away in 2016.  It was a tough transition year.

“The one thing Dan did a great job with was making sure you add guys who really want to play and you can count on to show up,” explained Ryan.  “We have passed on some really talented players who just didn’t have the real commitment.

Our team rule is to just communicate if you are going to be away.  I don’t want to be watching the parking lot and I like being prepared and coming to the field with my lineup set and know what needs to be done.  This philosophy has worked, as we have never forfeited in 16 years.”

In 2016 they had to rebuild half of the roster, lending itself to Ryan’s freshman woes as team manager.  In Ryan’s words, 2016 and 2017 were mediocre but in 2018 everything clicked. 

“We added more quality pitching, obtained more depth, and 2018 was our first championship.  In 2019 we only lost one game and won the championship again.  In 2020 it was only a half-season because of covid.  The championship was a single winner-take-all game and not the traditional best of three and we lost on an incredible game-ending catch by the other team.  In 2021 and 2022 we got back to our winning ways.”

As Larry Lombardi mentioned earlier, Ryan has a house full of potential ballplayers waiting at home. 

“My kids are four, two, and a couple of months old.  My goal is to stay on the roster as long as I can but pass off the team leadership when the kids get older.  I don’t want to miss their growing up.  I don’t see myself managing the Arsenal for decades to come.

We have considered moving up to the next age division but we won’t do it until our age causes us to start losing a bunch.  So far that hasn’t happened.  I will give this (managing) a few more years and then it’s up to the next guy to think about moving up.  But I don’t see it happening for a few years, at least.”

I asked Ryan if Arsenal hits the road to compete in national or regional tournaments.

“We give it everything we have during the season, call it a day, and try to stay in shape over the winter.  Our team includes a lot of young families and it’s hard for everyone to get away.  If we can’t compete as a team, we won’t do it.   Everyone gives it 100% during the season and most guys are limping at the end of the year and are glad it’s over, anyway.  There is no reason to save anything for post-season tournaments.”

The 18+ division plays on Sundays beginning in April and continues through mid-August.  Every year starting in January they host an open practice, inside or out as weather dictates.  They are ready to roll come April.

What is the makeup of Arsenal?

“We have 17 players and around eight pitchers.  Tyler Bass has pitched in three of the championships.  He throws in the high 80s and a really good curve.  Tyler pitched for West Virginia and bats third, too.  Ryan Monson never pitched in college and is our leadoff man but can really pitch.  (Currently, Ryan has pitched 41 innings, has an ERA of 1.098, and has whiffed 61 while walking only three) He pitched in our All-Star game and threw seven innings and gave up one run.  Ian Miller pitched for Harvard and hasn’t thrown in a few years but will be a real asset as the year goes on.”

As you may expect, there are plenty of memories from two brothers who have managed such a successful team and also some brotherly insights and observations from simply being brothers who both love baseball.

“Our dad groomed us to both be pitchers,” stated Dan.  “But despite his best efforts, we didn’t turn out to be great pitchers.  Sometimes it backfired.  One time while I was managing the Arsenal, Ryan was on the mound.  I called time and yanked him because he was walking people and hitting guys.  As I took him out, Ryan was screaming at me, like brothers at home in their room, but sometimes you have to do what needs to be done, brother or not.  But most of my memories are all positive.  The friendships that were made are invaluable.”

“Our first championship in 2018 was against the Silver Spring Dodgers, who always won so it was good to beat them,” contributed Ryan.  “We were winning in the bottom of the seventh and their best hitter came up.  If we got him out, we win the championship, since we won the first game in the best-of-three series.  I was going to ask our guy to walk him but he said ‘no way’ and struck him out to get our first championship with a huge ‘K’.” 

Dan explained that he is usually a calm guy who rarely gets too involved in the moment and tried to be the steady captain of the ship.  But there was one game…

“We played against a real chirpy team one time, though they were pretty good,” said Dan.  “We were trading runs back and forth and it was a really exciting game.  It was the bottom of the last inning and we were down by two runs and the other team started their chirping and really getting under my skin.  Our hitter, Devon Roberts, came up and worked into a two-strike count.  The next thing I saw was him pounding it over one of the trees in the outfield to win the game in a walk-off.”

“Dan was coaching third base and went crazy,” added Ryan.  “He never does that and it can’t be duplicated.  That’s why I love the game and to experience a win like that with my brother is amazing.  It wasn’t just a team coming back, but we found a way to battle back against an annoying team and then shoved it in their face.  We never set out to do that, but this one warranted something extra.”

Final thoughts about the DCMSBL?

Ryan: “It has been great that this league is around and we have this opportunity.  Our T-ball and little league friends are still on our team together.  That is what it’s all about.  Baseball creates lifelong friendships.  The DCMSBL is a very well-run league and is not some beer league.  It’s professionally run.  We have one guy who is in the military and moved away and now he wants to come back and play again for us in the league.”

Dan: “I always enjoyed how well the league is run.  I have benefited from the communication.  You know about rainouts, where to go, and it is all so very organized.  The umpires are always the best around and with everything being so well communicated, especially field conditions, people are never disappointed and have no grounds for a complaint.”

For an up-close and personal view of the Arsenal, here is the link to their team website: