Posted on

Austin Metro Member and Cancer Survivor Mike Coy Shares Cancer Screening Warning

(Editor’s note) Mike Coy is an ‘over 65’ Austin Metro Baseball League member, an MSBL World Series and Fall Classic participant since 1990 and most recently a five-year throat cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 2013.  In 2015 Mike wrote a book titled ‘I Chose…Live’ about his cancer ordeal with the hope that more men would heed the message to get checked and how to win the war if you are forced to deal with cancer.  Mike recently sent us an update on a new cancer he has experienced and a warning to all men.

By Mike Coy, Austin Metro Cancer Survivor

Men don’t get checked for cancer. Our death rate is 58% higher than a woman because we don’t get checked. That’s why I wrote my book: “I Chose…Live” Ichoselive.com about my battle with cancer and how I am winning the war.

As most of you know from a previous story, I am a 5-year cancer survivor. I had throat cancer along with another ballplayer, Steve Hagy, who had it a year before me. We are two guys who have never been sick a day in their life, both exercise and take care of ourselves, don’t smoke or use any type of tobacco and we also don’t drink or take drugs.  How in the hell did we get throat cancer? Well, we did and it ain’t fun, I can tell you.  I am coming to you now with a warning.

I recently found out I now have a very common skin cancer on my left ear, as I noticed I had a “spot” that would crust up, bleed, etc.  It’s called “Truckers Ear”. It’s no big deal when caught early, but a bitch of a cancer if left alone and allowed to spread. I’m having it removed September 6th because I went and got checked.  It’s nothing special, just a local anesthetic, scrape it off, stitch it up and move on.

Guys…please get checked.  All of us are out in the sun. I put on sunscreen but sweat it off or come in and wipe down with a cold rag.  It’s hard to keep the stuff on. On a final note, PLEASE get your colonoscopy every 5-10 years. Prostate Cancer and Colon Cancer are the two main cancers with men. Both are “simple” to treat IF caught early.  Go get “The Finger” and check the prostate. It’s all about prevention, guys.

See you at the ballpark!  MLC #20

Posted on

South Jersey Honors Retiring Member Bill ‘Pops’ Julio

Submitted by Lou Marshall, South Jersey MSBL league president

The South Jersey Men’s Senior Baseball League honored long time player Bill “Pops” Julio #7 on Sunday, August 18th. Bill has played in South Jersey Baseball leagues since the seventies and has played in the SJMSBL for almost two decades. He has been a mentor to many players though he retired from baseball at the age of 79 after last year’s 2018 season, where he won a championship with the 52 Division Cinnaminson Reds.

Bill wore the #7 throughout his career, as do his two sons as a tribute to him. For those who know him and those who don’t he has been so fondly given the nickname “Pops”.  On Sunday the league presented him with a plaque and his former team the Cinnaminson Reds presented him with his old jersey signed by his teammates. The SJMSBL has been very honored to have Bill in our fold over the years. He has had many achievements, and certainly the commitment and passion for the game we all love. On a personal note Bill has been one of my best friends and the hours upon hours we have talked about baseball and life in general has been nothing short of priceless for me.

On the field Bill was as fierce a competitor as the game has seen. Off the field Bill is a compassionate, caring giving human being. I have played on teams with him and hold those as very special times in my life. Bill has hung up the cleats but those who know him well are not totally convinced it is for good, myself included. Wherever life takes him, anybody who knows him or who has stepped on the field with him is a better person for having done so.

Congratulations Bill from all of your family at the SJMSBL!!!

Here are a few words from Bill after his ceremony:

(In Bill’s own words) Some of my most memorable days include:

  1. Wedding Day
  2. Having four great children
  3. My pro contract with Detroit
  4. My mom named ‘Mother of the Year’ in Erie, PA
  5. My dad telling opposing hitters how to best hit me and saying it would make me a better pitcher
  6. Named top player at age 60 in USA-Baseball Today magazine
  7. Striking out four times on 12 pitches in one game by Sammy Jethroe
  8. August 18, 2019

I have cried only a few times in my life, all for deceased family and friends, until Sunday.  I was humbled by the surprise ceremony on my behalf.  Thanks to Lou, the players from my team, the Reds and the visiting Phillies.

During my life I personally have been to similar ceremonies for players like Mantle, Feller, Stargell and Williams, all Hall of Famers, but that did not top Sunday.

Although we are not professional ball players, the players gathered at home plate for the ceremony have had longer careers and are dedicated and are truly the heart of what baseball is.

Thank you, Lou, whom I played for when I was young, and the real players: my family, my teammates, the gifts and the professional courtesy always given to my family.

Finally, one thought for all participants in this league and across the country; DON’T EVER TURN YOUR BACK ON “THE GAME” NO MATTER WHAT THE FINAL SCORE IS-AS LONG AS YOU ARE ABLE TO PLAY AND PLAY HARD “YOU NEVER LOSE.”  ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOUR FAITH.

God Bless!

Bill ‘Pops’ Julio #7

Posted on

MSBL World Series HOF Member Charlie LaDuca Shares Post-Surgery Rehab Insight

(Editor’s note: As we age, we trade surgical stories like baseball cards in the spokes as kids.  2018 MSBL World Series Hall of Fame member and feared southpaw on the mound, Charlie LaDuca recently entered the surgically repaired shoulder world. At my urging I requested that Charlie please keep us in the loop regarding his procedure and recovery so that we may all gain knowledge on what may lie ahead.  Charlie was kind enough to send an update last week that I thought you may be interested in reviewing…Steve LaMontia, MSBL Director of Communications

Submitted by Charlie LaDuca, Chautauqua MSBL, owner Pro Bats, LLC

I am currently recovering from extensive rotator cuff surgery on my non-throwing shoulder that I injured a few years ago diving for a ball.  I tweaked it in the gym getting ready for a tournament and finally destroyed it landing on it once again.  I had surgery May 21st in a three-hour surgery, as they re-attached two tendons that had torn off the bone, repaired two others, repaired a huge tear in my labrum, re-attached my biceps tendon, and shaved a bone spur.  Piece of cake, right?

Dr. Duquinn at the University of Buffalo Medical Center was amazing.  He is an athlete himself and went the extra mile for me.  I spent six weeks in a sling and now going to physical therapy twice weekly.  I’m thankfully ahead of schedule, since I did some work on my own (go figure) and I’m thrilled to be on schedule to take the bump in Arizona at the MSBL World Series this October for Bob Sherwin’s Athletics in the 65-over division.  Bob Bankoski is also a player in our Chautauqua MSBL and had the same surgery only two weeks ago.  Bob is the Manager of the A’s and has been playing and running that team for the past 11 years.  He is done for the season but looks forward to taking the field again next spring.  We are rehabbing together at Fredonia Physical Therapy where they push us hard, but we would expect nothing less.

I was allowed to take my arm out of the sling after three days to shower, but only allowed to let it hang down.  No lifting, raising it up or moving it.  I was allowed to do some small semicircular motions with it hanging, and that was about it.  This was the protocol for the six weeks I was in the sling.  The hardest part was sleeping, as I was afraid I would injure it even though I was in a sling.  As most patients did, I slept in my recliner for all six weeks.  I was pretty much sleep deprived for those six weeks, although I cat napped during the day which was a saving grace.

I did push things a bit, as most of us players will have a tendency to do.  I cut my lawn and trimmed the bushes and drove my car, although in writing I was not supposed to.  We all drive with one hand anyway here in Western New York.  After three weeks I found a YouTube video of a doctor showing how to do passive stretching at this point post-surgery.  I went in my hot tub every morning and stretched my shoulder.

Another big part of recovery is an ice machine.  They offer you the option of purchasing an actual ice machine and most insurances cover it.  It is basically a container that holds water and ice with a tube and pad that fits around your shoulder.  Once you turn it on, cold water is circulated through the pad and around your shoulder.  It was absolute heaven!

So, from that point until I got the sling off at the six-week mark, I alternated stretching and icing.  Once the sling was removed I started PT.  There were very slow baby steps with stretching and finally very light exercises using stretch cords and one-pound weights.  Since I have been pitching for so long, and caring for my throwing arm, I was able to get ahead of the curve and speed up my recovery using some of the same techniques.  I was told rehab was hell on earth though I never felt any pain at all.  Maybe some little twinges and that was about it.

They say that my shoulder will be completely healed at the three-month mark.  My last visit with my surgeon was three days ago.  They were impressed with my progress and after putting me through a bunch of tests, gave me permission to start playing catch.  Yahoooo!   Again, this is my non-throwing shoulder, so it would have been a much different scenario had it been my left shoulder.

So there it is.  I’m confident I will come back stronger than ever.  I now realize how weak that shoulder was for a long period of time.  I really do enjoy the challenge of doing the work to get back on the diamond.  I hope this little update helps those either considering the procedure or experiencing it right now.  There is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel so stay the course!

Posted on

Donald Brooks Fights Off MS to Make Impact in Colorado Springs MSBL

Submitted by Susan Fisher, Southern Colorado MSBL

A good heart-warming story has unfolded this season in the Southern Colorado MSBL in Colorado Springs. The 10-5 Colorado Springs Zephyrs recently picked up a player at the last minute via the player pool on the league website. The player has been active in various adult baseball leagues throughout Southern New Jersey since 2000. This player played and managed over 13 years in South Jersey. After the 2013 season, he decided to make a professional career change and moved to Montana. After taking a job as a Flight Paramedic in Montana, late in 2014 he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At that point he felt his athletic career had ended. Fast forward to 2019, now in southern Colorado, still working as a Flight Paramedic and going to school full-time to get a master’s degree, he felt the itch to play again. He placed his name on the player pool list and was picked up.

Donald Brooks, who recently celebrated a birthday, has become one of the highlights of the season in Colorado Springs. Playing in the 50+ classics division, heading into the final week of the regular season Brooks has been an integral part of the Zephyrs contending for first place. Brooks has played various positions throughout the season, but has been steadfast at second base and now third base. At the plate Brooks has been on a high all season, batting .592 and showing exciting base running throughout the season. For someone who periodically deals with numbness in his legs, balance issues and loss of sensation in his right hand and fingertips, he gives his all week in and week out while continuing to play at a level that surpasses any deficits from his disease.

Brooks is both quiet and humble about his play, going out each week just to have fun. Brooks is always smiling and laughing with all players on the field and the umpires. Brooks came back from a

stress fracture early in the season to play in the July 4th weekend Pikes Peak Classic in Colorado Springs. From there he returned to the Zephyrs and has quietly batted .800 since his return. Brooks does all the little things that go unnoticed in the game.

Brooks is a refreshing addition to the league. I have played against him and with him this season. Brooks is a true ball player at heart and has shown that heart is bigger than his stature. It is a pleasure to have seen this ball player become part of our league. God willing, Brooks will be a part of our league for years to come. The Zephyrs found a diamond in the rough. Brooks is one player who is a gentleman and a gamer.

Posted on

Tackling Common Skin Conditions Faced by Baseball Players

 

By Jennifer Davies, Special to MSBL

 

(Editor’s note: Jennifer is a content writer and health nut, who left her corporate job to pursue her passions and spend more time with her wonderful family.)

Athletes playing team sports like baseball are prone to a plethora of skin conditions, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. Bacteria, fungi and viruses can proliferate when athletes are in close contact, and that is just one of many issues that can arise when getting hot and sweaty is the order of the day. If you are a baseball player who wishes to keep skin healthy and youthful, take note of what you’re up against and ensure you adopt the appropriate preventive measures so you can concentrate on giving your very best on the field.

 

Protecting Skin Against The Sun

Baseball players can be under a blazing sun for hours, which makes skin cancer one of the most pressing skin concerns they can face. If you train outdoors, don’t forget to slap on your 50+ sunscreen. While both chemical and physical sunscreens exist, if you have sensitive skin or you wish to avoid toxic build-up, a physical sunscreen (which tends to be thicker than chemical products) might be your best bet. Reapply sunscreen after every couple of hours, to ensure that UV rays don’t cause aging, loss of firmness or cancer. If you have sun-related pigmentation and spots, consider laser treatment, which is very efficient at targeting skin at a deeper level. If you opt for laser, it is best to do so during off-season months, since you will be required to stay out of the sun for a few days.

 

Bacterial And Viral Threats To Athletes

When you’re part of a baseball team, habits such as shared use of equipment and benches, and shared shower use can put you at risk for bacterial infections like impetigo, herpes simplex, and ringworm. Keeping clean and not sharing clothing are key, but even when doing so, you may not be able to avoid contact with other players or refrain from using common surfaces that contain these germs. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for rashes, sores or skin changes, seeing your doctor immediately for treatment if you spot any of these symptoms. To keep athlete’s foot at bay, always use footwear when showering in common showers. Bring an anti-bacterial spray bottle along, and clean common equipment like weights, benches and mats before use. 

 

Keeping Skin Blemish-Free

Another skin problem many baseball players can have is oily skin, blocked pores, pigmentation (uneven skin) and spots – owing to sun exposure and the over-activation of oil and sweat glands. A daily skincare routine is key for all adults, but for baseball and other team players, it is crucial. There are many products on the market, but you should opt for gentle products targeting oily skin. These control oil and keep skin free of spots without over-drying it. In fact, oily skin results from dehydration; oil glands go into overdrive because skin is not receiving the moisture it needs. 

 

Steps In Your Skincare Routine

To keep your body as smooth as a baby’s, in addition to showering, use a body exfoliant. This product will typically contain rougher ‘grains’ that slough off dead skin. While your skin is still a little moist, apply a quality moisturizer that will act as a barrier between your skin and the elements. A facial skincare routine is more complex, and should ideally be personalized to your skin type. Various acids (including ascorbic acid and retinoic acid) are ideal additions to almost every skincare routine, but the precise combination should be determined by your dermatologist. In general, you should aim to cleanse and hydrate skin daily. Use a mattifying moisturizer if you have oily skin, but if your skin feels too tight or dry, it is a sign that you need a richer products. For dry skin, try adding hyaluronic acid into your routine; it will help ‘trap’ moisture and ensure any additional hydrating products you apply work more efficiently. Sunscreen is the last product you should apply.

 

Baseball players may not be able to avoid contact with germs, but they should aim to avoid sharing personal items and clothing, keep their equipment clean, and be on the lookout for rashes and other signs of skin issues. A sound skincare routine that keeps skin well hydrated is also important if blemishes are to be avoided. Apply sunscreen daily, and remember to reapply; the more you sweat, the more applications will be necessary.

Posted on

APN Video Productions Will Once Again be Recording Games at This Year’s MSBL World Series

Hey World Series managers! Do you wish to have a game professionally recorded at this year’s Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series in Arizona? APN Video Productions has been working side by side with MSBL for many years in bringing you the excitement of a special round-robin or championship game recording that will last for generations and they will be there once again in 2019!

Jeff Lowery is the man behind the camera and the microphone and he will be happy to talk with you about your options and how to get booked right away when the final schedules come out. Watch the APN MSBL World Series Promotional Video right HERE!

We’ll see you soon in the desert for the 32nd edition of the MSBL World Series!

Posted on

‘Reading the Bat’…Advice from former MLB Pitcher David Cone

Submitted by Mark Pizzo, Chicago Fire MSBL World Series Participant

I heard something interesting during today’s Yankees-Jays game. David Cone (far-and-away the best thing about the Yankees booth) was calling a sequence of pitches from Aroldis Chapman to Bo Bichette. Chapman shook off a sign from his catcher. Cone noted Chapman wanted the slider on 3-2. “You better not hang it,” he cautioned.

Chapman proceeded to hang it. Bichette laced a single. Cone then explained why Chapman made an error in shaking off the fastball. His catcher, Austin Romine, was “reading the bat” of Bichette, knew Bichette was late on every fastball to that point, could read his reaction time, and that on 3-2, Chapman had no choice but to throw a slider in the zone. Advantage Bichette.

To paraphrase Cone: “Reading the bat is real-time analytics. You won’t get that back in the clubhouse. That’s on-the-field analytics and no computer can give you that.”

For those who don’t tune in to Yankees games, Cone is an unabashed proponent of analytics–he’s the furthest thing from the “old school” approach to strategy. He’ll drop references to a dozen advanced stats throughout the course of a game. “Reading the bat.” I loved it.

His commentary today was one of the best explanations of how analytics and observation can co-exist (and produce winning baseball) that I can recall.

Posted on

Simple Ways to Manage Stress as a Baseball Player by Jennifer Davies, Special to MSBL

Contributed by Jennifer Davies, Special to MSBL

Simple Ways to Manage Stress as a Baseball Player

With 44% of Americans reporting that their stress levels have increased within the last five years, it’s clear that stress is an issue on a national level – and athletes are no exception. While the main causes of stress and anxiety are due to financial issues, relationships, and work, baseball players also bear the pressure of performing well at practices and games – making the stress even more tough to deal with. Luckily, there are several ways to minimize your stress while still keeping your head in the game.

Stress and your body

While stress is known for making you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to keep in mind that it can also affect your body physically. For example, stress can affect the regular rate of your heart and spike your blood pressure. Not only that, but stress can also cause poor eating and sleeping habits, and even a lack of concentration and focus, all of which can heavily affect your performance during practice or on game days. One of the best things you can do to combat the physical signs of stress is to take care of your body. Eating and sleeping properly can be achieved by sticking to a schedule – and ensuring you stay hydrated throughout those long practices can also help keep you focused.

Designate time for relaxation

As a baseball player, one of the best things you can do to combat stress is to set aside time for relaxation. While that may seem near impossible between practice, tournaments, and games, setting aside an hour is better than nothing at all. Many people turn to meditation to relieve their stress, as it’s proven to be an outlet for those during stressful times, and according to several studies, even a single mindfulness meditation session can help. Not to mention it can easily be done anywhere before or after your time out on the field, making it a perfect stress-management exercise for athletes with busy schedules.

Spending time off the field

While baseball may be a large part of your life and who you are, it’s very important to maintain a balanced lifestyle for the sake of your health, especially if you spend nearly every day on the baseball field. This means that you should focus your time and energy on hobbies and personal relationships in addition to baseball. So, spending quality time with friends and family can be a healthy break away from the field and other obligations – in fact, studies show that spending time with your best friends have been proven to decrease stress levels. One way to ensure that you have a proper baseball-life balance is to set aside a couple of weekends out of the month and plan something with your family or closest friends.

Stress can affect everyone from time to time, but when it comes to experiencing stress as an athlete, managing it can prove to be difficult – especially on a tight schedule. However, by taking care of your body, spending time with loved ones, and taking time to relax, you’re sure to minimize and reduce the stress you may be experiencing.

Posted on

MSBL League Spotlight: Bay Area Men’s Senior Baseball League, League President Jim Frenn

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

The Bay Area MSBL began right along with the initial emergence of the Men’s Senior Baseball League in 1988.  Side by side they began play in the San Francisco area as a traditional 30-over league headed up by original league commissioner and MSBL Hall of Fame member Kurt Knop.  Kurt was also Steve Sigler’s first MSBL World Series tournament director, a position he held from 1988 to 1997.

The BAMSBL consists of 18+, 35+ and 50+ divisions, with teams located throughout the Bay Area including the East Bay, the Peninsula, San Francisco and Marin. There are approximately 24 teams in the league and almost 400 players.  The league is now managed by Jim Frenn, longtime league member, MSBL Honor Roll inductee and World Series veteran.  Jim joined the league in 1991 and became the league president in 2013.

“When I joined back in 1991 we had a dozen teams and two divisions.  Doubling our size and giving nearly 400 players a place to keep playing ball is very special to me,” Frenn explained.  “I am happy to be able to provide that experience.  We are trying to form a 65-over division but our numbers are a little weak right now.  Maybe we can form one team and enroll them in Tri-Valley or somewhere to represent our league.  That would be fun.  We also added the 18-over league to attract the high school players who need somewhere to keep playing.  They are the future of our league as they get older.”

Along with playing for and managing the Cubs in his 50-over division, the 67 year-old Frenn is also a member of the neighboring Tri-Valley MSBL, where he plays for Donny DeCordova’s Vets in the 65-over division.  He also takes his league’s Giants team to regional tournaments and can be found roaming the fields in Arizona at the MSBL World Series every year.

“We don’t have a World Series ring yet but have made the quarter finals many times and the semi’s once. Maybe that will change this year.”  The modest Frenn, who deflects the spotlight and concentrates on his league or the teams he manages, won his first tournament championship at a San Jose regional tournament in 2005 and recently won the 2019 Desert Classic crown.

What is the reason for the continued success of the Bay Area MSBL?  “After 32 years we are a well-oiled machine passed from year to year from president to president.  We are consistent and we don’t deviate from the model,” said Frenn.  “We are big on communication and strive to maintain good relations with our managers.  They are the conduit that keeps the league humming.

Our managers run the league and if they have a special request for a rule based on that day’s circumstances, go ahead and do it,” continued Frenn.  “Our managers run the league.  We don’t dictate what goes on, we just supply the framework and it’s theirs to do with what they wish.”

In 2019, the Bay Area Men’s Senior Baseball League recognizes four members who have played in the league for all 32 seasons.  They are Ray Allen, Steven Bustin, Pat Carroll and Reggie Vance. “We look forward to many more years of their involvement,” said Frenn.

“We also started a fall ball league back in 2004 to allow guys to get ready for the World Series or just keep playing ball in the beautiful fall California weather,” said Frenn.  “There are no uniforms or standings, we just play.  New players can come in, too, and get picked up for next season or just have a good time.  There are six to eight teams playing a ten-game schedule.  It’s the perfect way to get ready for the World Series.  About a third of our players go to Arizona to play.”

With all of the success comes a few challenges as well.  “Finding quality fields is always a challenge.  The better fields cost more and with that comes increased fees, which isn’t always warmly embraced.  It’s a fine line and quite a balancing act.”

Whatever the problems of making it all come together, what warrants the greatest satisfaction in running the league?  “Finishing a season without a lot of controversy,” continued Frenn.  “Like any league we have had our share over the years but finishing a season without a major issue is always great.  As a non-profit we also try extremely hard to avoid any losses.  When we experience a steady and predictable year, then it has been a success.  We also pray for no rain-outs!

I love the leadership role this position requires and making things work.  I design the format and let the board and the managers implement it.  Our league is giving players an opportunity to keep chasing their baseball dreams as I strive to let people know we aren’t a beer league and are a professional organization whos mission statement it to provide a baseball experience like they remember.  Ever since the very first game in 1988 the League has provided the best in facilities, officials and equipment. Even more importantly, the league has made sure it maintains the true meaning of baseball: Enjoyment!  I think we’ve done that.”

“I may not always agree with everything that comes my way from MSBL but that’s the way successful relationships are built,” concluded Frenn.  “MSBL provides tournaments, insurance, baseballs, advertising and they are always there to help when things pop up.  Our relationship with MSBL, and giving our players a place to play in the league and in MSBL tournaments, is the reason we are the leader in this area.  I am happy about us hitching our wagon to MSBL the past 32 years.”

Below is a collage of the 2018 Bay Area MSBL League Champions!

Posted on

MSBL Regional Labor Day Tournament Calendar

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Seven Labor Day tournaments will take place beginning August 31st and you can still get your team involved.  Here is a list of what is coming up:

Rosie Shootout, Atlanta, GA

Texas Cup, Houston, TX

Rocket City Classic, Huntsville, AL

Indiana Labor Day Classic, Indianapolis, IN

Best of the West Labor Day Tournament, Woodland Davis, CA

Charlottesville Labor Day Classic, Richmond, VA

Willamette Valley (OR) Labor Day Tournament

For additional information and all brackets and contact details HERE is the link to our website tournament page.  Good luck!