Chris Schilling and Don Pizzo Keep Things Humming at the Delco MSBL in Pennsylvania
By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Chris Schilling is the Butch to Don Pizzo’s Sundance in the Delco MSBL located in Pennsylvania, where they began in 1989, where they start playing every April and hope to conclude by mid-August. Chris came into the league in 2006 and has emerged as the Vice President and Treasurer under League President Pizzo’s reign as headmaster, a position he has held since 2015.
“Don deals with all of the on-field stuff while I try to stay up on all of the background details,” explained Schilling. “It’s a good working relationship and we seem to keep everything running smoothly. We are like each other’s second wives. We talk maybe a couple of time’s a week about rain-outs, make-ups, or field issues.”
The Delco (Delaware-Chester County, PA) MSBL consists of eight teams in a 25-over structure.
“We have had as many as eleven and as few as six throughout the years. There is a semi-pro independent league that we have to compete with but they are pretty much ex-college and ex-pro so their emphasis is different from ours. There is room for both of us.”
Chris just turned 54 and manages the Media Mustangs, a task he has embraced since 2010. He remains a catcher and also fills in now and then on the infield.
“Our team has gone through some interesting times. We won in 2009 but not since I took over. Don’s team (Glen Mills Rays) has won the last three championships.”
“What I enjoy is seeing is a new team coming together into the league that may not initially be very good but growing into a contender,” added Pizzo. “Right now, we have a team who is managed by a really good manager who works hard and has not only turned this team into contenders and started winning but last year they won their first round of playoffs. That is gratifying to see.”
Chris is no stranger to heading off to Florida to play ball in October or November.
“We’ve been to the Fall Classic on and off since 2013. We played in the 50-over division last year for the first time as the Patriots and before that, we were the 45-over Bux-Mont Cubs and another team I can’t think of. We haven’t made it to Arizona for the World Series yet but never say never. The logistics are just a little better for us to head to Florida.”
What has been the hardest thing you’ve experienced as an executive of the league?
“The biggest problem is getting the guys to make the commitment to run a team and making sure they have time to really commit to making the league better. This involves making sure you get your stats in so that we can keep track of everything and make the league more enjoyable for everyone. It’s sometimes difficult as an adult league to get everyone to buy-in. We strive to get younger people involved who are more tech-savvy and can also help recruit our next generation of players.”
“Money is always a challenge,” continued Chris. “Fields are also an issue, but fortunately we have an established relationship with various facilities as long as we can keep up with increased fees for fields and the upkeep.”
One of the craziest things Chris has ever seen was when Don Pizzo and Chris’ team played in the playoffs and the first game got rained out after four innings. The next day they had to come back, finish the previous game, and then play two more nine-inning games in 90 degrees with matching humidity to crown a champion.
“After that experience, it was voted to play seven-inning games in the playoffs!”
Beyond baseball, Chris has a very important cause that he works tirelessly for in an effort to raise funds.
“My daughter is a Type 1 diabetic. We sponsor the JDRF Walk in October every year as a fundraiser to create advancement in treatment. We have raised over $125,000 so far. She is 17 years old now and was diagnosed when she was seven. The future looks really good. One advancement in treatment involves using a continuance phone reading instead of having to prick your fingers. I can keep an eye on her progress from my phone. We’ve come a long way but still have a way to go.”
To take part in the Wilmington, Delaware JDFR Walk on October 15th, click on the picture below to get your team signed up. There is also a link on the website to make a donation.