By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Rick Fryman heads up the Columbus Men’s Baseball League, a fantastic league offering competition in 25+, 35+ and 45+ divisions and totaling 17 teams in 2020. They are one of MSBL’s longest tenured leagues, having begun in 1988. Rick is 52 years old while continuing to play and manage the Pirates in the 25+ division. Rick started his MSBL baseball career back in 1995 in Dayton, Ohio with a stop in Philadelphia for a few years before settling in Columbus in 2000 and in 2012 took over the leadership role from long-time president Jim Durham.
Rick also played college ball at Malone College in Canton, Ohio before finding MSBL in 1995.
“I have been at this (league president) a long time and have experienced a lot of issues but this has certainly not been an easy time,” stated Fryman. “Safety of our players is our number one concern, while trying to stay true to real baseball. It’s a careful balance but I think we got it right.”
What are some of the precautions the league has undertaken to keep things safe and compliant?
“The managers ask all of their players about any symptoms or fever before each game. They all use their own equipment without any sharing, they carry sanitizer everywhere they go, we wipe down the dugouts before and after games and there are no handshakes or touching after the games. Masks are recommended but not required and everyone has simply been asked to be careful. So far so good.”
The Columbus Men’s Baseball League usually kicks off around May 17th but started this year on July 8th, a 52-day delay. They plan on ending around the first part of October and then Rick is headed to Arizona for the MSBL World Series in Arizona.
“My Pirates are headed down this year in the 25-over division again. We have some really talented guys and I enjoy pushing the buttons and watching them play. Once in a while I’ll get on the field but my job is to give them a platform to succeed. They keep me young in the dugout. I really enjoy it.”
What has been the biggest challenge in getting the league back on the field during this pandemic?
“The uncertainty of fields was a tough one to deal with. We play on mostly high school fields and they all were forced to shut down for a long time but we were fortunate to get in there. Our long-standing relationship in Columbus really paid off this year. A few players decided not to play this year but not very many. It has been business as usual with the same number of teams.”
In closing we asked Rick what gives him the greatest satisfaction in running such a long-standing and successful league?
“The greatest satisfaction for me is at the end of the year when you hand out the trophies. The season is in the books, all went well, you did your job and everyone played baseball again and there will be a next year to do it all over again. Jim Durham ran this league for 20 years before I took over and he set the foundation. He is the biggest reason for the continued success.”