By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Don Pizzo is the architect of six-team, 25-over Delco Adult Baseball League (Delaware-Chester County, PA) which started their 2020 season on July 8th.  The playoffs are scheduled to end right before Labor Day in this unpredictable year.  The league began in 1989 and Don has been the league president for the past five years, while joining the league 25 years ago.  That’s quite a baseball resume for someone who is only 52 years old.

“Our team numbers fluctuate over the years,” explained Pizzo.  “We have been as low as five and as high as 12.  This year we lost a few teams to the virus but picked up a couple.  Delaware County was one of the last districts to go ‘green’ so decisions to rent school fields was late so it set up a mad scramble for fields.  The indecision cost us a little but we are fortunate to have secured a few good fields as soon as everything was given approval so we feel good about things overall.  We play Sundays and Wednesdays so there are no complaints from here or from the players.” 

Don is looking for even more success in 2021 when things settle down.

“We will definitely have eight teams next year and hopefully ten.  We usually start the first week of April and play Sundays until Memorial Day and then open up to include Wednesdays with playoffs in August.  We now have a great group of managers, which is important.  We are a solid league with solid managers and players.  We couldn’t ask for more.”

Don still straps them on for the Glenville Rays as a player/coach in his league while tending to first base duties.

“I used to pitch but a rotator cuff issue has taken care of that.  I like playing with a bunch of young guys and watching them develop.  I also encourage our young guys to help me with the social media element of keeping everyone up to date with league news.  I’m grooming guys to some day take things over.  I know I won’t be doing this forever.”

How about players from the league attending either the MSBL World Series in Arizona or Fall Classic in Florida?

“We send a lot of guys from the league to the Fall Classic.  I played there for seven years in a row but I haven’t been down in a couple of years.  I’ve been to Vegas, too, for the Kickoff Classic.  They’re a blast!  I hope to get back there soon.” 

What are some of the guidelines set forth by the league to address the coronavirus? 

“State guidelines said to wear masks outside so we try to encourage that.  We only allow three or four players in the dugout so social distancing is paramount.  Each team uses their own baseballs and some of our fields require a temperature check, too.  The coaches are required to wear masks and there is no sharing of equipment.  Our umpires decided not to stand behind the mound but they must wear a mask behind the plate.  We just emphasized to everyone to use common sense and we’ll be able to play straight up baseball.  I think they know that any miscues will cause a real problem so I think we’re all in this together to make it work.”

What has been the biggest challenge you faced when setting the ground rules for a 2020 opening?

“Easily the biggest challenge was finding quality fields and getting them secured before any other organizations.  Making sure we had player safety was also huge.  We wanted to make sure everyone was OK and felt comfortable in coming out.  A few teams understandably had some concerns but I think we addressed their fears early on.  I am fortunate in that my wife is a Respiratory Therapist so I have had a pretty good grasp on the situation throughout all of this.”.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a president?

“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.  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. 

I have been playing this game since I was five years old and have experienced many things on and off the field.  I have been very lucky.  My son is 28 now and plays on my team.  That is also very special.”