By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
C. J. “Heater” Heatley III calls Alexandria, Virginia home and plays in the 50-over and 60-over divisions of the DCMSBL, where he has participated since 1992 when assigned to the Pentagon.
“I previouslycoached Little League and played in a different baseball league in San Diego so I was super excited to find DC MSBL thriving in 1992 when assigned to the Pentagon,” said Heatley. “I joined the “Washington Bureaucats” and have been playing on various DC MSBL teams ever since, including all but one MSBL World Series in the 28 years since.”
‘Heater’ is a major veteran of the MSBL World Series and has the hardware to prove it. “I’ll be going for my 12th World Championship ring. I’ve been doing two weeks in Arizona at the World Series and then two weeks at the Fall Classic in Florida since 1992, except for the year chemo unfortunately wiped out.”
‘Heater’ elaborated a little on his take on our current outbreak. “As a Nation, we didn’t respect the Coronavirus infectiousness soon enough. We should have followed China, South Korea, and Taiwan and worn masks and practiced social distancing sooner,” Heater explained. “Every year DC MSBL has had regular weekly practices from January to October that had to be canceled. So far, no players on the list of 107 have tested positive but some of their family members have. We all miss those weekly workouts.”
No moss grows under Heater, however, as he is still hard at work in getting ready for baseball whenever they can get back at it back in our nation’s capital. “I throw solo against a brick wall, hit off my Tanner Tee, work out with weights and cables at home, plus text and email many of my teammates and weekly practice buddies. Also, I think I’ve seen every baseball instructional baseball video on YouTube.
I really miss the live batting practice, infield/outfield practice and the scrimmages. However, we all especially miss the on-field and dugout camaraderie which we took for granted until it was taken away by the virus.”
“Walking our dog is the only outside activity we engage in as a family, although he helps keep my throwing arm in shape,” said Heater. “We’re in the “compromised category” (cancer, chemo & 65+) so we have to be extra careful. I quit playing regular three times per week tennis in February, which wasn’t a popular move by me at the time. Two weeks later my tennis partner tested positive for Covid-19 after a flight from Hawaii so I dodged a bullet there.
Any final thoughts?“I’ve played organized baseball every year since I was eight years old because I love the game, particularly the mental aspects of pitching and hitting. In the last several years the baseball diamond has also become my only sanctuary from incurable cancer and severe tinnitus (28 years as a fighter pilot and TOPGUN instructor).
The ball field is literally the only place in the world that I am truly free from those two medical issues. Thankfully, from warm-ups to handshakes, I don’t ever think about it. To paraphrase Jim Bouton: You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball only to realize in the end, it was the other way around the whole time.”