Keith Nicholson, Northwest Arkansas MSBL; First-Time MSBL World Series Participant

Editor’s Note: Back at the end of August, we profiled Keith Nicholson in a website story.  Keith is a player/manager/board member from the Northwest Arkansas MSBL and it was recommended we speak with him about his accomplishments and passion by former League President Stephen Boudreaux.

In our discussions for the August article, I made mention of the MSBL World Series and how much he would enjoy it.  One thing led to another and in the end, Keith decided to enter the Player Pool and give it a shot.

Keith sent me a very nice email after his experience in Arizona as a member of the Spokane Cubs, participants in the 45+ Cactus division.  I could sense Keith’s excitement as a first-timer and wanted to share his comments with you. (Below) 

Hi Steve!

I had an absolute blast at the World Series last week and am already making plans for next year…I’m hooked!  Went from a one-time “bucket list” trip to an annual “must do” by day two! Made it a family vacation as well, and our little crew loved Arizona!

Once the long-tenured MSBL World Series attendees (45+ Cactus) Spokane Cubs picked me up from the player pool, I kind of got to know them by watching their previous ABN Stadium World Series games online. Kept in close communication with managers (Kelly Holm and Bret Fink), seeing what positions they had the most need, and tailored my workouts to suit. I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys to join!  They were true ambassadors for the MSBL World Series.

I received a wealth of great advice drawing from his years of experience attending the MSBL World Series, from my longtime baseball workout partner, Northwest Arkansas MSBL Hall of Famer, Gregg Rollins. Everything from where to eat and best areas to stay, to what gear to bring and to pace myself for a marathon. I’d always helped prep Gregg for his annual pilgrimage to Arizona, and after a decade of wondering, I finally made it out myself!

What an incredible decision. I hope everyone who plays MSBL makes the voyage! The fields were immaculate and really elevates your game knowing who’s played there before you.

A couple of takeaways that may be helpful for anyone making their first trip: The “player pool” really works, just be patient and make sure it’s a good fit for both sides (trust your gut). Don’t press right out of the gate, as there’s a natural tendency to want to “show what you can do.”  It’s a long week, you’ll get all the baseball you want.

It’s about staying healthy for your team for the duration of the tournament and picking your spots to push your body, as it’s really about longevity. Relax, trust your skills, and just enjoy the moment. But most importantly, block off the week(s) on your calendar for next year for your desired age bracket(s), and get ready to have some serious fun!