By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
The seven-team, 144-member strong Metro Tulsa Baseball Association started up on May 31st with league president Pat Macek making sure everything went smoothly.
“We had zero spring workouts this year but the excitement for playing was hot,” explained Macek. “Just getting out and playing was exciting. Everything you enjoyed in life was cancelled so getting out again was a really big deal and you could feel it.”
One hardship in the area was the cancellation of high school baseball this summer so Pat developed a plan to help the high schoolers and maybe create some future MSBL participants.
“We adopted a special rule allowing 17-year old’s to play. You had to have at least finished your junior year and were going to be a senior. It has turned out to be a success.”
One reason for the problems with high school baseball not playing was because of the high school fields being shut down, which just happened to be where the MTBA played their games.
“Lack of fields this year really threw us some curves,” said Pat. “But when a door closes a window opens. It forced us to look at some other independent organizations to find fields and thankfully it worked out. This really opens up our possibilities in the future. We’ve been able to open up new partnerships.”
The Metro Tulsa league actually had enough interest and sign-ups to form an eighth team but couldn’t find someone to run it. But that makes 2021 look promising as they have all year and winter to work on putting that team together. They have everyone’s information and will stay in touch. “Scheduling an eight-team league would be a breeze. I’m going to make sure that happens!”
Regarding the procedures recommended by the state to play safe and responsibly, what rules has the league implemented to make sure everyone complies?
“We don’t shake hands or high five and we request that everyone maintain the social distancing recommendations. There are no post-game handshakes, the teams exit through the outfield after their game as the new teams enter through the front, there is no spitting or chewing, everyone signs a waiver and we have sanitizer stationed everywhere.
We left the umpire placement up to them. If they want to stand behind the pitcher’s mound then they can, though so far nobody has. They are encouraged to do what they are comfortable with.”
Started under the MSBL banner in 2005, the league is basically an ‘open’ league with the majority of the players being in their late 20’s to early thirties.
“We used to be an over-30 league but felt it was cutting out the young players, who are the future of our league, so we unanimously eliminated that distinction. We have some pretty good players in the league and are very proud of that.”
The MTBA is also an annual presence at the MSBL World Series as they send complete league teams, along with a few subs.
“The Tulsa Liners represent us very well in Arizona. They are a good team, as are the Bisquits. They are both planning on getting to Arizona this year. Some players also go to the Fall Classic in Florida but only as individual players. They love the tournament atmosphere and a lot of baseball on beautiful fields.”
Pat started playing in the league in 2008 and became the league president in 2012. He also used to manage his Cubs while playing.
“Those managing days are over. Managing the league is all I can deal with so I just play now. I have actually played for four different teams over the past four years. I love being with different teams and new guys. It keeps me connected.”
Any advice to other presidents as they gear up for their leagues to get started?
“As you move through this period try to identify your field needs and explore new partnerships with other organizations to find fields. Expand your choices for future options. Stay in touch with your players and managers and remain transparent financially with everyone. Stay lean with the money and stay afloat even if you lose a little money. You’ll make it up in the future, but you have to stay afloat. Do everything you can not to cancel and lose momentum.”