By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
37-year old Michael Stubbs is the rookie president of the 14-year old Savannah Adult Baseball League and is actually a late returnee to baseball after a long stint playing competitive softball.
“I played college baseball and then played some traveling softball to fill the baseball void,” explained Stubbs. “Then a friend coaxed me into returning to baseball in 2015 but I could only commit to part time. However, I was hooked and then in 2016 I played full time. Unfortunately, I had surgery in 2018 and didn’t return to the game until 2019. Here I am now as league president and grateful for every moment I can help promote our league and our great game of baseball.”
The Savannah Adult Baseball League consists of nine teams in their 18-over division and four in the 33-over, for a total of 13 teams.
“We usually have 12 to 14 teams and our goal is to have an even eight and eight for an even 16 teams. Hopefully we’ll get there.”
The number of teams in 2020 is a little misleading, unfortunately.
“With all of the delays in playing and our 18-over division usually ending up in late July they all decided it was better to discontinue the year after three games. The younger guys usually begin in March but no facilities were available so we didn’t start until June 24th. I totally understand and they all got a partial refund. The good news is that they will all be coming back in 2021 and hopefully a couple of new teams, too. Our 33-over guys will finish the year as scheduled.”
What are some of the guidelines put form by the league to keep everyone safe?
“We sent out guidelines prior to play. It included the typical information, such as no sharing of equipment, social distancing, stay outside of dugout in lawn chairs for outside of fence and no handshakes or contact with the other team. Our umpires started by being behind the mound with optional masks but that has changed a little. Now teams discuss the umpire placement before the game and it has become mixed with behind the plate. It could be different every game but it is decided beforehand by both teams and the umpire.
We also have a local doctor who plays in the league so he advised us in helping to write the guidelines. Waivers were signed by everyone and we decided in March to just sit and wait. We needed to error on the side of caution.”
Michael’s background is in athletic administration makes him the perfect pick to lead the league forward and make it more efficient and even stronger.
“I have 12 years of experience in education, six of those in athletic administration overseeing over 300 coaches and 13 athletic programs, including scheduling and budgeting tournaments. I have assisted in setting up many school policies so I felt I could get it done.
Our former president let the league know he wouldn’t have the time to continue this year but would stay on the board until someone was found. He called me personally and asked me to take over and I said I would do it if he stayed on as vice president and he thankfully agreed. I didn’t know him that well but we have become very good friends. I spend a lot of time with him.”
Michael continues to play, and pitch, for the Black Sox in the 33-over division, formerly known as his old team the Blue Jays. He is now also involved in starting his own real estate business.
“We hope to have a fall season this year that will begin after Labor Day and conclude in November. We are also hopeful to assemble a team to play in a fall tournament in South Carolina. Some players from our league play in either the Fall Classic or World Series but not as a team.”
What has been the toughest part of taking over a league in the middle of a pandemic?
“It is easy for people to heap outside criticism on decisions and some try to push back without them knowing all that went into our decisions but I have to hold tight. We have a board that really helps and we are united in our decisions. People seem to have their opinions, which is understandable, but we hold to our decisions. It hasn’t been easy but the hot topic of fields has always been black and white with no gray area so we had to live with what was available to us. Fields have been a hot topic, as I’m sure it is everywhere.”
In this traumatic rookie presidential season what give you the most satisfaction?
‘It’s how competitive the league is this year. Our guys are really enjoying it. In past years it has always been the top two teams and everybody else. Nobody likes being on either end of a lop-sided game but through some hard work and paying attention we have been able to level the field. Any team can win on any night. It’s a real free for all and there is parity all around. The excitement of the games and the smiles on their faces makes it all worthwhile.”