By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Dave Bayer is the acting president of the Southern Wisconsin MABL, a position he is tackling while league president Sean Michael Dargan is currently in the Bay Area. “Sean is currently on sabbatical in California so I’m keeping things together during his absence,” stated Bayer. “He continues to play out there and will take the reins once again when he returns.”

Located in the Madison area and started in 1995, Dave is no stranger to being the league president. He was in charge from 2009 through 2013 before Dargan took over. “The first acting president was Russell Craig who retired from baseball, but was instrumental in getting the league started with the help of Steve Sigler. Russ was followed by Matt Varney for several years, who continued to play on several MSBL teams in Madison and Milwaukee. Sadly, Matt passed away earlier this year.”

The 2018 season begins April 27thup in Brewer, Packer and Badger country while 33 teams are expected to suit up. They offer age divisions of 18+, 35+, 45+ and 55+. “We also offer playing in our new 17+ division that was formed to accommodate the discontinued City of Madison Rec baseball league. We are looking forward to a pretty busy summer.”

Dave is a charter member and has been there since the beginning in 1995 as a player, manager, board member and president. Added Bayer, “Not too long ago the league was in danger of dissolving with fewer than five active teams. My proposal to the league was to specifically grow our numbers immediately. By employing the talents of our existing members, I encouraged volunteers to take on various roles: VP, Secretary, Treasurer, field acquisition, umpire coordinator, etc. Together we put together a plan and set it in motion. With the collaborative efforts the league started adding player, and subsequently new teams, so here we are with 33 teams going into this year. It is very exciting.”

Southern Wisconsin is also a major player on the MSBL national tournament stage. “We have many members who participate in nearly all the national tournaments sponsored by the MSBL. There is a group of members that are endeavoring to put teams together to represent the MABL of Southern Wisconsin.

The MSBL has not only proven to be the consistent standard for amateur baseball that welcomes players of all ages and talents, but the foundation of our local MSBL league. Steve Sigler has always been supportive and available to the officers of our league, and I continue to tap into his expertise and friendship.”

Is there any advice for those who are looking to either start a new league or assist in the administration of an existing one? “Firstly, thank you for volunteering to a demanding yet satisfying experience. Set goals with your board of directors, create and initiate a plan of action, and empower those people who are committed to their specific tasks and ultimate goals. Many hands make lighter work…it’s a team sport!”

Dave wanted to add that this coming year will be dedicated to a long-time Southern Wisconsin warrior and friend. “The MSBL of Southern Wisconsin is dedicating the 2018 season to Matt Varney, who died unexpectedly January 10, 2018. Matt was a past president of our league, a great teammate, opponent and all-around ambassador of local baseball. His spirit will be missed amongst his baseball brethren.”