By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Joe Banasik has been the league president of the Houston Hardball League for an amazing 29 years and was the recipient of the MSBL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. As we continue our profile of our longest-tenured league presidents, while we celebrate the MSBL’s 35th Anniversary in 2022, we caught up with Joe and asked him to participate in our Q/A format and he thankfully agreed. Joe’s responses are displayed below. Enjoy!
What inspired you to become involved in MSBL at the beginning? I needed a place to play, I was under 30 years old at the time, and the local MSBL only offered 30 or older, so I started an MABL league with Steve Sigler’s support.
What drove you to want to become League President? By default. Lol! No one else volunteered so I stepped up to the plate and made it happen.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned through your years as League President? Consistency is very important when running a league. People need to know that they can count on you, that the umpires will show up as scheduled, the fields will be unlocked and ready to play, and the lights will be on.
What advice can you offer first-year League Presidents? Patience, for one. Rome was not built in a day and neither will a strong league be. Another bit of advice would be to make sure you always run an ethical program no matter what. Stick to your rules and procedures no matter how it affects the numbers. In the long run, your league will grow and people will have more respect for the league and its commissioner.
Do you have any special experiences, remarks, or fond memories? All the tournaments over the years bring a special bond with the guys and the families that go together. It’s always fun to look back at the pictures from over the years and relive the moments from the past.
How valuable to you and your league has MSBL National affiliation been? MSBL has given us the structure and opportunity to maintain a successful organization throughout the test of time. We’ll always have competing leagues in Houston who will replicate the original MSBL process, tweaking it here and there to appeal to a certain crowd normally by cutting corners for lower prices and offering inexpensive shiny things.
Regardless, our league remains strong based on overall value and we still provide the ability to travel and play against other teams abroad whereas others do not. We may not be the largest as far as the volume of teams but as long as we have support from guys who want to keep the dream alive, then I would consider our league the very best there is!
What inspires you, today, to continue in your leadership role? I am Inspired by the camaraderie and friendships that MSBL baseball brings together, and even once in while I get a “Thank you!”