MSBL League Profile: Chesapeake MSBL, Alex Brunet, League President

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Alex Brunet has been playing in the Chesapeake MSBL for over 30 years and is the residing League President of the league that has been associated with the Men’s Senior Baseball League since 1989.  They anticipate a hearty 33-team schedule this year in 21+, 35+, and 45+ divisions.

In our 2024 expanding series of MSBL League Profiles, we asked Alex to please answer a few questions so that others within the MSBL nation can see what it takes to make a successful league tick.  Please enjoy Alex’s responses below.

2022 Angels Sweep Blue Wave at Chesapeake MSBLLeague name: Chesapeake Men’s Senior Baseball League

Your name: Alex E Brunet

What is the history of the league and how did it start? The league was started in 1989 by a few 28+ players who wanted to play baseball instead of softball.

What age divisions of play are now offered? We offer 21+, 35+, and 45+.

How many teams are anticipated this year?  Our league will have 33 teams in 2024. 17 in 21+, 6 in 35+ & 10 in 45+

When does the league begin play and when will it finish, including any playoffs? We begin play on April 28 and will have our playoffs completed prior to Labor Day.

When did you personally start playing in the league? I started in 1993.

What is your personal baseball playing history? High School, College at the University of Maine-Orono, and professional with the Atlanta Braves.

When did you become president? I was elected president in 2017 after serving as VP and a board member for over 15 years.

Who were your predecessors and are they still involved in any capacity? My predecessors were Gary Gladden, Helen Mirto, and Duane Cordrey. None of them are currently involved with the league.

What is your most memorable MSBL moment as a president or a player? My most memorable moment was winning my first MSBL ring at the 1998 Fall Classic. I have won several since but the first is always special.

What challenges did you face when you started the league or when you took over? The biggest challenge our league faced was changing our image to the local community and building relationships with local High School coaches which in turn has allowed us to partner with them and utilize their facilities.

What are your biggest challenges today? The biggest challenge other than fields is to ensure that each team is treated equally as they always have “suggestions” however 99% of them are to benefit their specific team.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction? The fact that our league gives back to the community and that we are looked upon as a professionally run organization that is respected for the positive contributions we make.

What do you see for the league in the future? I would like to see the league expand our 35+ division and hopefully create a 55+ division to allow those players who were the foundation of our league to continue to play baseball on a competitive level.

What is the reason for the continued success of the league? I believe that our organization, which includes our Board of Directors (Vice President Mike Largent, League Administrator Joe Dimonda), Division Representatives (Tim Biggs, Alan Keitz, Karl Kemp, and Ron Ebeline), and Accountant/Treasurer (Billy Sansing), runs our league like a business which is critical to our success.

Without a strong organization, we would never be able to accomplish the many positive things our league enjoys. That and the fact we are a 501c3 provides legitimacy when we request playing fields and submit/solicit donations.

What part of running the league do you enjoy most? I could say I enjoy it when the league is over! Haha! I enjoy the fact that even though we have some detractors who constantly complain about league operations, the overwhelming majority of our players appreciate our BOD’s dedication and respect the effort that our league officers provide.

Do you still play in the league? Yes, I still play in our 45+ Division but my retirement is coming sooner than later. 

What is the history of your league team’s participation in any MSBL national tournaments?  We have a lot of individuals who play on teams that participate in both the MSBL World Series and Fall Classic. We have had two teams made up of entirely league players win two Fall Classic Championships; the 1998 Chesapeake Braves, which I managed and played on, as well as the 2005 Chesapeake Rangers.

What would you say are the most important accomplishments in your league? The fact we are a 501c3 and give back to our community. We are recognized as an organization that will assist and promote baseball at all levels in our local area.

How valuable is your relationship with MSBL? MSBL has helped our league in many ways. Steve Sigler makes it a point to keep on constant contact and he is always available to answer my questions and concerns. We also spend a lot of time discussing solutions to our league issues at the MSBL World Series each year. The Smart Waiver Online Waiver Solution has saved our league countless hours as well as money by greatly improving the waiver documentation process.

What advice would you give to new league presidents? I think league presidents need to lead by example and not give themselves any special treatment. Like the theme of the book ‘Leaders Eat Last,’ the worst thing you can do as a leader is let the ‘power of the position’ favor yourself and your team. In summary, a Leader needs to do what is best for the league as a whole and not himself, specific teams, or players.

How important is family support? Family support is key to all of us playing baseball our league recognizes that while understanding there is a balance that must happen. We try to have a team/family-friendly schedule and avoid playing on Father’s and Mother’s Day so players can enjoy time with their families.