Editor’s note: In 2021 we reached out to many of our leagues and asked them to send us a league profile that we could share. The Atlanta area is a hotbed of MSBL activity and tournament participation so we reached out to Don Etheridge, founder, and president of the West Metro Atlanta MSBL. Don sent in our requested Q/A last year (below) but our year-end tournaments, and the holidays, were the focus but we wanted to make sure to publish some information that you will be sure to enjoy as we start a new year of MSBL baseball.
League name: West Metro Atlanta Men’s Senior Baseball League (WMAMSBL)
Your name: Don Etheridge
What is the history of the league and how did it start? Atlanta area had mostly been a Sunday league until John Gambs started the East Metro league as a 35+ midweek league. After discussions with John, we decided to start the WMAMSBL in 2005 as a 45+ midweek league on the opposite side of metro Atlanta to offer an alternative for the older players. Players from several of the Atlanta leagues also began to practice on Saturday mornings and, in 2008, we had enough participation to start the Saturday division of WMAMSBL.
What age divisions of play are now offered? Midweek is a 45+ division, and Saturday is a 35+, 45+, and 55+.
How many teams are anticipated this year? We have six midweek teams and nine Saturday teams.
Were you able to get in a part or all of your season in 2020? Yes, we started in July and finished in October.
When does the league begin play and when will it finish, including any playoffs? We began May 1st and will finish by the end of September.
When did you personally start playing in the league? I started playing MSBL in Atlanta in 1996.
When did you become president? I founded the league in 2005.
Who were your predecessors and are they still involved in any capacity? Ron Huck had been my primary colleague and managed the league for a few years when I was working out of town.
What is your most memorable MSBL moment as a president? Seeing the joy of older guys being able to play the game we love.
What challenges did you face when you started the league or when you took over? Growing the league from scratch.
What are your biggest challenges today? Last year was COVID and this year we have had an extraordinary number of rainouts.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction? Again, seeing older guys enjoying the opportunity to play the game again.
What do you see for the league in the future? It’s continued growth.
What is the reason for the continued success of the league? Good people and camaraderie.
What part of running the league do you enjoy most? Just being part of the game
Do you still play in the league? Yes, but mostly manage a team.
What is the history of your league team’s participation in any MSBL national tournaments? We have players every year to go to the national tournaments and have as a league place a team in the MLK weekend tournament numerous years.
What would you say are the most important accomplishments in your league? Being able to offer baseball to our players.
How valuable is your relationship with MSBL? Extraordinarily. Steve Sigler and all the MSBL folks have always been very supportive.
What advice would you give to new league presidents? Don’t get discouraged and look for every opportunity to promote and grow the league.
How important is family support? Extremely important. Without the family support our players get, they would not be able to play.