By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Brandon Seymour is the League President of the Western Massachusetts Wood Bat League in Springfield. 2022 was Brandon’s first season at the helm, after being the vice president for two years.
We caught up with Brandon and sent him a Q&A as a change of pace to our usual format. Here are Brandon’s comments, as we all get to know him a little better. Take it away, Brandon!
What is the history of the league and how did it start? The league was started by Mike Whately in 2008 after moving from Boston to Springfield. Having been an MSBL player MSBL there, he decided to start this league.
What age divisions of play are now offered? We originally started as a 30+ league and moved down to 25+ after a few years to encourage more players to join. Once Covid hit, we dropped the age to 21+ with restrictions. Each team is allowed two players age 21+ but players must still be 25+ to pitch
How many teams are anticipated this year? Our summer league season has eight teams and our Fall Ball season has nine.
Were you able to get in a part or all of your season in 2021? We actually played more games in 2020 with Covid restrictions than we did in 2021 due to weather. 2021 was historically rainy. However, in 2022 we played 100% of our games.
When does the league begin to play and when will it finish, including any playoffs? Our season generally starts around the second week of April. It ends around the third week of August. Our Fall season starts the first Sunday after Labor Day and runs every Sunday for the next nine weeks.
When did you personally start playing in the league? 2009
When did you become president? 2022 is my first season as President, I was Vice President for the previous two seasons.
Who were your predecessors and are they still involved in any capacity? Mike Whately, Ted Davis, and Tony Consiglio preceded me. All three are still active in the league as either players or advisors.
What is your most memorable MSBL moment as a president? Handing the Championship trophy to the winning team this season. Even though it wasn’t my own team, it was nice seeing their reaction as they accepted and hoisted their trophy.
What challenges did you face when you started the league or when you took over? Fortunately (knock on wood) my first season as President ran smoothly. The biggest challenges involved last-minute scheduling changes as fields became unavailable unexpectedly.
What are your biggest challenges today? As President, finding quality umpires. We’re competing with High schools and Colleges constantly. We have a fairly solid core group but as High School and College increase their umpire fees it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain that group. As a player, dealing with getting older is a challenge. Injuries don’t heal until winter and the bases seem to get further apart.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction? Barreling up a fastball off of some D1 college kid half my age and sending it into the woods.
What do you see for the league in the future? Continually growing in both players and teams. I see the league expanding to 10 teams within the next two years and 14 teams within the next five years.
What is the reason for the continued success of the league? Sportsmanship. We’re competitive, we play to win, but we have fun. After we battle on the field, we’re all together post-game. We also don’t have a lot of the more pointless restrictions other similar leagues have.
What part of running the league do you enjoy most? The comradery. Getting the managers together for our first preseason meetings after a long winter is very therapeutic.
Do you still play in the league? Despite my wife’s wishes, yes. I managed to finish third in batting and total hits this season despite being plagued with injuries.
What would you say are the most important accomplishments in your league? Maintaining numbers. We’ve consistently been able to replace retiring players with new players (young and old).
How valuable is your relationship with MSBL? Very. Especially when it comes to insurance and national recognition.
What advice would you give to new league presidents? Delegate! Don’t do everything yourself. Have one person do the schedule, have another schedule umpires, etc.
How important is family support? Extremely. Not just by means of tolerance, but also in attendance. Having a supportive spouse or significant other is huge when it comes to player availability. Just as important is having family members come to the games. Having a crowd (even a small one) has a huge impact on player morale.