By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
New Orleans is world-renowned for its distinct music, Creole cuisine, unique dialect, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The historic heart of the city is the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street. But there is a little-known tenant in the heart of New Orleans that deserves some recognition, right along with LSU football. Welcome to the New Orleans Adult Baseball League, headed up by League President James Brossette.
“We were able to start in March and get a few weeks in before the virus dictated our closure,” stated Brossette. “It took me a month of phone calls and a lot of work to get the go-ahead from officials but we finally got there. We also had to work hard on the field to get it ready because it hadn’t been touched since March. But everybody was happy and our start-up couldn’t have gone better.”
The NOLA Adult Baseball League is an 18-over league comprised of six teams, most of which have been part of the league for many years. “We had eight teams when I took over eleven years ago and we will get back to eight or ten soon. Our group of managers are terrific and great guys and we are like a family here.”
We asked James what special considerations were followed to adhere to any safety guidelines for their resumption of play this past Sunday.
“We had meetings with the managers and players recently and they decided they would do their best to practice social distancing but didn’t want to wear masks in the field or have the umpires behind the pitcher’s mound or eliminate stealing or holding on the runners. Masks were recommended but not mandatory. They wanted to play pretty much straight up while monitoring themselves. They even decided to give themselves up if they were obviously out at a base so that a slide and tag could be avoided. Pitchers were told they couldn’t go to their mouths, either.
We asked the umpires what they wanted to do and they convinced me that they could work behind the plate and still be careful not to get too close. There were a few players who wore masks in the dugouts but the dugouts were used normally and everyone stayed apart. These happened to be huge dugouts, which helped.”
James also explained that they placed hand sanitizer in all of the bathrooms, they posted signs everywhere reminding players and spectators about the six-foot distancing and had the players refrain from any high fives or fist bumping.
“We made sure that nobody from the next game could enter the facility until everyone from the previous game vacated. We increased the time between games to ensure that it was an easy transition.”
James explained that it wasn’t an ideal day to play but everyone was thrilled to be out there.
“It was literally 100 degrees and 100% humidity. It poured for four hours on Saturday and we had to get out at the crack of dawn Sunday to make sure the field was playable, but the humidity hung around. Welcome to Louisiana, right?”
Everyone signed a waiver to play stating that they didn’t have a fever or any other medical symptoms of concern. James made sure that all local guidelines were followed, along with recommendations forwarded by MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler.
We asked James if he had and final thoughts on his positive first day back.
“Everything went better than smooth and I couldn’t be happier. It was one of the best days I have had in months. I can’t think of anything that could have been done differently. I also have doctors and nurses in the league so we were prepared.
I knew it was a good day because one of the players came up to me and reminded me that I was smiling. On game days of field prep and supervision I usually have my game face on all day. It felt good to smile. It couldn’t have gone better. No arguments or problems. Life is good right now. Baseball is back in our lives.”