By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Palm Beach Baseball has been suiting up in Florida since around 1990 and just joined the MSBL family in 2019. Dave Salley was the league president in 2019 and remains in charge today. They play only in Palm Beach, Florida and usually boast eight teams in the 35-over category of MSBL and six 18-over MABL teams.
“We’re down to eleven teams this year because of what is going on with the pandemic and could sure use a twelfth! We’ll be back to normal hopefully in 2021. We’re just a bunch of teams playing baseball,” said Salley. “We don’t fill stadiums and sort of play under the radar so we are safe concerning all of the covid-19 regulations and numbers of people who can gather.
We started on the 21st and plan on September playoffs. This season everybody makes the playoffs, to make it special.”
How is a year usually divided while taking into consideration the occasional unpredictable weather in Florida?
“We have a summer season called the ‘Hurricane’ season that lasts about two and a half months and ends in September. Then we start again in October, which is actually our best weather season. This year our guys had a three-day notice to begin play. It didn’t leave us a lot of time to fill out the teams.”
The 43-year old Salley continues to play and is a league regular for the South Florida Beach Bums in the competitive 18-over division.
“We usually have an upper and a lower division for the 18’s because we have many players who are ex-college or pro and can be pretty dominant. But this year we put everybody together so we could just go out and play baseball. Nobody is complaining. We play some pretty good baseball here. We’ll go back to the upper and lower divisions in the fall. Our team won the 18-over championship recently at the MSBL Fall Classic and have won two World Series rings. We’re very proud of that.”
What special considerations have you implemented to combat the virus?
“We don’t shake hands at the end,” continued David. “Each player gets their own bat and nobody shares. No umps can touch the bats. If you are sick you automatically miss two games, which pretty much covers two weeks. We didn’t sign specific waivers so everyone is on a trust basis. They won’t come if they feel bad so it’s really up to them. We told them that if they don’t feel well, stay home. Palm Beach County went to mandatory masks except at exercise events, such as baseball. Some people wear them and some don’t. It’s their choice and we only ask that they try their best for social distancing but we are pretty much playing straight up baseball.
It is also baseball as usual in dugouts but nobody who isn’t a player can be in there. The umpires are stationed in the usual places and can also wear a mask if they wish. We have implemented a $50 fine if you throw your bat because it can spread germs and you must pay it before you can play again.”
When you took over the league in 2019, were there any immediate changes that were implemented?
“We really had to clean up the league and the league image, as it looked like a weekly sandlot gathering or scrimmage. Uniforms were not enforced and it looked rag tag. We needed to make it more professional and adopt a new set of rules to make it more attractive and entice players to come aboard. You couldn’t even tell who the teams were. That was a big concern.”
What part of running the league do you enjoy most?
“I really enjoy helping the teams fill their rosters and making them a good, healthy team. Last year we built a team from free agents and it was a thrill to see them come together. They finished really well, too.”