By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Darren Brucken is the league president of the Terre Haute MSBL. It is a position he secured in 2007 and stepped away from in 2019 because of work commitments and a new daughter, only to be lured back this year to assume the bridge once again. But that is only the beginning of Darren’s involvement, as the current pandemic demands our headlines. Darren is a physician, a county health official and works at the local hospital. He is part of the decision-making committee that digests the safety concerns of all people in the community.
“I have become the spokesperson for the county as it relates to media, television interviews and staying in front of the people to keep them informed. I am continually asked questions wherever I go, as people are desperate for information. I wear many hats these days.”
The Terre Haute MSBL began in 1991 and this year started up on June 14th with play in 17+, 35+ and 50+ divisions. Darren is 49 years old and began his MSBL World Series journey in 1997 with a group of college guys and didn’t miss a year in Arizona until 2012, when family priorities took over. He is also a father/son World Series veteran while playing alongside his dad. Darren continues to play in the 35+ division in the league as the catcher/manager for the Terre Haute Cubs.
“We have achieved much more parity in the league this year, which makes me happy,” said the Indiana State grad. “Nobody enjoys a blowout.”
How has the coronavirus affected Terre Haute in general as well as the league and its procedures, especially from the point of view of a medical professional?
“Our own community has not been very good and it gets disheartening to see people not paying attention. Being in the public eye and frequently in the news, I see that nobody is trying to buck the system. Everyone is trying to be mindful of other families and players. Our biggest message, in work and at play, is to stay home if you have health care issues.
From a league standpoint, we have asked our players to stay out of dugouts and stay along fences. Masks are optional and not mandatory. Our umpires are standing behind the pitcher’s mound and I hope they stay there. They aren’t wearing masks but are well behind the pitcher. In my emails to the players I emphasize they be mindful of other players and their families with social distancing. With all other forms of baseball being cancelled this summer we have found that many people are coming out to watch us, which is nice. We just need to make sure they stay at least six feet from one another.”
The Terre Haute MSBL usually starts around the first week of May and continues until the very end of October, which is a lengthy season for sure.
“We are fortunate in that we have our own park that houses two fields so we can come and go as we need to. The highlight is that we annually play our championship game on Indiana State’s field, which is a beautiful turf facility.”
Are there any final health and safety recommendations for the general public, including league members?
“Part of the public health statement is to watch over the older people in your family and on your teams. The younger people seem to be doing just fine in our community but you need to really think about the older family members and older players, especially with health problems. The younger people have to protect the older players.
Be careful and…be vigilant. Be hyper sensitive to the older players. Also, think about the logistics of concession stands, rest rooms and the entire facility you are playing on. When the vaccine gets approved, we can slowly get back to normal but right now it is up to each and every one of us as caring individuals.”