Tim Small Embraces the Fun and Challenges of Managing His Marlins in the Detroit MSBL During a Pandemic

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

2001 is when Tim Small joined the Detroit MSBL and his career has grown to currently managing and playing for the Marlins in the 52-over division.  “I moved to the Detroit area in 2000 and somehow luckily learned of the Detroit MSBL shortly thereafter and joined it in 2001 and have been playing here ever since,” explained Small.  “The Detroit MSBL is a very well-run organization, by Mike Juliano, and has been a source of fun and joy for thousands of guys here in the area.”

The Independence Township resident is currently retired, which allows him the time to tackle all of the managerial details necessary in keeping a team humming on all cylinders, even during a pandemic.

“Regarding anything special my wife and I are doing to keep in tune with the virus and all it entails, it is just the two of us here at home,” said Tim.  “She is a tax preparer and works from home anyway and our kids are all adults now and out of the house living their own lives.  During this time, we are taking no chances by not visiting in person with anyone.  I also have a gym in the basement and workout with the weights every other day but I’m not doing anything too baseball specific.

Since I’m the manager I still have to prepare for the season by staying in touch with my players, collecting money, recruiting, ordering jerseys, etc.  The show must go on for when we can hit the field again!”

We asked Tim what is entailed in being a successful manager and what he does to prepare.  “Since becoming a manager three seasons ago, and not just a player, it’s become a different experience, both good and bad,” elaborated Small.  “Managers have to address issues attached to decisions regarding playing to win versus playing to have fun.  Are these two separate objectives or are they the same objective?  Opinions vary and players tend to gravitate to the team that exemplifies their objective, i.e. all in for winning or all in for having fun or somewhere in between. 

I’ve found that as a manager, it works best if you communicate your objective to the team at the beginning of each season.  What I do is put everybody in the batting order who shows up and everyone gets a chance to at least rotate in the field.  Personally, I look forward to playing the best teams and try to rally the players for those games.  In my mind, it makes it more fun.”

Tim concluded, “An enjoyable aspect of playing hardball since 2001, some seasons on two teams in separate age groups, are some of the very entertaining teammates you get to play with.  Perhaps I should write a book about them someday, but change the names, of course!  Some umpires would be part of that, too.  So, the team aspect of playing at least 25 games a season with a group of guys is what sets this apart from most guys our age who spend their recreational time playing golf on weekends.  You just don’t get to enjoy the same kind of team experiences playing golf as you do with baseball.  Baseball tends to attract some very interesting and funny guys.

Bottom line for me is that I’m lucky to live in the Detroit area where we have one of the best run leagues in the nation with five separate age groups and plenty of games to be played.”