Hello PHBA Families,

I am excited to get the 2023 Spring Season rolling at PHBA! Spring is my favorite season and watching the players learn to love the game that has treated many of us so well is a big reason why. I look forward to seeing friends, reconnecting with people I only see at the fields, and meeting new families experiencing all that PHBA has to offer for the first time. I am extremely humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic organization.

I know many of you know this already, but I think it bears repeating each year. PHBA is a 99% volunteer league. We offer paid positions for the snack shack, field crew, and youth umpires. Most of these roles are held down by teenagers from various high schools and middle schools in the area. Board members, league commissioners, team managers, coaches, and the adult umpires are all filled by volunteers, and many of these volunteers are parents of current players in the league. Then there are people, like me, whose kids have aged-out of the league and we continue to give back to the league that has provided so much enjoyment for us all. The board is a working board and each board member takes responsibility for executing one or more items throughout the year. Examples include events, newsletters, insurance, baseball and softball operations, league finances, permits, PH Rec and Park coordination, MDUSD coordination among others. And we cannot forget about you. Each year parent volunteers complete over 4,000 hours of volunteer hours to support the league. We cannot run this league without you. Thank you for your commitment to your children and this league.

Team Managers and Coaches
Thank you so much for your willingness to step up and commit your valuable time to teach our children to play baseball and softball. The league would not exist without you. The Board of Directors is committed to support each of you the best we can. One common issue coaches have to deal with is outfitting the catchers. Kids come in all shapes and sizes and a lot of them watch to try out the catcher position. If you have players who need smaller or larger catcher gear to safely play the position, please contact Tim Crvarich tcrvarich@phba.org to get them the right gear. Let’s make sure we create the best experience for our catchers. I look forward to interacting with you all throughout the season.

Thank you so much for your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and commit your valuable time to officiating the game of baseball and softball for our children. The game would not be the same without you. If you have participated in a game without umpires, you know the value they bring. Our umpires spend a lot of time each year going over the rules, best practices, positioning, strike zone and many other aspects of officiating the game. Their goal is to be the best umpires they can be for our kids yet it is often the least complimented position on the field. Please be sure to thank these volunteers for their service.

Every year, we run into something that does not go as planned. We have one of the largest leagues in Northern California which is great in so many ways, but can also provide a bit of a challenge in others. The biggest challenge we had this year was the uniform jerseys. Our goal every year is to provide replica Major League Baseball dri-fit jerseys for all of the players. We are disappointed that the dri-fit style jerseys did not come to fruition this year. Our distributor had issues with Nike on the dri-fit replicas and Nike, who has a contract with MLB for replica jerseys, was not able to make enough dri-fit jerseys to satisfy the demand. They attempted to pivot to a 2-button dri-fit, but Nike would have only provided enough to outfit half the league. The rest of the league would have received the alternate cotton jerseys. We thought that would not be the right thing to do and provided everyone with the cotton jersey.

Similar to the catcher gear, jerseys are tough to get right when we need to order them before most players have registered. This has been a challenge for many years. What will we do next year to ensure this does not happen again? There are a few things we are discussing. One option we are exploring is to order replica jerseys now for next year without numbers and sponsor names. This would allow us to get ahead of the curve in multiple ways and would allow right sizing for players. Assuming we can do this, the numbers and sponsor names would be printed locally. We have other ideas being kicked around to improve consistency.

Where does the money go?
A couple of parents are asking this question. It takes a lot of money to operate a league this size, even with an all-volunteer working board. The players’ fees do not cover the full cost of operating the league. We are fortunate to have so many local and corporate sponsors that help close that gap and allow us to continue to invest back into the league.

Maintenance is our biggest budget item related to operating the league. You may have seen we are working to replace our gas-driven gators with electric gators. Aside from the environmental impact this has for the league, it is also required given the age and condition of our current equipment. Other budget items include uniforms, gear, game balls, field rentals, paid employees, portable restrooms, and opening day, among others.

If you would like more information, please join us at our next open board meeting on March 28. All members are welcome to attend. This is true for the board meetings scheduled for the 4th Tuesday each month. You will find a Google Meet link on the league calendar for those who would prefer to attend remotely.

We also have a lot of community-building fundraising events to help fund the summer travel programs for baseball and softball. These events include opening day, the poker tournament, parent banquet, day at the A’s and our family days which offer the opportunity to expand your experience with the league and each other. We hope each of you are able to attend one or more of our events.

I look forward to seeing everybody on opening day on March 4! Please take the opportunity to introduce yourself when you see me at the fields. I will be there often! I look forward to the smiling faces, the game winning hits, the fans cheering, and players making life-long friends on the field.

Let’s play ball!