By Tournament Director Jeff Gardenhire and Alan VanNess, President, SMSBL
(Photo credits Jane Burkitt) This was the seventh annual Father/Son tournament hosted by
the Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League and the third held on Father’s day
In 2015 the tournament was named after Val Lewis, Father/Son
format originator, to show our appreciation for his vision. There were four teams this year that also
play in Arizona at the MSBL World Series. We had eight teams this year,
adding two newcomers. We were also glad to have two teams from our neighboring
bay area Tri-Valley MSBL.
Jeff was quoted as saying, "If there is a baseball heaven,
then this is what I envision it looking like. Fathers and sons and daughters playing baseball on Father’s Day weekend.”
Alan VanNess, President of SMSBL, added, "Last year we
decided as a board to partner with a charity to add a benevolent feel to it.
In our first attempt last year we raised $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior project! This year we partnered with Make A Wish. Our players stepped up
again with $2,500 in donations. We spent hours finding raffle prizes from local
businesses. My wife Tina and our daughters hosted the booth on Saturdays collecting
donations and selling raffle tickets. Tina is passionate about her role and is
a bull dog! We would also be lost
without the tireless help from Jane Burkitt, our official Sacramento
photographer. I would like to briefly
share a story of one of our own SMSBL families who brings home the message of
how fragile life can be.
Salmeri had Auto Immune Disease and his younger brother Shane donated half his
liver. The operation was performed at UC San Francisco in 2011. Their father Rick would like to please make it known there is a shortage of organs being donated
and please use this success story to make an awareness of the shortage. Rick plays in our new SMSBL 60+ Golden League on the Yankees. You can find out how you
may be able to donate to the Make A Wish foundation at www.smsbl.com.
the way, there was actually a tournament played! The Capital City Cardinals defeated the Giants 17-11 in the finals to win the tourney. Cards manager Derek Bulock was kind enough to comment on the tournament.
"Thanks to the great idea from Val Lewis, the founder of the
tournament for not only Sacramento but the National tournament held in Phoenix
each year. I also want to take this
opportunity to thank the Sacramento MSBL and MSBL National for providing the
great opportunity for all of us old ballplayers to play the game we love with
the people we love. I have been playing Father /Son Baseball now for 13 years
and it is by far the best baseball I have ever played in my life.
"As the years go by and I continue to recruit players, it is
the easiest sell in the world. I simply tell people that you have never been in
a better dugout. You are no longer teaching your kids how to play. You go to
battle with them. It’s quite unique and I feel lucky to get to experience this
with all my friends and family.”
Derek continued, "It was a pleasure to play the Giants. It was
a see-saw battle with about six lead changes along the way with us finally
coming out on top. It was nice to have an all Sacramento finish to the
The Tournament MVP went to Trey Furrey, a 17 year old who
plays for Andrew and Derek Bulock at Folsom High School. He comes from a
family of athletes and is now becoming a bit of a prospect himself. His uncle
played in the NFL and his father Matt was a baseball player at Ohio State. His
attitude and all-around makeup as a player is excellent. Trey ended up going 11 for 17 with five extra
base hits and nine RBIs. "This was a
perfect weekend,” emphasized Bulock