Team Profile: Bigfoot Baseball
|Bigfoot Baseball -- it's more than a game to these guys. Manager Joe Brotherton (back right) manages the club which won the Kickoff Classic 25-and-over division.
Bigfoot Baseball Stalks MSBL Fields
By Rodney Johnson, MSBL On-Line
Imagine a group of 15 guys cooking out and drinking beer for a week at a rented house in Arizona. Frat boys on spring break? Well, sort of. The difference is these guys are mostly 30-something professionals who make an annual trip to Arizona for the MSBL World Series. Collectively they make up Bigfoot Baseball, a 25+ Wood Bat team from Southern California. "The experience is definitely as important as the baseball,” said manager Joe Brotherton. "Each year instead of staying at different hotels, we rent a house and all stay together. Now one of our guys owns a house in Phoenix so we all just stay there. Everyone on the team circles the dates (of the MSBL WS) on their calendars and looks forward to it all year.”
Although seven or eight members of the team started playing together in 2006, it was the following year that Bigfoot Baseball was born. Brotherton owes the formation of his team to the nature of his job. "Because of my job, I've lived in about 10 different places over the years. Each place I went I got involved in a MSBL league and met guys who would become part of our tournament team.” The group includes six teammates from Brotherton's current MSBL league team, the So Cal Brewers. Rounding out Bigfoot Baseball are players from leagues in Sacramento, Phoenix and Oregon. The club came up with their Bigfoot moniker after being eliminated in the 2007 WS. "We were at the rented house celebrating the experience and drinking beer when we came up with the name,” explained Brotherton.
|Joe Brotherton managed the BigFoot squad
|| The brew of choice that night was Sierra Nevada
Bigfoot. "We got to making jokes and laughing about it and decided then-and-there that we would become Bigfoot Baseball.” In 2008 they played in their first tournament using the new nickname when they competed in the Las Vegas Kickoff Classic. That's the same annual competition that they pulled off their first tournament title this March. Ryan Hanna's star shined brightly among the lights of Vegas. He threw a no-hitter and then went 10-innngs for a complete game win in the championship game. Hanna, a 25-year old right-hander, recently signed a contract to pitch for the Grand Prairie (TX) Air Hogs of the independent American Association. Another Bigfoot member, Nick Naegle, will try his luck in independent ball this summer with the Yuma (AZ) Panthers of the North American Association.
In addition to the Las Vegas tournament and the MSBL World Series, Bigfoot Baseball will stay sharp by getting together a couple more times this year. In July they have a date with the big house when they will take on a team made up of inmates from San Quentin State Prison. Boyce Whitlock, a Bigfoot team member from Sacramento, is acquainted with the coach of the prison team and set up a double-header. On Labor Day the club will be in Sacramento for a MSBL regional tournament.
Bigfoot Baseball has become a very tight group predicated the relationships they have forged off of the field after their baseball experiences offered them their initial introductions. "I first got involved with these guys when Brian Martin and Sean Carlson picked me up in the player pool for their tournament team,” recalls Brotherton. "We really hit it off and both of those guys were in my wedding.” MSBL provides a ready excuse for these friends to get together. "I've played in other adult baseball leagues and they don't really compare to MSBL,” raved Brotherton. "Steve and Brian (Sigler) deserve so much credit for making the tournament experiences so rewarding” As long as there's beer, barbeque and baseball, you can expect to keep hearing reports of Bigfoot sightings. "We don't see our group hanging it up anytime soon,” Brotherton promised. "The last couple of years we have had stadium games right after the 60-70 age group and it is really inspiring to see those guys out there. If they can do it, I don't see why we can't keep playing that long.”