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Tri Valley (CA) Adds 65 and Over Division

By Steve LaMontia, Executive Regional Director

65 years of age used to mean getting a government window envelope every month, teeing off from the ladie’s tee, and finally buying the car that you are sure will last you the rest of your life. The knee you are bouncing for your grand kids is titanium and the highlight of your day is watching Jeopardy at six o’clock. Well, the times they are a changin’. 

The long-standing Tri-Valley MSBL, located in the Bay area of California, has just added a 65 and over division to their repertoire. 22 year MSBL veteran Donny DeCordova got the blessing of league president Mike Protheroe to start the division and they started play the first part of April with three teams. The Tribe, Giants and Antiques have become a reality. Yes, Donny is a member of this golden fraternity.

"We play on Saturdays and one team always has a bye. Double-headers would never work. Most of the guys also play in the 55 and over division with the ‘kids’ and we didn’t want to create a scheduling conflict,” said DeCordova. "All of our games are played at Livermore High School because it is centrally located.” 

There are certain rules they have created, some of them mirroring the MSBL national tournament statutes. "You can only have one stolen base per inning and you can’t throw out a batter from right field on a single,” continued DeCordova. "We do allow some players that are under 65, with manager approval, but they can’t be under 60 and they can’t pitch if they are under 62 years old.But our better pitchers are all over 65 anyway!” 

John DeBenedictis is the president of the Tri-State MSBL that resides in Northern Delaware, Southeast Pennsylvania and Southwest New Jersey. He started a 65 and over division just last year. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for players desiring to play this great game of ours who otherwise would not have an opportunity,” stated DeBenedictis. "That was our primary motivation.” To date these are the only two leagues in the MSBL nation that provide this opportunity. 

"We have some real interest from our friends in the Redwood Empire MSBL and they have the numbers to add a team and balance out our scheduling,” said DeCordova."But travel out here is so lengthy and with bridges, tolls and traffic it is something that someone in that age bracket doesn’t want to deal with, but we remain hopeful that it can be worked out.” 

The 26 year existence of MSBL of course creates the necessity of having older divisions to satisfy those who aren’t quite ready to hang ‘em up. "As important as this division is, the real concern is who is coming in at the other end to keep our numbers consistent when these folks just can’t play anymore,” said DeCordova. "The leagues need to concentrate on also attracting the young players out of college or high school and giving them a place to play. We reduced our league age division to 21 and over down from 25 and over. We need to keep them coming in.” 

Donny is certainly an ambassador of MSBL while monitoring the aging process of league play. He is also hugely involved in the MSBL Las Vegas national tournaments and Arizona World Series while trying to keep herd on the age divisions that his Tri Valley league annually sends to these tournaments in record numbers. If you’d like to discuss baseball on any level and what works, you can contact Donny at 55giants@gmail.com.

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