Profile: Team Sac Fly, Fresno, CA.
|Team Sac Fly puts team ahead of individuals, according to skipper Brian McGrath
by David Krival, MSBL On-Line
The Fresno, California-based team has an unusual name – Team Sac Fly – but there's a lot behind the name said manager Brian McGrath who founded the team in December, 2011.
"Our goal was to establish a team to represent the Fresno MSBLin the 45-and-over division of MSBLnational tournaments,” McGrath said. "In the rule book, a sacrifice fly is said to occur when a player gives himself up, flies out, so that his team can score a run. Our team name was chosen to remind our players that we always put the team first.”
It also fit nicely with another little piece of McGrath's history – his time as a bat boy at Candlestick Park. "What a great experience for a kid!” he recalled. "Naturally, I'm a 100% Giants fan. I've got photos of myself and all the great Giant ballplayers of the late seventies and early eighties.” "It's not entirely coincidental that Sac Fly and San Francisco both start with SF,” he said, explaining why the team sports San Francisco Giants hats.
McGrath was a left-handed pitcher and first baseman at Skyline Junior College in San Bruno, California (south of San Francisco, near Daly City). He joined the Fresno MSBL in 2002. After the 2008 season he took two years off to play water polo and rejoined the league in time for the 2011 season.
All eight teams in the 45+ division of the Fresno MSBL are represented on the Team Sac Fly roster. There are no former professional ballplayers on the team, but McGrath and his close friend Emilio "Eric” Martin both played college ball. Martin went to school at St. Mary's in central California, an NCAA Division I college.
A few weeks before Team Sac Fly's first tournament, the 2012 Las Vegas Kickoff Classic, McGrath received a phone call from a member of the Arizona MSBL. "He said that he wanted to play in Las Vegas, but that his league was not sending a team. He asked if he could hook on with us.
|Brian McGrath, left, and longtime teammate Eric Martin
||I called the tournament organizer to find out if that
waswithin the rules and he said that it was.” In the following two or three weeks, players from MSBL affiliates in Sacramento, Watsonville and Oregon also joined Team Sac Fly for the Vegas tournament. As of this report, McGrath planned to keep the four non-Fresno players on his roster for subsequent tournaments, unless they decide to play with teams from their own leagues. "Six games in four days is a lot,” he said, referring to the qualifying round of the MSBL World Series. "To have a chance, you've got to bring a full roster. At our age especially, you've got to make sure you don't burn people out.”
Team Sac Fly did pretty well in Las Vegas. With a win and two ties in the qualifying round, McGrath's team advanced to the playoffs, but lost in the first round. "It was gratifying to do that well first time out,” McGrath said. He plans to enter Team Sac Fly in at least one more tournament during the 2012 season. After the season, it's off to Arizona for the 2012 MSBL World Series.