MMSPL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
To learn more about the Mississauga Men's Slo-Pitch League, including other slo-pitch idea, read on.
The Mississauga Men's Slo-Pitch League began in 1973 and consisted of 4 teams playing out of the Huron Park Recreational Centre. During the early first years the League expanded to the maximum number of teams that Huron Park could accommodate. In the early 1980's, as interest in Slo-Pitch increased and as more ball diamonds became available, the League expanded to the point where it is now the largest men's slo-pitch league in Mississauga. Currently the League has over 50 teams in seven divisions, including two Masters divisions.
In the mid 1980's, to accommodate the increased number of teams and provide them ample playing time, the League adopted a double header format with four games being played each night by four teams. A few years later the league adopted a two person umpire system and has subsequently formed its own Umpire Association.
In 1989 the League created its first Masters division for players over 35 years of age. In 1997, a four team division for players over 50 years of age was created. In 2002 there was eight teams in this particular division but has recently been downsized to 5 teams.
Teams are assigned to divisions based on their level of skill. Teams finishing first advance to higher skilled divisions and teams finishing last are relegated to lower skilled divisions. Other advancement or relegation of teams may be done to improve the overall competitiveness among teams.
The league caters to most levels of play including B, C, D and E (Recreational). In the Masters category, there are two divisions (Intermediate) for players over 35 years of age and one division (Recreational) for players over 50 years of age.
All teams in the League play a minimum 28 game schedule, with two double headers each night using a two Umpire system. All games are seven innings in length. The regular season starts around the beginning of May and ends in mid August. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams in each division progress through two playoff rounds using a best 3 out of 5 format. Divisions that have 8 teams have the bottom four teams play through a consolation playoff. There is no interdivisional play and each division declares a regular season champion and a playoff champion.
In late October the league stages its annual Awards Dinner and Dance Banquet. Over the years the banquet has been held at various locations with the venue becoming larger as the League grew in size. Two years ago, the banquet was held at the Mississauga Grand Banquet and Convention Centre with well over 500 in attendance. This Banquet included a sit down prime rib dinner with over $2000 in door prizes.
Over the last number of years, the League has sponsored a Food Drive at its annual banquet. Players bringing a food donation are eligible for additional door prizes. Two years ago nearly 1000 pounds of food was received.
Beginning in 2011, the banquet was cancelled as attendance continued to fall. The main reason for the decline in attendance seemed to stem from changes in societal norms as younger players were more likely to be without a significant other.
STARTING A SLO-PITCH TEAM
Many people wonder how to form a slo-pitch team from scratch. The most important principle to realize is that all players must have a commitment to the team. The second most important thing to recognize is that the work should be spread among a number of players, not just one or two.
The way to ensure the player commitment is to have them financially attached to the team. It is fine to obtain a team sponsor. However the individual players must also contribute financially, otherwise lack of interest and its subsequent defaults may occur, especially if the team level of play is not too competitive.
During the first year of a new team's existence, one or two players will do most of the work. Thereafter, different duties should be identified and assumed by appropriate members of the team. Examples follow:
1. Team Manager - Responsible for ensuring delegated tasks are completed
2. Coach - Responsible for game lineups, game substitutions and defensive alignments
3. Team League Representative - Responsible for all liaison with the League
4. Equipment Manager - Responsible for bringing the bases and balls
5. Tournament Convener - Responsible for organizing team entry into tournaments
6. Treasurer - Responsible for all team finances
7. Entertainment Convener - Responsible for organizing team social functions
8. Team Secretary - Responsible for keeping notes of team meetings
9. Statistician - Responsible for keeping team statistics
10. Banquet Coordinator - Responsible for obtaining banquet tickets
On a team of 15 to 20 players, most of the above duties may be shared by two players which will help to provide backup to cover situations that arise such as vacations or injuries. Also, it is not necessary that the various duties be distribute as widely as shown above. It is important, however, that all the work does not fall on the shoulders of one or two players.
To handle the increased number of teams and to have more control over Umpire scheduling, the League created its own Umpire Association. Currently there are over 40 umpires available for duty in the pool. Most of these umpires also play in the League or are ex-players. The League, through its umpire association, also provides umpiring services to several other leagues in the Mississauga area. If your League has a need for Umpiring services or if you are interested in umpiring slo-pitch, please contact us.
Teams should follow the instructions givin in their Scorebooks concerning games that have been rained out of cancelled for other reasons.
Teams that have games cancelled should decide quickly when they want to make the games up. Then contact the Umpire-in-Chief promptly to let him know what your plan is so that Umpires may be assigned. Both teams must agree to play at that time.