One could say Burlington Vintage Baseball (BVB) actually is the culmination of two separate Leagues meshed together to create what we identified as 'Quality Baseball for those 30 and over'. To go back in the history books, it is noted that both the 'Lakeshore League' and the 'HardBoys League' played a prominent role in the creation of the BVB in 2000. The Lakeshore League was co-founded in 1984 by the original BVB President Jim Hambrook and League member, Dave Weber. The Lakeshore League was originally known as the 'Young Men's Division' of B.O.M.B.A (Burlington Optimist Minor Baseball Association) but changed over to its current name in 1986. The HardBoys League was in existence in the early 1990's but formerly disbanded after the 1999 season when the League membership had dropped down to 3 teams. At that point Jim Hambrook, then a member of the '99 HardBoys League Champion Black Sox, took over from former HardBoys President Tony Hall and folded the League. The action included promptly forming 'BVB' to generate future success.
BVB followed the Canadian Vintage Baseball Federation rules and policies except for one to bolster the future of the League. That rule exception was to lower its age limit from 35 to 30; thus paving the way for former teams and players from the Lakeshore League to have a place to play once they got just a "little long in the tooth" and wanted to compete with an age bracket other than the younger members of Lakeshore.
Throughout the years, BVB traditionally played on Friday and Sunday evenings, but with expansion and the creation of the two division system it was imperative for the BVB to add a third evening to its regular season schedule. Thus, Tuesday evenings had been added. BVB games were played at 3 different light park facilities within the City of Burlington. At the beginning, Tuesday games were primarily played at Millcroft, while the Friday and Sunday games were primarily played at Ireland 'C' and, what is undoubtedly the premier park in Burlington, Nelson. BVB League game times are typically 6:00pm and 8:30pm throughout the summer. As years progressed, the mix of parks migrated to fit needs and time slots have adjusted to allow for play-off game sets and time allotments.
There have been a number of individuals who contributed to the success of BVB through their involvement with operating the league, representing the membership on the board or just delivering a quality squad of baseball players who embody the presence on the field that the league wants to project. Take some time to visit our BVB 'Hall of Fame' to view some of those league players and teams. All are important and all are members making the league what it is. Events and activities over the years have been a reflection of the league members. Be sure to see the details of those events through our archive news stories over the years.
BVB always had the aim to generate competitive and quality baseball but, still adhering to the roots of baseball and sport comradery. Events on and off the field to gather the League membership to project our admiration of the sport of baseball and friendships built during the course of play have always been the target…."for the love of the game."
In 2000, the inaugural season, BVB started out with 8 teams. The League had a good balance of old members and new players/teams to help build the foundation. The former HardBoys League was represented by the Hobos (formerly the Black Sox), Cubs, Blue Jays and Rockies while 3 new teams, the Steelers, Cardinals and Astros jumped from the Lakeshore League to join up with BVB. An 8th expansion team was added when the Phillies was formed prior to the beginning of the season. The 8-team League competed for the new "Vintage Cup" that was sponsored by the Mainway Sports Complex. The 2000 Season Championship was awarded to the Hobos after they went on to win the round robin championship. The Consolation championship, which was sponsored by the Chaps Restaurant & Bar, went to the newly formed Phillies.
2001 presented new challenges for the young League when the number of teams was reduced. Although the total was only adjusted by one, there was a large change to the mix. Gone were the Astros, Cardinals and Steelers whom actually were gobbled up by the newly formed Yankees while a team from Stoney Creek (Thunderbirds) joined the fold. The season was highly competitive. The top four teams were separated by 3 games in the standings thus, creating a close play-off match-ups. In the Mainway Cup round-robin, the Yankees and Thunderbirds came out on top with 4-1 records and faced each other in a best of 3 final round. With each team winning one game it all came down to a one game final for the Championship. The Yankees pulled out a stunning 9-7 comeback victory to claim the 2001 Vintage Cup. In the Chaps Cup round-robin, the defending champion Phillies made it to finals to face the Cubs by defeating the Blue Jays in their final game. Once in the Chaps Cup finals, as in the Mainway Cup, the teams split games 1 and 2. Game 3 was a close affair until the later innings when the Phillies exploded for 5 unanswered runs to take the game 8-3 and thus winning the Chaps Cup in back to back seasons.
BVB continued to migrate forward in 2002. The League grew by one with the addition of the expansion team X-Men. BVB also restructured with the creation of two 4-team divisions that competed in a cross-over play style. The League created the Vintage Division for which the teams competed for the 'Vintage Cup' and the Legend Division where teams played for the 'Mainway Cup'. The Vintage Division consisted of the defending 2001 champion Yankees, Thunderbirds, Hobos and the newly formed X-Men. The Legend Division included 2001 Chaps Cup champion Phillies whom were vying for the 3-peat, the Cubs, Rockies and Blue Jays. The season of crossover play was quite successful with the second half of the season proving more competitive than the first. The 2002 season started out with a kick-off banquet, which had many teams participate in games and comradery at Mainway Sports. The season saw the Hobos and the Blue Jays win their respective regular season division titles.
An All-Star game was held in mid-July and the league response was tremendous. Most of the 8 teams were represented at the All Star events and game. The game was a very competitive match and was won by the narrowest of margins by the All-Stars from the Legends Division. The Legends topped the Vintage Division 4 – 3 in a game that was played in less than 2 hours. In the Vintage Cup Championship round, teams were represented by the daunted Hobos and the expansion X-Men. The X-Men took game 1 by a single run but couldn't keep up the magic and the over-powering Hobos took the next 3 games to win the Vintage Cup 3-1. The Mainway Cup Championship was no stranger to the Phillies whom were making their 3rd straight appearance in the finals and the 2002 division winning Blue Jays. The third time was not lucky for the Phillies as they were swept 3 straight by the Blue Jays to capture their first BVB championship.
Once the season was completed, the Blue Jays and Hobos played one final game, dubbed the 'Challenge Cup.' The Hobos ultimately won the game but, it was a display of worth to both squads. During 2002, BVB sent two travel teams to the Canadian Vintage Baseball Nationals which were played in the Collingwood / Stayner area. The teams made up of 35+ and 44+ players and competed for the first time under the BVB Banner; initiating the path for the BVB Nationals program in years to come.
The 2003 season saw the cross-over play format eliminated and birth of two separate divisions. In the Vintage division the 2002 defending champion Hobos competed against the Thunderbirds, Yankees and the new expansion Red Sox. The 2002 Legend division Blue Jays were challenged by the X-Men, Cubs, Pirates (formerly Rockies) and the Storm (formerly the Phillies). A total of 9 teams were reached for the first time. Each division was competitive in its own right and the games were all intense and fun. The Thunderbirds ended the regular season on top in the Vintage division, while the Pirates won the Legend division regular season title. The 2003 play-offs started off with a one game play-off in the Legend division between the 4th place X-Men and 5th place Blue Jays with the X-Men squeaking out a 1 run victory to advance to the semi finals. With the semi finals set, the Pirates took on the X-Men, while the Cubs went up against the Storm. Both series were well played with the Pirates and Cubs advancing to the finals. The Cubs broke out on top with 2 quick victories, but the Pirates were not done as they pulled out victories in games 3 and 4 to force a 5th a deciding game. In the end the Cubs team was just too powerful and took game 5 to win the Legend Championship. In the Vintage division, the Thunderbirds took on the Yankees, while the Hobos played the Red Sox. Both first round series ended in sweeps by the Thunderbirds and Red Sox. The first 2 games of the final round were dominated by the Thunderbirds but the next 2 games were won by the Red Sox thus forcing a 5th and deciding game. The game was a tale of time, with the Red Sox dominating the first 3 innings and the Thunderbirds dominating the next 4 innings. In the end the Red Sox couldn't hold the lead and succumbed to the Thunderbirds. It was the 1st BVB championship for the Thunderbirds in their 3 years within BVB. The season officially ended with the League wrap-up party and as the winter began, the BVB was looking forward to a new season in 2004.
2004 started short with a single team, the Storm, folding to bring the total to 8 again. It also brought another variation to the League schedule as the teams played with a weighted schedule, where the top tier teams played each other more than the lower tier teams. This type of scheduling didn't help bridge the gap between the Vintage and Legends division teams thus, at the mid-point of the season the League reworked the schedule and the two divisions only competed against teams in their own division for the remainder of the season. In the Legends division, the Pirates outlasted the X-Men to claim 1st place in the regular season, while the Indians brought up the rear for a 2nd straight season. In the Play-offs, the Pirates dispatched the Indians in 3 straight while the Cubs upset the X-Men 3-1, setting up a rematch of the 2003 Finals. The Cubs jumped out to a 1 game lead in the Championship, but the Pirates blasted their way back and defeated the Cubs 3 straight to claim their 1st Legends Championship. In the Vintage division, it was the same match-ups from 2003 where the Thunderbirds faced the Yankees and just like in 2003, the Thunderbirds defeated the Yanks 3 games straight. In the other semi-final, the Hobos beat the Red Sox 3 games to 1 to set up a fierce Vintage Championship battle. Unfortunately for the Hobos, the Thunderbirds were on their game and swept away the Hobos in 3 straight to claim the 2nd consecutive Vintage Championship.
2005 brought alterations to the team landscape. The reigning champion Thunderbirds departed from the league while the expansion Cardinal were started as well as an import team called the Tigers, consisting of a group of Korean players from Mississauga; bringing the list of teams back to 9 total again. BVB hosted the first 'Burlington Vintage Wilson Classic' mid-summer with 6 team entered to participate. The league had 4 teams competing while London and St. Catharines round out the entries. The BVB Hobos and the St. Catharines Cardinals moved to the final game. As gracious guests, the Hobos lost the match 11-4. A great measure for a young league and fun time for those involved.
2005 also furthered the League's Nationals team efforts by sending 2 teams to the Canadian Vintage Nationals in Tillsonburg, ON. It was also the first time the teams were sent under the "49ers" name; a title of respect for our lost league member, #49 Paul Depodesta who past that same year. Although neither team took the title it was a learning experience for the members of the league that took part in a well run championship.
The 2005 Play-off format displayed competitive match-ups with three of four semi-final series going the distance to 5 games to advance a winner. Also, because of the added 9th team, a sudden death Play-off game was held between the Cubs and Cardinals to decide who would move on to the semi-finals in the Legends division. The game was a see-saw affair that either team could have won as each team had opportunities to put their opponent away. It finally took a 6 run 6th inning by the Cubs to put the nail in the Cardinals coffin, ending their inaugural BVB season. In the Legends division, the X-Men took the Cubs 3-2, the Tigers beat the Indians 3-1; advancing to the finals. In the Vintage division, the Hobos took the Pirates 3-2 and the Red Sox bettered the Yankees 3-2 in their series. The Legends Finals crowned the X-Men over th3 Tigers in a swift 3-0 series. The Vintage final had the Hobos push out a 3-1 series win over the Red Sox.
2006 brought another season but, also launched BVBBASEBALL.com as known today. Burlington Vintage Baseball started a new venture with a dynamic website built by our own members. Over the course of the last number of years, Shawn Pomfret (Hobos), Lee Mackey (Red Sox), Ottis Goulbourne (Indians) and Dan Pokoradi (Indians) have had their hand in creating web presence for BVB but, the new facility provided further tools for teams to project their activities and hosting for sponsors. The site quickly gained acceptance and was widely used to communicate with BVB members and fans alike.
2006 also brought a new logo to the mix to further bolster a positive image. BVB started 2006 with 8 teams again following the departure of the Tigers. The remaining teams were foundation members and the season was packed with great match-ups.
For the first time, BVB's own Red Sox arranged and hosted an event at the Rogers Centre where participating BVB players got to play an exhibition game against the BVB Red Sox team. Although the game score and play did not fare well, the experience was wonderful for those involved. The BVB Cardinals and Indians also headed down to Cooperstown, NY to play two exhibition games at the world famous Doubleday Field and take in the sights and sounds of "baseball town USA." Unfortunately, Mother Nature washed out any chances with heavy rains for the entire time they were there. The clouds broke up and the sun began to poke through on the last day to tease those attending.
2006 also furthered the League's Nationals team efforts by putting two teams (35+ & 44+) in the Canadian Vintage Nationals in Yarmouth NS. A number of fundraising events were held to support the teams and involve the league in the process. Both the Black 35+ and Gray 44+ squads battled hard and represented BVB as top contenders in the 2006 Canadian Nationals tournament. The future of BVB looked brighter as they continued to produce solid baseball players at the Vintage level. The Burlington Blacks carried 15 players on their bench while the Grays only had 12. This was a far cry from the 18 plus deep squads that most other teams brought to the field. It was a great sign of the stamina and commitment that Burlington brought to the tournament despite the weariness of game play over the 4 days. Some lessons were learned that weekend that would only help to improve the future strength on the ball field.
The 2006 Play-Offs pushed through some familiar winners but, also uncovered new ones. In the Vintage division, the Hobos advanced over the Red Sox and the Yankees over the Pirates to get to the finals. The Hobos were crowned the champions in the end with a decisive 3-0 sweep over the Yankees. The Indians pushed out the X-Men and the Cardinals did the same to the Cubs. The final Legends series was then a quick decision with the Cardinals sweeping the Indians, taking the championship. This was the first Legends division win for the Cardinals in their two years of existence.
2007 started fairly tame with no changes to the balance except the Pirates rebadging to the Marauders namesake and the league team total going to 9 with the expansion MudHens. Play got underway and teams enjoyed a great season. Unfortunately, sadness hit the league with events that transpired where one of our founding players of BVB, Miles Fleming, #13 on the Hobos, passed away at the young age of 49. Miles "Miley" Fleming had been involved in Burlington baseball for most of his life, making as many friends as he did plays along the way.
The BVB baseball machine steamed ahead with plans for the 2007 Nationals in Red Deer AB. The 1st annual BVB Golf Tournament was hosted to bolster the Nationals drive and was a great method to assemble the membership in a fun event. The League sent two 49ers teams to battle in the tournament; and that they did. The 35+ Blacks not only won but managed to enjoy only the sweet taste of victory as they went undefeated (6-0) and played some of the most intense, flawless high level baseball expected at that level (2 extra inning games and a suicide squeeze to end the Championship Final). The Gray 49ers (44+), while not having the same level of success as their younger brothers, they managed to bring home the Tier 2 National Championship.
Once the league settled in following the collective victory at the Nationals, teams focused on play-off match-ups. In the Legends division, the X-Men pushed out the Indians and the MudHens advanced over the Marauders to the final round. The MudHens took a Legends division title in their inaugural year beating the X-Men 3-1 in the series. In the Vintage division, the Red Sox acquired a final spot over the Cardinals and the Hobos seized their right over the Yankees. The Hobos went on to take their 3rd straight Vintage title in a 3-2 decision.
2008 was a 'solid' year for BVB. Coming off the 'high' of success in Red Deer AB at the Canadian Nationals, the League turned its sights on the next tournament in Hamilton ON. Within the confines of the League, the team listing remained stable with only a name change executed for the Indians migrating to a Giants banner but big changes occurred to how we played the game. BVB decided to implement an all wood bat rule to bring back the basic components of the game. After much off-season debate, it was well received once play began.
The 49ers Nationals program continued to build momentum. For the first time, BVB structured four teams for the tournament; 35+ Blacks, 35+ Blues, 44+ Grays & 50+ Silvers, covering all the available age groups and displaying the strength of our membership. The Burlington Black 49ers were looking to retain their CNOBF championship but they would have to defeat a tough Tillsonburg team... and that is what they did. The Black 49ers defeated the team from Tillsonburg 5 - 4 to retain the National title for a 2nd year. The Black 49ers are the 4th team to earn 'Back to Back' championships and join the impressive club that includes the Oakville A's (1993 & 1994), the Calgary Cardinals (1995 & 1996) and the Tillsonburg Old Sox (2003 & 2004). In the 50+ Championship finals the Burlington Silver 49ers fell short in their attempt to win in their first try as they were beaten 9 - 3 by the BC Capitals. The 35+ Blues and the 44+ Grays again showed the other teams in this tourney that there is great baseball played by great players in Burlington Vintage Baseball. The 35+ Blues and 44+ Grays both lost out in the Quarter Finals to Tillsonburg and Oakville respectively.
In play-off action, the Marauders and Yankees advanced over the Giants and X-Men in the Legends division. The Yankees went on to sweep the Marauders 3-0 in the final. The Hobos and Red Sox moved forward over the MudHens and Cardinals in the Vintage division. The Red Sox succeeded in sweeping the Hobos 3-0 to secure their first Vintage Championship.
2009 was another positive growth year with the addition of the expansion team Brewers bringing the league total to 10 teams. The Yankees also shook the gray garb for new blue and orange cloth under the Tigers banner. The year also marked a celebrated 10th anniversary of the league. A new logo was also unveiled to score the event representing a lot of hard work by the many volunteers that have passed through the 'Hallowed Halls' of BVB. The league was proud to have grown in a positive way that allows the kids in us to continue to play the sport of baseball the way we love. BVB was also proud of the many accomplishments made over the years and especially proud that in our 10th year, we expanded to 10 teams.
BVB continued to host an annual golf tournament to keep with the theme of comradery on and off the field. The 49ers Nationals team also moved forward to structure teams to go to Yarmouth NS for the annual tournament. BVB sent their 35+ and 44+ teams out East. Both teams once again had strong showings with the Black 49ers capturing the "Kindersley Cup" presented to the Nations 35+ TierII Champions ,while the Grey 49ers earned their way to the TierI, 44+ Championship Game, ultimately losing by a run.
With the growing membership, the BVB play-off format changed to accommodate. It was changed to a format were the top 8 teams advance in a qualifying best of 3 quarter-final splitting teams to respective best of 3 or 5 semi-final and final round following the outcome of the initial series. In the quarter-final series, the Brewers took the Cubs 2-0, the Tigers beat the Marauders 2-0, the MudHens struck the Cardinals 2-1 and the Hobos advanced over the Red Sox 2-1. The 'Silver' series had the Cardinals thumped the Cubs 2-0 and the Red Sox beat the Marauders 2-1. The Cardinals took the 'Silver' final 2-0 in the end. With the 'Gold' series set, the Brewers punched a ticket over the MudHens with a long 3-2 series and the Hobos knocked the Tigers 3-1. The Hobos then went on to sweep the Brewers 3-0 for the 'Gold' final series.
Growth was experienced again from 10 to 12 teams with the expansion of the Braves and Yankees; bolstering the strongest size yet for BVB in 2010. The new teams brought a large contingent of talent and projected the positive development the League needed. The regular season schedule grew to 22 games per team and a 1-8 team Vintage play-off format with teams 9-11 playing out in a consolation round.
The 49ers Nationals squad took flight to Vancouver BC to play in the Canadian Nationals for 2010. Sending two teams, the 35+ Blacks and 44+ Grays, BVB was looking to gain success with a deep contingent of players. The 44+ Grays finished the round 1-1-1 while the 35+ Blacks finished 2-2 to move on to the TierII semi-final round. The Grays were eliminated in the semi-finals and the 35+ Blacks completed their drive in this path moving to the TierII Championship but, were unable to take home hardware. The results did not match prior years but, the events on and off the field continued to project positive strength for BVB.
In their inaugural year, the Braves showed strength by excelling to the top in the consolation round over the Cubs, X-Men and Yankees. In the quarter finals, the Cardinals swept the Giants, the MudHens swept the Marauders and the Brewers swept the Red Sox, all in 3-0 decisions. The Hobos battled over the Tigers to take that series 3-2. In the semi-finals, the Brewers earned the right to move on with a 3-1 decision over the MudHens and the Cardinals took the Hobos with the same 3-1 result. In the final series, the Cardinals secured their first BVB Vintage championship over the Brewers in a 3-1 series result. The season was capped off with a new initiative, entering a select team into the GHBL Fall Classic tournament. The BVB 'Hammers' as they were dubbed, matched up against younger teams in the area from the other local league. The results showed BVB player strength, running the table and swiftly taking the championship game.
2011 opened with 12 teams still in its fold. The Marauders decided to change names to the Phillies in order to look towards positive results. The schedule remained the same with 22 games in the regular season and a similar play-off format. Attentions were turned to preparing to host the 2011 Canadian Vintage Nationals in Burlington ON. Local venues were to be used to house the tournament events. Within the 35+ division, 18 teams were in attendance. The 44+ division had 9 teams and the 50+ division hosted 8 teams. One of the largest Canadian team groupings in National tournament history. BVB entered their 49ers component with two teams (Red & Blacks) in the 35+ division and a 44+ and 50+ team in those respective divisions. The tournament was set in motion with a large schedule of games to execute over the weekend. The BVB 49ers program did not succeed in capturing results anticipated as all squads were eliminated in the semi-finals. BVB completed with weekend with a number of experiences learned when running a large tournament.
Once the clean-up of the Nationals weekend completed, the BVB teams got back to business and targeted play-off berths. The stage was set with Cardinals taking the Braves in a swift 3 games, the Brewers knocking out the Phillies 3-1, the Red Sox doing the same against the MudHens and the Tigers shocking the Hobos in 3 straight games. The Vintage semi-finals had both series end in a 3-1 decision with the Cardinals over the Red Sox and the Brewers over the Tigers. It was the second time for the Brewers and Cardinals to advance to the finals together. The results were the same as well with the Cardinals coming out on top 3-1; wining their second Vintage championship. The consolation round was also a mirror image of the prior year with the Braves taking the round against the Cubs, X-Men and Yankees.
2011 was capped off with some great sadness as we lost another engaged member of BVB. Terry Wilkinson went missing in November and painful and disappointing weeks passed until they discovered the final outcome of his disappearance. 'Wilkie' as he was known to one and all was a large part of the Baseball scene in Burlington. He was a player and builder and understood the requirement to build so we could play. Spending hundreds of hours in baseball boardrooms was a cherished sanctity for Terry. Spending hundreds of hours on the field and with teammates was the generous reward in return. Terry created the league slogan "Quality baseball for players 30 and over" that is marked on all B.V.B material. His passing was a great loss for BVB and friends alike.
2012 started with a foundation team, the Red Sox, announcing they would not field a team for the approaching season. This modified the team total to 11 for the schedule. Attention was also placed on sending teams to the Canadian Nationals in Charlottetown PEI. Despite efforts, BVB only sent a single 35+ team to represent the League. The 35+ Blacks were unable to advance into a play-off berth but, friendships and experiences were had by all involved.
The 2012 play-offs drove out a mix of familiar and new winners in the quarter-finals. The Cardinals advanced over the Braves 3-0 in their series. The MudHens took the Tigers 3-1 within their match-up. The Brewers outlasted the Hobos 3-2 for a long series and the Giants did the same over the Phillies. The consolation round consisted of 3 teams with the Cubs coming out on top over the X-Men and Yankees. The Vintage semi-final series had the Cardinals winning 3-2 over the Brewers and the MudHens sweeping the giants 3-0 in the other match-up. This was the first time for the MudHens to advance to the Vintage finals but, it showed with the Cardinals taking a decisive 3-0 sweep; crowning them champions for the third straight year.
The BVB MudHens took to the road in the off-season, entering into the MSBL World Series in Phoenix Arizona in October. It was the first time a BVB team represented our local talent outside of Canada. The MudHens were in awe with the tournament structure, events and fields that hosted the games. Playing 6 games in 4 days on MLB Cactus League spring training fields was an experience for all. Although the outcome was not positive (0-6 for the week) with the USA talent faced, the encounter was something for all to confidently remember.
The 2012 Annual General Meeting was held and voting was carried out to instill new board positions. For the first time in BVB's history, a change of guard occurred with the Presidents seat. A fairly new member to BVB, Tim Barnes, won the vote over founding President Jim Hambrook. The board was represented by 6 different teams; another first which was perceived as a positive step to continually improve the League.
2013 did not display much change in the landscape of team totals or schedule structure but, one team migrated names for a 3rd time. The BVB Tigers (previously the Yankees) modified their banner to the Pirates for the new season. BVB worked to formulate a 49ers contingent for the Canadian Nationals tournament held in Edmonton AB for 2012 but, were unable to commit a squad for any of the age brackets. This was the first time in 11 years that BVB was unable to represent the league in this annual event.
The BVB play-off quarter-final match-ups had the Cardinals swing a win 3-1 over the Phillies, the Braves advance over the Hobos 3-1 as well, the MudHens sweep the Pirates 3-0 with a final game for many to remember and the Brewers outmatch the Giants 3-1 in their series. In the consolation round, the X-Men came out on top over the Cubs and Yankees. The Vintage semi-finals had the Cardinals make quick work of the Brewers 3-0 and the MudHens advance over the Braves 3-1 in their series. With the second straight final match-up between the MudHens and Cardinals, it was anticipated results would be different. Unfortunately, the MudHens succumbed to another 3-0 sweep by the Cardinals crowing them for a 4th time as League champions.
2014 looks to be an adaptive year with both the Phillies and the Pirates folding and leaving from the League respectively; quickly modifying the team and schedule landscape going forward. A 24 game (per team) regular season schedule was set to accommodate the remaining teams. A standard format play-off schedule was set with teams 8 &9 competing in a single game elimination game to move ahead.
2014 was a celebrated year with BVB marking its 15th anniversary (2000-2014). The league has gone through many changes but, its members always wanted to aspire to the ultimate target of playing quality baseball and fun as a league, on and off the field.
In yet another season of transformation, the league lost 2 teams (The Brewers and Giants both leaving for the GHBL) to bring our total number to 7 for the year. The result was a compact 18 game season which also saw the return of our All-Star game held on Canada Day weekend.
The highlight of the event being the inaugural Home Run Competition won by the Braves Danny Cespero over teammate Steve Lancia and the Mudhens Rick "Boots" Boutilier.
The All-Star Game pitted Team Gionas (Manager Mike Gionas of the Braves) against Team Wamboldt (All-Star Vaughan Wamboldt of the Hobos).
Team Wamboldt got off to a fast start with a 3 run shot by Rick "Boots" Boutilier in the top of the first off Team Gionas starting pitcher Dave Oelke of the Blue Jays. Team Gionas fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd.
It was a tight game the rest of the way as Team Wamboldt hung on to win 6-5.
The League Playoffs ended up having our top 2 teams during the season (The Cardinals and the Braves) squaring off in what turned out to be an epic Best of 5 series. Leading 2 games to 1 in the series and by a score of 3 to 2 in the bottom of the 7th, the Braves needed only to finish off the inning to finally win their first Vintage Cup Championship but Bryan Perreira and the Cardinals had something else in mind.
After the lead off man got on for the Cards in the bottom of the 7th, up came Bryan and he promptly launched a game winning, 2 run homer to left field that many believe may still be in orbit as we speak.
This painful loss seemed to carry over into the 5th and final game as the Braves seemed to have nothing left in the tank as the Cardinals cruised to an 8-3 win, clinching their 6th straight BVB Vintage Cup Championship.
This game would be the final one for Tim Barnes as President of the League as he has made his intentions known earlier in the year that he would be stepping aside due to family commitments, opening the door for a new President, the 3rd in League history, to take over the reins in the 2016 season.
At the 2016 AGM a new President was elected. Marco Serra was chosen as the 3rd President in the History of the BVB. His innovative vision was to try and bring stability and growth to the league by expanding and reaching out to the community at large to try and draw in more local members to the league. Remaining on the board from previous years was Jason McKay (Scheduling and Treasurer) and Greg Kerr (Registrar and Communications) who were relied upon heavily to stabilize BVB’s advancement into the new season.
Immediately, the new Board secured an expansion team, the Twins, who became the 8th team in the League. While the new team struggled to compete within the League make-up, it displayed a positive benefit to BVB within the season to have them part of our membership.
The League threw its support behind the Brady Fraser Memorial Golf Tournament which was held Saturday June 25th at Tynedega Golf course. Neil Frasier of the Cardinals and his wife Nicole unexpectant loss their newborn child due to Urea Cycle Disorder was the reason to support this endeavor and urged members of our League to support the very personal and worthwhile cause.
The 2nd straight All-Star Game and Home Run Derby was even better received then the 2015 version as both took place on the same day. We had 10 participants;
After the first Round, we were down to our Final 4: Stephen Paige, Russ Pereira, Tim Barnes and Jason McKay (Each of which had hit 2 dingers in Round 1 to Advance).
The Final Two(2) left standing after a hard fought Semi-Final were Paige and Barnes with Barnes pulling out the win in dramatic fashion. Congratulations Tim Barnes for being crowned 2016 Home Run Derby Champ!
The Game itself was Team "Rusty" vs. Team "McKay" as Russ Pereira and Jason McKay (Filling in for Rick "Boots" Boutilier) picked their sandlot teams from the list of All-Stars Below:
Team Rusty pulled out a 10-6 on what everyone agreed was a fun night with each participant and fan enjoying a highly entertaining game from start to finish.
The regular season saw the Mudhens, Braves and Cards battle it out for top spot with the Mudhens ultimately claiming 1st overall. When it came to the playoffs, the top 3 teams swept their best of 5 series against the Blue Jays, Twins and Athletics with the Hobos beating out the Cubs in 4 games.
Our top 4 teams faced off against each other and we had 2 great semi-final series. The first between the Mudhens and the Hobos saw a substantial upset in the Hobos knocking out the Mudhens and advancing to the Finals. The Braves finally were able to dethrone the 6 time defending champion Cardinals looking to finally win their first championship.
We spring ahead to Game #4 with the Braves leading the Hobos in the Final Series 2 games to 1. Right from the opening pitch, the Braves were intent on imposing their will. By the time it was the 4th inning, they were up 8-0 with Catcher Josh Ware leading the way with a pair of 2 run homers. He would finish the night 3-3 with 2 HRs, 4 RBI's and 3 runs scored in a 13-2 win for the Braves as they clinched their first BVB Vintage Cup Championship.
As the League prepared for the 2017 season, changes were already underway as the Twins had their team suspended for the year due to an inability to field enough players and a new version of the Red Sox (distinctly different from previous incarnations in our league) joined in their place.
With all the other 7 core teams in the League returning and the Nationals CNOBF in Hamilton this year, BVB continues to look forward to stability and growth for the foreseeable future.
TO BE CONTINUED.....