April 10, 2012

To all our friends;

Having benefited from the mild winter, compared to a year before, another successful season is behind us and in the record books as the Queens Lighted Softball Association (QLSA), formerly known as the Empire Softball Association (which was highly successful for many years) gets ready to embark on its’ 5th season under its' new banner.

The organization mourned the loss of a gallant leader (Charles Martinez) and the vow I made to perpetuate his memory was adhered to.  The 2011 Allstar game was dedicated to him and his family was on hand to share in the festivities of the night which included the retirement of his number #28 from the 2011 Allstar game and all future games.  In addition, I established the "Charles Martinez Memorial Award" and added it to the arsenal of league awards already being recognized.  

2011 as a whole was fantastic,  having named once again a different playoff champion (in fact, that's four in four years) and before we head into this season, I want to take a minute to again, personally thank everyone who participated in last year’s program and once again helped “keep us on the map” by putting the name of the league out there and making the QLSA successful.  

Believing in the leagues "Mission Statement" has always had a positive impact in our success, as we stayed focused and didn't let outside league distractions take away the sites of our goals.

The QLSA continues to be the front runner with many distant seconds when it comes to new ideas as others continue to make empty promises, while at the same time they try to mirror our league and duplicate our ideas (which are applauded); however our league has an impeccable reputation of following through and delivering on its commitments.   

We did secure some extra fields in 2011, by going into Kings County (Brooklyn Parks) and Queens Parks offering us some extra time on unused fields.   Also in 2011, for the 1st time, we were able to put together a fall program which consisted of an 8 team league.  The unique factor was that it was put together within 10 days. We hope, with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreations help again, that we can offer the same in the fall of 2012 and expand the Snoflake field to the 12 team max that we can accommodate.

I truly believe it was because of everyone’s loyalty to this organization as well as the trust placed in me and my Co Director (Gary Rizzo), that our weeknight program has continuously grown in size (From 9 "weeknight under the light" teams in 2008, to 16 in 2009, to a whopping 20 in 2010 & 2011 and now  holding at 21!!!) for this 2012 season.  The organization expanded its' umpire crew to 15 and incorporated a new look with their uniforms.
At early league meetings held last season, the managers elected to have a two conferences league with two divisions within each conference for an overall total of four divisions as the format of play.  Unfortunately having seen it play out in 2011, that structure did not offer parity and there was a big gap between the talent level of the teams.  So for the 2012 season, the league will return to the three division format used in 2010, which offers more parity for teams in the middle talent pool.  
For the 4th straight year the Home Run Derby as well as our All Star Game helped build a cohesive family environment within the league. In fact, many of our league sponsors added to our success as Monster Energy Drinks took on a new role that has further expanded to our program this season.  Also having the less talented teams win some prize money in their participation of a “Consolation Playoff” and their own Divisional Playoff continues to the success of the program.  
 It should be noted that this is strictly a "Not for Profit" softball league, as all monies get disbursed back to the league in one way or the other.  In fact, the 2011 program had a nice prize distribution pot of 17 money awards that was split between 14 teams. In addition, Championship Rings were awarded to 18 DEA Hitmen on their feat as well. (That’s was 66% of the participating teams receiving some form of their league entry fees back!!! )   In fact $7.2K (including rings) was rewarded back after bills were paid, which was 40% of overall monies collected from teams!!!.  The league plans to have a similar payout structure this season, however to keep everything in the proper perspective, unfortunately, due to the rising cost of the 2012  NYC Permit fees ($50 from $32 =  a whopping 64%),  teams had an increase in their 2012 seasons  entry fees.  

The league also continues to recognize individual performances as evidenced by its’ “League Award” winners as well as special accomplishments being registered into the “Record Books”.

Since the league had some rumbles from the teams to start a Saturday and Sunday program (we made mention of it in 2010), I decided to form a mutual partnership with Red of the REDNMF Softball League, and steered some teams in that direction for his Sunday 2011 and 2012 programs. The NYC P&R Department still holds all the aces with permits and the partnership allowed us to help assist another director be successful.

Once again, thank you for your continued loyalty and support. I promise that this years' program will be even better than last years and another one to remember.


Yours in Sports,