Thinking ahead: What does 2022 mean for 2023?

During the past 2 years, Roy Hobbs has faced numerous challenges – as has most everyone – with Covid and weather playing significant roles in our lives.

This year the challenges are definitely good due to increased desire to attend the 2022 Roy Hobbs World Series.  

Roy Hobbs Geezer

We are sold out in 53s, 60s, 70s and have the most 45s teams (64) ever.  We have asked teams to change divisions and/or have turned away teams as we do not have enough fields to handle the demand.  Scheduling this fall will be a challenge, but fun, we think, mostly because we have already done a lot of homework on how to make things work.

However, this promises more challenges in future years because of anticipated growth.  We must find a way to address expanding our options on field inventory, thereby offering more opportunities for teams to join us.

We know we cannot expand our October-November time slot in Lee County as we have Perfect Game playing in front of us and Thanksgiving week behind us.  And no more fields are going to be added to the Lee County complexes in the near future.  Those facts are a black & white reality.  

Options

We have several options, including re-arranging the order of our age divisions.  This is our 2022 lineup with number of teams to date:

2022 lineup:

  • Week 1 – 35s, sometimes women’s division (35, with women’s division)
  • Week 2 – 45s (64)
  • Week 3 – 53s (74, the max we can take with 9 inning games)
  • Week 4 – 60/70s (56 & 30, with the 30 playing 7s)
  • Week 5 – 65/75s (36 & 12, with the 12 playing 7s) & adding 2 80s teams

As you can see, the growth is 45 and above, and we really need to create a separate week for 60s, as we know some 45s and 53s are moving up or adding second age-division teams.

Here are 3 options we are considering for 2023:

Option 1:

  • Week 1 – 45s
  • Week 2 – 53s
  • Week 3 – 60s
  • Week 4 – 65/75s plus 80s growth
  • Week 5 – 70s & 35s, + women’s division

Option 2:

  • Week 1 – 35s & 70s + women’s division
  • Week 2 – 45s
  • Week 3 – 53s
  • Week 4 – 60s
  • Week 5 – 65/75s + 80s growth.

Option 3:

Status quo with expansion to the Charlotte Sports Complex

Option 4:

Status quo, with the addition of 4 community parks (2 with short fences) and potentially 3 high school fields.  All 7 of these fields are maintained by the same Lee County crews who handle the professional complexes.

Evaluation & what to do?

Options 1 & 2 give the largest divisions their own weeks and gives Roy Hobbs’ the best opportunity to grow. Negative would be in crossover between several age divisions (see more below).

Option 3 would add 6 fields to the mix.  The negatives are 1) travel, which was a problem when we used that complex several years ago and teams were not particularly happy traveling the extra 45 minutes; 2) expense as the Charlotte Complex does charge significantly more than Lee County for field use; 3) RH ability to provide logistical support.

Option 4 keeps status quo on the age division order of worship, giving RH 6-7 more fields within Lee County – All HS fields are lighted.  Negatives include 1) RH would be limited to one afternoon (after school hours) game, but still have nights; 2) RH ability to provide logistical support at each site; & 3) we could be kicking the proverbial growth “can” down the road.  (To be honest, we will be using Community parks weeks 3 & 4 this fall if the Red Sox nix our using all 7 fields those weeks.)

To date, our approach always has been to have a ‘stair-step’ approach to the age divisions, thereby allowing teams and players to compete in multiple divisions, without multiple trips to Fort Myers

Options 1 & 2 would alter crossover opportunities somewhat.  In Option 1, 35 & 45s are separated; in Option 2, 70s is separated from 65s and 75s.

Fact is that we have significantly more weekly crossover involving the 70s with both the 65s and 75s than the 35s with the 45s.  That’s individual players as well as teams.

Therefore, we believe Options 1 & 4 are our best path to growth for RHWS 2023 & beyond.

And, yes, we are interested in participants thoughts on this – perhaps there is something we have not considered.

Options 1 & 2 would put us in direct age group competition with other adult events.  Over the years we have vowed not to do that because why should we put ourselves in the position of forcing players and teams to choose, thereby limiting their opportunities to play and compete.  However, suffice to say, our approach therein has not been shared by competing adult amateur organizations.

Yet Roy Hobbs continues to grow – thank you for your support.

Published by Tom Giffen

Self-proclaimed Boomer-Geezer, graduate of the academy of life, former journalist, current owner of Roy Hobbs Baseball and associated organizations ... passions for truth, family, baseball, wine, the written word, cigars, cooking, friends and trying to do things the right way! Split time between Fort Myers, Fla., and Cedar Park, Texas, where I try real hard to spoil my grandchildren! Yikes, zerotohero!

14 thoughts on “Thinking ahead: What does 2022 mean for 2023?

  1. Tom,
    I agree with you that options 1 and 4 would be the best and I trust your final decision would be best for the good of the order. High school fields aren’t beneath us, most are great fields.

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  2. Congrats on the growth.  To me #4 is the option for me. 1 and 2 breaking the sequence of each age bracket being next to the preceding age bracket will be very difficult for many.  I don’t mind a high school field. What about more night games during the week and each team having one double header. The younger brackets would be better. 80’s  It will tough for me to play twice in same day. I used to love it , but now at age 80 , not sure if I should try too. Could the 80’s play sat /sun?  by sat , 80% or more must be finished ( I am guessing ) sunday there are no games. You might get the most players that way. No matter what I,ll help where I can Dick

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  3. Would eliminating doubleheaders clear up enough time slots for the anticipated growth of additional teams? If eliminating doubleheaders is not popular with teams then maybe play a game on the off day making it one game every day?

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    1. thank you Greg … it would, for the time being, but the negative is that would take away the day off that players need, staff needs, umpires need – I simply cannot ask our staff and umpires to work 35 days in a row. Plus I need that time for rainouts …

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  4. I appreciate the situation caused by the growth but I’m vehemently opposed to playing 7-inning games, even if our price to play is reduced. Baseball is a 9-inning game. If the other age groups are playing nine innings, I’d be adamant that those of us in the 70s should also be playing 9-inning games.

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  5. Thanks for sharing that with us, Mike. I sent a response to Giffen expressing my displeasure with the 70s being relegated to seven inning games. I’m incensed that we’ll be playing under that rule this November while all the other lower age groups continue to play baseball the way it’s supposed to be played.

    As much as I love to play, I’m not crazy about traveling all that way, making all the arrangements we all have to make to be there for one or two weeks, only to play three-quarters of a game. It’s completely unfair to us. Giffen’s problem of not having enough fields, or having too many teams to accommodate, shouldn’t lead to our being short changed.

    Dennis

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    1. Mr. Fischer (and I use the honorarium out of courtesy, regardless of your approach!): We had this discussion a year ago, so, for the record, the 7-9 debate is settled and that ship has sailed. I posted your comment so folks could see it and chime in – plenty did at the RHWS last fall, and you are on the wrong side of them debate – but I am not returning to that debate in any way, shape or form. For the record, it is a free country, and you need to do what MAKES you happy, NOT what makes you unhappy!

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      1. Thank you for the personal response. There are many things in life that make me happy, especially playing baseball. But a great deal of the pleasure we gain comes from enjoying the entirety of what we do. We wouldn’t be happy if we were told to leave a theater with the last 20 minutes of the movie remaining. Enjoyment of anything is greatly dependent upon the complete experience.

        The marketing information from Roy Hobbs I’ve seen in the past has emphasized that your organization provides real baseball. I would assume that means nine innings. I’ve played abbreviated games in the past and they never felt like the real thing. I’ve never spoken to a player who thinks differently.

        If this decision is based upon age, I can at least appreciate the reasoning, even though I still disagree. But if our age group was arbitrarily chosen, then it’s unfair to have those two innings taken from us alone, innings that have been included in the past, and where a game’s outcome is often times determined. I’m certain other age groups, had they been faced with this decision, would register their opinion as I have.

        I hope this “ship hasn’t sailed” and that there is still an opportunity to return the 70s to real baseball.

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  6. Any “option” that separates two adjacent age brackets is NOT a good option. Many of us play in two age brackets (I have done this for quite a few tournaments; 60’s and 65/s, 65’s and 70’s and this coming tournament 70’s and 75’s. For those of us who play more than one week, and I think there are enough of us to be given consideration, separating those weeks, won’t work. I would, probably, not want to play Week 1 in the 70’s, go home and come back for week 4 to play in the 75’s.
    So, if age brackets are going to be moved around, adjacent age brackets need to be contiguous.
    Secondly, I know this probably won’t sit well with the “powers that be,” but many of us also play in Phoenix in the MSBL tournaments, and the last weeks of that tournament (MY age bracket weeks) are the first weeks of the RH tournament… forcing some of us to choose which tournament we will play in, rather than both, which many of us do.
    As long as “most” games are played in stadia and spring training facilities, I don’t think I’m opposed to playing on municipal fields as long as they are close to the quality we’re used to.
    And, as someone who has played in MSBL in Phoenix and is used to driving to East Kabumfuck to play a game, I wouldn’t be opposed to playing ONE game at the Charlotte complex.
    Looking forward to seeing all of you in November!

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    1. Thank you … and I agree on separating divisions. ultimately, I think that will have to happen, but 45-35 are the ones to separate. As for MSBL’s schedule, I could not care less – MSBL has gone above and beyond to try to run RH out of business, and if you are interested, I can give you a documented history of their behavior in that regard.

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  7. Hi Tom,

    I prefer Option #4 However, night games are problematic for the older divisions as they don’t see as well. If you scheduled night games to the younger divisions (60’s and below), that would alleviate the issue. Also, you could give the older divisions the short fences. Thanks for the hard work. I look forward to the 65’s and 70’s weeks this November. . As always, David Zavracky New Jersey Dodgers Livingston Dodgers HOF class of 2016 28 years consecutive

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