Baseball players smiling as 2019 summer league prepares to swing into season |

Adult baseball summer league prepares to swing into 2019 season

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The landscape in the Yampa Valley is covered with several feet of snow, but that has not stopped organizers of the Steamboat Smiles adult baseball league from preparing to step up to the plate for the 2019 summer season.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Joe Bender, who helped put the league together for the first time last summer. “We had three teams with most of the players coming from Steamboat Springs. We had a few from Oak Creek, Hayden and Craig, but most of them were Steamboat.”

Now, Bender is hoping to lead off with the momentum the league built last summer. Registration began last week and will continue through April 24.

Interested players can sign up from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays at The Barley Tap and Tavern. They can also contact Bender at 970-846-9462 for more information or to gain a spot on the roster. The cost to play is $50 per player.

The season will consists of six regular season games, plus playoffs. There will be a short preseason with sessions slated from 5 to 7 p.m. April 28, April 30, May 5 and May 7 on Adams Field at Howelsen Hill. There will be a new player draft following the final preseason session.

The regular season will being on May 12 with games going through July 9. Games will begin at 5 p.m. and will also be played on Adams Field. The playoffs will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. July 14. A barbecue is planned after the championship game.

“It’s just a great sport,” said the 71-year-old Bender, who has been playing the game since he was 10. “This league is great because it’s good for the community and it’s a chance to get to know a lot of different people.”

Before the start of the Steamboat Smiles league, Bender said there was a traveling team that offered players a chance to compete around the region. Traveling was often difficult for the adult players who were also holding down jobs. The new Steamboat-based league offers local players a chance to pursue their love of the game without having to spend hours on the road each week.

“There are a lot of people who enjoy playing and who love the game just as much as I love it,” Bender said.

The league will consist of three or four teams, depending on the number of players who register to play. Bender said he expects many of the players from last year’s teams to be back, and he’s hoping to attract a few more.

Opening Day for Major League Baseball takes place Thursday, and Bender is hoping that will get local players fired up for this year’s adult season.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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