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Playing baseball sits atop the list of weekend things to do for Alec Bibby, Dave Westmeier and hundreds of other men who head to diamonds around the metro area to play for the 80 teams that make up the Denver National Adult Baseball Association program.
Although they regularly play for other teams, Bibby and Westmeier were Denver Warsenlins teammates during the July 1-3 National Adult Baseball Association’s Mile High Classic Tournament. Bibby, Westmeier and players from a number of other teams joined forces to create the Warsenlins so they could play in the tournament.
“I have been playing baseball since I was a 3-year-old, I have a love and passion for the game so I wanted to continue playing after graduating from Heritage High School,” Bibby, a Littleton resident, said. “Right after graduation, I accepted the opportunity to play on an 18-and-older team and I haven’t missed a season.”
He said it is hard for the entire team to practice as a unit because of the work schedules of the players, so they get in some practice whenever four or five players can get together.
“The greatest thing about playing baseball on an adult team is the friends you make among your teammates,” the 23-year-old said. “You get to know all the guys pretty well on and off the field and I am sure some of these guys will be friends for life.”
Westmeier, a Parker resident, had similar comments.
“I am still playing baseball at 39 because I love the game,” he said. “I played baseball as a kid, played baseball at Mullen High School and continue to play because of the fun we have on the field and the things we enjoy as friends off the field.”
Bibby and Westmeier took the field as members of the Denver Warsenlins for the July 1 tournament game against Omaha.
Bibby was the starting pitcher and, when a reliever took the mound, he moved to second base. Westmeier was the team’s left fielder for part of game.
The Warsenlins scored a run in the first inning but Omaha’s bats came alive in the third inning as they scored eight runs to go ahead for good and went on to win the game, 12-2.
The Denver team played well and scored some runs but lost the four tournament games they lost.
“Everyone wants to win,” Bibby said. “But no matter the outcome of a game, it still is a lot of fun to get out on the field and play baseball with my friends.”
Both men agreed they plan to continue to play baseball as long as they can and they said it is great that Denver has a strong NABA program.
The Denver program is part of the National Adult Baseball Association, an organization with headquarters in Littleton.
“We have 80 teams playing in the Denver metro area,” said Joe Collins, NABA vice president. “We have four age group leagues, 18 and older, 25 and older, 35 and older and 48 and older. Some age divisions are divided into leagues based on player ability. Right now we have more than 1,200 men playing baseball in our Denver area adult leagues.”
He said the association welcomes players over 18 of any skill level. There are tryouts in February when teams are formed but men can join the league at any time and the association will have them join a team so they can play baseball. Anyone interested can check it out at the web site, www.denvernaba.com.
The season runs from June to the end of August. Teams play 16 to 20 regular season games plus teams can play in local or travel to tournament around the country. Most leagues play games on Saturdays and Sundays but there is some weekday league.
The association charges a fee per team for each season and the team fee is divided up among the players on the roster so that it averages about $250 per player, Collins said. The team fee money is used to cover operating costs like paying officials, field rentals and insurance premiums. Players also provide their own equipment like gloves, cleats and bats.
Collins has been with the association for 17 years and said it continues to grow in the Denver metro area and around the country.
“Right now we have between 25,000 and 30,000 men around the country playing baseball with the association,” he said. “It has been great to see the program grow. We had about 35 teams when I joined the association and we have more than double that number this season.”
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