Albion men’s softball league bounces back after problem season
Village instituted tougher rules this year
ALBION – The Albion men’s softball league was nearly called out for good after last season following complaints about fights, foul language and litter.
Some spectators were charged by police with openly smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol at games, in violation of the state’s open container law by drinking at a public park.
The village gave the league another chance this year, but limited use of four softball fields in the village. Teams could only play one game on a field on a Sunday. That has resulted in far fewer teams this year, down from about 20 last year to nine this season.
The change was designed to prevent long game days at the park. Three games in row often resulted in drinking fests for some fans.
Albion also instituted a policy if a player drank alcohol during a game, the entire team could be forced to forfeit the game.
Village Board members said the league and its fans have been on much better behavior this year. After two months with few problems – there have been a few scuffles among players – the Village Board agreed to let the league have multiple games on fields today. The league is having a double-elimination tournament to declare the champion of three divisions.
“This is a test for them,” Trustee Pete Sidari said when the board agreed to allow multiple games for the tournament.
Spectators caused many of the problems last year, players said today. Players have insisted on well-behaved fans during games the past two months.
Eric Beach, coach of a team sponsored by Ludwick Paving and Concrete, thinks the players and league have proven themselves this year. He is hopeful the Village Board will reconsider the one-game-per-field policy for next season so more players and teams can play in the league.
Beach has played in the league for about eight years. Players enjoy the game and social camaraderie.
“Everyone looks forward to Sundays,” he said about the games. “It’s just fun.”