The baseball diamonds are quiet, the dugouts are dark and the stands stay empty.
In this league, Mighty Casey never even got a chance to bat.
The Olympic Peninsula Baseball Association, the peninsula’s lone adult baseball league, is on hiatus for 2008.
“Lack of serious motivation and little interest in managing was the downfall this year,” said Dave Campbell, league president and one of the league’s founders. “If my calculations are correct, we probably would have fielded five teams, almost six this year.”
The association started in 2000 with four teams — the Athletics and Cardinals from Sequim, the Mariners and Pirates from Port Angeles — and over the years has had as many as six teams (2005). The league has hosted all-star games, wooden bat tournaments and Labor Day tournaments, and made major shifts to league rules to generate more interest, such as dropping the age requirement from 25 to 19 in 2001.
Eric Hodgson, a three-year veteran and teammate of Campbell’s on the Sequim A’s ball club, says it’s difficult keeping players interested and available for a 20-game season, plus playoffs.
“I think that maybe the season is too long,” Hodgson says. “The problem is keeping players … that’s been the biggest problem, with teams staring to fall apart a bit.”
Still, Hodgson says the interest in baseball on the Olympic Peninsula remains strong, both for players right out of high school and others close to his age (38).
“Baseball is a big part of this community, both in Sequim and Port Angeles,” he says.
The fervor may be strong enough to bring back the Olympic Peninsula Baseball League next year, something Campbell expects.
“I see us coming back strong next year,” Campbell says. “I’ve been approached by many people who are seriously missing the league this year … myself included. Maybe this is just what we needed.”