All ages needed on the fastpitch ball diamond, even Boomers

Written by Bob on September 7th, 2016
THREE BOOMERS STILL HANGING AROUND THE BALL PARK - You can find some pretty good company at the ball field as I did at the Raymond Angulo Memorial Fastpitch Tournament in Corona, Sept. 3-4. No better friends than Dave Meltz, 66, left, myself (age unknown), and Neil Jones, 64. Both Dave and Neil are still pitching fastpitch, primarily for masters teams, but they don't hesitate to butt heads with the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s kids and grandkids. I, of much sounder mind, retired 16 years a go much to the delight and relief of my teammates. Photo By Ginni Jones, Neil's wife / Sept. 3, 2016

THREE BOOMERS STILL HANGING AROUND THE BALL PARK – You can find some pretty good company at the ball field as I did at the Raymond Angulo Memorial Fastpitch Tournament in Corona, Sept. 3-4. No better friends than Dave Meltz, 66, left, myself, 68, and Neil Jones, 64.Photo By Ginni Jones, Neil’s wife / Sept. 3, 2016

CORONA, Calif. – Both Dave Meltz and Neil Jones are still pitching fastpitch, primarily for masters teams in So. Calif. In the 1970s, they battled each other in Wisconsin, where both grew up before Dave settled in So. Calif., and Neil in Las Vegas.

Now they square off in various masters tournaments and in the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) Masters Division.

Amazingly, Meltz has pitched around 30 games this year, and helped Redline finish fourth in the Raymond Angulo Memorial Men’s Fastpitch Tournament. (I believe he won at least two games and got a save.)

And at the Beaumont Coyotes 39th Annual 4th of July Tournament, Meltz was selected the Most Valuable Pitcher for his three wins and appearing in five games for the runner-up Corona Chicanos. This award comes 28 years after Meltz first earned it in 1989.

Why does he keep pitching?

First of all, he loves the challenge, the camaraderie, and the friendships he’s made in his 50-plus years playing fastpitch.

But there’s another reason. And it doesn’t bode well for the future of the game.

“I keep going,” says Meltz, “because there’s no young pitchers to replace me.”

Meaning, Meltz added, that unlike prior decades of the 1950s to late-80s, young pitchers were being developed, and as soon as they were ready, the old guy on the team either became the No. 2, back-up, mop-up, or retired because the young stud now had the ball.

Yet, it’s great to see Boomers such as Meltz and Jones doing their part to keep the game going.

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