By Corey McLaughlin

Illustrations by Sam Peet

Photography by Josh Taff

Rites of Spring

Seven Baseball Leagues to Join This Season

Childhood dreams never die in adult baseball.

By Corey McLaughlin

Photography by Josh Taff

Illustrations by Sam Peet

The Old Ball Game

Childhood dreams never die in adult baseball.

ike almost every adult who puts on a mock Orioles, Nationals, or other MLB uniform each spring Sunday morning to play in the Baltimore Senior Baseball League, Travis Wright dreamt as a kid he’d play in the biggest of leagues one day: the majors. “Growing up, you always thought that’s what you were going to do for a living,” Wright, 53, of Hampden, says. “At least I did. I thought I was going to be a ballplayer."

He has instead made a living the past few decades in various roles in the food industry. So when Wright plays organized, 40-and-over baseball today—inspired by his Uncle John, who played the game until he was 75—the experience delivers a welcome nostalgia Wright can’t find anywhere else. The local ballfields around Baltimore County may not be Camden Yards, but it hardly matters. “The smell of your glove and the ball,” he says, “or when you put a charge in that ball, it still feels the same way as it did when I was 15 years old. It’s amazing.”

For all the fond memories adult baseball might help evoke, though, it also brings out schoolboy competitiveness, at least among the 120 men in the eight-team Baltimore Senior League sponsored by the Towson Rec Council.

Sure, Wright says he likes the camaraderie and getting to know teammates better beyond their shared interest in baseball—one is a well driller on the Eastern Shore; another is a computer programmer—but “this is an intense league,” he says.



Baltimore Senior Baseball

The 40-and-over league is the class of its kind in Baltimore. While competitive, by league rule, everyone on a team must play at least four innings of defense, meaning managers can’t stack lineups all game long, and everyone gets a chance to hit.

Ponce De Leon Baseball Maryland

This year marks the 30th season of this 30-and-over wood-bat league, which plays games on Sundays on diamonds in several central Maryland counties. According to the league’s prospective player information, you can expect “a more relaxed” atmosphere “without the need for intense competition.” Pitchers must be 36 or older, a rule designed to enable “any person with at least average ability to play successfully.” As in, they are presumably more likely to hit what should be slower pitches than those coming from the arm of a 30-year-old.

Chesapeake Men’s Senior Baseball League

The Anne Arundel County-based league has operated since 1989. It’s billed as the “largest adult baseball league in Maryland.” There are 21-and-over, 35-and-over, and 45-and-over divisions and more than 600 players with varying experience levels. Teams play between 20 and 24 games in the spring and summer through August.

Eastern Baltimore County Baseball League

This Dundalk-based 40-and-over fast-pitch league also plays games on Sunday mornings from April through August.

Howard County Adult Baseball

Play an eight-week season with Sunday games at Blandair Regional Park in Columbia. It’s an 18-and-over league.

Harford Men’s Baseball League

There are three divisions: Veterans (over 30), Masters (over 40), and Legends (over 50). The games are in the Bel Air area.

Dock Ellis Baseball League

The Baltimore Hellbirds, who play at Druid Hill Park, are part of a multi-city, sandlot-style league where BYOB is encouraged.

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