Santos: We’re going to make this best SBL season ever
You can now sing “Take me out to the ball game” and actually go to one this spring, as the Saipan Baseball League saw an interest from coaches and managers in bringing back baseball in March—with SBL president Jay Santos saying that they will make it the best season ever.
The meeting on Wednesday in the Northern Marianas Sports Association conference room at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium was attended by SBL board members and prospective managers and coaches from teams such as the Falcons, Natives, GSM, Bears, Cardinals, Mariners, Comets, Jr. Nationals, D’9ers, and Blue Jays.
With no finalized date yet for the start of the season in March and after he said that there will be no entrance fee this year for teams, Santos capped the teams off to 12.
After the meeting, Santos disclosed that the SBL is a recipient of the grant from the Building Optimism, Opportunities, and Stability Together, or BOOST program, and that is why this time around, there will be no entrance fees for teams.
As to what else the grant will be used for, Santos said that it will go toward operating costs, salaries, and also to send the CNMI U18 National Baseball Team to World Baseball and Softball Confederation tournaments around Asia, after the cancellation of their tournament in New Zealand last December.
Santos said, “The money that we got is just great seed money. It’s seed money that’s not been available to SBL for a long, long time… It’s going to be of great use and it’s going to help us further develop the program.”
“We’re saving a large part of that money to be able to send them out because we feel horrible that we weren’t able to make New Zealand happen. But we’re hopeful that these guys can go to Korea, Japan, or somewhere in Asia and play a baseball tournament there against their peers. I’m hoping to get an update from the other board member that’s working on it. He’s been tasked to find a tournament for the boys to play in because they’ve worked very hard,” he said.
Despite much controversy with the BOOST program, Santos said “we’re very thankful that we received it. And I assure the entire community that this board is going to make sure that that money is used right and it’s going to be used to further develop baseball the best way that we can.”
Santos then said he was surprised at the turnout for the meeting, as he expected about only four or seven teams to show up, “but to have 10 teams come out and sign up, we’re excited and we’re going to make this the best season possible to kick off men’s baseball here in the CNMI—facilities wise, with food and beverage, and getting people out and enjoying the game. That’s just our goal. And I’m thankful that all the people that are interested came out.”
There will be a final meeting on Feb. 15 to discuss the game schedules, teams and roster, and the final rules and regulations of the season.