The Grip’N’Rip Baseball League is great baseball.
Like the gravity-defying-diving-flying-soaring play Caleb Cole made on Sunday.
And the grand slam Tyler Jones hit the week before.
And whatever that stupid slider is Clay Murphy throws. Last year, it was fantastic watching it when he was on my team. This year, I’ll probably break a bat against it…as long as the bat gets off my shoulder.
Every Sunday, three games feature six teams full of talented ballplayers who truly play for the love of the game.
The GRBL is not only great baseball, it’s also for making new friends who love baseball like I do. We laugh and joke and share stories before and after games. We text throughout the week and, sometimes, trash talk is involved. My trash talk skills are atrocious.
When the season is over, the memories cement friendships across teams and new dreams are born for next year. There’s always next year…
But the GRBL is so much more than just baseball and baseball friends.
Watching the national pastime is always entertaining and a wonderful way to make memories with friends and family. The GRBL, however, provides more than just entertainment. The GRBL is making a difference around southwest Missouri by giving back to the community.
Admission to see the Sunday triple-header at US Baseball Park is $5 and $1 from every ticket purchased benefits a local non-profit.
This year’s non-profits include: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hand in Hand Cultural Center, Rescue One, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, Care To Learn, and To Write Love On Her Arms.
Just by coming to watch a baseball game and cheer on your favorite team (the Ozark Mountain Ducks) and benchwarmer (#10 for the Ozark Mountain Ducks), tangible ripples of hope are created.
To celebrate A Year of Playing Catch, which will turn one-year old(!) on September 20, I’ve been giving away gloves throughout 2021. With the help of sponsors and friends and book sales, more than 40 gloves have found new homes. One of them even played in the Little League game at the Field of Dreams movie site on the hand of Chicago ACE second baseman Phillip Thigpen.
A couple of my baseball friends coach GRBL teams as well as area high school teams. Cole Roark not only manages the Branson Showmen and breaks my bat, he also works with the high school team in Licking. Chris Meza spent this past summer working with GRBL hopefuls and manages the Republic Locos. He also works with the team at Hillcrest High School in Springfield. Both Cole and Chris know players in need of new gloves.
Justin Skinner is a Catch 365 partner and GRBL back-to-back-to-back champion, the Tom Emanski of seasons II through IV. He has generously offered an attendance challenge for Sunday, September 12.
For everyone who comes to a game on that Sunday, Justin will donate one dollar — up to $1,000. The money Justin donates will be used to purchase new gloves for high school ballplayers.
The non-profit partner for that day’s games is Kadyn’s Krew and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which means at least $1,000 could be raised to help find a cure for CF and encourage 12-year-old Kadyn Carroll in the process.
Also, everyone who comes to a game that Sunday will have an opportunity to win a prize package from Baseball Seams Company. Nate Rueckert, baseball artist in South Dakota, is donating a copy of America at the Seams, a Seams keychain, and one of the popular Steel United Christmas ornaments.* As the stories of America at the Seams explain, Baseball Seams Company understands how baseball is more than just a game.
Finally, finally, finally, should that Sunday be the day my batting average climbs above zero, I’ll gladly celebrate by giving a signed copy of A Year of Playing Catch to a winner.**
In short, make plans to be at US Baseball Park on Sunday, September 12. Not only will you see great baseball on the field, but you’ll be making a difference, serving as an ambassador of the game, and have the chance to win some pretty cool prizes.
GRBL Week 4 – Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
U.S. Baseball Park, Ozark, Missouri
Moon City Mavericks (3-0) at Ozark Mountain Ducks (3-0) 12 p.m.
Nixa Suckers (1-2) at Branson Showmen (1-2) 3 p.m.
Republic Locos (1-2) at Springfield Metropolitans (0-3) 6 p.m.
*Entry is simply signing your name and contact information (either cell phone number or email address) in a notebook. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator.
**Another random number generator.