The Unsung Heroes in Robson Ranch Softball

Managers attending a board meeting: Front row (left to right): Tim Jeske, Tom Neagli, Sean Curry, Bill Smiley, Mike Moss; back row (left to right): Stan Isbell, “Rocky” Dudley, Kelly Petre, “Coco” Miguel Ondina, Gary Warrick. Absent were Johnny Blecher, Jerry Hinson, and Mike Jaensch.

RR General Manager Rhett Hubbard threw the opening pitch in the first game. Rhett is pictured between Managers Sean Curry and Rocky Dudley.

Rosemary Myers-Neagli

This year the co-ed softball players assigned to the Home Tint team informally elected my husband Tom Neagli as the team manager. As I cheer and watch not only Tom, but all the team managers perform during softball games, two things struck me: that this group of leaders has many similar characteristics and their position comes with a good deal of responsibility.

Every manager has to prepare and be ready for every game. They organize each game’s lineup, utilizing players in a fair and equitable manner. Tom drafts game lineup copies for the press box announcers and the assigned game reporter, and a final copy goes to the opposing team manager. These lineup reports determine the teams’ batting order and each inning’s player field position. They also spend time recruiting “subs” to replace players who are unable to play due to a vacation or injury. Both team managers share field duties. The team designated “visitors” prepare our Field of Dreams for play by setting out the bases and white chalking the field foul and play lines. When the game is concluded, the “home” team manager is tasked with putting away the bases, cleaning the dugouts, and securing the field.

The second notable manager characteristic is their high level of communication. Managers inform players of game times, practices, and provide clarification on changed or new league game rules for play. Additionally, communication includes being a liaison between the RR Softball Board, the umpires, and their players. They communicate directly with the RR Softball Board and League Commissioner by attending meetings, or they send a designee to attend and represent the team. During a game, it is the manager who represents their players when requesting that the umpire review a certain questionable play.

Thirdly, every manager exemplifies performance, and they are solid role models. They may or may not have the best record in the league, but they get the most out of their players, regardless of talent. Their teams play hard, play fair, and compete at a level reflecting a best effort and true sportsmanship. They abide by the softball rules and regulations while looking out for the safety and enjoyment of the other players—this takes precedence over winning games.

Lastly, every manager understands and respects the game of softball. They hold in high regard the opposing managers, the umpires, press box volunteers, game reporters, and all the players. Heck, they just love playing softball. From all of us players, a huge thank you for all your patience, time, and dedication. This keeps us all returning to play each season.