Baseball and rain don’t typically complement each other. In a strange way, though, it’s the rain that brings out the best in the culture the Charlotte Baseball Club (CBC) has built over the course of the last 13 years.
“When you get the threat of rain is when our parents really shine,” said Charlotte Baseball Club director Frank Silvas, speaking of the seven tournaments CBC hosts each season. “Everyone comes together to make sure we pull that thing off. Our tournaments couldn’t be done without the effort of all those parents.”
Silvas would prefer to avoid that kind of adversity on a tournament weekend. But, as a baseball fan and coach, he knows all too well that adversity is part of the game. Finding a way to deal with failure is one of the many humbling lessons the game of baseball teaches. The life lessons taught by the game are a big reason Silvas, and a dedicated army of volunteers, run the competitive baseball program in Charlotte despite a declining local interest in the game.
“The game of baseball is a hard game to play,” Silvas said. “It teaches you discipline, instills a work ethic, a respect for your teammates and your opponents, and shows you that with hard work you can really achieve something.”
Many members of this year’s program — which total more than 90 local youth — get their first chance to show what they’ve learned throughout winter and early spring workouts at the CBC Early Season Kickoff Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 at the Charlotte American Legion. The Early Season Kickoff features a 10 and under age division and a 13 and under age division, and has drawn teams from Okemos, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Flushing and Detroit. By the time July rolls around CBC will have hosted seven tournaments at the American Legion, drawing teams from nearly every corner of the state.
The tournaments help the non-profit organization maintain the fields the Charlotte American Legion generously allows the program to use year-after-year.
“We are very fortunate the American Legion has provided us a place to call home,” Silvas said.
Again, the generosity of local volunteers and donors has allowed CBC to provide some of the nicest facilities youth baseball players around can enjoy. The program has built a reputation for its tournaments and the care the volunteers take in making sure everyone — players, coaches, and fans — enjoys the experience.
Silvas founded CBC 13 years ago after enjoying the experience of coaching his sons in a competitive program. He said he wanted to carry on the tradition founded by Charlotte residents Dave Fuller and Steve Shook, who formed the Charlotte Junior Orioles competitive baseball program in 1989 as an alternative to the local recreation program.
Since the Charlotte Recreation program stopped offering baseball beyond the third grade, Silvas said CBC has tried to open the program to as many players as possible.
“We started with 36 kids total and three teams in the entire program that first year,” Silvas said. “This year we have more than 90 kids spread over six different teams.”
He said his main focus has been to give Charlotte kids an opportunity to play together, knowing there are alternative options for competitive baseball throughout the Mid-Michigan area.
Article submitted by the Charlotte Baseball Club.