America's past time for America's past prime

Boise NABA 35+ tryouts are fast approaching
Posted at 9:46 AM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-07 11:46:27-04

MERIDIAN, IDAHO — While many might consider Boise a football town because of the beloved Boise State Broncos, the Treasure Valley, as a whole, plays a ton of baseball. And in one local league, our country's past time only sees age as a number. This week, anchor Matt Sizemore put on the glove and grabbed a bat to show you where the "old guys" can still hit the diamond.

These guys aren't professional baseball players. They're not minor leaguers either. And if you look close, you definitely know they aren't college players. They're part of the National Adult Baseball Association, or NABA.

"They have chapters all throughout the United States, they have tournaments regionally, and we're just the local affiliation. The only Idaho affiliation," said Boise NABA board member Devin Smith.

Basically, if you didn't get the call up to play in college or the minors after high school, Boise NABA is a league where you can continue to live out your hardball dreams, even if just for fun. And while their main 18+ division has most of the players, a recent addition caught some attention.

"We used to have a 35+ league, that went under about 10 years ago. Just not enough fields, not enough competition. And so just last fall we brought it back kind of as a test run because now we're at ten teams, we're kind of growing as a league, we're continuously growing," said Smith.

The idea behind it makes sense as legs become creakier and muscles become more...pullable.

"We might entice more people with the 35-plus and hopefully in the future, a 50-plus league and kind of cater towards guys who are 50, 60, 70-year old guys don't want to get out there with kids that just got out of high school and college," said Smith.

But getting onto a team doesn't happen just by showing up. You gotta show off your skills first.

"Typically we just run people through a handful of drills. You play a little bit of catch, you take a few swings, you catch if you catch, you pitch if you pitch, you field a handful of positions and take a few pop flies," said Smith.

Anchor Matt Sizemore wanted to find out more about their try-out process, so he put on some workout attire with hopes of still being told he could make a team. Smith saw in him the same thing he sees in the other 35-plus tryouts when compared to the 18-plus league.

"The throws aren't as crisp, the speed around the bases isn't as fast, and there's a little bit more of a love handle relationship that you have in the lower half like I have, so...those are the main differences. But the hitting doesn't really change from younger. If not, you get better with age. It's like a fine wine, you get better with age. Nothing else improves," laughed Smith.

Another reason to try and join a team is the community aspect behind it.

"We are a non-profit, there's no salaries, there's no income paid off of it, so all of the fees go towards insurance, paying the city for the fields, and then paying the umpires. We look for donations, we have fundraisers, we work with the Ada Country Sheriff's Association, we work with the Boise Food Bank, we want to make sure it's a community thing," said Smith.

As Matt finished up his tryout, he asked his coaches for the day to break down their assessment.

"From an instructional standpoint, he's coachable, he listens, and he made adjustments," said Idaho Baseball Academy owner and coach Marcus Trujillo.

"From the old man baseball side, you definitely would fit in with most of us there," laughed Smith.

After that review, I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to join. Besides, you're not only supporting a great cause, but the winning team gets a trophy, a big end-of-season-celebration, and one other sweet perk.

"You get your picture on the website, kind of thing. As the best of the old guys," smiled Smith.

If you're interested in joining a team in Boise NABA's 35+ league, they're having a tryout session on Saturday, April 22nd, starting at 2pm at Storey Park in Meridian. But if you're like Matt and the rest of the 35-plus athletes, you'll want to get there really early to properly stretch.