Spring weather not only brings warmer temperatures to Nashville, it also gets about 350 men and women in the mood for softball.
During the month of March, the teams of the Metro Nashville Softball Association (MNSA) have been busy recruiting new players, hitting the field for practice and getting ready for MNSA’s Opening Day Ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, April 11.
Opening Day festivities will kick off the Saturday evening before, with a Uniform Night at all of the local establishments sponsoring the MNSA. League Commissioner Kerry Pogue says look for MNSA players out and about in their team colors and uniforms.
“We will be going to any establishment that is a sponsor," Pogue said. "We want to draw attention to our opening ceremonies the following day. We want to market it to everyone out there to try to get our largest crowd ever.”
|For more information on Opening Day activities, visit metronashvillesoftball.org.|
Opening Day activities will take place at West Park beginning at noon on Sunday. Planned events this year include the parade of teams, a car show featuring antique, custom and classic automobiles, and the ever-popular Bat-N-Rouge game where one team plays in drag (including heels) while the other team fields players with their legs secured together similar to a three-legged race.
In addition, local vendors, community organizations, other sports leagues and MNSA sponsors have will have booths at the park. Following the Bat-N-Rouge game, the league will play a single elimination tournament with regular league play beginning Sunday, April 18.
Pogue says the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA), gay softball’s governing body, has changed some of the rules regarding how players and teams are rated, causing some shuffling of the ranks in the MNSA.
“They [the NAGAAA rules changes] have caused teams to move up to the next higher division," Pogue said. "It has also meant some teams have had to split from what they had last year, so you will see a drastic change in the divisions. This year you will see two B teams, 10 to 12 C teams, and eight to 10 D teams. Right now, it is too early to have the final numbers together.”
The MNSA closed out a successful 2009 season when the Nashville Players team won the “D” division at last year’s Gay World Series. That win gives the MNSA the opportunity to take an additional team to the 2010 World Series in Columbus, Ohio, this August. In addition, if MNSA teams have a good showing at the World Series qualifying tournament, Pogue says they might be able to field even more teams.
“Last year, our Nashville Knoxville Cyclones finished 5th in the World Series, earning them an invitation to this qualifier," Pogue said. "If they finish in the top three they will earn a berth to the 2010 World Series. That would earn MNSA another berth, so the MNSA has the possibility of taking up to eight teams to Columbus.”