My enterprise story is going to focus on Eugene’s adult softball league. Eugene’s athletic department administers the league through the recreation services department. Eugene fields 220 teams of 12 to 20 people each. There are some highly competitive teams, but most teams are casual groups of neighborhood friends or co-workers.
Each team has one designated night a week when they play all their games during the 10-game season. Depending on holidays and bye weeks, the season lasts 12 weeks or more. It costs women’s and co-ed teams $564 per team to join the league, and it costs men’s teams $600 to account for a supervisor that monitors their games on-site.
The Eugene athletic department contracts with the Eugene Umpire Association to send 27 umpires out to 55 games per week. Wednesdays are the league’s busiest night, as 56 teams play at fields across Eugene. Shasta Ballfields in northwest Eugene is the main field for men, and most women’s and co-ed teams play at Amazon Park, Westmoreland Park, or Ascot Park.
I interviewed Dave Battaglia, the recreation department’s athletics manager. He was a great source of logistical information about the league and the sense of community that it builds.
“It’s camaraderie. It’s fun to get out and be outside after a rainy winter and spring. It’s fun to play with friends,” he said. “It’s slow-pitch softball, so most people have a basic understanding of the game. Everyone just has fun with it.”
I am planning on making a trip to Amazon Park during a softball game on Tuesday or Wednesday night to find a team and interview its players. Games start at 6:30 p.m. every weeknight.