In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the first game in Maui Adult Baseball League history on July 19, a History page has been added to the site. Over the past 10 years, more than 500 men and women have had the opportunity to continue their baseball careers, playing over 1065 games and forging countless friendships and memories along the way. The MABL has been such a big part of the lives of many, and it’s ongoing success is a testament to the efforts of those who have given their time over the years to make it what it is today.
Many thanks to league founder Dave Gold and current league member Kevin Spaise for their contributions to the accounts provided on the History page. Anyone who would like to offer additional contributions is encouraged to contact the league at any point.
An excerpt from the full history is given below.
It all started with a vision by Dave Gold, and some signs on the side of the road. No one could have known that Gold’s vision would result in the quality of baseball and teams that we have today. The original teams were decided in extremely random style, with friends grouping together and the rest of the rosters decided by gloves in a pile. Several showed up in jeans and tennis shoes. Included in the original mix were a handful of today’s players, including Josh Meier, Mike Foley, Rich Doster, Ben Dombrowski, Andy Michaels, Mike Marcotte, Rai Johnson, and Kevin Spaise. Despite the random team selection, the games were extremely close and competitive. Initially, we did our own umpiring from behind the pitcher’s mound. The vibe was friendly, upbeat and respectful of the game – very similar to today.
Word spread, and in 2010 we were thrilled with the addition of the Rays, Mariners, and Brewers, and the league really changed. The Rays showcased a collection of local talent that made the league truly representative of the island, and upped the quality of the baseball. The Brewers, who derived their name from several of the players’ occupation and made that a theme, loved the game equally but took a much more casual approach in the dugout. And the Mariners were a ragtag bunch who were just happy to be between the lines.
We reached out to a league on the Big Island, and they enthusiastically embraced our visit for a weekend tournament. Matt Banet, one of the originals and a stud catcher, graciously sponsored several of the players who couldn’t afford the trip – without him, it wouldn’t have come off. We rented a large house, and about 15 of us played in a weekend series against two different teams. Their league was, at that point, where our league is now: we were definitely overmatched. The BI group handled it with class, and put a second team on the field that was a bit closer to our level. We didn’t win any games, but everyone had an incredible time.
One of enduring memories of the tournament was Dave Perzinski, the hard-nosed Dirtbags catcher and all-time MABL great, injuring his knee with an exposed bone – and insisting on continuing to play through the injury. We hosted a massive barbeque at our rental house, and it went well into the early AM hours. Putting it mildly, the morning game time came really early for a lot of us. One of the opposing players was passed out on the living room couch, and we brought him with us to the game.
Through the years a handful a volunteers have set a bar that is extremely rare in adult baseball leagues. Having played in many, ours is the only league I’ve ever seen with lifetime and current stats, a great website, and absolute consistency. That’s a tribute to guys like Dave Gold, Paul Skarbo, Tom Kowalick and Mike Abercrombie. The early days were different, but they were also very similar to today. Looking back over the decade, it’s more evident than ever that every game is a gift, and we are so fortunate to play baseball on Maui.
–Kevin Spaise, July 2019