News and Announcements
If you ever see an outfielder twist and turn away from an approaching fly ball, then observe as the vivid yellow softball lands miraculously in the glove behind the player’s back. That fielder will probably be Warren Butler.
The most senior player (he’s called Pappy) in the American League of the CSSA was a late bloomer in the world of sports. While he played Little League in his hometown of Dalton, GA, he admits his coordination at that early age lagged behind his counterparts.
It wasn’t until he was in his mid-twenties that he plunged into a pool of players being chosen for a church league. The teams were assigned ratings of one, two, and three in order of the assessment of their talent, and Warren joined the team with the lowest rank. He surprised himself with his abilities and hit three home runs in a tournament game that lifted his bottom-rated team to victory. They quickly reassigned him to the top-graded team.
He did not disappoint. The church league soon judged that group’s talent superior to others, and cast them out to the open league. Warren and his mates won that league’s championship on four occasions.
He proceeded through his work life with the Georgia United Credit Union, where he succeeded and became the CEO. He veered away from softball and focused on good times with his wife, Lashon, now thirty years his partner. They didn’t share a love of softball in the early days, but were a championship team in archery and trap-shooting. If fact, the pair won the Georgia State Trap-Shooting crown for four consecutive years.
Lashon has also won the women’s championship in archery in a combined competition for the states of Georgia and Alabama. Warren’s most cherished moment in his sports history is his own trophy for combined Georgia and Alabama state competitions in trap-shooting.
About fourteen years ago, Jeff Land, a neighbor of the Butlers, told them about the senior softball league in Woodstock. Warren’s been playing ever since and continued his leadership role, as he has in most everything he has joined in his life. He became the Director of the American League, then the Vice Commissioner of the CSSA Board of Directors under Dewey Hom for four years. He received the Lowell Lawson Award in 2017. His wife is a fervent supporter of his softball avocation. If you scan the grandstand, Lashon will be the one wearing the “Team Mom” shirt.
On the field, he’s led his team to their division title for three seasons in a row. He’s done so playing the outfield while expanding his expertise to the pitching mound. This past spring, the American League bestowed Warren with his first Most Valuable Player award. He bats left-handed and throws right. I’m not sure which hand pulls the shotgun’s trigger to get those clay pigeons, but have little doubt he could also shoot behind his back!
This avid outdoorsman has experienced some memorable fun events throughout his lifetime. A devoted Braves fan, his favorite players were Dale Murphy and Bob Horner. He’s had the good fortune of spending a day fishing with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. About eight years ago, he took part in an Atlanta Braves Fantasy Camp. He improved his talents by working with Sid Bream, Marquis Grissom, Pete Smith, Javier Lopez, David Justice and Otis Nixon. Each day at the event, they highlight a Most Valuable Player based on the players’ performances, and Warren was honored at his selection as the MVP on one of those occasions. Not bad for a senior softballer!
He has another year in the American League before his age requires he step aside and join other leagues. No matter where he settles, his new team will receive one of the CSSA’s brightest stars and passionate cheerleaders; someone who practices what he preaches as he spouts in the dugout. “Don’t Ever Give Up.”
Written by Marty Aftewicz
It is almost that time of year to come out into the sun light and play ball.
I wanted to update everyone on the plan for the Spring season related to the National and American League teams. I have no idea what rumors are circulating out there so here is what I can tell you as of today.
The CSSA BOD has decided to merge the NL and AL Leagues into one combined League (no idea what we will call it) for the Spring 2022 season and beyond. I have been asked to be the league director for the 2022 season. We will have 8 teams with 13 man rosters. The purpose of this reorganization is to have a competitive league with team stability. We hope that a 13 man roster and player realignment will eliminate the need for managers to scramble at the last minute to field a team each week. We are also trying to provide each team with players that can field a good defensive alignment as well as have the offence needed to win games.
The managers for the teams have been selected and they have begun to put together a core group of players to begin with. This season the managers are:
• Dan Bonham – Bedoes
• James Bauch – Lawn Doctor (Last seasons All Weather team)
• Chris Geiger – D Bats
• Earl Riley – Integrity
• Terry Crump – GCB
• Freddy Allen – AIMC
• Ken Silvers – Becketts
• Brian Henson – Southland Custom Homes
The managers should have already been in touch with you to confirm your playing status for the Spring season. If you have not been contacted please use this message to let me know directly if you are planning to return and play in the Spring 2022 season. We will likely move some of the sponsor names around after the draft but for now it is easier to use the Team name from the fall for draft purposes.
The managers will put together a team core to start with and then draft the remainder of the teams from the player pool (returning players and Spring tryout players). Tryout out dates are February 19, 20, 26 and 27 at Hobgood. We will begin at noon each day and end around 2PM. We plan to start the Spring season the week of March 14th. We are planning to have a practice week (week of March 7th) and then play a 10 game regular season. The season will have 2 parts to it. In Part 1 each team will play each other once. Once those 7 games are completed the teams will break up into 2 divisions based upon overall record. In Part 2, the 4 teams in each division will play each other once to determine a champion for that division.
That is the basic overview, I hope you find this information helpful. I look forward to seeing everyone out of the field again.
Please note: It is important that we know each players plan for the Spring season so we can list the players available for the draft. Please respond to me directly and let me know your status for the Spring.
CSSA BOARD MEETING
January 12, 2022
The monthly meeting of the CSSA Board of Directors was held January 12, 2022, at GameDay Grill and called to order by Norm Thiem at 6:28 P.M.
Members Present: Norm Thiem, Ray DeLuca, Maria Burden, Robbie Crider, Leland Brown, Mike Maguire, Dan Bonham, Dewey Hom, Bob Werner, Mike Parson, John Humeston and Dick O’Connor. Misty Diehl, new manager of Sosbee Funeral Home Team was a guest.
Absent: Randy Bergman
A. Minutes of the December 6, 2022 meeting were presented and Board approved.
B. Treasurer/Financial Report: Dan Bonham, Treasurer, is fully set up to assume financial duties. Norm Thiem presented the 2021 Profit and Loss Report, Balance Sheet (P/L will be posted on TeamPages for those interested). Also presented was a first draft of Projected Gain/Loss for 2022. Negative net income for 2021 of $862.28 was due to the advance purchase of softballs for 2022 seasons because of supply chain issues. Dan suggests that a separate bank account be established (no additional bank fees) for the Charity Fund, to simplify reporting. Board approved.
C. Player Fee Payments: It was decided that to make payments easier and the process more efficient and less costly that we would go back to managers collecting payments from their team. Players can pay by cash, check, or credit card but credit card payments will be on a form instead of the on-site card reader used last year. Payments must be made by the end of the first week of play. Players that cannot make the first week need to mail their check to their manager. Players will use a single payment for each team that they play on so that the managers can certify that they have paid. There will be a $5 convenience fee for all credit card payments to help cover the cost charged by the credit card company. These changes are due to staffing issues. Board approved that 2022 registration fees will remain at $50.00 per player per team.
D. Uniforms for 2022 season: the BOD voted to change to sublimated uniforms beginning in 2022. The new uniforms will be substantially more colorful and better quality than our current version.
E. CSSA Video Library was published on January 5th on CSSA’s new YouTube channel. Links and instructions have been posted on TeamPages. Videos for pre-game warmups and stretches will be posted and announced prior to opening day of 2022 season.
F. The Board approved the establishment two new voting positions on the Board of Directors: Special Projects Director is Ray DeLuca and a second Player Rep for Tuesday/Thursday nights will be James Bauch.
G. Tom Cameron is the Board’s CSSA honoree for the CRPA Volunteer of the Year Award for his extraordinary contributions to our organization through the Charity Golf Tournament and much more. Members of the board will be present at the CRPA banquet to honor him.
H. CSSA needs scorekeepers and umpires for the 2022 season. Dick O’Connor reported that he is in the process of securing commitments for the required umpires. Misty Diehl will be added as a scorekeeper trainee, and Anne Ryan will also be a scorekeeper. Additional scorekeepers are needed. The Board approved an increase for scorekeeper pay to $25.00 per game. Previous scorekeeper pay was $20.00 per game.
I. Sponsors: A great deal of hard work went into securing a dedicated group of sponsors for the CSSA. Sponsor longevity benefits the league in many ways; the board discussed ways to increase the benefits of being a sponsor, including popup or semi-permanent banners at Hobgood Park (depending on what is permitted by the facility) with sponsor names, logos, and QR codes for their websites and menus to increase sponsor exposure and patronage. A decision will be made at the next meeting regarding if and how this should be implemented. Sponsor listings on TeamPages will be updated prior to start of season.
J. New Player Orientation Packets: This will be an information packet to be distributed to all new players at Evaluations February 19, 20, 26 and 27. Norm, Stacie and Maria will develop it, including What Happens after Evals, Approved Bat Information, How to Access and Use TeamPages (for stats, schedules, updates, rosters, videos, etc.) and Quirky Rules and Common Mistakes. The Board approved.
K. Rules Update: The Rules Committee will be updating the Rules of Play for approval by the BOD and posting on TeamPages by the 2022 season start, if possible.
The meeting adjourned at 9:05 P.M.
The next BOD meeting will be Monday, February 7, 2022, at Ralphs Tavern, Kennesaw.
Spring Ball will be starting sooner than one realizes and that brings changes all through the organization at Hobgood Park. Some changes are Adds, Moves and “Retire” to watch games instead of working them.
With this in mind, CSSA is needing full-time and part-time/backup Scorekeepers for Spring 2022 Season. Days involved are Monday and Wednesday mornings, and/or Tuesday nights. The Spring season tentatively starts March 14 and will run for 10 weeks. If interested or you know of someone who would be interested, please contact me at 770-597-8770 (please leave message) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Norm Thiem at 770-757-8467 or email: email@example.com Please put in subject line – Scorekeeper 2022. Thank you
Softball players and enthusiasts understand the importance of a defensive shortstop. Dan Bonham provides that strength and ability to stop those balls hit up the middle, so much so that the Cherokee Senior Softball Association (CSSA) awarded him the co-MVP for leading his team, Long Tire, to the Spring Championship of the Legends Gold League. He also takes part in two additional leagues each week.
He’s only been in the CSSA for four years, but has quickly garnered respect and recognition. He came to softball late in his sports career. He started in Little League baseball, followed by many seasons in regional baseball organizations. Most recently, he participated in an Atlanta metropolitan men’s league.
He grew up moving about the country as a military brat, but it was a stop in Papillon, Nebraska, where he experienced his most memorable moment in sports. In high school, he hadn’t shifted to a full-time shortstop yet. As a pitcher, the right-hander used his accurate and hard-throwing arm to strike out eighteen batters in a game.
However, if you ask Dan to recall his greatest achievement, he will promptly reply it was the day he threw out Dewey Hom at first. As we referenced in a previous story, Dewey is a senior Olympic sprinter, so getting him out on a ground ball is never routine. Dan’s comment displays his light-hearted approach to life and the game he loves.
He was a long-time fan of the Cincinnati Reds and, in particular, Pete Rose. Dan and his family settled in Georgia about twenty-three years ago, where he eventually converted his baseball allegiance to the Atlanta Braves.
Dan acknowledges he could never have devoted as much time to his athletics avocations if not for the patience and support of Camille, his wife of over thirty years.
When Dan’s not on the field, he is often a spectator of the senior softball games at Hobgood Park. The caliber of play from players far into their eighties constantly amazes him, and he hopes good fortune will allow him to compete and have fun for many more years.
The immortal words of Yogi Berra guide him through his daily softball life. “Ninety percent of baseball is half-mental, while the other half is physical.”
Written by Marty Aftewicz