Major League Baseball’s award season is always an exciting time for players and fans. Awards such as the Cy Young (best pitcher in each league), Rookie of the Year (best first year player in each league), Manager of the Year (best manager for each league), and a host of others are handed out in the weeks following the World Series. And one award shines a bright spotlight on that age old question “Who is the best player in the game.” That award is the MVP or Most Valuable Player Award. This year, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts won the MVP award in the American League. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich won the MVP award in the National League. Both players deserved it and I believe the Baseball Writers Association of America (the voters of the MVP award) got it right.
Rhode Island youth baseball leagues and organizations use the MVP approach to running their organizations. Within each organization, there is an MVP who serves as the league president who oversees the league’s operation, goes to statewide and district meetings to learn about rules changes, helps organize tournament games, umpires, and chairs executive board meetings. There is an MVP working as a safety officer who collects BCI information to make sure the players are safe, inventories first aid kids at the baseball fields, and updates the league on safety procedures in an acute emergency situation. Our Rhode Island baseball leagues have an MVP equipment manager who orders uniforms, updates stock of baseballs and sports equipment, organizes team bags with catcher’s gear and bats, and works with local sporting goods stores to re-stock for upcoming seasons. The fields, the grounds, the signage that goes up and down on the outfield walls, the dugouts cleaned, the quick dry re-ordered, the bases cleaned, the mound covered, the first base line edged are just a small sample of the MVP grounds crew that works tirelessly all year long (in good weather and bad) to make sure the fields are operational and safe for baseball. Accounting, sports information, sponsorship packets, league schedules, website updates, social media posts are all taken care of by a league MVP.
MVP for our purposes stands for Marvelous Volunteer Person. The definition of marvelous, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “of the highest kind or quality : notably superior.” The definition of volunteer, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “a person who undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.” A person of the highest kind of quality who undertakes a willingness to serve their community. That is the definition of each and every person in Rhode Island youth baseball – from tee ball to the big fields. Each and every MVP I have met this year has impressed me with their knowledge of community and youth sports. Each MVP has made a commitment to the betterment of ours, in this case youth baseball players here in Rhode Island. All the while, not collecting a single dime for their countless hours of dedication and service. There are so many wonderful marvelous volunteer people in Rhode Island youth baseball!!!
To all the MVP league officials here in Rhode Island – I congratulate you on another successful season of youth sports and baseball. Your MVP roster of community services leaders has made your community stronger and given our Rhode Island youth baseball players the chance to love and play baseball this year. I commend you and look forward to working with you in the years to come.