By Gavin Menu
The Sag Harbor men’s softball league, which has struggled to field enough teams for competition in recent years, is once again on life support with a lack of organizational leadership threatening the start of the 2014 summer season.
As of Wednesday, there were no games scheduled for this summer or any progress toward securing umpires, insurance or permission from the Mashashimuet Park Board for use of the field and lights.
Fred Marienfeld, who took over from longtime league organizer Tim Mott last year in an effort to salvage the season, informed key players this spring that he would no longer be running the league. Marienfeld, who has played in the league since he was in high school in the late 1970s, said on Tuesday that organizing the league requires a lot of time effort and that he was simply not interested at this time.
“Everyone wants to play, but basically nobody wants to run it,” said Marienfeld, adding that organizers need to schedule games and umpires, secure insurance and use of the lights and purchase softballs. A particular challenge is collecting money from the teams and players, he said.
Carl Shank, who has also been involved with the league for many years and managed last year’s runner up to winner Immaculate Pools, said on Monday that it would be “a shame” if the league were to fold and suggested a committee run the league instead of just one person. Shank said he believes there are enough players to field at least four teams and has hopes of getting games going by July 3.
“We all know each other, all the kids went to school together and this has been going on for a long time,” Shank said. “It’s just kind of a shame after all these years to have it fall off the map.”
Other leagues have struggled in recent years as well, with the once-thriving Amagansett league folding prior to last season. Leagues in Montauk and Hampton Bays will continue this summer while the fate of Sag Harbor hangs in the balance.
“For $20 per night,” Shank said, referencing the cost per player when the fee is spread over the entire season, “you can’t have a better night of fun.”
Shank asked any players or those interested in helping to organize the league to call him at (631) 830-1857.