2017 in Review
2017 – The Genesis of the Angels
With the 2016 trial season behind SABL, Bruce Leto (a high-strung, enthusiastic, and neurotic musician) joined forces with Tom Quirk (an even-tempered, absentminded - but surprisingly brilliant - curmudgeon from Delco, with prior men's baseball administrative experience) to create what they believed the ultimate brand of baseball would be. Tom and Bruce endeavored to create a league that was welcoming, but also challenging, for baseball players from all different walks of life in the Greater Philadelphia area. An affordable, but collaborative, form of WEEKLY baseball at no other than Polo Field in Bryn Mawr; a field mired in controversy (from late autumnal groundhog dwellings near the batter's box, a massive weed bunker erupting from the Port-o-potties near Lancaster Avenue, and a permit straddling both Montgomery and Delaware County). Polo Field proved to be the "right" home field for the boys of Ardmore (and beyond), which three years later would host the first-ever championship for the well-seasoned oddballs.
There were moments of strife (45 minute-long weekly Michael Applegate innings), moments of brilliance (Ricky Tull setting the tone for pitchers with a sub-2 ERA), and moments of sheer, strong, wood....batting average, of course (Ryan McGee, Tom Quirk, Dan Migliore, James Clark, and Bruce Leto all with over .350 batting averages). Looking past the walk-fests and the newly-coined term - Ardmore Cycle (HBP, ROE, BB, FC, and Having to Drive Someone Home; any conceivable way of getting on base without recording a hit)....competing Philadelphia WNB Commissioner Matt Mack surveyed the rubble after a July Game, comprised of bongs, natty ice, doritos, and boar head hoagies - eloquently poised, he stated "I think y'all realllyyy got something here man...."
But more than just weekly fun pick-up games and frustration over having to drive 40 year-old men back to Northeast Philly on Saturday afternoons at 2:00 PM, the boys of Ardmore wanted to see how they would do as a TEAM. As such, the Ardmore Angels was born. Bruce handed the "administrative ball" off to Tom Quirk, who replied "Uhh...yea...I suppose I could manage that...sure?....haha"
Well, the Angels went on to defeat 3 teams that summer; all of whom had been playing together for years longer than the dilettantes from Polo. A Brooklyn Rat Cannons 16-12 defeat; a Labor Day Classic Morrisville 17-16 victory; and a double-header SWEEP of a semi-pro men's team (The Philadelphia Wolves, who later would become friends of Bruce and Tom) in their first-ever All-Star Game. The Angels finished their interleague series that summer with a 5-1 record, with high hopes for the future of a championship-winning establishment (with regards to both morale and talent)!
Even despite its flaws and growing pains, the 2017 season was like a first-child: not necessarily perfect, dissonant, but persevered with trial and error.