Upcoming softball season begins in March
By Jeff Praught
America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL) begins its 37th season in March, and San Diego’s largest softball league is happily accepting new players across several divisions.
The largest sports league for LGBT athletes and their friends in town, AFSCL hosts both a “women’s section” and an “open section” (women or men), with games played on Sundays during a 10-week season that spans most of spring.
AFCSL has long been a popular outlet for recreational sports in the community for three reasons: it is well organized; it has various levels of competition for anyone of any skill level; and players can remain on their teams for multiple seasons.
The league also plans weekly social events after games on a regular basis and affords teams the opportunity to participate in large tournaments around the country, should they choose to attend.
The women’s section falls under the umbrella of a national organization known as Amateur Sports Alliance of North America, or ASANA. They will hold their World Series in Austin, Texas, July 4-8. The open section is part of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) and their World Series will be played Sept. 4-9 in Portland, Oregon.
The two sections use individual ratings to determine a player’s eligibility to participate in various divisions, with A being the highest rated, down to the beginning level of D.
For players who have never played in an ASANA or NAGAAA league, AFCSL requires them to attend one of the four new player clinics the league will host in February.
Player clinics are free to attend and require no RSVP. Participants are asked to arrive a few minutes early, with cleats and a glove, and be ready to spend an hour or two performing various skills, such as throwing, catching, and batting.
The clinics are not to be considered “try-outs” and while often rigorous, they are merely used to determine the approximate skill level of each player.
Everyone who attends the clinics will get to play on a team, whether they have already been accepted onto a team, are picked up as a free agent after the clinics are done, or get placed onto a team by the league.
After one full spring season of play, a player will be assigned a specific individual rating by their manager.
AFCSL’s Opening Day is on Sunday, March 12, and games are scheduled anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on most Sundays through May. Field locations can include the Santee Sportsplex, Poway Sportsplex, Mt. San Miguel Park in Chula Vista, and Kit Carson Park in Escondido.
Teams typically will play two games on Sundays (with generally never more than an hour break between games), though occasionally a team may be scheduled to play a tripleheader.
Another appeal of the league is the low player fee, at just $67 per player. That price gets you a minimum of 20 games, making AFCSL the best bargain in town.
Teams often find sponsors to cover the cost of being in the league and for uniforms. Players are responsible for their own equipment.
The league has a website, afcsl.org, where visitors can view the league calendar, the season’s schedule (once posted), eligible bats, and other Amateur Softball Association rules. AFCSL also has a strong social media presence on Facebook (facebook.com/afcsl-sandiego).
Whether you are a beginning player or an all-star, competitive or casual, AFCSL and its 35-plus teams offer something for everyone.
For more information, visit them online or email the league at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Jeff Praught is assistant commissioner of the AFCSL. Reach him at email@example.com.