May 2014 League Spotlight: Tulsa Metro Softball League
Brad Sullivan has been there from the beginning with the Tulsa Metro Softball League and the beginning wasn’t that long ago for this newer league addition to the NAGAAA family. “We started with 2 or 3 teams. We did all of our own field maintenance – chalking, staking bases, pulling weeds out of the infield and raking,” said Sullivan, 2nd year commissioner.
Even though Tulsa is a “young” league when compared to other leagues around the country, the TMSL has made its mark since joining NAGAAA in 2011. The league has grown steadily since its inception in 2009 and came close to having a Gay Softball World Series champion in just its second year of eligibility in 2012 as the Tulsa Razors took 2nd place in the D Division.
While the league’s competitiveness on a regional and national level has been stellar, Sullivan realizes that competition is just a part of what the TMSL has to offer its membership, “TMSL gives people an opportunity to do something they may have only thought about doing. They may have never picked up a glove, a bat, or ball, but by coming out they find a safe and supportive, judgment free zone.”
As always, ratings are a hot topic around all NAGAAA leagues as some players are bracing for the rating guidelines changes in 2015. Sullivan told the DD that he thinks these changes are a step in the right direction. “Since attending NAGAAA meetings I have felt like a change has needed to occur, the problem is finding the answer and getting everyone on board,” said the commissioner. The DD gathered that the Tulsa commissioner was open to revisiting this issue even if some players are up in arms with the current changes that will be implemented next season. If any players are frustrated about finding a workable solution for everyone, Sullivan wants them to know that it’s not for a lack of trying, “this is a subject that everyone has an opinion on, but in the end I think the men and women who sit around the table at the meetings are trying to do what is best for their organizations.”
With the 2014 Gay Softball World Series to be played in Dallas later this year, just 256 miles to the South of Tulsa, Sullivan realizes that this year’s GSWS could be a big one for his league. “I am very excited about the GSWS in Dallas. It is close enough for players and fans in Tulsa to come down and watch to get that World Series experience. I always love when players get their first big tournament experience, because then they get fired up and start planning for the next one,” said Sullivan. The DD also got the Tulsa head man on the record about the dreaded consolation bracket that NAGAAA instituted at last year’s GSWS in Washington, DC. The unpopular consolation bracket is making an exit after just one GSWS to make way for the previous schedule with 4 pool play games followed by the double elimination tournament. “The consolation bracket was something new, and we gave it a shot, but feedback from the players leaned more in favor of the old way. At least we tried something new. I think we have to be open to new ideas and willing to try them to grow,” stated Sullivan.
While Tulsa is one of the smallest leagues by membership in NAGAAA, its commissioner doesn’t feel like it is a disadvantage from a national perspective. Sullivan thinks, “it’s tough for the smaller cities, but I do feel that if Tulsa or any smaller league had an issue that would be a detriment to their league and participation in NAGAAA, we could go to anyone in the organization and sit down with them to try and find a solution.”
The Tulsa Metro Softball League is a program of Oklahomans for Equality. Oklahomans for Equality (OkEq) seeks equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals and families through advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center.
The DD would like to thank Tulsa Commissioner, Brad Sullivan for sharing his opinions and information about the TMSL. Check back in June for the next installment of the DD’s Monthly League Spotlight!
TULSA METRO SOFTBALL LEAGUE – BY THE NUMBERS:
League Founded: 2009
Joined NAGAAA: 2011
Membership: D Division (8), C Division (2)
Regular Season: March 30 – June 22
Venue for League: Carl Smith Sports Complex, 17120 E 21st St, Tulsa, OK
Best Team Finish @ GSWS: Tulsa Razors, 2nd Place D Division, 2012
Season Player Cost: $70 per player
League Sponsors: Oklahomans for Equality, Tulsa Eagle, New Age Renegades & Club 209.
Host Tournament: Tulsa Up All Night – Easter Weekend
C Division (4 teams), D Division (6 teams)
2014 Tulsa Up All Night Tournament Results:
C Division – 1st Place – Oklahoma Rampage, 2nd Place – Houston #BFNC, 3rd Place – OKC Swallows
D Division – 1st Place – TUL Twisters, 2nd Place – TUL Zealers, 3rd Place – KC Bolt
League Website: http://www.tulsametrosoftball.com
Current Standings: D Division – as of 4/27/2014
TUL Twisters 6 – 1
T-Town Zealers 5 – 2
TUL Screaming Eagles 4 – 2
Lady Red Feathers 4 – 3
U-Haulerz 2 – 4
Metros 1 – 3
TUL Titans 1 – 6
Fusion 0 – 8
C Division – as of 4/27/2014
TUL Shock 4 – 0
Oklahoma Rampage 3 – 1