DENVER — In 2011, the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League was a four-team operation. This summer, the league will celebrate its 10th anniversary with 11 teams from Fort Collins, down Interstate 25, to Pueblo.
MHCBL owner Amanda Kubec reflected on the progress from the inaugural season to now and praised former owner Kent Gregory for kickstarting the league.
“I really want to uphold the integrity of the league from how it started,” she explained. “Kent (Gregory) has always had a genuine interest and dedication to the players. That needs to stay at the forefront of our operation.
“Every decision he made was about the players and their best interest, and that is why I have enjoyed learning from him. It was never about the money, or politics. It was always about helping Colorado players find a spot in the summer to play and help them find schools after JUCO or transferring.”
Former Colorado Rockies pitcher and owner of FAST Baseball Development Jason Hirsh joins Kubec in their third season together as co-owners of the league.
“What I am truly thankful for though is the guidance from Kent (Gregory), Jason (Hirsh) and our coaches that help me every day to make the league better,” Kubec explained as she is preparing for the upcoming season. “I rely on them for their input, experience, and recommendations and I think that is what makes me feel so comfortable as owner because I have their support.”
With the guidance, Kubec likes the direction of where the league is going from an operational standpoint.
“I feel like we have made great progress as far as promoting our league, having a greater reach across the country, and building relationships with colleges to attract more players.”
The product on the field? According to her, it’s never been higher.
“The quality of baseball we put on the field increases each year,” Kubec added. “It is a joint effort of an on and off field approach. We have improved the fields we compete on; improved the in-game experience for fans by making a priority to have a scoreboard, announcing, concessions and music at as many games as possible. These may sound like obvious aspects to have at each game, but we have come a long way from some of the fields we have used in the past. It’s fun to look back and remember what we did when we had zero accommodations and had to get creative.”
On Tuesday, June 30, the MHCBL will host its annual All-Star game at Regency Athletic Complex at Metro State University, in the heart of downtown Denver. However, this year will have a twist, as players from the Rocky Mountain Baseball League will join the MHCBL for a clash between the two associations. First-pitch is to be determined.
“I am excited for the competition between the two Colorado summer leagues,” Kubec expressed of the change. “It gives the players something to play for and allows for a greater audience hosting a joint event.”
Kubec addressed that from now until the start of the season, the league will look into adjusting its post-season tournament.
“One of our biggest challenges is working within our schedule constraints to provide an adequate post-season for this league,” she noted. “We want to make sure we have a focus on making enough time to play our league games and have a competitive post-season, with enough time for travel and preparation for our league winner to get to Wichita, Kansas.”
A staple within the league is that the winner will face off against the nation’s best summer collegiate baseball teams at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita. The Colorado Cyclones (Johnstown, CO) have represented the league the last five seasons in Kansas.
“The NBC World Series is such a fun way to end the season,” Kubec expressed. “We have been lucky enough to be affiliated with them and continue our relationship sending our league winner to compete in their amateur baseball tournament at the end of each summer. It gives our league something to fight for and look forward to during the season. Just ask any player who has gone, most will say it was the highlight of their summer. It’s a tremendous atmosphere and the players are celebrities to the local kids (in Kansas) who come to the games. It’s a great sight to see.”
The league kicks off its 10th season on May 26. Updates will be provided on the post-season before the collegiate season is over.
“As we continue to grow, I want our focus to remain on the players and their development,” Kubec added. “I feel we have done a good job at balancing competitiveness, playing time and having fun in the summer. We have an amazing group of dedicated coaches that I trust to coach the players in our league, and I really look forward to the growth we will have in the next 10 years. Currently, we are focusing on playing on collegiate level fields and growing sponsorship so we can cut down on player costs.”
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