NBC World Series

There's something cool about big-league has-beens still playing ball

There's something cool about big-league has-beens still playing ball

I can't help but find something kind of cool about that bunch of former big-league players getting together for a run in the National Baseball Congress World Series -- which for many years was a very big deal in the world of amateur baseball.

Semi-pro baseball, which was filled with a combination of ex-pros and hotshot college players, was once a very big deal -- locally and nationally. A few decades ago southeast Portland's Sckavone Field was a mecca for semi-pro baseball, as teams such as Archer Blower, Beall Pipe and the Portland Lobos played for national championships with rosters filled with ex-college and pro stars. It was a great era.

The NBC World Series has survived for all these years in its home in Wichita, Kan., and this year is drawing a lot of attention because of the team of former big leaguers put together by Roger Clemens and Adam LaRoche that includes 11 former all-stars. That team is still alive in the tournament, even though it was earlier tagged with a loss by a team of junior-college all-stars.

Thursday night it defeated the defending champion Seattle Studs (yes, old timers, an apparent descendent of Tacoma's Cheney Studs) behind the pitching of former Ashland High and Stanford big-leaguer Jeremy Guthrie.

These guys are playing because they miss baseball, not because they are getting paid. And I get it. I went back and played in a 38-and-over league a few years ago and had a blast for a couple of years with some good friends. There were some ex-pros in the league and I can tell you there's nothing more fun than facing an ex-big league pitcher. Even if he strikes you out.

I would think those guys in the NBC tourney feel the same way about facing the likes of Tim Hudson and Clemens.

Good luck to these guys, who still have enough little boy in them to play the game they love.