#FlashbackFriday. When Ed Gadomski was honored bt the CT Sports Writers Alliance. From April 28, 2012.
THOMASTON – It is called the John Wentworth Good Sport Award and Tri-State Baseball League Commissioner Ed Gadomski will be one of its recipients Sunday night at the Aqua Turf in Southington courtesy of the wisdom of the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance.
Gadomski would be a `good guy’ even if he had no connection to the Tri-State League and you can’t say that about everybody. Affable, energetic, always willing to lend a hand and honest to a tee, he is one of those guys that who adds a huge touch of the positive to whatever he is involved with.
All of which is manifested in what he has done with the Tri-State League. When Gadomski took over the leadership reigns in 2003, the long-running circuit appeared to be dying with inconsistent leadership and declining numbers. At the very least there was the need for severe life support.
There were just six teams remaining down from double digits at one time. While there was always talent to be found, at the same time there was a `beer league’ reputation to be found without too much digging. Gadomski saw it all and went to work.
“It was considered an old man’s league,” said Gadomski. “I had a vision. No. 1, my philosophy has always been that there is strength in numbers and I knew we had to get more teams. I knew if we did that would open some doors. When the Twi-Met League folded in Waterbury we were able to get some of those players. In one year we added five new teams.”
Indeed. The 18-team league now stretches far and wide with teams carrying a long history with the league like Bethlehem, Amenia, Thomaston, Torrington and Winsted to fairly recent new comers like Wolcott, Naugatuck, Ansonia, Brass City and Prospect.
Gadomski knew he wasn’t going to attract players, teams and attention unless there was a reputation makeover, also.
“My No. 2 priority was how the league was viewed,” Gadomski said. “We needed to make it more family oriented. We need to change from a beer-drinking league to a young, competitive league that would be competitive with other leagues.”
Mission accomplished. No amateur league in the state has prospered like the Tri-State League. Along with the rapid expansion, five teams qualify for the AABC Stan Musial State Tournament held in July and the league has joined the National Amateur Baseball Federation for the 2012 season and will send one team will advance to the NABF Regional Tournament to be held in West Haven in August.
The league has also instituted a Hall of Fame, has revved up its All-Star festivities and is involved in several charitable causes.
Talk about growth. But is hasn’t ended there for Gadomski. He created the league’s web site in 2007 and it an impressive cornucopia of past and present. He instituted fines for not reporting results to the area press.
The Tri-State League is now heaped in class. But again, if you know Gadomski it shouldn’t surprise you. He is a guy on the move and does nothing half-baked. He carries a full umpiring load of high school games. He still plays for the Over-40 Baseball League champion Thomaston. Youthful in his mid-40s, he is about doing and doing well.
The good thing for the Tri-State League is that Gadomski has no plans to build and run. He’s having too much fun.
“As long as I enjoy doing it I will continue,” said Gadomski. “The biggest think for me is that is just a baseball league, there are more important things like family and health. When you take the field, you have to realize that.”
Like with most recreational leagues, Gadomski finds a good part of the enjoyment from the camaraderie that goes with the game.
“I have made a lot friends,” he said. “Wherever I go whether it is Virginia or Florida or anywhere I run into somebody who knows who I am.”
It isn’t all fun and roses for Gadomski. There are times when testosterone kicks in players take the game too seriously. He has issued suspensions. Incidents around playoff time are particularly difficult because, “it’s hard to please everybody.”
But that is part of the territory Gadomski can tolerate because it only the small part of a great experience. This time of year he is pumped up. He has already sent out previews for the upcoming season which doesn’t start for another month.
You talk to Gadomski and you can feel the passion. You look at the Tri-State Baseball League and you see the result. Certainly a good guy in many ways. Good for the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance for taking notice.