I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Phillip Allen from North Carolina. Phil has been coming to Fort Myers to play in the Roy Hobbs World Series for quite a long time. I reached out to Phil via Twitter when I saw his Roy Hobbs tweet!
? Classics 2A division 3rd place team in 27th annual Roy Hobbs adult baseball tournament in Ft. Myers,… https://t.co/BZOXIpjlfW
— Phillip B Allen (@phillipballen) December 18, 2015
Q. How often have you gone to the Roy Hobbs World Series?
A. 10 to 15 other guys and I have just completed our 20th consecutive year of going down there. This was the 27th year of the tournament and it’s now grown to 4 weeks in November. The last number I saw was that there was 242 teams in age divisions from Open Division of 20 year olds all the way up to a division of 75 year olds and up.
Q. Do you happen to know what the oldest age of a player is?
A. I don’t know for sure the oldest age, but I do know a friend…someone I met playing over the years, he is from Huntsville Alabama, he pitched in the championship game for the Over 70 year olds, he is 80 years old!
Q. What an awesome experience that must be!
A. I am 67, and I think it’s amazing I can do this…and these guys are older than me and playing some great baseball.
[Tweet “@rhws @phillipballen I am 67, it’s amazing I can do this, these guys are older than me and playing great baseball”]
Q. How many games do you play in the week that you are there?
A. Games start on Sunday, and you are guaranteed 5 games, Sunday through Thursday. Single elimination tournament starts on Friday and you would need 4 games to win it all, between Friday and Saturday.
Q. How many games do you play before you get to the Roy Hobbs World Series?
A. It varies, there are quite a few leagues around the nation. We have a small league in Western North Carolina, and we will play starting in July all the way to mid to late October. Maybe as much as 25 games.
Q. Does the entire team travel to Roy Hobbs?
A. I started going at age 48 and up. They really try to keep out mercanary teams….where people cherry pick. You need to have poeple from your geographic area…but they pay close attention to this. We have player from about 100 mile radius.
Q. You’ve been playing for 20 years….is this something that you really look forward to every year…going down and playing at JetBlue Park?
A. No question about it!! I’ve been a baseball guy all my life. I was a small college ball player, then I coached some college baseball…when I moved to western north carolina in 1987, someone approached me to play locally. Since I have started in 87… I have never enjoyed the game more…even when I was younger and coaching. It’s so much fun…great fun. Bill [space man] Lee has played in the Roy Hobbs….he beat us out for the championship this past year. Some ex major league players will play from time to time.
Here are a few things I learned from Phil and I know about the area already…as it relates to Baseball in Fort Myers:
- It seems that the sports complexes in Fort Myers are now a mecca for Sport Tournaments for leagues like this….it’s something great that Fort Myers is doing to keep traffic coming down to the area.
- There are Roy Hobbs leagues around the nation, but those are different than this tournament. There are weekend tournaments throughout the year though.
- Roy Hobbs is all adult baseball leagues…most are 35 and up age groups.
- Tom Giffin bought the tournament many years ago and has really grown it.
- It costs about $3000 for a team to play for the week.
Phil had something very nice to say about Tom Giffin: “He has provided a wonderful outlet for a bunch of us old men who think that we can still play baseball!”
[Tweet “@rhws has provided a wonderful outlet for a bunch of old men who think we can still play baseball”]
Q. What things happen outside of the diamond at Roy Hobbs World Series?
A. There is not much fanfare with any former pros…they just generally play with their team, but there is a cookout generally the first night in town…it’s a social event.
Q. Tell me about the camaraderie with your teammates…
A. Being in sports all my life…I see team games as much more than playing ball together…it’s about coming together as a team. We started this team in 1996, we have been playing together since then. We don’t do a whole bunch of things socially together, perhaps a kickoff cookout and maybe an end of year thing, but we are all very connected….if something happens, we communicate. I have become very good friends with one buddy who I met through the team.
Q. Do teams all hang out together when in Fort Myers?
A. Not always. We actually stay out on Sanibel, and some of our teammates like to rib us for staying out on Sanibel. But the first year I stayed down there in Fort Myers, I stayed in a hotel that wasn’t so great, so I found a great condo out on Sanibel and I stay there every year now. They like to rib us about paying the bridge fee. But they don’t mind paying the bridge fee when they come to the team party at the end of the week! [laughter ensued] One guy on our team makes this his annual vacation…he just loves baseball so much!
[Tweet “they don’t mind paying the bridge fee when they come to the team party says @phillipballen cc:@rhws”]
Q. Do people bring their families?
A. I would say half the team brings their spouse. Generally the grandkids don’t come down during this week. The ladies tend to hit the beach, and the guys play 3-4 hours of baseball each day.
A. Do you fly or drive to Fort Myers from North Carolina?
A. Half the team fly from Asheville NC, and half drive. [It’s about a 10 hour drive from Asheville NC. So it can be done in a 1 day depending on the driver.]
Q. If there is one thing you could do in Fort Myers….what would it be?
A. We actually return to Sanibel a few times during the year…cause I don’t get much time to relax during the Roy Hobbs World Series. We like the beach time for us mountain folks. One other thing we do is go to Mario’s Meat Market….on Cleveland. I can’t go to Sanibel unless I first go to Mario’s first. It’s a must have. My friend owns 2 italian restaurants in NC….he says this is a must stop! We always go get lunch…and we buy our meat there and take it out to Sanibel. [Mario’s Meat Market also has a Facebook Page]
Roy Hobbs World Series – Summary:
The Roy Hobbs World Series is a great opportunity for Adult League Baseball Players, who want to play more than just some local ball games. This event allows for those players to strive for some tournament action after their local league play is over for the season. It gives the baseball players something to reach for…a true goal.
Moreover, the Roy Hobbs World Series put youth back into baseball players. The fact that this event goes on for 4 weeks in November every year…allows for Adult league players to enjoy the game in sunny Fort Myers…and try to win a tournament in their respective age brackets.
This Roy Hobbs World Series also allows for those retired players, who for many different reasons, may not be able to play any longer, to attend 1-4 weeks of tournament baseball, enjoying as many games as they can attend. Watching the games may be the perfect enjoyment for someone who can’t physically play baseball any longer!
If you, or someone you know is coming down to Fort Myers for the Roy Hobbs World Series, reach out to us to see if we have availability…we would love to accommodate you or your friends, if it’s a good fit.