By Jeff Holt
Published May 12, 2021 in The Burg
GALESBURG - Russell Idle joined the board of the Galesburg Youth Baseball League in 2010, and has been the President of the league since 2014.
You'd think that Idle, known to many as (Police) Chief Idle, would get some type of medal for his dedication to youth baseball in Galesburg.
He's got a ton of teams to oversee: 6 t-ball (4-6), 8 Rookie (7-8), 7 Minor (9-10), 6 Major (11-12) and 11 Midwest League (13-15). You can also see their schedules online at galesburgyouthbaseball.sportssignup.com.
Idle took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a couple of questions.
Q: What have you enjoyed about running the Cal Ripken League and why?
A: I enjoy running the Cal Ripken League because I get to see the look on the kids faces when they get to play baseball. I get to be part of providing a fun, safe, and educational experience through sharing my passion for baseball.
Q: What would you like to say to all of the parents of the Cal Ripken League?
A: To the parents, please remember that this is recreational baseball. Our coaches, umpires, and other volunteers are doing their best. Please remember that our kids are always watching us.
Q: Do you have any update on the facilities for the Cal Ripken League?
A: The facilities for our league are all ready to go. The only exception is HT Custer Park. This park has experienced a severe power outage. The city does not know when the power will be back on so we are finding ways to work around this.
Q: You always hear how they need more basketball officials. How are you doing with baseball umpires?
A: As far as umpires go, we always need more. We could always use more adult umpires as we don't want to use teenage kids to umpire near their same age.
Q: So many parents work and then go right to the ballpark to watch their kid play. What can local fans expect
from your concession stand this summer?
A: Our concession stands will be up and running on opening day. The only exception will be HT Custer Park. As there is no power there, we can't run a concession stand.
Q: I'm sure this takes a lot of organization. Could you comment on that and the system you have in place?
A: It does take a lot of organization to run a league of over 400 kids. We have a board of directors, and spend many months getting things ready to go. Our season ends at the end of July. By the start of September, we are starting to prepare for the next season. It never ends.
Q: What advice might you have to someone wanting to run the league in the future?
A: My advice to anyone thinking about running the league in the future: Remember it is all about the kids, everything else comes second.
The priority is the entire league, never a select few, there are always pressures to do things for some and not all
You will never be able to make everyone happy, so don't even try.
Q: What have you learned from running this league and what advice would you give to someone who might be interested in running
it in the future?
A: When you get frustrated or overwhelmed, close your eyes and remember the look of joy on the kids faces when they get to play.
Galesburg Youth Baseball Board of Directors
Russ Idle, President
Dustin James, Major VP
Nathan Clark, Rookie VP
Darrin Cantarina, Minor VP
Corey Fox, Babe Ruth VP
Katie Meeker, VP of league
Sara King, Treasurer
* Andy Giles, Joe Riley, Deb Barker, Josh Bohm, Bill Benson, Jenna Benson and Doug Henson.