The NTABL is pretty much a year round enterprise now. Before our last Fall Ball games are complete and everyone gets back from the Word Series in Florida and Phoenix, we start planning for the next year. There are phone calls to make, dates to set, bills to pay and taxes to file.
This off-season, our big project was converting from a standard Texas non-profit corporation to a IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable status. We’ve done all the legal due diligence, carefully filling out forms, dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s. Our application is in the hands of the IRS as this is being written, but we don’t know when we will find out if our status is approved or not. Our legal counsel advises it could be anywhere from sixty days to six months, depending on their backlog.
The new organization is the North Texas Amateur Baseball Foundation (NTABF) and the baseball league will operate under its umbrella and still be called the NTABL. I know what you are thinking, but we are NOT siphoning off your team fees to give to charity. To reiterate, that is NOT what we are doing.
The rank and file player will notice absolutely no difference in the day to day operations of the league. We’ll still have a great website, be run by volunteers, play on the same fields, use the same baseballs and have two umpires at every game. (In fact, at some point during the season you’ll get rung up or maybe strike someone out on a questionable pitch. Seriously, brah. It was there!)
The purpose of applying for the non-profit charitable status is multifaceted. For the corporation, it means that if we finish a few bucks in the black, we won’t have to fork over a chunk of it to Uncle Sam. This makes the League’s money go farther, allowing us to do more for the league with the same amount of income. Also, selfishly, we hope it will open doors to facilities and opportunities that might not have previously been available. To the league player, it means that he can make a – at least partially – tax deductible donation to his favorite local charity, the NTABL. The NTABL can then turn those funds into improvements to facilities, tournament scholarships and other philanthropic uses that may come along.
For example, Mercy Street Ministries was nice enough to let us use their West Dallas Field of Dreams during the 2014 Fall Ball season. If you are not familiar with this fantastic facility, allow me to name drop just a bit. Clayton Kershaw (yes, THAT one) among his many other charitable endeavors, regularly puts on baseball clinics for the Mercy Street kids and funded this state of the art baseball field just south of the Trinity River on Hampton.
We found out about Mercy Street from my buddy and Hurricanes teammate, Chris Crombar. Chris manages a team in the West Dallas Little League and felt that if we could rent the field for a few of our games, it might put a few extra bucks in the Mercy Street budget and let them do a little more for the kids. Chris made an introduction and before you know it, the NTABL had scheduled five games there. We ended up playing seven games during Fall Ball and when guys saw the field, heard the story about Mercy Street and how they were helping transform this community, they wanted to know what we could do to help them.
One way we might help Mercy Street; There is a tree that extends over the left center field fence and the ground rule is that if the ball hits the tree in the air, it’s a home run. A certain (ahem!) NTABL team lost a game 7-4, in part, because of a three run homer that hit that tree. My…er…the left fielder was camped out on the warning track waiting to catch that fly ball when it hit the tree and became a homer. It would be nice to be able to assist with trimming and/or removal of that tree…strictly for the kids, of course!
When you sign up for the NTABL, you are signing up for something bigger than just baseball. You are no longer an individual, you are part of a TEAM. Websters defines “team” as a “group of people who compete against others in a competition, sport or game”. “Team” is also defined as “a group of people who work together”. In the NTABL, we are both.