Saturday July 24th, 2021

An interview with Pipac Manager Rob Humphrey

Rob Humphrey

 ASA Playing History

USSSA Playing History

Why do you like the game of softball?
Because of all the great people/relationships I have developed throughout the country besides it is still a way to stay competitive.

Who is the best softball player you have ever seen?
The best all around player I have been around is Brian Wegman.   He can play any spot on the field and hits for average and power.

Where do you call home?
Burlington, IA with my girlfriend and the four kids

What do you do for a living?
Probation/Parole Officer

What is your softball background as a player?
I had played about 3 years of C ball here in Iowa, then one year my coach asked me if I would be willing to help him out.  The funny thing
was he moved away a month after the season started and I guess that made me "coach".   LOL.   I still love to play the game, so I continue to play leagues as well as some local tournaments from time to time.

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper
I started playing softball mainly locally when I could play around my baseball schedule during my Freshman year of college.   As I referenced
above, I was kind of thrown into becoming the Coach, but I quickly found it was much easier to sit myself than listen to guys complain that they were not playing.   LOL.  Then 6 years ago this week, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma.   I survived and ironically Cancer is what brought me to upper level softball.   Prior to my diagnoses I had a 'B' team here in Iowa, but we could rarely find tournaments to play.    While going through treatment, I didn't have a team but still went to some local C/D tournaments to watch.   I noticed that there were several guys from other teams here in Iowa that were just playing with whomever they could because their team could not play since they were also classified ASA 'B' in Iowa.    I started approaching others about putting something together and everyone agreed that we would rather play the best and get beat then play locally and win by 30.   So we all decided to get together and start playing the best, even if it meant traveling on our own dime.    I can actually say that we still have that mentality today, and that is one of the many reasons that I still get fulfillment from my participation in the sport today.

Who are you managing/sponsoring in 2011?

What does your roster look like?
Mike Irvine, Brian Zirkle, Buddy Dubois, Chad Johnson, Aaron Middendorf, Scott Roen, Andy Shiltz , Nate Staats, Ron Fields, Kyle Decker (NWCombat), Kyle Yerkes (AJS), Jason Krieder (AJS), Chris Firebaugh (Streetkids/AJS) and Chris Greinert.

What is your teams goal for 2011?
Win USSSA A Worlds, NSA A Worlds AND ASA A Nationals…WHY NOT!!!!!

Where do you look for talent?
I have always tried to look close to home, here in the Midwest area for the most part.   Our sport's proven talent is already
out there playing and they are easy to see week in and week out throughout the season.   They are there or they will contact me.   I have
always liked to look locally because there are plenty of players around here that can play at the upper level if given the opportunity.

What is more important, talent or attitude?
Although talent is obviously a must to be able to compete, I will always answer attitude.   I like guys that want to play the best and want to
play for the love of the game not for money.   Team chemistry is the most important ingredient.   Sometimes it only takes one "bad apple" to bring down a team.   Even though I HATE losing, only one team gets to win and if it's not us I still want to have fun.

How do you evaluate players?
I believe talented players will stand out by themselves, so I tend to look for the small things.   What does a guy do when it is 2nd and 3rd
and there are still homeruns to hit?  How hard do they go after a ball in the outfield?   How the player interacts with his teammates when they are losing or when things are not going their way?   Things like this make a significant difference in a player.

What is your favorite sports team?
I have two, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Iowa Hawkeyes!

What is your favorite sport other than softball?
College Football, I will watch it anywhere/anytime.

Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
Nope, just hope that everyone makes it to BP on time.   LOL

What is your most memorable softball moment?
I have had a couple.   First, winning NSA 'B' in 2007.   We were visitors the whole tournament and never trailed one inning.   The other, finishing runner up at ASA 'A' in 2008.   No one but us thought we had a chance to win the tournament.   Heck, we picked up our last starter as we were driving down to play.   We came all the way through the losers bracket and found ourselves tied in the 5th inning of the "if" game to ABS before we finally ran out of steam.

Is slowpitch softball a sport or a game?
Both.   I think it's a sport because of the time that each player sacrifices and the dedication each player has to possess to make it at
the upper level, but it is also important to understand that it is just a game as well.   We need to remember why we started playing baseball
when we were young, and just have fun.

What is the best improvement upper level softball could make to bring in more sponsors?
Update the major list and eliminate the number of major players to 3 or 4.   By doing this, it will spread the elite players around more and
further balance the teams.   Some sponsors are tired of spending their hard earned money when most tournaments are going to be won by one or two teams.

What is your favorite non-World tournament?
Firemans and its not even close!   All those people watching softball and you cannot beat the grilled corn on the cob.

What can be done to improve the Conference Championships?
Either just declare a season champion for each class and not have a tournament or move it to a more central location so some teams would not have to fly (if they choose) to Florida 3x in a month.

Is the game better or worse with homerun limits and why?
Better, with today's technology almost everyone can hit a home run.   By limiting the hr's it makes it more like baseball, instead of home run
derby or like playing double or nothing when I was growing up.   Which was a lot of fun.

Who was the best team in softball history?
I am still fairly young, so many may argue with me, but I would have to say the 2010 Resmondo's team.   They could hit it, field it and Andy is
the best in the game.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
A few years ago we were playing "The Gumby" in Springfield, IL.  Nate Staats had just torn his oblique the game before and was sitting in the stands in shorts and a t-shirt.   Nate started to heckle us (his own teammates); however, the catcher from the other team mistook him and thought he was yelling at him.   The catcher yelled over to the stands and said "tell that old bald guy to shut up".   Nate stood up, actually called time and walked onto the field and home plate.   After a few minutes of arguing with the umpire between them, I finally got Nate to leave, but as he walked away, he said to the catcher "I am a much better fighter than a softball player, AND I'm the best player on this field!".   That guy had been running his mouth the whole day, even the game before ours, but after Nate said that, he never said another word.  Heck, even some guy from another team walked up to Nate two innings later and said "can you please tell that guy he can talk again, cuz that aint right".   LOL

Nate has WAY to many classics!  He once put his finger to another grown mans lips, told him "sSSSShhhh…I'LL fold you like laundry"!

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