From the President: Let’s Make 2024 a Golden Year!

OYO Fans and Friends:


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy


As I began to gather my thoughts for this letter, I kept coming back to two words – gratitude and appreciation.


I am incredibly grateful for the humbling opportunity to dedicate myself in service to the entire league, including this remarkable OYO family. Similarly, I am truly appreciative for all the selfless and tireless service that countless volunteers have demonstrated. Personally, throughout my two-plus decades at OYO, it is still a blessing to be selected to lead this amazing organization filled with so many wonderful people who put our ballplayers at the core of all we do.


It’s easy to reflect on all the amazing accomplishments we collectively made possible in 2023 – largest combined Spring rec league and full-time travel participation ever, largest Fall Ball registration ever, robust Winter Workout participation, record-setting year of sponsorship support, 99% of all games covered by umpires in an era of declining officiating engagement, more fields than ever and so much more. However, all the excitement, buzz and rage is about the milestones and opportunities ahead!


This Year Is Going To Be Golden, Literally!


2024 marks our 50th year of providing baseball and softball experiences to our resilient and magnificent ballplayers and their families. In 1975, our league first welcomed players at fields adjacent to Oaklandon Elementary before relocating in 1995 to Veterans Memorial Park, which has evolved through three comprehensive expansions.


50 Years of OYO is no accident. For five decades, OYO has been a proven example of excellence, greatness and dedication in our community. And our families have jumped in the trenches to make it a very special happy place for all by helping rake the fields to completing park prep day projects; being team parents to helping as assistant coaches; leading all star travel teams to coaching full time travel teams; and helping a player or fan in need to serving as a board member. Sure the league has encountered unfortunate trials and tribulations that have challenged the league’s tapestry, but the values and commitment from our loyal and dedicated volunteers have helped us overcome those moments with countless thrills and triumphs that truly define OYO today.


Why We Are Ready to Connect with You!


After all, OYO has a fundamental responsibility to impact our ballplayers’ experiences, our community and the game of baseball and softball for all who experience OYO wherever our teams go.


When the OYO Board convened last November, I asked our vast and diverse OYO Board of Directors to invoke “The Golden Circle” from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why and capture their “why” for becoming more involved. Then, in December we dove into the “Hedgehog Concept” from Jim Collins’ Good to Great for additional perspective on “what can OYO be the best at”.


Valuing the OYO Board’s overall focus, our 43 volunteer board members shared their wisdom and insight leading to several powerfully consistent themes. Recognizing the uplifting power of our program, they all point back to The OYO Way – our long-standing pact with OYO families to prioritize player development, establish respect, teach life lessons, emphasize fairness and promote character.


What’s in Store for 2024 and Beyond?


It’s a golden year for all of us who continue to call OYO home for our baseball and softball experience! Our five biggest priorities all year long will include:

  • Comprehensive Team Balance Improvements | Sharpen our processes on how we utilize coach feedback and advanced technology resources
  • More Support for Coach and Player Development | Utilize support systems and clinics for all coaches to improve the quality of practice drills and concepts
  • Travel Baseball and Softball Program Growth | Develop new opportunities for greater consistency and robust growth of our successful Bombers and Red Storm all-star and full-time travel programs
  • Increased Transparency and Consistency | Ensure greater accountability from each and every volunteer board member and coach while ensuring fairness for all
  • Maximize the OYO Experience | Prioritize how we deliver the best possible experience, especially on the field


But that’s not all! We want to celebrate! And, we will celebrate often! As our exclusive 2024 logo conveys, we’re recognizing our past, present and future! We’ll have special ceremonies on Opening Day, and we’ll offer special events all season long. We’ll mark our 50-day milestones this spring and fall. And we’ll carry forward the ideals and values that have made OYO the most amazing place to play ball in Central Indiana!


My Ask Is Simple.


“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” — Richard Branson


The OYO success story is strong because it is created entirely by volunteers – like you – in every walk of life. We recognize change is never easy, but necessary to adapt and thrive. So, these very individuals – especially you – embrace the opportunities necessary to make important contributions that help OYO not only meet, but also exceed, expectations today and for the future, too!


If you have additional ideas and insights about change and growth, then please consider becoming a volunteer for change. Help drive positive change by participating as a coach, team parent, umpire, board member, grounds caretaker, sponsor, supporter, positive fan, etc. OYO has a place for you!


Thank you for reading this letter. Now, please consider and evaluate what you can personally do at OYO. And, I look forward to seeing you all at the fields soon.


As always, thank you for choosing OYO as your place for baseball and softball! Let’s make our 50th year our best year yet!


Play Ball!
Michael DeSanto
President, OYO Board of Directors | 317.345.9006 (mobile | text)