Meet The Board – Jeff James

Q&A With BASL Commissioner Jeff James

BASL members new and old will recognize this familiar face. Jeff’s dedication to the Big Apple Softball League doesn’t go unnoticed and we’re all so thankful to have him run this awesome organization. In September, Jeff was recognized by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) for his dedication to this league and we couldn’t think of anyone more deserving. Take some time to get to know our fearless leader!

What do you do for the BASL?
As BASL Commissioner, my goal is to give the players, the best 10-12 week softball experience possible and represent New York at the NAGAAA meetings. Beyond the 10-12 week regular season, it takes 8-9 months of preparation with the executive board and committee heads to get ready for the season. For the future, I’m working on a dynamic skills clinic, All-Star/Gay Pride Classic 1-day tournament along with the Pride March, and continue addressing the needs of the BASL players.
When did you start playing in the BASL?
I started playing in the BASL in 2001 after playing in straight Long Island leagues for years. I would commute out to Long Island every Sunday. Until one day, my friend mentioned that there was a GAY softball league in NYC. I was shocked. He told me to go to the LGBT Center for details. I found an ad for the draft at East River Park. I’m currently heading into my 18th Season.
What do you do for fun? 
I enjoy Friday evening happy hour with friends at GYM Sports Bar, Boxers or Mexi-cue. I am currently obsessed with Next Games – The Walking Dead (No Man’s Land) mobile game and spending time with my husband Ed.
What three words describe you best?
Fair. Compassionate. Empathetic.
How did you get involved with volunteering for BASL?
With encouragement from John Panarace I decided to run for assistant commissioner in 2011. I wanted to give back to the BASL for all of the good times I had in my first 10 years in the league. I wanted to contribute in making the league the best it could be and hopefully pushing it forward into the future.
What do you love about BASL? 
BASL is family. We don’t get to choose our family. Due to my Jamaican heritage, my parents had a very hard time accepting the fact I was gay. Our relationship is so much better now. Being gay, we get to choose our family, our friends become family. Playing in the BASL made a huge difference in my life. It’s where I met ED!


#babyJeff (on far left) in 2002 – At John Panarace’s holiday party at his apartment. Jef was trying to update the Rebels Uniform and brought samples. Jeff is pictured here wearing the sleeveless. Ed (Jeff’s now partner) was wearing the sleeves and Jorge was wearing a dark navy jersey from Jeff’s work league.