Much of that behind the scenes work has been done by the Greater Atlanta Men’s Senior Baseball League, which has provided the majority of the funding for Osborne’s baseball program for 25 years. With hundreds of members, the League’s resources have mostly been used to support upkeep and maintenance towards the Cardinals field, but over time, they’ve also assisted with new uniforms, new facilities and a new attitude at Osborne.
“The men’s league has been wonderful to us and I just can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done,” Osborne coach Sheldon Bulluck said. “None of the stuff like uniforms and field maintenance and facilities has been paid for by the county. We don’t really have a booster club because the support from the parents just isn’t there.
“The league helps us tremendously to make the field playable and safe for the kids. They’re a great asset to the program. They watch us play and support us and try to help out wherever they can.”
In return for its financial and groundskeeping help, the League uses Osborne’s field to play its games throughout the summer and on weekends.
Don Pike, an Osborne assistant coach, is in his 20th season with the league and has been its commissioner for eight years. He’s also been in charge of the league’s fall season for 15 years.
“When the league first started, Osborne was one of the first fields around that we used,” he said. “It’s also the longest relationship we’ve had with any of the county schools. We also use county parks at Lost Mountain and Big Shanty Park, but most county parks don’t have adult-sized baseball fields.
“So, the only way our league has been able to survive and grow is to lease fields from area high schools. We have a lot of different sub-leagues and we play all over metro Atlanta, but Osborne was one of the first schools we joined up with and it’s worked out well for both of us.”
The league’s handiwork can be found all over the Cardinals’ baseball field. The batting cage down right field, the press box and the observation desk known as ‘Pike’s Peak’ as well as the other aesthetic elements have turned what could have been a bad place to play baseball into a scenic and enjoyable experience.
“It takes a ton of time to take care of the field,” Bulluck said. “The field gets graded every year, and that comes from the Senior League. They’ve contributed to getting the batting cages. The ‘O’ on the side of the cage is from wood paid for by the Senior League. They contributed to the deck at the press box and anything that needs repair or replacing they do.
“Without the services of the men’s league, we would still have a baseball team, but the facilities wouldn’t be as good. We’d be hard-pressed to have the nice facilities that we have without them. Coach Pike’s time and energy and the resources from the League have been tremendous.”
Pike, who is the field representative for Osborne, does all of the field maintenance on Sunday evenings. He’s proud of the way it looks and loves taking care of it.
There is a hill next to Floyd Road overlooking Osborne’s baseball field, and from it, Pike’s able to appreciate the relationship the Men’s Senior League has had with the Cardinals over the years.
“If you look from the top of the hill, 10 years ago, and this field was pretty bad,” he said. “But now, we’re so proud of it. (Assistant) coach (Don) Barbie and coach Bulluck and myself, the three of us are so excited about keeping this going.”