Al Maag isn’t your typical corporate bigwig. Straight out of Chicago, it’s no wonder that Al loves Chicago style hot dogs, beers, and sports. Serving as Avnet’s Chief Communications Officer, Al finds time to have fun while helping out others organizes softball tournament for charity, and is even in the works of creating a softball museum in Chicago.
We had the opportunity to toss the ball around will Al (only figuratively unfortunately) and asked about his love for the sport and why people should check out the Big Softball Tournament in Tempe on April 21.
DLT: Could you briefly explain what big ball softball is?
The game of softball started in 1887, 125 years ago when Yale and Harvard folks were waiting for the ticker tape scores of a football game…wrapped up a boxing glove and starting hitting with a broom stick. The 16 inch ball stayed large outdoors because the parks and schoolyards were so small and no money for gloves…every generation plays from grammar school to old timers.
What’s your favorite part of the sport?
Memories and creating new ones. It’s Chicago, my home town and playing 16 inch, eating Chicago food, and having fun brings a smile to my face.
What is your video all about?
It’s a 90 minute video on the history of the sport…characters and stories on the Chicago game. Hosted by a Hall of Fame announcer in Chicago Jack Brickhouse (passed away)…it was the catalyst of hall of fame and my favorite thing I ever did. Took 2 years. I love history and softball is in my blood.
Have you participated in the softball game classic before?
Yes, when I was younger and my body was faster than my brain…
Why should businesses, whether playing or sponsoring, get involved with the classic?
Company Morale is VITAL, great way to plan, play and celebrate Emerson, Insight, DBacks, Don & Charlie’s, Spark and Crescent Crown are key partners.
Could you tell us about your Big Ball Museum in Chicago?
16 years in the making…we have an outdoor display/park in Forest Park, IL showing over 300 inductees…now we are finishing the shell of a building and then if we raise $500,000 we can finalize displays on this legendary sport.
What is your favorite position to play?
Pitcher because I can control the game…but I love managing…maybe I’m crazy, but I love team interaction.
Aside from the fun and ability to help out a charity, why should people attend the game?
To watch a bunch of suits, CEO’s beat the sports radio station XTRA 910 lead by our CEO Rick Hamada.
How competitive does the tournament get?
Cut-throat during semi-finals and at the end…their DNA is to be competitive.
Why those specific charities?
Dogs making ill kids happy, help get rid of Juvenile Diabetes and helping the AZ sports history being told…no brainers to me.
Since this is the 9th year of the tournament, has it been getting more popular over the years?
Yes, we have gone from 16-30 teams…plus 0ver 700-1000 in attendance.
What would you say is the major goal of the tournament?
Fun, company morale, networking and helping charities.
Favorite thing about the tournament?
Chicago Hot dogs, beef sandwiches, pizza and Old Style beer from Chicago.