Baseball chieftain prizes stability; Profile; HOWARD AT PLAY


Name: Michael Swartz

Job description: President for about 2 1/2 years, Columbia Youth Baseball Association. Started in CYBA as a coach about eight years ago. Organization, growing again after sagging a couple of years ago, has about 1,100 players, starting with tee-ball, going through travel teams, including roughly 200 girls playing softball. Budget is about $100,000 annually. CYBA draws mainly from Columbia and communities immediately surrounding it.

Age: 38

Residence: Moved three years ago to Ellicott City after living in Columbia's Owen Brown village for about eight years.

Personal: Born in Dayton, Ohio. Grew up in Rockville. Magruder High, Miami (Ohio) University alumnus, journalism major in college. Baseball career ended with a blown right knee from snow-football in college, "before my weak arm did me in." Self-employed with a marketing/public relations business, The Michaels Group. Two sons, both of whom play baseball.

Job accomplishments: "We've gotten better as an organization -- far more stable, more disciplined, not prone to making up policy on the spot. I've tried to facilitate that type of thinking with our board, and they embrace it. We work on policy in the off-season, post it on our Web site [http: // ba] and live by it during the season. We're starting to get a lot of positive feedback on that. We're also following Little League Baseball Inc. rules -- the first county organization to do that -- because it makes the game more accessible and fun for recreation-level players."

Greatest challenge for CYBA: "The building and maintaining of infrastructure, part of which is the business discipline I just spoke of. The other part is people. The quality of our league is absolutely dependent upon the number of parents who volunteer to manage, coach, umpire or serve as board members. Fortunately, volunteerism has surged as our organization has improved. But it could always be better."

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