You receive an awesome Tournament T shirt! They have the best raffle prizes! Food, gaming and music are a staple! Make sure you attend this great event! The Broatch family is amazing and they run a spectacular event. It saddens me that I won’t be in attendance this year, I’m over on the West Coast. Only 32 teams are allowed in…make sure you grab a spot.
* Where: Joseph A. Foran High School, 80 Foran Rd, Milford, CT 06460 * Date: July 9, 2011 * Time: 9:30am–7:00pm
Please visit to register for the 8th Annual Britton John Broatch Memorial Wiffle Tournament. This year, only 32 teams will play so be sure to register early. Any questions, you may call 203-623-4415.
Each player will receive a t-shirt, lunch, and is guaranteed to play three games. Cash prizes for top three winners. Can’t play, come watch.
It’s a fun, family oriented day. Proceeds fund an annual scholarship in Britton’s memory.
In the long, storied history of the Kalamazoo Wiffle League, there have been plenty of great moments and the league has been heaped with media attention, from Detroit down to Chicago. But what happened last week at Township Park in Oshtemo vaulted the KWL into the national spotlight, as Steve Everett made the greatest catch, and call, in league history.
When the schedule was announced in the preseason, a few marquee matchups were highly noted, none more so than the Week 8 matchup between the defending champion Friars and the Industrials. The Indies attracted the league’s top free agent in Steve Everett and planned to extract some revenge of the Friars, who took them out during the 2010 league championship series. Game one was a nail biter, coming down to an extra inning walk to give the Industrials a 1-0 win. Just when the spectators thought the game couldn’t be topped, the two upper echelon teams went and did just that in game two.
The second game of the night saw Brian Meyers vs. Kevin Marszalek as the pitching matchup, two of the greatest players in the history of the KWL. The Indies took an early lead on a few homers from Everett and Meyers, and added another late one by Zac Adams. However, Meyers tired quickly on the mound, battling a high pitch count and nearly a month long layoff of pitching. After a bout of wildness on the mound led to 3 runs in the fifth for the Friars, the Industrials had a 6-3 lead going into the last frame.
After a few outs, Meyers again lost control of the strike zone, giving up a walk to Andy Ross and a single to Ben Gladysz. With two on, league MVP and Triple Crown winner Marszalek stepped to the plate. After taking a few pitches, Meyers delivered a slow curve to Marszalek, who turned on it with a fury and drove it deep to left field. The potential game tying shot looked to be easily out of the park, but the 6’6″ Everett, playing left field, had other ideas. Everett timed his leap perfectly, catching the ball at the apex of his jump; however his momentum caused him to take a big tumble over the fence. As the Indies celebrated the last out, the Friars and other viewers contested that the ball was carried over the fence and should be a game-tying home run.
As the two teams calmly debated the decision, a suggestion was made in jest that we call the Welke brothers, both Major League Baseball umpires that hail from the Kalamazoo area. The KWL has a standing rule that if a unique scenario occurs, that MLB rules are followed. “I have Bill Welke’s card!” Everett remembered. He pulled out an official MLB business card from his wallet, as he had previously made acquaintances with the ump through his job. The card had Welke’s cell number, and Steve dialed him up. Although no one expected Mr. Welke to answer, cameras followed Everett as he surprisingly got a response on the other end.
Bill Welke and his crew were in San Diego, preparing for a matchup between the Rockies and Padres. Welke happily agreed to hear out the situation, and placed the phone on speaker, so his colleagues could weigh in on the call. After some deliberation, the crew decided that it would be a legal catch, effectively ending the game for the Industrials. Everett thanked the umpires, and both teams celebrated together, knowing that something bigger than the league had just happened.
The story was quickly spread around through the KWL website and word of mouth, and members of the KWL even contacted the website Deadspin to gage interest in a story. After some back and forth emailing, Deadspin originally offered to run it overnight on Thursday; however Tommy Craggs, senior editor, emailed back stating that everyone at the site loved the story, and they wanted to run it in primetime. Jack Dickey of Deadspin wrote a great piece, and used the videos of the play and the call to summarize the events of the game. 30,000 views later, the league had attracted more attention than it knew what to do with. Not only did sports fans pick up on it, but Major League Baseball itself immediately took notice, demanding that YouTube take down the video for showing their logo, technically violating a trademark. Deadspin was gracious enough to offer to edit and host the video for fans to enjoy. Needless to say, it is quite an honor to be the main lead on the same site that broke the Brett Favre wiener scandal.
From there it took on a life of its own. The Sporting News immediately mentioned it on their website. Our local Kalamazoo Gazette did two stories, the second being a two page spread on the front page of the newspaper’s Saturday edition. Perhaps biggest of all, the CBS Early Show broadcast the story and play for the entire nation to see on Saturday. With media inquiries still coming in, and a pending story in the Detroit News, this great story continues to run.
The interaction between a league that was built on fun, and a league that has national television contracts and millionaires upon billionaires, seems to have captured the nation’s attention. When the play happened, it obviously had immediate ramifications for league standings, but everyone also felt overjoyed to be a part of something that was immediately labeled as “bigger than the game.” Perhaps Dickey described the night best: “Later that night, the Rockies and the Padres played a game. Bill Welke was third-base umpire. There were no controversial plays, no tying runs up in the ninth, no circus catches. The biggest call Welke made all day was for 12 dudes in a wiffleball park halfway across the country.”
The Kalamazoo Wiffle League was founded in 2006 and has expanded to 16 teams and over 100 players, with future expansion in the works. The league currently plays on three fields throughout Kalamazoo, and is currently gearing up for the All Star game, Fun Star game Home Run Derby. The league boasts two postseason tournaments, the League Championships, and the Tom Selleck Festival of Champions. The KWL won 8 Wiffy Awards in 2010, including best Team, Website, Columnist and Commissioner. Visit them at www.kzoowiffleball.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @KZooWiffleball. All photos/video courtesy of Ryan Winfield and the Kalamazoo Wiffle League.