There’s one week left for registration to the 2011 Reds Summer Wiffle Classic! Today the Reds agreed to drop the entry price back to our original $115! (only includes game play and t-shirt) If you are interested in signing up you can register at www.reds.com/summerwiffle OR you can contact Matthew Wagner at the Reds Community Fund directly at email@example.com … he can take your credit card and team signup info. Deadline to register is Wednesday Aug. 3rd!
We’re still encouraging teams to use the fund-raising tool online and qualify for some outstanding incentives! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call or email. Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new ones as well.
There is something magical when you can combine several of the things you love into an event. I had nothing to do with organizing the Reggie Sanders Foundation for Autism Wiffleball game, and I wasn’t exactly excited about it. After getting home from work at one a.m., the thought of getting up to drive across town for a 7:30 a.m. start wasn’t thrilling me much. My excuse? I forgot how much I love this game.
After the day finished, I left the Diamondbacks’ new Talking Stick Field incredibly impressed. I had not met Nick Benas before. I knew of him from being at the helm of Big League Wiffle Ball, but that was it. I learned of this event only last week and had no idea how he was gonna pull it off, but it worked, and it worked incredibly well.
The celebrity game was preceded by Jim Balian, the two time Fastplastic wiffleball player of the year, facing off against a Murderer’s Row of sorts in some fast pitch action. Reggie Sanders started it off, with no success. Steve Finley dug in next and you could tell he was really wanting to put the ball in play against the two time national champ. Finley left the box after what had to be seven strikes. Next up was decathlon world champion Dan O’Brien, who surprised me with a good swing, but he had the same result. Former-Giant pitcher Russ Ortiz showed some very good skills at the dish, but after a first pitch drop ball from Balian pounded the zone, Ortiz shook his head and mumbled. His mumbling didn’t last long after a backwards K, and was followed up by Greg Swindell’s strikeout making it 5 in a row for the Arizona Viper star. Here is what is impressive…the great attitudes by all. I heard Finley telling of his experience all through the day, “there is nothing i could do that’s harder than hitting that” was the former-D’Backs first reaction after his at-bat.
The slow pitch celebrity game worked also, it really did. Former Met Al Schmeltz pounded two bombs to lead O-B’s Old Timers to a big win over Reggies All-Stars. I tried to not getting a stalking citation from bothering Bert Campaneris. The great former A’s shortstop from the late 60’s and early 70’s looked like he was in better shape than most people half his age. He still has a great swing, and the speed is still there. Did I mention attitudes? This was a fun group that actively involved themselves with everyone around. Nick and Jim represented our sport very well, and seemed to be able to mix in with anyone. Not enough for you yet? How about Miss Arizona lacing a single and running bases in high heels?
Great day that had me really missing everything about Wiffle, the friendships, competition, everything. I really hope to get to work with Nick in any future events to sets up, he pulled off an incredible day for a great cause that a lot of people will talk about for awhile.
Message from Nick Benas: Jim Balian was amazing on the mound, please stay tune this week for videos and pics! A special thanks goes out to Mr. Jim Dalby for taking control of both teams in the dugout and handling the stacked line-up cards.
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.
Why you should participate: This is a once in a life time opportunity to play WIFFLE ball on a world class facility with world class athletes and raise money for a great cause. Play the game of WIFFLE ball with former MLB players and mingle with them at the after event reception, being held in the stadium. Entertain clients by allowing them to come out and enjoy a wonderful morning of friendly competition, while raising money for a cause that is affecting 1 out of 100 children.
The Reggie Sanders Foundation
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ALUMNI
Big League Wiffle Ball
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center
Yellow Bat Fury
Saturday, July 9th 2011 MLB ALL STAR Weekend
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Scottsdale, AZ (Home Of The Arizona Diamondbacks & Colorado Rockies Spring Training)
Check-in 8am to 9am First Pitch 9am
Only Accepting 4 Exclusive Teams to Support Reggie Sanders’ Charity
Autographed Memorabilia & Prizes Provided 1st Through 4th Place
Team Package (Bring 9 Players) – $2,500
Guarantee of (2) 5-inning WIFFLE BALL GAMES- Winner’s & Loser’s Bracket
Guarantee to play with Former/Present Professional Baseball Players & Celebrities
Each player receives a tournament t-shirt and a ticket for the Awards Reception
Individual Package – $250 per person
Guarantee of (2) 5-inning WIFFLE BALL GAMES- Winner’s & Loser’s Bracket
Guarantee to play with Former/Present Professional Baseball Players & Celebrities
A tournament t-shirt and a ticket for The Awards Reception
Tickets to Watch the Game – $2
Please contact: John Zackery
Special Events Coordinator
Reggie Sanders Foundation
(602) 421-3479 firstname.lastname@example.org
Big League Wiffle Ball is proud to be the gate keeper of the World’s largest database of WIFFLE BALL Players and their respective teams. Japan, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Italy, UK and US. We have so many people signing up, it’s hard for us to stay on top of sending out certificates in a timely manner. We are trying to crank as fast a possible.
As for the newsletter…we ask that you remain patient as we strive to provide great content and ask permission of other tournament and league directors to provide any upcoming events or information. We also encourage equipment manufacturers, lifestyle brands, food and beverage companies to reach out as well. (Sponsor@BigLeagueWiffleBall.Com)
Big League plans on publishing The Professional WIFFLE Ball Players Association to the BLWB website, Fall of 2011! You will be able to view a player’s team name, home town or whether or not he or she bats/throws left or right. Just like the Baseball Encyclopedia…you will be able to view whoever played the game on a professional level.
If you haven’t gotten on the list, please do so NOW…it’s Free!PWBPA
Guest Post From Our Fans Over Atmaxfrankel.com
The Ten Most Intimidating Pitchers in Baseball
We’ve decided to compile a list of the ten most intimidating active pitchers in baseball (with one small exception). These are not necessarily the best pitchers in the league, just the ones we’d least like to step into the box against for whatever reason:
10. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs: Big Z is pretty scary because he’s crazy. You never know what he might do and I really get the feeling that he doesn’t either. I never want to face a pitcher that just got out of anger management.
9. Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox: Pap is definitely a scary guy on the mound but he tries too hard. You can’t think about being intimidating to be truly intimidating. He has potential though, a mid 90’s fastball and those crazy eyes certainly don’t hurt. Papelbon will never be a top 5 intimidating pitcher material until he just relaxes and lets the intimidation ooze.
8. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: The Freak is intimidating because he’s not. He stands 5’10” on the mound but has a crazy wind up and blazing fastball. His reputation makes him even more scary. He’s the type of guy I’d love to have a drink with but definitely not step in against.
7. Manny Ramirez: Ok, so he’s not a pitcher and he’s technically not active either but tell me you wouldn’t be shaking in your spikes if Manny was pitching to you.
6. Jon Rauch, Toronto Blue Jays: This guy is 6’10” and covered in tattoos. He is scary. He’s got flames on one arm and some interlocking stuff on the other. He’s got the letter “I” on the back of his neck. That’s terrifying. I’m not sure why but it is.
5. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox: Beckett is mostly scary because he used to be scary. Back when he threw in the upper 90’s, he wasn’t afraid to put in the ear hole of a guy’s helmet if he felt like it. He’s in the 5 spot out of respect for that, and because he still has that mentality even if he can only touch 93 now a days.
4. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds: He throws 105 mph. You try to hit that, let alone try to not get hit by it. I don’t even think I could see something moving that fast. Intimidating. Also, he’s got “105.1 MPH” tattooed on his biceps so you know he’s the man.
3. Marino Rivera, New York Yankees: Tell me your not intimidated when the greatest closer of all time comes jogging into the game with “Enter Sandman” blaring in front of 50,000 raucous fans in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. Tell me.
2. Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants: Fear the Beard! Wilson sports that ridiculously long, shoe polish black, “magical” beard that no one is allowed to touch, an “I don’t give a damn” attitude, and a 98 mph fastball with movement. He is absolutely the man. Don’t believe me? Check out the Jim Rome interview. Or the George Lopez interview. Or what he said about Tony La Russa last year after the Cards manager got him fined $1000 because his cleats were too bright. Or the fact that he showed up for the bus to the airport for to go to Philly for last year’s NLCS with nothing but the clothes on his back, his hat, and his glove.
1. Kyle Farnsworth, Tampa Bay Rays: Farnsworth is consistently voted the toughest guy in the Majors by other players. He doesn’t talk to his teammates, he just listens to his iPod and does what he wants. He’s gotten in more brawls than I can count, and won all of them. He is the baseball equivalent of Chuck Norris, in Rec-Specs. You know he would kill you and just keep walking, he’s that tough. You can only criticize him from the other side of the TV. I’d face every other guy on this list 100 times before I’d want to see Farnsworth once. Scary man.
Did we miss anybody? Overrate anyone? Let us know. If you want to see more stuff like this or even some that’s completely different, check us out. Off The Bench, a mostly baseball blog, is located at maxfrankel.com. Stop by to see what we’ve got and learn a little about us.
When baseball ended for me in high school that was it. Wiffleball throughout my childhood and teens had always been in the backseat. After not playing wiffleball for a long time family and friends played at a camping trip in May of 2009. Kevin and I wanted to get better for the next trip and so it began. We stapled a window screen to a 2×4 for a K-zone bought some balls and pitched from 42 ft. Wanting to learn how to throw new pitches, we searched the internet where I came in contact with known pro Sean “wiffleboy28″ Steffy. We sort of became email buddies and friends over time despite living miles apart. With his videos and support wiffleball became a regular topic of ours. With my hunger for competition I began to record our games to post on Youtube, where again I was contacted by another known pro. Only this time Sylvie Serrano of California told me that there was a wiffleball league right in our backyard. We met at a GSWL preseason session out in Davis, CA and were instantly recognized as those “youtube” guys. I was shocked. I thought basically only people that watched those videos were family and friends and mainly Kevin and I. We played, and learned some new techniques in wiffleball and rest assured we joined the league after 7 just starting a mere 7 months before. Only 4 teams here in Cali the GSWL fast pitch league trained us quick and hard. The rest is history. With Kevin and I practicing literally rain or shine and scrimmages with Sylvie and other teammates we stood in there with some of the top players of the competitive wiffleball community. We were on the runner up team to the now GSTC National champions in the DIABLOS. Then I was fortunate enough to play w/ Sylvie and others in the OPEN national championship and taking an unofficial 3rd place out of the top 13 teams in the country. So take it from me that with practice and practice AND practice, you can compete with the best around in Wiffleball.