20 seasons of baseball.
19 seasons (thanks COVID season) of trying to win a Frontier League Championship.
20 seasons of frustration, defeat and heartbreak.
10 playoff appearances.
7 Divison Championships.
4 Championship Series Appearances.
0 Frontier League Championships.
In Game 5 of the 2021 Frontier League Championship, the Washington WildThings were defeated by the Schaumburg Boomers 10-4.
After splitting the first two games, the series headed back to Washington.
Game 3 went to the WildThings, and it appeared that the championship that had eluded them for so long would finally find a home in Washington, PA.
But the runs just wouldn’t come for the WildThings in Game 4, and the Boomers forced a Game 5 at WildThings Park.
The runs came in Game 5, but once again not for the WildThings. The Boomers put up 10 runs on 13 hits while Washington, even with a little 9th inning magic, only managed 4 runs on 5 hits.
Honestly, I had a completely different article prepared before Game 4 even began. It chronicled my 20 seasons and how much seeing the WildThings bring home the championship really meant to me. I was THAT confident that it would finally be THE year. All I had to do was hit “publish” while I was celebrating.
I poured my heart into that article just as I’ve poured my heart into this team for 20 seasons. Hopefully one day, the article will see the light of day. The guys I highlighted deserve that much.
But here I am crushed and defeated for another season as I see yet another visiting team celebrate a championship at my home field.
It’s been said that “losing builds character.” If that’s the case… this organization and their fans sure have a lot of character built up.
I know I do. I know that without a doubt, without this team, without this stadium, without the constant ups and downs of following Frontier League baseball… I would not be the person that I am today.
Without 20 seasons of Washington WildThings baseball, there would be no baseball Coach Thompson. There would be no Kayla Thompson – NASM certified personal trainer. There would be no Indy Ball Island.
This blog was built around my love for independent baseball. A love that grew year after year. And yes… even loss after loss. The highs are never truly high if you don’t suffer through the lows. And every single season has brought some pretty big highs… and ultimately every single season has brought the lowest of lows.
But I am thankful for my time at this ballpark and following this team.
I’m grateful for all the friendships I’ve made and for all the people that have turned into a second family to me.
I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned and endured through the years and years of heartbreaking defeat.
I was 12 when the WildThings played their first season and lost their first championship series. And 31 year old me is just as disappointed and heartbroken as 12 year old me was… more so actually.
Because now I know everything these players and coaches go through to get here. I know the struggles, the politics, the dedication, the sacrifice, and yes I sure know the heartbreak.
But damn do I just want to know what it’s like to win a Frontier League championship.
Well, just like the other cliché goes… “there’s always next year.”
And if there isn’t a next year for some of you… Zach Strecker in particular… good luck and thank you. Thank you for the years of excitement, character building nights, Frontier League record breaking celebrations, meet the team preseason drinks, a season of way too many selfies, and every single save. Guys like Streck are the reason I keep coming back. Thank you for putting your whole heart and soul into a kids game.