All posts by IndyBallIsland

28. Baseball fan. I prefer indy ball and the minors over the majors. If it's summer, you can find me at a ballpark. The Washington Wild Things and the Pittsburgh Pirates are my "hometown" teams, but I'm always up for taking a baseball road trip! Follow me on Twitter: @kmthomp29

When Independent Worlds Collide

At first glance, pro wrestling and baseball do not really have a lot in common.

But indy wrestling and indy baseball are a lot more a like than they are different.

For starters, independent wrestling companies have been holding shows in minor league ballparks all across America for many years.

That’s actually where I found out just how similar these worlds are.

Last year during a baseball game, I won tickets to a pro wrestling event being held at the Washington WildThings ballpark. Since the guys were obviously on the road, I figured I’d go check it out. I watched pro wrestling on TV when I was younger, so it wasn’t completely foreign to me; however, I quickly learned that the world of indy wrestling was something I wasn’t really aware of, but it was still oddly familiar all the same.

At that show, I met local indy wrestler JaXon Argos. Because of him, I started going to events he was wrestling in and got to learn all about the grind that is independent wrestling. I instantly felt the same “at home” feeling at shows that I felt at a baseball stadium. The athletes are giving it their all and the fans are 100% behind their favorites. It just made sense to get into the world of indy wrestling.

Indy wrestling and baseball will once again collide at WildThings Park when Argos throws out the first pitch for the Wrestling Night promo game being held on July 26th, the day before Big Time Wrestling comes back to the ballpark.

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Argos talked about why the two worlds can come together so well and why it’s always a win to have him on the card, “Wrestling fans and baseball fans are both passionate about what they’re watching, and they know if they’re not loud, the atmosphere drops. Fortunately for fans of both, I hit a grand slam every time I enter the park or arena so the fans are on their feet at the end of it all anyway! – #2XROTY”

Yes… Argos is a 2 time rookie of the year. I won’t go into the details, but just know that anything can happen in the wrestling world.

From one wrestling Jaxon to another

I put out a question on Twitter asking if anyone who was an indy wrestler had any connections to pro baseball. Before writing this post, I wanted a true comparison of the two from someone who knew both worlds.

Professional wrestler Jaxon Stone answered the inquiry. Stone, who is now wrestling all over on the independent scene, was once a minor league baseball player until he ultimately decided to make the switch.  Here is a little bit of his story:

I started playing baseball at 7. Baseball was my first love. My grandpa played professional baseball, and he was a big influence on me. I played high school ball at Plano West Senior High School where I won All-State awards. I only got one D1 offer which was to South Dakota State.

In my final season at SDSU, I led the squad in all three triple crown categories with a .318 batting average, seven home runs and 34 runs batted in. I was first-team All-Summit League and All-American, and I also led my team with 69 hits, 13 doubles and a .475 slugging percentage, while adding a .992 fielding percentage. I was a three-year starter at first base and finished my Jackrabbit career ranked second in putouts with 1,288.

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But throughout college, I always knew I wanted to be a wrestler. During my senior year, I thought I was going to get drafted but did not. I spent the rest of the summer traveling around attending tryouts. Eventually I got signed to a low-a affiliate of the Atlanta Braves where I played for two months. My career was very short lived, but I was so burnt out.

During that time I realized how much of a grind minor league / indy ball is. All the guys there are chasing a dream, and it creates an amazing atmosphere. But the pay sucks and the travel is brutal. After the season, I didn’t get asked back and decided my baseball career was over. I moved back to Texas and started personal training where I began wrestling training in January of 2015.

I easily figured how similar baseball and wrestling were in terms of making it to the top. Indy wrestling is a grind when you first start. The pay sucks, the travel is hard, but the dream is always there which makes the struggle beautiful. Three years into my career and things are wonderful. I’ve had a WWE tryout, traveled all over the world and the pay and travel are way better now because my job is being a professional wrestler.

Indy ball or indy wrestling, I just love following these guys and watching them grind out doing something they love.

All of these athletes have their careers in their own hands, and while wrestlers have a bit more control, as they also have to sell themselves and be creative – they don’t have an entire minor league team behind them to come up with crazy promotions and ideas – in the end, the more dedicated (and crazier) you are, the better.

Both of these wrestlers are extremely dedicated to their craft. They grind it out and put in the hard work. They put up with minimal pay and tough travel to realize their dreams. That’s not just independent wrestling. That’s not just independent baseball.

That’s the life of an independent athlete.

JaXon Argos and Jaxon Stone are both fantastic follows on social media. If you want to get a little more insight into the world of indy wrestling, I suggest giving them a follow.

Also, if you want to support them or independent wrestling in general, check out their Pro Wrestling Tees stores (Pro Wrestling Tees has hundreds of indy wrestlers who sell their own merch to earn money to continue living their dreams) or go to a local indy wrestling show in your area. They can be found all over the place: in gyms, halls, bars, churches, old schools, fairs and festivals, and yes… even baseball stadiums.

JaXon Argos:

Jaxon Stone:

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2018 Frontier League Draft Class – Mid Season Update

All-Star break has arrived! That means that it’s time for the mid-season update about the 2018 Frontier League Draft Class.

Out of 34 players drafted, 16 players were on an active roster on Opening Day and an additional player started the season on the DL.

Now, 1 player has been signed to affiliated ball, 9 players are still on an active roster, 2 are on the DL, 1 player is on the suspended list and 4 were released. Here’s a look at how the players are doing.

Still Active:
RHP John Michael Knighton (BeachBums) 3-3 record with a 3.53 ERA in 20 games and 28 IP. Has 18 saves and 29 strikeouts. Member of the Experienced All-Star team.
INF Jeff Cardenas (Grizzlies) .198 average with 18 hits and 9 RBI in 91 AB.
C Cody Clark (Slammers) .139 average with 11 hits, 2 HR and 6 RBI in 79 AB.
C Ronnie Healy (Thunderbolts) .219 average with 14 hits, 1 HR and 9 RBI in 64 AB.
RHP Corey Kimber (Slammers) 3-2 record with a 2.61 ERA in 17 games and 31 IP. Has 34 strikeouts.
3B Zach Lavy (Rascals) .206 average with 29 hits, 6 HR and 16 RBI in 141 AB. Has 3 doubles, 3 triples and 3 stolen bases.
C Trey Fulton (Slammers) .320 average with 33 hits and 7 RBI in 103 AB. Member of the Rookie All-Star team.
RHP Jacob Gangelhoff (Rascals) – released by the Rascals on June 13th but then re-signed with them on July 1st.  Has a 0-0 record and 6.00 ERA in 8 games and 15 IP.
RHP Max Biedrzycki (Crushers) 5-1 record with a 3.80 ERA in 20 games and 26 IP. Has 23 strikeouts.

Signed to affiliated ball:
RHP Jameson McGrane (Freedom) – signed with the Miami Marlins organization after pitching out of the Freedom bullpen. Had a 0.00 ERA and 2 saves in 9 games and 9.1 IP with 19 strikeouts and only 2 hits and 4 walks before signing. Pitched 1 inning picking up the save with the Marlins rookie ball team. Moved up to the Batavia MuckDogs (Short Season) and currently has a 2.08 ERA and 1 save in 4 games and 4.1 IP.

DL:
RHP Steven Heilenbach (Thunderbolts) Placed on the 14 day DL on June 6th after pitching in 6 games and 9.1 IP with a 0-1 and 0.96 ERA.
RHP Griffin Kreig (WildThings) Placed on the 14 day DL on May 19th. He appeared in 2 games for 4.1 IP with a 8.30 ERA.

Suspended List:
RHP Ryan McSweeney (Grizzlies) Placed on the suspended list on June 14th. He appeared in 13 games and 17.1 IP with a 1-1 record and 6.23 ERA.

Released since Opening Day:
LHP Michael O’Neal (Slammers) – Started the season on the DL. Released on May 30th without appearing in a game.
LHP William Corsen Carr (BeachBums) Released on June 9th after having a 1-1 record and 9.97 ERA in 11 games and 15.1 IP.
OF Brandon Pugh (Released by Rascals, signed by Freedom) Opened the season with Florence but was traded back to the Rascals on June 13th. Had a .256 average in 82 AB with the Freedom. Then he was released by the Rascals on June 16th after 0 hits in only only 2 games and 4 AB.
RHP Juan Perez (Crushers) Released on June 23rd. Had a 1-1 record with a 7.20 ERA in 6 games (all starts) and 25 IP.