Tag Archives: Black Sox Pro Baseball

Yinz Play Baseball At WHAT Time?!

This summer, baseball was played from morning until night at Wild Things Park in Washington, PA.

Just like every summer for the past 20 years, the Washington Wild Things played baseball in the evenings from May through September.

But for the second summer in a row, the stadium was also host to the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy and their own double headers every morning.

Born out of the summer of COVID baseball and the need for players to stay active and ready to play ball, the Black Sox pro baseball organization created the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy to give guys a place to play the game that they love.

This year, the Yinzer became a place that the MLB Partner leagues could rely on to find game-ready players at a moment’s notice.

In fact, more than 80 players went through the Black Sox/Yinzer to play in one of the four MLB Partner Leagues this summer. (More on some of those players will be featured in upcoming posts throughout the off season… Stay tuned!!)

I have always been a big supporter of the Black Sox. I’ve known the owner, Joe Torre, since I started this website over 6 years ago.

I’ve been in the dugout when it was hard to find players and the teams struggled to put up runs against established indy teams. I’ve also been there when guys were doing anything to get in that same dugout and have a chance to put up competitive numbers and win against those same indy teams.

They’ve adopted the wrestling “NWO” mentality… the outsiders who come in, take over and change the game.

This website was created for the guys like the Black Sox… For players who are seen as the underdogs… For the true grinders of the sport… For the guys who just want a chance to prove themselves…

It’s for the guys who get up and drive to the ballpark for early work before 7am… and play a double header starting at 9am… That’s right… the majority of the games this season started at NINE IN THE MORNING.

It’s for the players who put in the work on the field and then help out in the stands – charting, chasing foul balls, working the scoreboard, announcing on the PA system, and live streaming on social media…

It’s for those same players who – after early work/BP and two games of their own – stay around to work in the concession stands during Frontier League games just to make enough money to live and play baseball.

These guys played hard every single day with the hope that they would be the next guy up… the next one to get a chance to prove themselves.

Some guys were used for spot starts and to fill depleted positions. Those guys would drop everything at a moment’s notice just to meet up with a team in need… sometimes with no idea how they will even get home if they were released after they did their job.

Some were able to be a part of a “travel” squad who played games north of the boarder when other teams couldn’t field their own full roster.

And then some even proved themselves and stayed around for a lot longer than anyone (outside of this Black Sox organization) ever thought possible.

In fact, a few of them are currently playing in the Frontier League and American Association playoffs or finishing up the regular season in the Atlantic League.

This guys are at the very heart of indy ball and what it’s all about. THEY are the reason I love this sport the way that I do.

On a personal level, this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons of my life.

Getting up and driving an hour to the stadium to be there by 9am, sitting in the blazing sun for two straight games while watching the Killer B’s (the eventual Yinzer League champions), Road Warriors, Brilliance Sox and Wolfpac, and then staying in town to watch the Wild Things play in the evenings… I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

And those Wild Things evenings meant even more this season when my favorite Black Sox guys were working around the ballpark or just sitting in the stands because they just couldn’t get enough baseball.

To those players who I got to talk baseball with and just enjoy the game in the company of someone who truly loves the game the way that I do… Thank you. Those were some of my favorite moments of the entire season.

I was also fortunate enough to travel and see former Yinzer players thrive in the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues. There is something special about seeing a player who put his heart and soul into the Black Sox showcase their talent and commitment in a top league. It’s on the same level as seeing a brother and family member succeed.

And that’s because it is exactly that… it’s a family. Those guys who play against each other every day, who are competing against each other for attention and a chance to “make it” are still brothers. When one succeeds, they all celebrate.

Any time a former Yinzer would be at the plate or on the mound in Wild Things Park – no matter what team they happened to be on – you could always find a crowd of current Yinzers behind home plate cheering on their brothers because…

When you’re NWO… you’re NWO for life.

And if you didn’t know… Now you do.

Stay tuned this off season for more features and articles highlighting players from the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy.

Upsets? Underdogs? Not on THIS Island.

Tonight’s game between the Road Warrior Black Sox and the Washington WildThings was the reason Indy Ball Island was created.

The two teams played the first game in a best of 3 semi-final playoff series to determine which team will move on to the championship series next weekend. The league, created by the WildThings with help from Joe Torre and the Black Sox, was thrown together as a 4 team/1 stadium deal to bring baseball to Western Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two teams (the WildThings and the Slammin’ Sammies) are ran and operated by the WildThings. The other two teams (Road Warrior Black Sox and Baseball Brilliance Sox) were put together through Joe Torre, PJ Phillips and the Black Sox Road Warriors touring league.

The Black Sox players do not get paid. In fact, the players usually pay a fee to be in the Black Sox camps. They are also tasked with finding and paying for housing. The guys often struggle to find affordable living arrangements for the entire season, so they bounce around from place to place while trying to scrape up enough money to pay for food. Some even take on jobs as Uber or Door Dash drivers just to make ends meet in between practice and games.

They are often seen as the underdogs. The guys who didn’t have a chance to make it. The guys who weren’t good enough.

Winning a game against THE team that created the whole league would be an upset. They aren’t supposed to win. They aren’t the guys the (socially distanced) fans are there to see. No. They’re the nobodies.

But not to me… Not on this island.

We don’t believe in upsets and underdogs here. Why? Because I know their stories. Everyone has one. And to still be playing baseball for no pay in the middle of a pandemic, you have to have something else too…

Heart.

Passion.

A true love for the game.

Now don’t get me wrong, every baseball player in indy ball must possess these things. But these guys might just have a little more.

They have a chip on their shoulders. A desire to prove everyone wrong. I’ve been in the dugout with the Black Sox players over the years. I know the passion that they have for the game of baseball.

I’ve followed these players for years. I’ve seen all their highs and lows play out in leagues like the Pecos and Pacific through their social media and nightly box scores. These are “my boys.”

I’ve helped some of them link up with Joe and the Black Sox. I’ve fed some of them when they came to town as visitors in the Frontier League. I’ve watched them get called up and been there to let them vent when they got released.

They are the ones I root for. The players who I cheer for. The ones I want to see succeed.

They don’t want to be considered “the Cinderella story.” No, they just want to be seen as winners.

And tonight… the Black Sox were winners. The team defeated the WildThings 16-5. If they win tomorrow, they will “upset” the home team and move on to the championship series.

During the 9th inning, I turned to one of the Black Sox players who played in the earlier game as part of the Baseball Brilliance team and said… “This is why I created Indy Ball Island. For nights like this.”

I’m proud of you boys.

If you know… you know.

Change the culture.