Tag Archives: Dennis Pelfrey

Frontier League Introduces Sudden Death Baseball

Last season, the Frontier League decided extra inning games with a homerun derby. While exciting at times, the homerun derbys took time to set up and still took a while to decide a winner. This year, it has developed a plan to end games with an inning of sudden death baseball.

See the official press release below:

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced the introduction of a sudden-death tiebreaker to determine the winner of extra-inning games.

For any regular season game tied at the end of regulation (nine innings for a traditional game and seven innings for a double-header game), and remaining tied following one inning of play using International Tiebreaker (ITB) rules, a sudden death inning will determine the winner.

Field managers will meet with umpires with the home manager choosing offense or defense. For the team on offense, the player on the lineup card immediately preceding the batter due up will start on first base. The defensive team will have three outs to prevent the offense from scoring. If the team on offense scores they will win the game, while if the defensive team retires the side without scoring a run, they will win. As with the ITB runner, if the runner placed on first base scores, the run will be unearned. The sudden death rule guarantees that no game will be played beyond 10.5 innings or beyond 8.5 innings for a double-header game.

“While sudden death will not happen every game, we believe when it does it will have the fans on their feet,” commented Kevin Winn, Deputy Commissioner for On-Field Operations. “Created by a former manager, this initiative received overwhelming support of our current field managers and Rules Committee.”

The rule was first proposed by former Florence field manager Dennis Pelfrey, who currently manages in the San Francisco Giants’ organization. It was refined by a committee of Frontier League managers and administrators, including managers Andy McCauley of Evansville, Quebec’s Pat Scalabrini, and Ottawa’s Bobby Brown.

“Short of playing traditional extra innings, the sudden death tiebreaker is the best option for determining the outcome of a game,” stated McCauley, the Frontier League’s winningest active manager and 2021 Manager of the Year. “With regard to game time, injury prevention, and a baseball strategic outcome I feel the new sudden death rule could be an innovative solution.”

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball is an official Partner League of Major League Baseball and the largest of its kind in professional baseball. The Frontier League has moved over 1,000 players to MLB Teams in its 29-year history. The 2022 Frontier League season opens on Thursday, May 12. Please visit www.frontierleague.com.

Celebrating (the Florence) Freedom This 4th of July Weekend

I’ve been to hundreds of baseball games in the past few years. Players, on teams both home and away, come and go constantly in this sport.

As an advocate for indy ball and minor league baseball, I’ve seen plenty.

However this weekend, I was able to meet up with a team that made me feel as if I’ve known all of them since the beginning of their careers. This might sound a little crazy, especially since I had only met two of the guys previously, but sometimes, that’s just how it happens in baseball. When you get a group that gels so well together, it’s easy to come in and feel as if you belong.

The Florence Freedom of the Frontier League came into town this Friday to play a three game series against my “home team” the Washington Wildthings. From the coaching staff (Pelf, AJ, Sean, and Brian) to the players (especially the fantastic bullpen), everyone welcomed me like I was coming to their home stadium, not the other way around!

The Freedom haven’t gotten off to the best start in the league – they’re currently in last place in the West division – but that hasn’t stopped their drive, determination and great attitude. While they have a tall mountain to climb, sweeping the Lake Erie Crushers last week and going 8-2 in their last 10 games shows that they are moving steadily in the right direction.

For the most part, the Freedom are a true indy ball team. The majority of the players have been around indy ball their entire careers with only a handful of players that have had any affiliated experience. For more than a few guys, including two players who just concluded their college careers, Florence has been their only professional experience.

In a league where affiliated cast-offs have become more the norm than the exception lately, this team has committed to having a roster full of true independent players.  That may be why I’m so partial to this group.

The indy ball life is tough, but for 80% of the team, that’s all they’ve ever known.

Friday, I was able to make their stay in Washington just a bit easier.  After catching up with a player I’ve known for the last few years thanks to this site, outfielder/DH Austin Newell, I passed out as many 20% off Denny’s restaurant coupons as I could collect so far this season.  A 20% off coupon may not seem like much (and in the grand scheme of things I know it isn’t!), but the guys were all more appreciative than I could ever have imagined.

Me with Austin Newell after giving him his drawing!

During the game, I also got a chance to talk to their bullpen and get to know them. As far as indy ball bullpens go, this one is full of the characters you would expect. They have the veteran indy ball guy, a couple of affiliated guys – one vet spending his last days in pro ball and a rookie trying to fix some things to eventually get back, true rookies, and guys at every step in-between of their careers. They’re the perfect balance of being loose and having fun while getting down to business late in the game. They instantly won me over.

Me and my favorite group of pitchers!

I did happen to notice that their bullpen snack bag was lacking a bit during the game. So naturally, I decided to take on the challenge to make them a better one for the next day. Saturday morning, I went shopping for whatever snacks, candy and pizza thingys/bread things (the name used by Bubba and the others who have never experienced the greatness of pepperoni rolls) could fit in the Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack I bought – they clearly needed an upgrade over the Disney Princess backpack they’ve been carrying!

Leo packed and ready to join the bullpen

If you love independent baseball and want to help the guys but don’t know how, may I suggest doing something similar for a team.  Seeing the looks on guys’ faces when they are handed a cartoon backpack filled with treats is really something special.

As it turns out, the guys had a surprise for me as well! During the exchange after BP, the bullpen handed me a ball signed by the entire team and before the start of the game, AJ their hitting coach came out with a brand new Florence Freedom bat signed by everyone.

Honestly, I don’t do what I do for anything. I write this site and help players when I can because I truly love this sport and the guys that play it. But with that being said, it is incredible to be treated the way I have been by this team. I was absolutely blown away by this group of guys and how supportive they are of me and the site. It was nice to be able to explain to them what Indy Ball Island is all about too!

To the Florence Freedom players (especially my favorite group of pitchers who put up with me hanging around the bullpen – TJ Bozeman, Jeremy Hutchinson, Pete Levitt, Davis “Bubba” Adkins, Tanner Kiest, and  Tony Vocca) and the coaching staff: Dennis Pelfrey, AJ Cicconi, Sean Repay, and Brian White, THANK YOU for a perfect weekend of watching indy ball. Just know that you all have a fan for life no matter where you go! Good luck for the rest of the season and beyond!