Tag Archives: Evansville Otters

Why Isn’t Anything Being Done about the Evansville Cheating Scandal?

Two weeks ago today (August 4th), I was informed from some players within the Frontier League that big news was about to drop and an official statement would be made public by the league the following day.

However, an official statement was and has never made. The story that has been creating buzz around the league did come out publicly when the Evansville Courier-Press printed an article on August 6th.

It was discovered that an experienced pitcher with the Evansville Otters, Will Oliver, had turned 28 on July 4th, which happens to be against Frontier League age limit rules.

Frontier rules state:

No player or player/coach may have attained twenty seven (27) years of age prior to January 1 of that playing season with the exception of one player who will be designated as a “Veteran” player who may have attained thirty (30) years of age prior to January 1 of that playing season provided that he meets the qualifications listed below.

For the 2015 season, players must have been born on or after January 1, 1988 to be eligible, aside from the Veteran classification player (one per team) who must have been born on or after January 1, 1985.

Oliver does not qualify for Veteran status because he was not on a Frontier League roster for 100 games over the last two years. He only played with Evansville towards the end of the 2014 season, not nearly enough to qualify him as a veteran of the league.

What’s worse is that the team had presented three different birth years for Oliver.

Oliver’s real birthday is listed as July 4, 1987 according to Baseball Reference. During the season, he has been listed with a birthday of  July 4, 1988 and July 4, 1987 on different official rosters submitted to the league

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and July 4, 1990 on Pointstreak – the official stats website for the Frontier League.

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Oliver pitched in 13 games with the Otters with a 9-2 record and 1.59 ERA. Ultimately, the Otters ended up winning 10 games in which Oliver pitched, and the team is currently tied for first place with the Southern Illinois Miners.

Although he is not listed in any transaction page for the Frontier League, Oliver left the Otters at the beginning of the month and went to the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.  On August 10th, he was quoted in an article on myCentralJersey.com saying:

I was in Evansville — and I found out from two other teams before my manager, which was irritating, but it wasn’t intentional because gossip got out fast — that I ended up aging out of the league due to a contract technicality,” said Oliver, who was set to make his team debut during Monday night’s game against the Sugar Land Skeeters.

The league commissioner approved my contract in April, so it’s their fault for missing it. Our manager sent me the contract in the off-season and asked if I wanted to play again, and I said of course. I loved it in Evansville, so it was a no-brainer. But I found out a few days ago that I aged out, and they’re nullifying my contract and I couldn’t play anymore. They wanted to take away my wins I had. I don’t think that’s going to happen, because that’s just not right.

From my research, this is the first time in the 23 year history of the Frontier League that anything such as this has occurred. Something needs to be done to set a standard and show that cheating and fudging birth dates to get around league rules will not be tolerated.

Since the story started spreading throughout the league, there have been many rumors on what is going to happen to the Otters. The first rumor was that the team has to forfeit the 10 games in which they won that Oliver had pitched. The next was that the team would be fined, but their record would be left as is.  The last one that I heard was that they would be forced to forfeit the games in which Oliver played in, but the teams that lost would not end up being credited with the win.

I’ve also heard many rumors among players that they believe the Frontier League will do nothing because the commissioner, Bill Lee, is very close to the Evansville Front Office and doesn’t want to cause any problems for them. The league has called in lawyers to investigate, but it appears as if they do not want to actually bring about a penalty to the team.

The Washington Wild Things Blog is the only other website I could find that even brought up this story.  It seems as if the Frontier League is hoping that they can sweep this under the rug, and no one would notice the difference.

With less than a month to go and the Otters tied for first place, the league needs to do something soon. If they’re worried about ruining the perception of the league by penalizing the Otters, it’s too late.  By not doing anything for over two weeks, they’re already ruining their reputation.

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Cause I Play Indy Ball – The New Hit Single By Tycen PoVey?

Indy ball life can be rough for players.  It is not only physically exhausting, but it can be mentally exhausting and frustrating as well.

Sometimes, all a player can do is look back on that part of his career and laugh about the experiences that he had. That’s exactly what former indy ball player, Tycen PoVey, is doing with the help of some funny, but truthful lyrics and his old guitar.

PoVey put together a nice college career that led him to be signed as a free agent by the Dodgers in 2007, but he was released after the season ended.

“Baseball has always been good to me. I was fortunate enough to play it for a long time. I followed my dream out of high school into college and was able to play well enough to get to the professional level. After some injuries, I soon found myself trying to get into indy ball.”

PoVey spent four up and down seasons in indy ball with the Evansville Otters and Traverse City Beach Bums (Frontier League) and the Lincoln Saltdogs (American Association.)

“Even when I got another shot in indy ball, I was injured again and again. I was forced to change positions: from catching, to the outfield and back. Then, I finally found myself on the mound and ended up pitching for a couple seasons. That was soon ended by, you guessed it, another injury and my 8th surgery overall.

“During that time I found out a lot about myself and made a ton of friends in the process, most of whom I still stay in touch with today. We all like to joke about indy ball, but the fact is, I wouldn’t have traded anything I went through.  With a mix of a lot of traveling, amazing fans, and having different cultures and personalities all together in a small clubhouse, I was bound to come out with some stories.”

He has been out of baseball for over two years now and wanted to create a humorous way to remember his time there while helping current independent players laugh a little about their situation.

Used to racking up hits on the field, PoVey is now trying to create some musically on his YouTube page as well.The first song he posted, “Indy Ball”, was a general view on living the indy ball lifestyle.

“I like to goof around on the guitar. I’m not great, but I’ve always liked to write songs to make people laugh.

“When I wrote ‘Indy Ball’, I just tried to take experiences from each place I played that every player could relate to – from peanut butter spreads to bad clubbies and wondering what we are doing here.  We have all had similar experiences. After playing both songs to some close friends and family, they begged me to put it online to show their friends.”

*Warning* lyrics and content may not be suitable for children.

His second song features a well known (and often joked about) topic in the indy ball world, Slumpbusters – the “larger” girls who help players out of their slumps.

“When I wrote ‘The Slumpbuster Song’ it was actually after an amazing weekend I had. The details of that weekend are locked away in a vault, but I will just say that one day I was 0-8 in a double header. Then the rest of the weekend, I went 10-12 with 3 home runs and 6 doubles (laughs). She deserved a ballad.”

*Warning* lyrics and content may not be suitable for children.

“After hearing the song and my stories, some people thought I was crazy.  Getting paid 800 dollars a month, living out of a suitcase and traveling the country in a bus that seemed to only break down in the most remote places… They wondered why I did it.

“But honestly, I’m very thankful for having coaches that believed in me enough to let me play as long as I did. I’m also very thankful for my experiences and the friends that I made.  Indy ball is amazing. A lot of talent is found in indy ball, and I got to see future big league talent and even play against former big league players. It was a great experience that I’ll always cherish.

“I hope my songs make those who have been there or are there smile. And for those who haven’t played, I hope it gives them a little insight of the funny things that we have to deal with.

“I hope everyone enjoys it! There should be more to come. And I’m sorry if those from Sioux City take my words to heart. Hey, at least you’re not Amarillo (laughs).”

You can subscribe to Tycen’s YouTube channel to hear more songs as they are released: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrW_PBNJwJwbC2Ks5vC6Bsw