Tag Archives: independent baseball

Brotherly Baseball – The Fabry’s

Baseball is often considered a family sport. From the little leagues all the way to the major leagues, there are plenty of examples of brothers playing together.

This summer, that boyhood dream of playing together professionally came true for Jacob and Phillip Fabry.

The brothers are five and a half years apart – Jacob is 30 and Phillip is 25, so while they played baseball together in their backyard, they were never able to play organized baseball together… until this summer.

Growing up, the brothers were all about baseball and the thrill of competition. Whether they were outside trying to find something to do or inside playing video games, their plans always seemed to turn into something baseball related. From home run derbys, pick-up games or baseball video games, the two were always competing and having fun together.

Jacob, who has played independent baseball for eight seasons and is nearing the end of his career, was looking for a place to play for the 2017 season.

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(Jacob Fabry. Photo Credit: Clinton Riddle)

He had already played in the Peach State League (2010), the Can-Am (2011), the Pecos League (2012 & 2013 – on the Trinidad Triggers featured on the Pecos League TV show), the United League (2014 – on the championship winning Rio Grande Valley White Wings), and the Empire League (2015 & 2016).

Phillip, who is a newcomer to the independent baseball scene, was just looking for a team that would let him get experience.

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(Phillip Fabry. Photo Credit: Clinton Riddle)

He had gone to the North Country Baseball League (now the Empire League) spring training after college, but his team folded. After that, Phillip went to the Arizona Winter League.

But now, the team that they were looking for just happened to be the same one – The Mustangs in the Thoroughbred League.

The Mustangs manager, Scott Nathanson, had a huge hand in giving the brothers a chance to play together. Nathanson coached in the Arizona Winter League and was able to see that both of the Fabry’s just wanted to play baseball. He thought the Thoroughbred League would be the perfect fit for both.

While the league itself had some issues, it still offered the brothers that chance that they were dreaming about since childhood.

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(Phillip and Jacob. Photo Credit: Clinton Riddle)

“Playing professionally with my brother truly feels like a dream,” Jacob said. “Anyone that knows me knows my heart.  Whether I say it or not, you can see it in my eyes that baseball is my passion. Being able to share that same passion with my brother through the ups and downs, the glory and the mistakes… it is a blessing.

“I tried to give him more mentoring on how to carry yourself rather than coaching mechanics. I am a big mental guy, and I try to tell him everything I know throughout a regular routine day in the professional ranks. I am on my way out of baseball and he is fresh to it, so I still feel like I need to protect him more so than other teammates that are rookies.”

Jacob has been mentoring Phillip throughout their lives.

“It was always encouraging having him growing up because he helped me understand the game, how to get better, and what hard work looks like,” Phillip commented when asked what it was like growing up with Jacob.

“Honestly playing with him is a dream come true,” said Phillip. “He has always been my hero in the baseball world. He has done so much good, and I have wanted this since I was five. He has always been a huge inspiration when we were a part and now that we are together it’s even stronger. With us being five years a part we would only play together if it was professional so that’s very cool.”

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(“How excited I was to play baseball with my brother for the first time.” – Phillip Fabry)

Even though it was a grind in the Thoroughbred League, the Mustangs went on to win the championship, and the Fabry’s lived out their dream by each other’s side. The experience and the chance to keep playing baseball is something they will cherish forever.

“At the end of the day it’s still a child’s game and I hope to keep that joy in my heart until the last time I untie my cleats” – Jacob Fabry.

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(Photo credit: Sharon Cooksey)

 

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It was fantastic meeting and getting to know you both! Thank you for all of your support. You guys know that I will always be one of your biggest supporters too!

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USPBL Announces Three Players Sign with the Twins

Trifecta! Minnesota Twins Sign Three USPBL Standouts

ROCHESTER, Mich. – August 1, 2017The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) announced that Randy Dobnak, pitcher for the Utica Unicorns, Kevin Marnon, pitcher for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers, and Taylor Grzelakowski, catcher for the Utica Unicorns have all been signed by the Minnesota Twins organization. Dobnak, Grzelakowski and Marnon are the third, fourth and fifth USPBL players signed to a MLB contract this year. Overall 18 players have been signed by MLB organizations since the league’s inaugural season last year.

Randy Dobnak, a 22-year-old, 6’1”, 215 lb. right-hander from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appeared in 6 games this season for the Utica Unicorns.  He compiled a 3-0 record, with 29 strikeouts over 35 innings and an ERA of 2.31.  Dobnak joined the USPBL’s Unicorns following a collegiate career at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia.

Dobnak praised his experience with the USPBL, saying, “Getting the opportunity to play in the USPBL is something special to me. Having the chance to play baseball beyond college is something every kid dreams of doing and I got the chance to live it. Throughout my time here, I’ve learned even more about the game and how I can become better as a person and as a player, pushing myself to my limits. The players, coaches, and staff in the USPBL are top notch and I could not have asked for anything more.”

Kevin Marnon, a 23-year-old, 6’7”, 240 lb. left-hander pitcher from Shelby Township, Michigan, appeared in 16 games with 18 innings pitched, 29 strike outs and an ERA of 1.50. Marnon joined the USPBL after pitching as both a starter and reliever at Ball State University.

“Being signed by a Major League club is a surreal feeling,” said Marnon. “I’ve worked for this my whole life, and I’m just so happy that things paid off.  I’m extremely grateful for the USPBL organization and everything they’ve done for me.”

Tayor Grzelakowski, a 5’11, 200 lb. catcher from  Fraser, Michigan, Grzelakowski joined the USPBL’s Utica Unicorns following his collegiate career at Madonna University where he led the Crusaders in home runs, RBI’s and batting average. Grzelakowski appeared in 29 games this season for the Unicorns and was leading the league in home runs with 9. In 108 at bats he hit .306 with 7 doubles and 23 RBI’s.

“The USPBL has been an incredible experience, from the facility to the staff at Jimmy John’s field, I could not have asked for a better opportunity,” said Taylor Grzelakowski. “I will be forever grateful for the chance that Andy Appleby, Justin Ordenruff and Jim Essian have given me. They allowed me to continue my baseball career, and helped get me signed by the Minnesota Twins Organization. Special thanks to Cedrick Landrum and Ray Ortega for the countless hours they spent with me honing my craft. I’m excited to see what this new chapter brings but I will never forget my time as a Utica Unicorn.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have three more of our players signing by Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations,” said Andy Appleby, Commissioner and Founder of the USPBL. “These players are textbook examples of what we are trying to achieve with player development in the USPBL.  Our goal is to make every player better and see them succeed at the next level and beyond,” Appleby added.


About United Shore Professional Baseball League                                                                             

Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015.  The league plays in the new, state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich.  The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, from which 13 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations.

The 2017 USPBL season features four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season began on May 11, 2017 and runs through September 10, 2017.  Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.

Tom Wegehaupt