Tag Archives: indy baseball

Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft

Today marks 100 days until Opening Day for the Frontier League.

The annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft has been announced for the season.

The Frontier League of Professional Baseball has announced that their 30th annual Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, home of the Gateway Grizzlies. 

All 16 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend each season.  Representatives from other independent leagues participate as well.  Advance registration is available at frontierleaguetryouts.eventbrite.com

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on April 24 and will feature running, fielding and throwing drills for infielders, outfielders, and catchers, and batting practice for position players while pitchers will throw 15-20 pitch bullpens.  Following the first day, the field managers will post a list of players invited back for inter-squad games on April 25.  At the conclusion of the games, action will break for 30 minutes as clubs and prepare for the draft.   

All players attending the Tryout Camp and Draft will receive analytic data of their performance, including pitch speed and spin rates for pitchers and launch angles and exit velocities for hitters. 

An average of 35 players have been drafted and signed to spring training contracts over the past twelve seasons.  Several draftees have gone on to be signed by Major League Baseball organizations, with five having ascended to the Major Leagues (Chris Jakubauskas, Seattle; Josh Smoker, New York Mets; Chris Smith, Toronto; Robert Stock, San Diego; and Nick Duron, Philadelphia). 

“Our Tryout Camp and Draft allows teams to complete their spring training rosters, with camps opening later that week,” commented deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler.  “Dozens of players each season receive professional contracts out of the event, and we have had many All-Star and championship players get their start at the workouts, along with the many players who have signed with MLB clubs. 

GCS Credit Union Ballpark is located at exit 15 off I-255 in Illinois, 30 minutes from St. Louis Lambert International Airport. 

IMPORTANT: As per the manufacturer’s warranty for the artificial playing surface at GCS Credit Union Ballpark, all players trying out must wear turf shoes or molded cleats. No metal cleats will be allowed. This policy is the same that is in effect for all events at GCS Credit Union Ballpark. Players attempting to enter GCS Credit Union Ballpark with metal cleats will be immediately disqualified from the workouts.  In addition, there is a strict no seed policy at the stadium. Participants are not permitted to bring seeds into the facility. 


Long Time WildThings Fan, Wild Bill, Passes Away

If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time around an independent baseball team and its ballpark, you know how close knit the people involved really become.

The Washington WildThings began playing in Washington, PA when I was just 12 years old… 20 years later, I think it is safe to say that I truly did grow up at the ballpark and became a part of a family.

There have always been staples of the ballpark: the WildThing mascot, the Picnic Area and Party Pavilion, Pro Tech Auto Glass “windshield breaking” sponsorship spots, The Williams family who have owned the team since the beginning, and some loyal and die-hard fans who never wavered in their support – none more so than “Wild Bill.”

How else do you think he earned that name?

If you’ve ever been to a WildThings game, I am sure you saw Wild Bill… standing along the gate that leads onto the field by the home bullpen, fist bumping and high-fiving all of the players and interns as they went about their jobs. You may have heard him have a few choice words for the umpires as well… but I know they loved it as much as he loved them.

Photo courtesy of the WildThing mascot whole stole my camera and took this photo in 2014.

In the beginning, I went to games with family and friends. But as time went on, the novelty wore off for most people, and I began going to games by myself. However, it didn’t take long for me to be “adopted” by Wild Bill.

I lost both of my grandfathers by the time I was in high school, and Wild Bill knew just how to fill that spot in my heart.

I affectionately began calling him my “baseball Pap” and I soon became his “baby girl.”

Last night after a courageous battle with cancer and other health ailments, we lost “Wild Bill” Shipley. His passing is easily the hardest I’ve had in my adult life.

Wild Bill… You watched me literally grow up at this ballpark. My baseball Pap who I know loved me with his whole heart. 1 of the 3 musketeers, along with me and Lauren O’Dea (who I consider my baseball grandma).

The Three Musketeers with our honorary 4th member Keith who spent a summer working in Washington and hanging out with this crew.

Thank you for taking care of me… for making sure I ate especially after I had a long day and for making sure I stayed out of trouble (for the most part! ha). I enjoyed every single second I spent with you watching games. Thank you for believing in me… this website may not have happened if it wasn’t for you. You always asked me about my writing and encouraged me to continue even when others would put me down. You were one of the first people I told when I became a high school baseball coach. I know how proud of me you were. I will always be your baby girl. I hate that I don’t get to hear that anymore. I’m sorry you never got a chance to walk me down the aisle. No one would be good enough for your baby girl anyway. I’m upset that we never got to celebrate a championship in Washington together. But whenever it happens, I know you’ll be watching. Rest in peace, Wild Bill. You’re out of pain now 💔 I love you and I will miss you always. The stadium will not be the same without you.

The Three Musketeers in our last season together, 2021.

I didn’t know how else to pay tribute to you… so I decided to write. I think it’s fitting that you are now a part of the website that you encouraged me to write. Thank you.

Love, your baby girl.