Tag Archives: USPBL

The Black Sox Road Warriors Are Back At It Again

The Black Sox are looking to “change the culture” in indy ball.

The team is mostly made up of players with pro experience who are still looking for a place to play for the summer as well as guys who are signed to leagues that start later (such as the Pacific Association or the Pecos League).

The “Road Warriors” travel around the country playing various independent teams in many different leagues during their respective spring trainings… think barnstorming teams of the past.

The players are hoping that just one of the teams take notice and sign them to play for them instead of against them.

It’s definitely a grind. Indy ball isn’t easy, and this is even harder. Guys travel with each other from city to city, paying for their own transportation while trying to find their own place to stay for the night. Some teams provide hotels, but most won’t pay for a team that isn’t officially part of any league.

It isn’t for everyone, but it could be worth it for the guys who grind it out. Owner/manager Joe Torre has a track record of getting guys signed to indy leagues. He uses his extensive connections and some tough love to get guys where they want to be.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be working with a school that went to a school day spring training game featuring the Black Sox. The guys were amazing to my students and made it an enjoyable experience for all. You can check out that story here: Education Day with the Black Sox.

Indy Ball Island also invited two members of the Black Sox to write about their experience. You can check that out here: Guest Bloggers – The Black Sox. 

The team will be all over the country starting today… if they’re in a town near you, make sure you go out and support the guys if you can!

Road Warrior Black Sox Tour Schedule 2018 

Florence Kentucky will be home base for our 2018 Pro Spring Training Trip

4/20-4/21 vs Lancaster Barnstormers- Atlantic League (2gms)

4/21 vs Road Warrior Team (Atlantic League ) @ New Britain stadium (Back field)- driving back to Florence for Draft after CT game (possible PM CT tryout)

4/21 River City Rascals Tryout- Frontier League

4/21 Pacific Association Draft Tryout @ Albert Park San Rafael- Pacific Association

4/23-4/24 Frontier Draft in Florence Kentucky- Frontier League

4/24-4/27 @ USPBL Draft in Michigan 3 day event, players pay USPBL for tryout. Discount for players who attend Frontier Draft

4/26 vs Windy City Thunderbolts Double Header- Frontier League (2gms)- driving to Southern Illinois

4/26-4/27 vs Southern Illinois Miners -Frontier League (2gms)- driving back to Florence to recoup before the next trip

5/1  Road Warriors vs Florence Freedom 11am -Frontier League- driving to Washington on the 2nd

*5/3-5/4 vs Washington Wild Things  10am (School day games)- Frontier League (2gms)-driving to Florence/Normal, splitting the squads

5/5-5//6-5/7-5/8 vs Florence Freedom 3 games 2pm start 5/6 and 5/7. 12 pm start 5/5 -Frontier League (3 games)

⅚ vs Normal Cornbelters 10am- Frontier League

5/7vs Normal Cornbelters 9am- Frontier League

⅝ vs Normal Cornbelters (School day game) 10am- Frontier League- driving to Texas for American Association Series

5/9 vs Sussex County Miners (after the tryout)

5/10-5/11-5/12 vs Cleburn Railroaders/Grand Prairie Airhogs- American Association (6gms in 3 days)- driving ti Fargo after game on 12

5/14 vs Fargo Moore-Head Redhawks -American Association (1 gm)-driving to Sioux Falls after the game

5/15 vs Sioux Falls Canaries – American Association (1gm)-driving to California to get ready for May 20 first PAC workout

5/13–5/17- Pecos League Spring Training Starts

5/20-6/1 – Pacific Association Spring Training Games vs 6 teams games to be scheduled (Vallejo/Pittsburg/Martinez/Napa)

June 4-7 @ Empire League Spring Training

 

* Look for a special story about the Black Sox while they are in Washington, PA next month!

For more information on the Black Sox, please check out their official website HERE.

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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