Tag Archives: Washington Wild Things

WildThings Miss Out on Elusive Frontier League Championship

20 seasons of baseball.
19 seasons (thanks COVID season) of trying to win a Frontier League Championship.
20 seasons of frustration, defeat and heartbreak.
10 playoff appearances.
7 Divison Championships.
4 Championship Series Appearances.
0 Frontier League Championships.

In Game 5 of the 2021 Frontier League Championship, the Washington WildThings were defeated by the Schaumburg Boomers 10-4.

After splitting the first two games, the series headed back to Washington.

Game 3 went to the WildThings, and it appeared that the championship that had eluded them for so long would finally find a home in Washington, PA.

But the runs just wouldn’t come for the WildThings in Game 4, and the Boomers forced a Game 5 at WildThings Park.

The runs came in Game 5, but once again not for the WildThings. The Boomers put up 10 runs on 13 hits while Washington, even with a little 9th inning magic, only managed 4 runs on 5 hits.

Honestly, I had a completely different article prepared before Game 4 even began. It chronicled my 20 seasons and how much seeing the WildThings bring home the championship really meant to me. I was THAT confident that it would finally be THE year. All I had to do was hit “publish” while I was celebrating.

I poured my heart into that article just as I’ve poured my heart into this team for 20 seasons. Hopefully one day, the article will see the light of day. The guys I highlighted deserve that much.
But here I am crushed and defeated for another season as I see yet another visiting team celebrate a championship at my home field.

It’s been said that “losing builds character.” If that’s the case… this organization and their fans sure have a lot of character built up.

I know I do. I know that without a doubt, without this team, without this stadium, without the constant ups and downs of following Frontier League baseball… I would not be the person that I am today.

Without 20 seasons of Washington WildThings baseball, there would be no baseball Coach Thompson. There would be no Kayla Thompson – NASM certified personal trainer. There would be no Indy Ball Island.

This blog was built around my love for independent baseball. A love that grew year after year. And yes… even loss after loss. The highs are never truly high if you don’t suffer through the lows. And every single season has brought some pretty big highs… and ultimately every single season has brought the lowest of lows.

But I am thankful for my time at this ballpark and following this team.

I’m grateful for all the friendships I’ve made and for all the people that have turned into a second family to me.

I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned and endured through the years and years of heartbreaking defeat.

I was 12 when the WildThings played their first season and lost their first championship series. And 31 year old me is just as disappointed and heartbroken as 12 year old me was… more so actually.

Because now I know everything these players and coaches go through to get here. I know the struggles, the politics, the dedication, the sacrifice, and yes I sure know the heartbreak.

But damn do I just want to know what it’s like to win a Frontier League championship.

Well, just like the other cliché goes… “there’s always next year.”

And if there isn’t a next year for some of you… Zach Strecker in particular… good luck and thank you. Thank you for the years of excitement, character building nights, Frontier League record breaking celebrations, meet the team preseason drinks, a season of way too many selfies, and every single save. Guys like Streck are the reason I keep coming back. Thank you for putting your whole heart and soul into a kids game.

Yinz Play Baseball At WHAT Time?!

This summer, baseball was played from morning until night at Wild Things Park in Washington, PA.

Just like every summer for the past 20 years, the Washington Wild Things played baseball in the evenings from May through September.

But for the second summer in a row, the stadium was also host to the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy and their own double headers every morning.

Born out of the summer of COVID baseball and the need for players to stay active and ready to play ball, the Black Sox pro baseball organization created the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy to give guys a place to play the game that they love.

This year, the Yinzer became a place that the MLB Partner leagues could rely on to find game-ready players at a moment’s notice.

In fact, more than 80 players went through the Black Sox/Yinzer to play in one of the four MLB Partner Leagues this summer. (More on some of those players will be featured in upcoming posts throughout the off season… Stay tuned!!)

I have always been a big supporter of the Black Sox. I’ve known the owner, Joe Torre, since I started this website over 6 years ago.

I’ve been in the dugout when it was hard to find players and the teams struggled to put up runs against established indy teams. I’ve also been there when guys were doing anything to get in that same dugout and have a chance to put up competitive numbers and win against those same indy teams.

They’ve adopted the wrestling “NWO” mentality… the outsiders who come in, take over and change the game.

This website was created for the guys like the Black Sox… For players who are seen as the underdogs… For the true grinders of the sport… For the guys who just want a chance to prove themselves…

It’s for the guys who get up and drive to the ballpark for early work before 7am… and play a double header starting at 9am… That’s right… the majority of the games this season started at NINE IN THE MORNING.

It’s for the players who put in the work on the field and then help out in the stands – charting, chasing foul balls, working the scoreboard, announcing on the PA system, and live streaming on social media…

It’s for those same players who – after early work/BP and two games of their own – stay around to work in the concession stands during Frontier League games just to make enough money to live and play baseball.

These guys played hard every single day with the hope that they would be the next guy up… the next one to get a chance to prove themselves.

Some guys were used for spot starts and to fill depleted positions. Those guys would drop everything at a moment’s notice just to meet up with a team in need… sometimes with no idea how they will even get home if they were released after they did their job.

Some were able to be a part of a “travel” squad who played games north of the boarder when other teams couldn’t field their own full roster.

And then some even proved themselves and stayed around for a lot longer than anyone (outside of this Black Sox organization) ever thought possible.

In fact, a few of them are currently playing in the Frontier League and American Association playoffs or finishing up the regular season in the Atlantic League.

This guys are at the very heart of indy ball and what it’s all about. THEY are the reason I love this sport the way that I do.

On a personal level, this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons of my life.

Getting up and driving an hour to the stadium to be there by 9am, sitting in the blazing sun for two straight games while watching the Killer B’s (the eventual Yinzer League champions), Road Warriors, Brilliance Sox and Wolfpac, and then staying in town to watch the Wild Things play in the evenings… I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

And those Wild Things evenings meant even more this season when my favorite Black Sox guys were working around the ballpark or just sitting in the stands because they just couldn’t get enough baseball.

To those players who I got to talk baseball with and just enjoy the game in the company of someone who truly loves the game the way that I do… Thank you. Those were some of my favorite moments of the entire season.

I was also fortunate enough to travel and see former Yinzer players thrive in the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues. There is something special about seeing a player who put his heart and soul into the Black Sox showcase their talent and commitment in a top league. It’s on the same level as seeing a brother and family member succeed.

And that’s because it is exactly that… it’s a family. Those guys who play against each other every day, who are competing against each other for attention and a chance to “make it” are still brothers. When one succeeds, they all celebrate.

Any time a former Yinzer would be at the plate or on the mound in Wild Things Park – no matter what team they happened to be on – you could always find a crowd of current Yinzers behind home plate cheering on their brothers because…

When you’re NWO… you’re NWO for life.

And if you didn’t know… Now you do.

Stay tuned this off season for more features and articles highlighting players from the Yinzer Baseball Confederacy.