Tag Archives: Wild Things

15th Anniversary brings 800th win, playoffs for WildThings

The 2017 Frontier League season marks the 15th anniversary for the Washington Wild Things.

On Friday, the team won their 800th game in franchise history.

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On Saturday, the team clinched a playoff spot.

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All season long, I have struggled with what direction to actually take this anniversary post.

At first, this was intended to be a “Where Are They Now” post highlighting the players and coaches that have been through Washington, Pennsylvania in the last fifteen years. That may still happen, but not today.

Then, I thought I would put a more personal spin on the article… I’ve literally grown up with the Wild Things and have seen it all.

When the team relocated from Canton, Ohio to Washington, I was a 12 year old kid who looked up to the guys on the field and loved being much closer to the action than I could imagine in Pittsburgh with the Pirates.

After awhile, I was the same age as the players, forming friendships that have lasted well after the guys have left this town to begin the next chapter in their lives.

This year, I’m at veteran status. I’ve hit the Frontier League age limit of 27. I’ve been called the “Mama Bear of Indy Ball” although I’d prefer just being called the big sister or something along those lines… I’m not at Mama Bear age status yet!

But yes, I am very protective and proud of these guys on the team here in Washington.

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This year, this team has been something special, and they deserve all of the recognition in this article. On and off the field, this has been a one of a kind group that I’m honored to call “my team.”

The theme for the year has been “unfinished business”, which is really appropriate for the team (this year and over all 15 years) as well as for a lot of the players.

The Wild Things have been in the league for 15 years without ever winning a championship.  In fact, they haven’t even been in the championship series since 2007 and haven’t had a playoff appearance at all since 2014.

Last year, a lot of the pieces were there, but the team just couldn’t finish out the season successfully.

Roster turnover is very high in indy ball. Washington is no different – only five players currently on the roster were with the team last year, but those players have had a huge impact this year. Three returning players are starting pitchers (Trevor Foss, Chase Cunningham, and Brian O’Keefe), solidifying the rotation from the start, and the other two returnees are their backstops (Kyle Pollock and John Fidanza).

The rest of the players have some unfinished business of their own. At mid-season, the Wild Things had 14 players with affiliated experience on their roster (the second highest in the Frontier League).

This season has also brought a lot of records for the Wild Things. In addition to winning their 800th game in franchise history on September 1st, the team sent a record eight players to the All-Star game this July.

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The 8 players:
Pitchers – Trevor Foss, Chase Cunningham, Zack Strecker
Outfielders – Rashad Brown, Bralin Jackson (home run-derby participant)
Infielders – Mike Hill, Kane Sweeney
Catcher – Kyle Pollock
had a big impact on the All-Star game. Bralin Jackson was even named the All-Star game MVP.

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On June 30th, Foss set a franchise record of his own when he pitched his 10th career complete game (and has pitched 2 more since).

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The team also had a Frontier League pitcher and player of the week this season.

Chase Cunningham was the Pitcher of the Week for the week ending on July 2nd and Kenny Peoples-Walls was named Player of the Week for the week ending on August 20th.

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On August 31st, the Frontier League announced their postseason awards which brought four more honors to the Wild Things organization.

Rashad Brown won the Fran Riordan Award. This award is given to one player each year that exemplifies good citizenship off the field and in his respective community.

First baseman, Kane Sweeney,  was also named to the postseason All-Star team. He is currently batting .296 with 15 HR and 61 RBI.

In addition to the player awards, Chris Dugan was named Writer of the Year, and the Washington Observer-Reporter was named Newspaper of the Year.

The WildThings have accomplished a lot in this anniversary season, but as the theme goes… there is still unfinished business to take care of.

The team will begin their playoff run at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. From there, they hope to become the first team to bring a championship to Washington, PA.

And… just like every year for the last 15 years, I’ll be there in the stands.

But this time, I know it’s different. We all have some unfinished business.

To the players, managers, and coaches who have come through here in the past, thank you for bringing us to this point. For fifteen years, you guys have taken over my summer and helped me create memories and friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

To the players from this year’s team, you know how much I love you boys! Thank you for being the amazing guys that you are… on and off the field! I respect and admire you all. Let’s finish this!

(All photo credit (except the Wild Things roster/autographs): Washington Wild Things Official Facebook.)

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Indy Ball Artist – My Story

As some of my readers may know, I enjoy drawing as much as I enjoy writing.  I know I’m not a really great artist compared to a lot of people, but I do have some talent. In a way, it helps me relate better to independent ball players. They have talent, but they have to keep honing their skills to rise through the ranks of true professionals.

Baseball gives me a chance to escape from reality too.  It gives me an outlet for drawing and writing.  I can be as creative as I want while always working on getting better and enjoying things I love.

For the most part, I choose to draw players who play in indy ball or in the minor leagues. Even though major league players are appreciative when they see a drawing I’ve done, there is nothing like giving an independent or minor league player a drawing of themselves. Usually, it is the first time they’ve ever had someone do that for them. The look on their face is priceless.

I frame all of the original drawings after they are signed by the players and put them on my own “wall of fame.”  It’s grown over the last two years as has my skills as an artist. My first player drawing was done in the summer of 2012. The subject was then  AA Altoona Curve Pitcher, Vic Black who is now a member of the Major League NY Mets bullpen.

Take a look at my “wall of fame” and my drawings so far.

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Independent Players

EddieJustin Edwards, Washington Wild Things

DrewDrew Rossi, Washington Wild Things

stewStewart Ijames, Washington Wild Things (current DBacks prospect)

CJCJ Beatty, Washington Wild Things (Current White Sox prospect)

Q drawingQuincy Latimore, Washington Wild Things (Current Nationals Prospect)

zacZac Fuesser (Former Pirates prospect and Wild Thing) with his father.

samSam Montgomery, Washington Wild Things

pomaDanny Poma, Washington Wild Things

jimmyJim Vahilk, Washington Wild Things

jkJonathan Kountis, Washington Wild Things (Greek God of Saves)

perfect gameMatt Sergey and team, Perfect Game Washington Wild Things

richieRichie Serritella, Trinidad Triggers (Check out the Pecos League posts!)

tylerTyler Elrod, Washington Wild Things

Minor League Players

VicVic Black, Altoona Curve (current Met) My first drawing!

ryanRyan Hafner, Pirates prospect

NickNick Kingham, Pirates prospect

stetsonStetson Allie, Pirates Prospect

CoryCory Vaughn, Mets prospect

mattMatt Curry, former Pirates prospect (current FA)

Major League Players

pedroPedro Alvarez, Pirates

cutchAndrew McCutchen, Pirates

chapmanAlrodis Chapman, Reds

john axJohn Axford, Pirates (Current FA)

johnJohn Holdzkom, Pirates

lamboAndrew Lambo, Pirates

tonyTony Sanchez, Pirates

me and tonySelf Portrait with Tony Sanchez

Thank you to all of my wonderful drawing subjects so far!