Christine Blaine, Washington Wild Things (April 15, 2011):
First, can you tell readers how the Washington Wild Things and the league itself ?
In the winter of 1992-1993, several men got together and decided to start an independent professional baseball league to serve the West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southeast Ohio areas. They believed they could bring professional baseball to areas that would never have a chance of affiliated professional baseball coming to their communities. The seed was planted and they named their project The Frontier League.
2011 brings another new market to the Frontier League, with the expansion Joliet Slammers and Silver Cross Field joining.
As a result of Joliet entering, the Oakland County Cruisers agreed to sit out the 2011 season while finishing construction on their new ballpark in Waterford Township, Michigan.
With the top eight returning clubs from 2010 all bringing back their field managers combined with the return of the league’s winningest manager of Fran Riordan in Florence, Bart Zeller leading Joliet after four seasons as the top assistant in Southern Illinois, and former Manager of the Year Andy McCauley getting a full season in Evansville, 2011 is shaping up to be the most competitive of the Frontier League’s 19 seasonsThe Wild Things joined the league in May 2002.
The team, formerly known as the Canton Crocodiles, was purchased, moved, and renamed the Washington Wild Things.
What are some of the special promotions you have this year for fans?
Tuesdays and Wednesdays kids eat free; Thursdays are dollar beverages and theme nights (Dollar Thirst-day); Friday are fireworks; Saturdays are giveaway nights; and Sundays are family nights and kids club; kids run the bases after the games.
How does the game experience differ from, say, going to MLB game?
We consider ourselves to be three hours of entertainment interrupted by nine innings of baseball. We believe our baseball is competitive, but we know we’re not major league! We focus more on entertaining entire families….Affordable, Family, Fun!!!
What’s been your most memorable experience so far with the team?
Getting to know the wonderful fans who attend our games; they are the greatest on earth.
In regards to the team – who are some of the players to watch out for this year?
I’m not sure about that, but what I do know is that Chris Sidick will return for his seventh season. He holds nearly every record in Wild Things and in Frontier League history. Best of all, he’s a local kid Cecil Twp.)
How does club look this season – what are your expectations and who are your bigger rivals?
In our league we never know that because it’s a rookie league. Our greatest rival is probably the Lake Erie Crushers because of their proximity and because their manager (John Masserelli) managed here for several years.
Have any of your players made it on to MLB affiliate teams and majors? Who if so?
None to majors. About 28 have moved into affiliated ball.
How does process work for those that leave your team to play in other leagues?
We can sell their contracts or trade like all leagues. Depending on how the contract is written, we still own the player’s contract rights if he is released.
Do you/can you trade/swap players within the league?
Yes, we absolutely trade within our league.
What would surprise fans about the league and team?
I don’t think most people realize how these kids live during the summer. They leave their families and homes and come here and move in with strangers (host families). I can imagine that would be awkward for both the host families and the baseball players.
Then, they work every single day during the summer. The Washington club travels the furthest of any other club in the league because we are the furthest east. These kids love baseball….they make next to no money, and they give up a lot to play. I don’t know that it’s a surprise, but I think it is surprising to people who don’t work in this environment day to day.
Any last thoughts for readers?
This should be a great season for the Wild Things.
It’s hard to believe this is our tenth season. We’re looking forward to celebrating our past and looking forward to the future. The Wild Things have kept prices low and in this economy, we believe that’s very important.
Our season ticket holders have NEVER seen a price increase in ten years. We’re proud of that. Our stadium is getting a face lift this year too. We will open the season a brand new artificial surface, which will hopefully keep us from losing games to rain this season