Let us start by congratulating the Freaky Franchise on yet another Opening day win. Going 6 and 0 on the day and earning themselves $150 cold hard cash. I am going to get to my match up against the franchise and how I believe they crushed the competition this year but before I do that I want to address the impressive performances by the other players in this year’s opening day tournament.
Of Course Ryan Bush gets MVP of this tournament, but that does not mean he didn’t have close competition. Chris Roeder with a .732 avg, 15 HR, and 33 RBI put on a show for his fans. With stronger hitters on his team I believe Roeder would have given Ryan’s 47 RBI a run for its money. Jon Suhre and Doug Bush put up spectacular numbers and as a team I think they are definitely a threat moving into the next few tournaments. Everyone needs to look out for when Jon hulks out. Off the field he is a smiley, fun-loving guy, but on the field he is a monster whipping in double plays, and crushing home runs. This, paired with papa bush’s calm cool collectiveness, makes for the most dynamic combo since (insert clever sports reference here). I think if there was an award for most inspirational team, hand down my papa-pick is Papa Jack’s. I also want to congratulate Dan Bireley for his Rookie of the Tournament award. He worked hard and earned it. Have a blue soda on me big guy.
Not everyone did a great job at ODT, and that’s the chance you take trying to play your heart out in one day. People have good days and bad days. Chris Sacheli, a personal and fan favorite, met his match once again with poor team chemistry. The two-man team of Ciolek and Sacheli lacked communication, runs, and most of all, heart. Going in not knowing it was slow pitch or for money, Chris was left with no option but to not trust his captain/coach/teammate. Hey Chris, if we can get back up for another tourney please keep room on that hat for a Tech logo. Ben Brown, lay off the donuts man. Ben is always my first pick for any wiffle ball team. We are like two peas in a pod on and off the field. This day was not his day. Starting off the tournament early with a few errors and being bumped to right field hurts a man’s ego, stuffing your face with pizza and donuts hurts a man’s stamina, and striking out time after time to Frankel’s impossible eephus crushes your spirit. Brown is a solid player and a great teammate. Saturday just wasn’t his day. Pete, maybe next year kiddo.
A few players in Saturday’s tournament may not have been MVP caliber but most definitely need special mention. Dylan Frankel, that pitch is nasty. It is impossible for anyone under the height of 6’8” to make solid contact on that garbage. I hate you and love you for it. J, I will never know how you throw like that, or bat like that but it is working and you better keep it up. The Crazy White Pitches overall were a terrifying presence at the plate and I’m still surprised they didn’t go farther. I also want to shout out to Doug Bush one more time. The man is a machine. He is like the robotic example of how to pitch and hit. After a full day of wiffle ball the man grabs 4 buckets of balls and just starts humming fast pitches into the zone. I respect you like no man has respected another person.
Now, I guess I will discuss the Freaky Franchise. They have become a household name in wiffle ball. They are feared and revered in the wiffle ball community. After the games, J is skyping with other wiffle ball commissioners for rules changes and general hoopla. These two live and breathe the sport of wiffle ball and it shows. I don’t know how many of you read this, but I’m sure most of you have pitched or hit off of Ryan Bush. I just want you picture something for me. Ryan is standing on the left side of the plate. His 6’ 3” body hovering over the zone waiting for that high and outside pitch, or that low and inside pitch, or that pitch right down the middle, or that…you know what, he can hit anything. This was a moment that hit me like a ton of bricks the first time I pitched against him on Saturday. Not only is he one of the only lefties in a very left favorable field but he is also unstoppable. Normally in fast pitch I freeze up, walk him, and try to get my outs elsewhere. We couldn’t do that in this tournament. NO WALKS. NO WAY TO GET OUT OF IT. Also I’m lobbing in meatballs like an old Italian man with a sore shoulder. 21 times someone tried to put it in a spot that maybe Ryan wouldn’t smash over the fence and 21 times he bombed one to another zip code. He brought himself and J home 47 times. These stats are unheard of. With Ryan’s bat they were unbeatable. But then J gets up to the mound and with his unorthodox release he began striking fools out left and right. 17 Ks, tying only yours truly for the daily record, there was no way to beat the franchise and they knew that. They were toying with us. Sitting on pitches, speed checking in off games, making sure every single one of their wins were recorded on the 18 cameras spread out on the field. I know you guys were good at fast pitch but come on, let the fatties at least get slow pitch. Congrats guys you earned that CAYSH!
It was great getting back on the field. It felt like home, because well it was. Thank you to the Bush family for letting us do this for 9 years. Thanks for letting us take over your backyard year after year. Thanks for letting us smash wiffle balls at high speeds at your windows. And thanks for supplying us with food and drinks every time we come over. It’s a little different going over to a friend’s house at 24 years old versus 16 but wiff will always feel the same. I personally want to thank Ben Brown and Dan Bireley for taking time out of their busy schedules and driving with me all the way back to Farmington NY. It was a great trip and completely worth the drive. With another Opening Day tournament under our belts all I can say is I can’t wait for next year.
That being said this message goes to all the wiffle ball alums of the OCWA. Next year will be the tenth year of this craziness. Not all of you played every year but all of you remember how fun this backyard hobby was. I’m calling out the classics; the Don Suttons, the Nate Saint Ours, Adam Kloos, Zac Hess, Darin Carters, Joe Simmons, Billy Annechinos, John Creans, James Dravecks, etc. We need to have one huge game (s). One Tenth anniversary bonanza. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to Bush Grapes Park, and we owe it to this amazing hobby we have wasted countless days, dollars, and body parts on. I hereby make myself the unofficial unappointed OCWA Alumni Coordinator. You can all expect a call/text/fb message/tweet/beep/or smoke signal from me soon.