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Gay Softball World Series continuing coverage
Daily updates, links to related stories, and full schedule
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2011-09-07

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Gay World Series Recap

After two years of planning, preparing, promoting and, no doubt, praying ( for no rain ) , the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series culminated Saturday afternoon, Sept. 3, in Schaumburg with the final hits, runs and errors of five days and hundreds of games, featuring 150 teams from across the U.S. and Canada.

Also please see related story, Chicago Sidetrack Classics take championship game, at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33616

"It was an awesome World Series. It definitely ranks as one of the best ever," said Chris Balton, the assistant commissioner for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ) , which hosts the event. Balton also serves as the athletic director for the World Series.

"Teams create lifetime memories at the World Series, and this year was no exception."

Roy Melani of Portland, a 2011 NAGAAA Hall of Fame inductee and the NAGAAA commissioner, said the 2011 Series ranks alongside all past tournaments.

"It definitely was one of the best ever. It ran without a hitch," Melani said. "It's just been a great, great event. The local organizing committee did a fantastic job, down to the last detail."

Jack Neilsen was in Milwaukee in 2009, representing the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) and its bid to host the 2011 Series, marking the event's first time in Chicago since 1983.

Neilsen was teary-eyed moments before the final out was made Saturday, ending the six-day tournament.

"I'm speechless right now," said Neilsen, a member of the eight-person local organizing committee: Series 2011, Inc.

"Seeing it all come to life over the past week has been absolutely amazing. It's been kind of a blur, though. We were instructed [ on Aug. 26 ] by NAGAAA to sit back, relax and smell the roses. I can kick myself in the butt for not doing that. From [ that ] Friday until Wednesday night or Thursday morning, it's all a blur.

"We wanted to showcase Chicago, and I think we did that."

Neilsen tagged the event, "a major success, and another landmark for our gay sports legacy in the city of Chicago."

"The thing that always will stand out to me about the World Series is the camaraderie; it's like a big family reunion because you see some people who you see [ only ] once a year," Neilsen said. "There's the joy of the winners, the heartbreak of the losers.

"This event was my opportunity to give back to the community."

Balton, who pitched for the Memphis Neons in C-Division, knows all about the emotions that run the gamut for six-days of softball. His team was eliminated before championship Saturday, yet he reflects fondly on his 2006 Series when his team finished second.

"The World Series is a memory that you'll have forever," Balton said. "We have guys in the [ NAGAAA ] Hall of Fame who have never played on Saturday."

Balton praised the level of play this year, calling it, "exceptional."

However, there were only 10 top-tiered A-Division teams, down from 14 in 2010. The drop in A-Division teams, "is a concern," Balton said. Melani said the A-Division lineup could grow to as many as 17 teams next year in Minneapolis.

Melani added that all other divisions might expand in 2012 as well, particularly the Master's Division for players age 50-and-over. There were only four Master's teams in 2011, and that total could triple in 2012, he said.

There were 75 teams in the 2002 Series in Portland, Ore. The event doubled that total this year—and even more expansion is possible, perhaps even starting play on Monday.

Next summer in Minneapolis, the games will be played on 17 fields; the 2011 Series was played on 16 fields.

"I graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, a city with about 300,000 people; it is the smallest association," within NAGAAA, Balton said. "Still, Knoxville sent three teams to Chicago. One of the teams didn't win a game, but they still said it was the best time of their lives.

"That made the event worth it for me."

Knoxville also had a second-place finisher as the Cyclones battled in the championship game, but couldn't defeat the Boston Alley Gators for the B-Division title..

The 2011 Series featured teams from 41 NAGAAA member cities across the U.S. and Canada. No new cities will be added to NAGAAA in time for the 2012 Series.

Cities expected to join NAGAAA in the future include Cincinnati, Detroit, Buffalo and Salt Lake City, among others.

"Chicago has a reputation of having bad fields, so I think a lot of people had a lot of pre-conceived notions about Chicago. But these three complexes—in Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst—were great, beautiful," Balton said.

So too was some of the play. Take, for instance, the B-Division player from New York who made spectacular catches, one after the other in center field. "He made leaping, diving [ catches ] , was rolling on the ground, and then throwing a strike to second base. He did that a number of times; it was pretty awesome," Melani said.

With the good, though, came the bad. Such as, protests—when teams' challenge an opposing player's pre-tournament ranking, based on numerous skills.

"Everyone can protest up till the championship game, including [ during ] a championship game," Melani said. "If a team feels someone is out of a division, you can protest that—and keeping that [ option ] is important for everyone, to keep the rules clean."

In the end, the New York Eagle ( C-Division ) and the Oklahoma City Swallows ( D-Division ) were deemed to have erroneously ranked players, thus each was disqualified from the tournament.

Melani said there has been "no discussion" about adding an E-Division, despite rumors that the new division is being considered.

Melani said that when the Master's Division ultimately expands its total number of teams, it also likely will split the teams in two groupings, based on talent level.

The Chicago Sidetrack Classics won the four-team Master's Division, while the Chicago Spin Menace advanced to play on Saturday in A-Division.

"We played very well in round-robin, going 3-0-1 and earned the No. 2 seed, but then lost a heartbreaker in the first game of elimination play that obviously sent us into the loser's bracket," said Cameron Turner, player-coach for Chicago's A-Division team. "We won our first loser's bracket game over the Phoenix Toros 18-15, and it was a very good game."

Then the Menace fell to the Orlando Force, 14-4.

"Overall, I thought we played really, really well, especially in the round-robin games," Turner said. "It is disappointing to not win at home, but it was a great week. The local organizers did an outstanding job with this tournament.

"This was my sixth World Series and, sure, maybe I'm biased because it is Chicago, but I thought this was my favorite one."

Pitcher Kevin Ball had an exceptional Series for the Menace, said Turner, who also praised the Series play of Joe Bland, Matt Lawless and Will Dong.

"When I look back on this event, I think the highlight for me is going to be that moment when I walked on the stage at Navy Pier [ during the Opening Ceremony ] , looking out at about 2,000 people, all enjoying themselves. That was a tremendous feeling, a great moment, a great way to start the event; I think it really set the tone," said Ted Cappas of Chicago, the president of Series 2011, Inc.

"I'm proud, relieved and happy. It's been a long 18 months of planning. I'm proud of the job that the eight [ Board members ] did; I think we represented Chicago and CMSA well. We've heard nothing but positive responses from the athletes—and that's the most important thing. Whether you're the star player on an A-Division team, or the worst player on a D-Division team, we wanted everyone to have a great experience—and I think they got it.

"We've talked all along that this is more than just a softball tournament, that we're making an impact on the community. It was a great event, a 100 percent success. It was better than we ever thought it would be.

"We've proven time and time again that Chicago is one of the best cities in the world to host major LGBT sporting events; we know how to do these events; we know how to organize them; we know how to execute them. Like our motto, we're second to none. We know what we're doing, and we're proud of that fact."

Cappas added that, once all financial numbers are tallied and the economic impact study is tabulated within a few weeks, the Series will prove to be a great economic impact for the city and a positive impact for the charities, too.

Cappas batted leadoff and played outfield for one of Chicago's B-Division teams. In fact, seven of the eight Board members for Series 2011, Inc., also played in the event.

"Playing was a release for me," Cappas said. "I think playing actually was very therapeutic, to get that mental break."

This marked the ninth World Series for Cappas, and certainly one of his two favorites. In his first, while serving as the team manager, he finished third in Toronto in 2000. "That was a great experience, but this year's Series obviously will stand out," he said.

"To have been an integral part of the two largest LGBT sporting events ever held in Chicago, I'm very proud."

Cappas was the co-chair of sports, and director of basketball, for the 2006 Gay Games held in Chicago.

Cappas predicted Chicago representatives will make another bid to host the World Series within the next 10 years.

The 2012 World Series will be played in Minneapolis, then the 2013 World Series moves to Washington D.C.

Here's a look at the finals from the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series:

A-DIVISON

Champion: Atlanta Venom

Runner-up: San Francisco Hitmen

B-DIVISION

Champion: Boston Alley Gators

Runner-Up: Knoxville Cyclones

C-DIVISION

Champion: Las Vegas Rat Pack

Runner-Up: Boston 5 Star Diablos

D-DIVISION

Champion: Boston Club Cafe Good Times

Runner-up: Los Angeles Swingers

MASTER'S DIVISION

Champion: Chicago Sidetrack Classics

Runner-up: Los Angeles Silver Streaks

Sept. 2, 2011, DAY 4

Two Chicago teams are still battling for bragging rights today, the final day of play in the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series.

The Chicago Spin Menace in the top-tiered A-Division are among six teams still alive, while the Chicago Sidetrack Classics, playing in the 50-and-over Master's Division, will play in the championship game at noon in Schaumburg.

All games today will be played in Schaumburg.

After going 1-2 in pool-play, the Classics went 2-0 in bracket-play to advance to the finals. Rick Tivers of the Classics said the team has had, "solid pitching, defense, and a great offensive burst [ which ] has helped to provide the spark needed to win."

The Menace plays its first game Saturday against the Orlando Force, with the Phoenix Diablos and Atlanta Sluggers looming if the Menace wins.

The Atlanta Venom are the top-seeded A-Division team.

The Chicago Downtown Bar & Lounge was eliminated Friday from B-Division play in its second game. The Chicago Cougars were eliminated by the Houston Hellcats in the team's first game on Friday of B-Division play.

The Chicago G-Force and Chicago Buck U's were each eliminated early Friday in C-Division play, while the Chicago Cougars made a valiant attempt at playing into Saturday. The Cougars won five straight loser's bracket games before falling to the Philadelphia Triple Play by a run.

Phil Runions, of Chicago, a straight veteran player, pitched every game for the Cougars. Patrick Keegan was one of the Cougars' top offensive standouts, reaching base at about an .800 percentage during the tournament.

The Chicago Breeze lost 15-14 Friday to the Atlanta Pink Cadets to end their run in the D-Division, while the Chicago Crush was eliminated by the Southern New England Hangovers.

After the champions are determined today in Schaumburg, the World Series takes it to the streets of Lakeview for the finale, literally. The Closing Ceremony will feature an award ceremony and street fair in Boystown from 4-10 p.m., running on Waveland Aveneue between Halsted and Broadway.

The event, which is presented in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) , will feature local cover band Final Say and world-renowned DJ Bill Bennett.

"We're proud to partner with CMSA and the Northhalsted Business Alliance to close out a week of softball and social events in Boystown," said Ted Cappas, President, Series 2011 said in a statement. "We have received incredible support from the community and are especially grateful to our co-sponsor, CMSA, and Alderman James Cappleman, who understand the significance of this event for our community and our local businesses."

The Chicago Cubs, a Series 2011 sponsor, will honor representatives from the winning teams at Wrigley Field on Sunday, for a special recognition ceremony prior to their afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sunday also is Pride Day at Wrigley, sponsored by the Windy City Times, a Series 2011 media partner.

Admission is free to the Closing Street Fair, though a $5 suggested donation at the gate is requested, which will benefit Series 2011 charity partners.

WORLD SERIES STARS:

Ken Sander and Jasper Gordon each had such a memorable time at the 2010 Gay Softball World Series in Columbus, Ohio, that they drove seven hours Thursday to attend two days of the event this year.

Both are volunteers, among the 200 who donated their time to help make the event run smoothly.

"We had fun last year, so just wanted to come do it again this year," said Sander, 54, an electrician from Canton, Ohio. "Minneapolis, here we come [ in 2012 ] .

"It's great meeting people from all over the U.S."

Gordon, 42, of Akron, Ohio, said all of the teams were very friendly and appreciative for their efforts, particularly keeping the team's supply of iced bottles of water in each dugout stocked.

Bob Moore, of Chicago, said each of the three complexes where games were played had about 50 volunteers.

"I can't say enough about the volunteers; they were incredible," said Moore, the Director of Volunteers & Registration for Series 2011. "We had many volunteers who registered for one shift, but had so much fun that they came back for another.

"I'm truly amazed at the outpouring of support from the volunteers; they really made this a top-notch event."

Sept. 1, 2011 DAY 3

The hot topic Thursday at the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series was just that, the heat.

With temperatures in the mid-90s and not a cloud in the sky, the heat and humidity raged at each complex—Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst. But the local organizing committee, Series 2011, Inc, was ready with an abundance of cold bottled water in every dugout on every field at each complex.

Players, umpires, fans, and officials from the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ) , which is the host of the event, were all praise for Brian Redar and his crew.

Redar, of Chicago, is Director of Operations on the eight-member Board of Series 2011, Inc. An attorney, Redar has participated in, and volunteered for, numerous gay sports organizations and tournaments, and has been a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) since 1994. In 2003, he served as the Tournament Director for the first Chi-Town Classic gay softball tournament, held in Chicago. He was the Director of the softball events at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

"It's summertime in Chicago, so we knew it could be really hot," Redar said. "We had the same goal for each complex: make sure that, if a player in a dugout wanted or needed cold drink, we had it there for them. I think we've done a good job of that."

Heat and humidity was not the worst-case-scenario from a field operations standpoint, Redar said. Rain had that honor.

Rob Smitherman of Chicago ran the field operations in Schaumburg. He reported that the five Schaumburg fields went through four pallets of water. That equates to about 500 cases, and each case was 24 bottles. Plus, they used about 100 bags of ice, and each bag was 22 pounds.

"Brian Redar had us really prepared, and the volunteers did an absolutely great job," making sure there always was iced bottles of water in each dugout, Smitherman said.

PepsiCo and AquaFina, as part of their sponsorship with NAGAAA, donated the water. The ice was paid for by NAGAAA.

Each complex received two shipments of ice, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.

Smitherman said teams went through as many as five cases ( 120 bottles ) of water in one game.

There were two or three full-time volunteers Thursday in Schaumburg whose sole duties were to check the water bottle buckets in each dugout, constantly making sure they were supplied.

"We've gotten so many compliments. Everyone has been very appreciative," Smitherman said. "Not one player in Schaumburg complained about a lack of cold bottle water."

Schaumburg is the only complex where beer is sold. Smitherman said beer did not appear as popular Thursday, but, as teams lose and are eliminated [ on Friday ] , he predicted sales will increase.

Weather reports for Friday will be more of the same, heat and humidity, and it is expected to feel like 99 degrees.

Also at the Gay Softball World Series: The Chicago Menace won both its A-Division games on Wednesday, and then went 1-0-1 on Thursday. The Menace edged the Long Beach Rough Riders 13-12 ... Despite a No. 3 seed, the Chicago G-Force lost its second game Thursday in the C-Division, falling to the No. 19-seed San Diego Outlaws. Chicago Buck U's also won its first game Thursday, but then lost its second. Chicago Wildcats lost their first game Thursday. If the Wildcats win twice Friday in the loser's bracket, they then would face the G-Force … The Chicago Cougars won twice Thursday in B-Division before falling into the loser's bracket, including an upset victory over the Long Beach Redline. Chicago Downtown Bar lost its first game Thursday … Both of Chicago's D-Division teams, the Crush and the Breeze, lost their first games Thursday, falling into the loser's bracket … An ambulance was needed Thursday in Schaumburg after a home-plate collision sent a player to the emergency room … The San Diego player who broke his ankle on Tuesday had surgery on Wednesday.

DAY TWO

One of the big stories from Wednesday's action in the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series came off the field, not on as pool play ended.

A second C-Division team protested against the New York Eagles in as many days—and this time, the protest was upheld, thus the Eagles were disqualified from the remainder of the tournament. The Eagles' four pool play games were declared forfeits with the score 7-0 for each.

The Eagles are the first team to be kick out of the annual tournament since 2009 when two teams were DQd.

"I cannot remember anyone being disqualified for a ratings' violation in pool play; this is very unusual," said Chris Balton, the assistant commissioner for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ) , which hosts the tournament. Balton also is the athletic director for the annual Series.

All players are pre-ranked, based on 27 questions that assess the player's fielding, running and batting skills. Players who receive up to 11 points fall into the D-Division, 12-15 for C-Division, 16-19 for B-Division, and 20 or more for A.

The New York gay sports association that the Eagles play for, similar to the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) for the Chicago-based teams, will be brought in front of NAGAAA's ethics committee in the winter and could face fines or more over the Eagles' situation, Balton said.

"Their manager handled [ the news ] like a class-act," Balton said.

In other World Series news

—Warren Shapell attended the Opening Ceremony on Monday and has watched some games too. The Toronto resident was the first elected commissioner of NAGAAA. Shapell was largely credited with implementing the NAGAAA by-laws. Balton said Shapell had, "incredible forethought."

—The Oklahoma City Spitz of the D-Division arrived in Chicago with only nine players, and when one got injured, the Spitz couldn't field a team for the rest of the tournament.

—The suburban fields have received rave reviews, particularly St. Charles. "These truly are some of the best fields we have ever played on," said Balton, who ranked the Chicago-area venues among the top three of all-time in NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series history.

—Balton also praised the volunteers, saying the Chicago organizing committee delivered "stellar and outstanding" volunteers.

—One of the most popular tournament team names this season is the Minnesota Mess.

—Round-robin play begins Thursday morning, and the Chicago G-Force in C-Division earned a No. 3 seed, Chicago Crush is No. 13 in D-Division, while the Chicago Cougars are No. 28 in the B-Division, among others.

—Master's Division, for players 50 and over, begins play Thursday with four teams.

DAY ONE

The action officially started Tuesday morning in the 35th annual Gay Softball World Series and Mother Nature certainly supported the play as the warm, overcast sky was much appreciated by the players at all three suburban fields.

Despite looks of possible rain, only the last game of the night was impacted by a few sprinkles, but play was never stopped.

Pool play continues Wednesday in Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst.

"We saw a little bit of everything on Day One, [ including ] some excellent play, rain, an ambulance and even a protest," said Chris Balton, assistant commissioner for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ) , which is the host of the event."

An ambulance was needed in Schaumburg after a San Diego player broke his ankle while sliding into second base. Balton praised the paramedics, local organizers and city officials for a quick, prompt, professional response to the medical emergency.

A Phoenix team protested that an opposing player was under-rated. "A protest on Tuesday, the opening day of pool play, is not common," Balton said. "Protests are more common on Thursday and Friday, when players truly are showing off their talent, but this team truly felt an opposing player was under-rated."

One of the other major storylines from Tuesday was, well, the games that did not get played. The New York Warriors in C-Division only had about six players in town by nightfall as others were impacted in their travel plans by Hurricane Irene.

The remaining players were expected to arrive late Tuesday, and NAGAAA made an exception and will allow them to play their Tuesday games on Wednesday, thus, the Warriors will be in action four times on Wednesday.

The Warriors were to play a team from Kansas City and a team from Seattle on Tuesday.

Balton said it was the first since 2002, when he's been associated with NAGAAA, that the World Series has been impacted by a natural disaster.

Teams are not allowed to skip or forfeit pool play games, but NAGAAA officials made an exception for the Warrirors.

"It was a long day Tuesday, but I think everyone had a great time," Balton said.

Continuing coverage and related stories from the beginning at the following links:

Gay Softball World Series begins play, Aug. 29, 2011, by Ross Forman www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33518

Profile: Sidetrack Classics in Master's Division, by Ross Forman, Aug. 28, 2011 www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33509

Chicago teams ready for Gay Softball World Series, by Ross Forman, Aug. 24, 2011 www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33480

Details of the world series

The Gay Softball World Series will be played at multi-field complexes in suburban Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst. There are four fields in Elmhurst, five in Schaumburg and seven in St. Charles. All fields have lights and are fenced in.

The fields:

—Berens Park, 493 Oaklawn Ave., Elmhurst, Ill., 60126

—East Side Sports, 3565 Legacy Blvd., St. Charles, Ill., 60174

—Olympic Park, 1675 E. Old Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg, Ill., 60194

Calendar:

—Monday, Aug. 29: Opening Ceremony—Navy Pier, 5 p.m.

—Tuesday, Aug. 30:

B-C-D Division softball—Elmhurst, Schaumburg, St. Charles

—Wed., Aug. 31:

A-B-C-D Division softball—Elmhurst, Schaumburg, St. Charles

Talent Show at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare ( 9300 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont ) , 7 p.m.

—Thursday, Sept. 1:

A-B-C-D Division softball—Elmhurst, Schaumburg, St. Charles

Master's Division play begins.

Hall of Fame Dinner at the Center on Halsted ( 3656 N. Halsted ) , 6:30 p.m.

—Friday, Sept. 2:

A-B-C-D-Master's Division softball—Elmhurst, Schaumburg, St. Charles

—Saturday, Sept. 3:

Championship games for all divisions will be played in Schaumburg.

Award Ceremony, Closing Ceremonies & Street Fair, held in Boystown, 4-10 p.m.

—Sunday, Sept. 4: Pride Day at Wrigley Field

Opening ceremonies

The opening ceremonies will be held Monday, Aug. 29, at Navy Pier, starting at 5 p.m. "We can't think of a better venue and more picturesque setting to host the opening for the 2011 Gay Softball World Series," Ted Cappas, president of Series 2011, said in a press release about the event. "We've assembled an incredible program for the evening, which will welcome our athletes and feature national and local entertainers alike."

The GSWS opening ceremony will be a star-studded event to kick off the six-day spectacle, including appearances by Leslie Jordan, Ben Cohen, Pandora Boxx, Amy Armstrong and Matthew Harvat, among others.

A $10 suggested donation at the door, which will benefit the Ben Cohen "Stand Up" foundation, is requested.

Closing ceremony

The Gay Softball World Series will culminate with a closing awards ceremony and street fair in Boystown Saturday, Sept. 3, from 4-10 p.m. The event, which is presented in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) , will take place on Waveland Avenue between Halsted and Broadway streets and feature local cover band Final Say and DJ Bill Bennett.

"We're proud to partner with CMSA and the Northhalsted Business Alliance to close out a week of softball and social events in Boystown," Cappas said in a statement. "We have received incredible support from the community and are especially grateful to our co-sponsor, CMSA, and Ald. James Cappleman, who understand the significance of this event for our community and our local businesses."

A $5 donation is requested, which will benefit the Ben Cohen "Stand Up" foundation.

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs, a Series 2011 sponsor, will welcome representatives from the winning teams of all division to Wrigley Field on Sunday, Sept. 4 for a special recognition ceremony prior to the afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

That Sunday is also Pride Day at Wrigley Field, sponsored by the Windy City Times, a Series 2011 media partner.

Talent show

There will be singers, dancers, comedians and more—some good, some not-so-good—at the annual Talent Show, sponsored by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association ( NAGAAA ) . The event will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel, with all proceeds going to designated Series 2011 charities: Broadway Youth Center, Illinois Safe School Alliance, and The Families' & Children's AIDS Network.

Drag sensation Tajma Hall will emcee the event, scheduled for Wed., Aug. 31, at 7 p.m.

Hall of Fame dinner

The annual NAGAAA Hall of Fame dinner will be held Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Center on Halsted, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The 2011 Hall of Fame inductees are:

—Chuck Burlingham - Southern New England

—Gary "Dixie" Carter - Atlanta

—Michael Crocker - Atlanta

—David Lerma - Los Angeles

—Roy Melani - Portland

—Rob Papa - Philadelphia

—Jeff Schoonover - Long Beach

—Jim Szakacs - Toronto

—Mike Travers - San Diego

Teams

Here's a look at the teams participating in the annual Gay Softball World Series:

Atlanta

A Division — Venom and Sluggers

B Division — Hardline Packers and Hitmob

C Division — ATL Packers and Rampage

D Division — Pink Cadets and Heat

Austin

B Division - Shady Ladies

C Division - Outlaws

D Division - Ball Busters, Hot Mess

Birmingham

C Division - Bama Boys

Boston

B Division - Alley Gators, Club Cafe Angels, Club Cafe Crew

C Division - Thunder Alley, Five Star Diablos

D Division - Club Cafe Good Times

Chicago

A Division - Spin Menace

B Division - Downtown Bar & Lounge, Spin Cougars

C Division - Buck U's, Green Team Properties/Gotcha' Covered Blinds G-Force, Spin Wildcats

D Division - Jackhammer Breeze, Mi Tierra Crush

Masters - Sidetrack Classics

Columbus

C Division - Coors Light Trafik Grizzlies

D Division - Find Fred Falcons, Exile XXX

Dallas

A Division - Dallas TKO

B Division - Dallas Woody's X-Plosion, Hidden Door/Eagle Assault

C Division - Round Up Fuse, Dallas Voice Drillers

D Division - Round Up Diesel, Dallas BOOM

Washington DC

B Division - DC Disturbance

C Division - Capitol Punishment, DC Envy

Denver

B Division - Denver Stix

C Division - Wrangler Wild

Ft. Lauderdale

B Division - Sidelines Eagles

C Division - Sidelines Cyclones, Bill's Blue Crush

D Division — Matty's Marauders, Rosie's Renegades

Houston

A Division - Houston Force

B Division - Bomb Squad, Hellcats

C Division - Texas Twisters, Toros

D Division - Sons of Pitches, Toros

Kansas City

C division - Stealth

D division - Rabid Kittens

Knoxville

B Division - Cyclones

C Division - Cyclones

D Division - Bears

Las Vegas

C Division - The Rat Pack

D Division - Piranha

Long Beach

A Division - Rough Riders

B Division - Redline

C Division - Havoc

D Division - Posse

Los Angeles

B Division - Hardline Thunder, LA Riots, Killer B's

C Division - Hollywood Swingers, LA Bandits

D Division - LA Destroyers, Hollywood Swingers

Masters - LA Silverstreaks

Memphis

C Division - Memphis Neons

Mid-Atlantic

C Division - Carolina Thunder

Milwaukee

D Division - Madison Madd Dawg Woofs

Montreal

D Division - Montreal Mustangs

Nashville

C Division - Force, Fury

D Division - Pink Panthers, Sting

New Orleans

C Division - New Orleans Masterbatters

D Division - Crescent City Crawlers

New York

B Division - Mavericks

C Division - Eagle, Warriors

D Division - Jesters

Oklahoma City

C Division - Oklahoma Chaos, Oklahoma Stampede

D Division - Swallows, Spitz

Orlando

A Division - Orlando Force

B Division - Broadway Crush

C Division - Shock, Parliament House Storm

D Division - Mr. Sisters Arch Angels, Wild Stallions

Philadelphia

B Division - Knock Outlaws

C Division - Tabu Triple Play, iCandy Rage

Phoenix

A Division — Charlie's Bud Light Diablos, Roscoes Coors Light HP2 Toros

B Division — Charlie's Hardline Trojans, AZ Ice

C Division - Roscoes Mavericks

Pittsburgh

D Division - Brewers D

Portland

B Division - Brewers, Assault

C Division - Yellow Pages

D Division - Swallows

Rhode Island

C Division - Stable Renegades

St. Louis

D Division - St. Louis Arch Rivals

San Diego

B Division - The Loft

C Division - Flicks Lawmen, Bamboo Lounge Outlaws

D Division - Bourbon St. Krush, Hillcrest Pharmacy Aftershock

San Francisco

A Division - Hitmen

B Division - Bombers, Fury

C Division - Hustlers, Treat

D Division - Puma, Storm

San Jose

D Division - Cougars, Underdawgs

Seattle

B Division - Vendetta, Dirty Dawgs

C Division - Squadron, Sin

D Division - Buzz, Sacrifice

Southern New England

D Division - Hangovers

Tampa

C Division - Crocs, Hammerheads

D Division - Inferno, Panthers

Masters - Hamburger Mary's

Toronto

C Division - Toronto Storm

Tulsa

D Division - Tulsa Crude

Twin Cities

B Division - Sabres, Frostbite

C Division - Edge, Mess

D Division - Titans

Vancouver

B Division - Numbers

C Division - Junction

D Division - Score, Fountainhead Pub

Gay Softball World Series begins play August 30. Come back for daily updates at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=33045

The 35th annual Gay Softball World Series begins play Tuesday morning, August 30, at multi-field complexes in suburban Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst. The Series is being held in Chicago for the first time since 1983 and it is the largest annual LGBT sporting event of the year. More than 4,000 participants, along with family and friends, are expected to attend, with 175 teams competing in five divisions, with play culminating Saturday, Sept 3. The Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Monday night, August 29 at Navy Pier. Stay tuned to the Windy City Times' website ( www.windycitymediagroup.com ) for daily updates, scores, photos and more from the most exciting six days of gay softball of the year.


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