THUNDERBOLTS ANNOUNCE SATURDAY FIREWORKS PROMOTIONS

The Windy City ThunderBolts have eight Saturday night home games in 2017 featuring our famous postgame fireworks show.  These nights have been enhanced with fantastic theme nights featuring pregame concerts, character appearances, and more.  We are happy to announce our 2017 promotions for this season’s Saturday nights!

May 13th, Beer Fest – We will pay homage to beer on our first Saturday night of the season.  Beer Fest 2017, still a work in progress, we will feature tastings and special offers from local breweries around Chicago.  Look for more details to be announced soon.

May 27th, Beatles Night – It is our annual Beatles Night featuring a pregame concert by “Kaleidoscope Eyes” from 4:30-5:45 pm.  Beatles’ music will be playing all game long as well!  We also celebrate Memorial Day Weekend as all active duty members and Veterans of the military receive a free ticket for them and a guest (must show valid Military I.D.)

June 17th, Princess Night – We are excited for our third annual Princess Night!  This will be the most magical night of the season with appearances  from various princesses.  Included in the festivities are a pre-game costume parade, your favorite princesses throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, meet and greets, princess sing-a-long on our videoboard, and lots of your favorite Disney music all game long!

July 8th, Harry Potter Night – A new theme in 2017 is our first ever Harry Potter Night!  Dress as your favorite movie character and be a part of the pregame parade on the field!  All parade participants dressed up will get a voucher for a free hot dog and soda!  The best costume in the parade, chosen by Boomer, will throw out a first pitch!  At the concession stands we will have a special on Butterbeer.  $3 for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of the movie treat.  We will have promotions centered around the movie and also we will invite fans to catch the Golden Snitch around the ballpark.  More details will be announced soon!

August 5th, Superhero Night – Calling all comic book fans…as it is our third annual Superhero Night!  Make sure to get here early, where gates open at 5 pm and anyone wearing a superhero costume can get on the field for a pregame parade lead by some of the galaxy’s greatest heroes!  Various superheroes (to be announced soon) will be meeting their fans and being on the lookout for the best costumes in the ballpark. Each Superhero will pick one costumed fan, and the finalist will head to the field where fans will decide who has the best costume in the stadium!

August 12th, Elvis Night – Come on out to one of our most popular nights!  Memphis meets Vegas in a pre-game concert at 4:30 pm by John Elvis Lyons.  Elvis music will be on-tap all game long and this is also one of our two Church Nights!  All places of faith can get $5 advance group tickets to this game.  Call 708-489-2255 to reserve your seats now!

August 26th, Star Wars Night – It is our second annual Star Wars Night!  Come dressed as your favorite Star Wars character, take part in a Chewbacca Roar Contest, and enjoy Star Wars’ themed sights & sounds!  The ThunderBolts will also be wearing special Star Wars themed jerseys which we will auction off with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Illinois.  This is also one of our two Church Nights!  All places of faith can get $5 advance group tickets to this game.  Call 708-489-2255 to reserve your seats now!

September 2nd, Super Mega Fireworks Spectacular – Stick around after the game as we have our final fireworks show of the season!  It will be bigger, longer, and the best firework show of 2017.  It is so big we are calling it our SUPER MEGA Postgame Fireworks SPECTACULAR and it is sponsored by Lumina Pyrotechnics.

The Windy City ThunderBolts open their 19th Frontier League season at Standard Bank Stadium on Friday, May 12th vs. the Washington Wild Things featuring $3 U-Call-Its!  Season tickets, group areas and group packages are available to book now! Call 708-489-2255 or check out wcthunderbolts.com for more information! Be sure to follow the ThunderBolts all off-season at wcthunderbolts.com and stay up-to-date with us on social media with Facebook, Twitter(@wcthunderbolts) and Instagram(wcthunderbolts)!

FRONTIER LEAGUE INTRODUCES 25th ANNIVERSARY LOGO

In 2017, the Frontier League will celebrate its 25th season. The Frontier League is the oldest Independent Professional Baseball League in the country. The League is currently planning events to be held during the season in all ball parks. Two new logos have been created for the 25th Season. One logo will be for print and merchandise use. The other logo will be stamped on all baseballs for the 2017 season.

The logo for print and merchandise use is a combination of the two main logos that the League has used over the 25 seasons. It is a blending of the current crossed bats logo that has been used since 2003, with the original logo from 1993 that features a baseball with a smiling face, wearing a raccoon skin cap. A banner across the bottom of the logo simply states “25th Season”. The League wishes to thank Joe Masterson of the Gateway Grizzlies for his assistance in creating the logo.

The logo for the baseballs in 2017 is much smaller due to the size limitations. It will feature the current Frontier League logo with the crossed bats. The numbers 2 and 5 will look as though they are being supported by the ends of the bats. A small “th” appears behind the numeral 5. The baseballs will have red and blue seams, as well as the Commissioner’s signature. A special thank you to Dan Tomaszewski, former Creative Marketing Manager for the Schaumburg Boomers, for his help with the baseball logo.

The Frontier League had meager beginnings when the first game was played on June 30, 1993. High school and community fields were the homes to the early Frontier League teams. League attendance did not even reach 100,000. The season was only 54 games in length. No one could have predicted the growth the League would experience.

In 1995, the League moved west with the addition of Evansville, Indiana. This move eventually paved the way for teams in Illinois and Missouri in ensuing years. Also during these years, many Major League teams began scouting and signing FL players. This fact made players from around the world desire to play in the League.

To date, more than 1000 players have signed contracts with Major League Baseball teams and 31 players have gone on to play in MLB. The League also has many of its alumni working throughout MLB teams in many capacities. There is a MLB General Manager, David Forst, of the Oakland A’s. This list also includes several coaches, scouts, front office executives, player development personnel, broadcasters, trainers and even an umpire. The League has also produced hundreds of college and high school coaches, doctors, attorneys and successful business people across all walks of life.

As the League grew in stature and geographic area, the facilities grew as well. In 1999, Crestwood, Illinois and O’Fallon, Missouri, built the first two stadiums specifically for the FL. Currently, 9 out of the 12 teams in the League, play in stadiums built for the Frontier League team. Throughout the years, the League has grown and continues to attract approximately 1.5 million fans per year.

Frontier League Commissioner, Bill Lee, was hired prior to the 1994 season and is beginning his 24th season at the helm of the League. Lee says, “In my first interview, I was told that the League would not last past the 1994 season. Fortunately, we have done that. There are many, many people to thank for the success and longevity of the League. I want to personally thank every player that ever donned a Frontier League uniform, the many coaches, trainers, broadcasters, umpires, front office staff members, government officials and team owners for their sacrifices and hard work in helping to keep the League moving forward. However, most of all I want to thank all of the fans that have attended Frontier League games over the years. Without them this would not have been possible.”

OTTERS EXPAND FRONT OFFICE STAFF WITH TRI-STATE NATIVES

Fresh off a Frontier League championship in 2016, the Evansville Otters have finalized the team’s front office staff for the 2017 season at Bosse Field.

The staff will have an expanded sales workforce compared to recent seasons and three new hires are from the area.

Josh “Hack” Wilson (Rockport, Ind. native) will serve as the Director of Group Sales. Wilson comes to Evansville from the Gwinnett Braves, where he managed nearly 300 accounts and generated $220,000 in sales and over $50,000 in new business.

The Indiana University graduate has also worked for the Pawtucket Red Sox and Norfolk Tides.

Clint Thrasher (Henderson, Ky. native) will be an Account Executive for the Otters. Thrasher is a Harding University graduate and previously worked for Martin-Wilbourn Partners LLC in Little Rock, Ark.

There, Thrasher assisted with client relations and proofed copy, proposals, and other marketing materials.

Lucas Corley (Floyds Knobs, Ind. native) is another Account Executive for the Otters and will also serve as the team’s radio broadcaster on WUEV broadcasts, teaming up with longtime color commentator and former Otters’ coach and interim field manager Bill McKeon.

Corley, an Indiana University graduate, has previous radio experience working at WIUX, WOCC, and WNAS. He also worked as a broadcaster on Big Ten Network Student U broadcasts while at IU.

Wilson, Thrasher, and Corley will work alongside Megan Thompson, a Castle High School and University of Central Florida graduate, who returns for her second season as an Account Executive for the Otters.

Joel Padfield has a new title as Vice President, Sales and Jake Riffert will return as Director of Operations.  Padfield is a graduate of Central High School and Ball State University, and Riffert has been involved with the Otters dating back to their first championship in 2006.

Celia Langford, currently finishing her senior year at the University of Southern Indiana, is also returning as the Office Manager and will now be in charge of Community Relations for the team.

Nanette Bittner returns for her second season at Bosse Field as the Finance Manager.  Nanette is a graduate of the University of Southern Indiana and brings nearly 30 years of bookkeeping experience to the Otters.

Zane Clodfelter, a Harrison High School and University of Southern Indiana graduate, will have an expanded role in his seventh season with the team, serving as Communications Manager in addition to having public address duties at Bosse Field.

The Evansville Otters are the 2016 Frontier League champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

WILD THINGS CELEBRATE 15 YEARS IN WASHINGTON

With the 2017 season on the horizon, the Wild Things are excited to celebrate 15 years playing in Washington. This special anniversary will include a commemorative logo, behind-the-scenes pieces on the transformation of the organization and a yearlong media campaign to #Celebrate15.

In 2002, the Washington Wild Things entered the 12 team Frontier League and caught on like wildfire. Out of the gates, the Wild Things showed their dominance on and off the field. The team, led by Manager of the Year Jeff Isom, finished the season with 56 wins and the #1 seed into the playoffs. On the diamond, the Wild Things hosted four All-Stars and the Frontier League’s Most Valuable Pitcher, Jared Howton. Fans from across the tri-state area flocked to be part of the electricity, resulting in the Wild Things being awarded the 2002 Frontier League Organization of the Year.

Over the last 15 years, the Wild Things and Washington County have made some historic strides providing the community with professional baseball and family entertainment. In total, the Wild Things have hosted nearly two million fans, compiled 749 wins, made seven playoff appearances, three “Manager of the Year” awards, three “Most Valuable Pitcher” awards and one Frontier League MVP. On an individual level, the team has sent dozens of players to Major League Baseball organizations with three players reaching MLB rosters and countless players shifting their careers to coaching baseball. The Wild Things’ front office has kept the focus on entertainment, winning another Frontier League Organization of the Year and multiple Awards of Excellence for in-game entertainment and sponsorship.

As we begin the journey to #Celebrate15, we look back and acknowledge the generations and generations of families that grew up making memories with us. Our 15th year anniversary is a milestone we look forward to share with the community and the two million fans that built us into the fabric of Washington County.

The Wild Things will celebrate its 15th year in Washington at the home opener Friday, May 19th when the Windy City Thunderbolts come to town!  Season ticket and group packages are available by calling the Wild Things’ box office at 724-250-9555.

GRIZZLIES RE-SIGN MASSONI, LIVESAY AND BROWN FOR 2017 SEASON

The Gateway Grizzlies have three key players returning for the 2017 season. Infielder/DH Craig Massoni and outfielders Cody Livesay and Blake Brown will all be entering their third season with the organization, announced Wednesday.

Massoni, 25, looks to become a leader in the clubhouse as he led the team in homeruns and RBIs during the 2016 season.

“I love the responsibility of leading by example and being the spark plug that we need,” Massoni said.

Massoni spent two seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization prior to signing with the Lake Erie Crushers. He was then traded to the Grizzlies after just eight games during the 2015 season. He finished the 2016 season with 14 homeruns and 52 RBIs.

Livesay, 23, signed with Gateway after spending three seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization. He played 89 games for manager Phil Warren in 2016 and led the team in plate appearances and hits. The outfielder is also ready to embrace his new leadership role and pave the way for the new players on the team.

“The chemistry with the guys returning and the way new guys always seem to fit right in with this group is unbelievable,” said Livesay.

The other returning outfielder Blake Brown, 25, made a big impact in 2015 where he cracked 22 homeruns and drove in 60 runs. He also led the team in walks with 49. In 2016, Brown battled injuries but looks to be back in full health for the start of 2017.

“I’m getting really anxious to get back out there since I missed the end of 2016,” said Brown, who has also spent time in the Atlanta Braves organization. “I’m nearly 100% and getting better every day.”

Despite the injuries, Brown managed to still have a productive season with eight homeruns and 10 doubles.

Grizzlies’ manager Phil Warren showed confidence with the return of the three veterans. “We’re looking for Brown and Massoni to be the anchors with Cody setting the table for them in the leadoff spot,” said Warren. He went on to say that it’s now “their clubhouse to lead.”  The Grizzlies skipper will enter his 11th season managing Gateway, the longest tenured manager in the team’s history.

The Grizzlies begin the 2017 season on May 12 against the Florence Freedom at GCS Ballpark. Season and group tickets are on sale now. Please call the Grizzlies’ box office at (618) 337-3000 for more information or CLICK HERE!

ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find – affordable, family, fun in a comfortable ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000. 

ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is celebrating its 25th season as a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 12 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year. 

2017 CWL SEASON OPENS THURSDAY, JANUARY 19

The California Winter League enters its third season as the Official Winter League of the Frontier League, with play beginning next week.

As part of their agreement, the California Winter League uses Frontier League managers and coaches as their instructors.  For the 2017 season, Windy City field manager Ron Biga will serve as the CWL’s Pitching Coordinator and Traverse City field manager is the Fielding Coordinator.  Florence field manager Dennis Pelfrey and Lake Erie field manager Cam Roth will manage teams in the CWL, along with Evansville assistant coach Boots Day, Normal pitching coach Andrew Kottner, Schaumburg hitting coach Patrick O’Sullivan, and Southern Illinois scouting coordinator Casey Dill.  Biga is spending his fourth season in the CWL, with O’Sullivan,  Rohn, and Roth participating for the third time, and Day, Dill, and Pelfrey for the second time.  Kottner will make his CWL debut this year.  Frontier League deputy commissioner Steve Tahsler is also on-site for the third year to oversee the CWL’s relationship with the Frontier League.

In the first two seasons of the California Winter League’s agreement with the Frontier League, 97 CWL players have signed contracts to play in the Frontier League, including 2015 Home Run Derby champion Reggie Lawson (Traverse City Beach Bums), 2015 Post-Season All-Star Michael Hur (Rockford Aviators), 2015 Rookie of the Year Brandon Tierney (Frontier Greys), 2016 Post-Season All-Star Mike Jurgella (River City Rascals), and 2016 champion Kenny Frosch (Evansville Otters).  In addition, 2016 CWL participants Matt Pobereyko (Florence Freedom to Arizona Diamondbacks) and Luke Barker (Traverse City Beach Bums to Milwaukee Brewers) advanced from the CWL to the Frontier League to being signed by a MLB organization.

The California Winter League is proud to announce the Opening Day of its eighth season will take place on January 19, 2017, with games beginning at 9:00am right here in beautiful Palm Springs, California. Since its inception prior to the 2010 season, the CWL has committed itself to providing a family-friendly baseball experience for fans, while also providing meaningful development for its players – many of whom have descended upon the Coachella Valley in the hopes of securing a professional contract.

The 2017 season will feature 12 teams, including the defending champion Manitoba North Stars, and over 250 aspiring ballplayers from all over the world. Also in participation will be twenty-plus scouts and instructors from all across professional baseball, including representatives affiliated with Major League Baseball franchises, as well as those affiliated with independent leagues such as the Atlantic League, the American Association, the Can-Am League, the Pacific Association, and the Frontier League.

Fans that have come out to Palm Springs Stadium have seen nearly half of the free agents go on to sign professional deals in either Independent Baseball Leagues or with affiliated Major League Baseball teams. The high quality of talent has attracted many scouts and players from around the globe who are eager to sign these professional free agents.

During all games at the stadium fans will find affordable entertainment with one ticket giving them admission to the entire day of games. There are daily promotional days for out-of-towners, groups, and those who are thirsty for $1 beers. More discounts and a full schedule can be found on the CWL’s web page (www.californiawinterleague.com).

Players and coaches report on Monday, January 16th, and workout days (open to the public) will be held on January 17th and 18th. Opening Day is Thursday, January 19th.

WILD THINGS ADD PITCHER DAVIS ADKINS

The Washington Wild Things added another relief pitcher to the 2017 roster. RHP Davis Adkins joins Washington after a star-studded career at Georgia Gwinnett College and professional experience with the Florence Freedom.

Adkins, a 6’2 Georgia native, attended Georgia Gwinnett College for two years and was a driving force toward their record-breaking seasons and eventual NAIA World Series appearance. During his collegiate career, Adkins posted an overall 19-1 record while also earning seven saves over 56 outings. His junior year he posted a solid 5-1 record and a respectable 2.97 ERA. However, Davis dominated in his 2016 senior campaign with a 14-0 record with 101 strikeouts and a 1.88 ERA in 95 innings.

Davis was quickly signed by the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. Professionally, he earned four wins and struck out another 51 batters in 53 innings. With over 150 innings on his arm, Adkins was shut down for the year in mid-August in order to recover and prevent injury. Davis will continue his professional career by adding to an already deep bullpen in Washington.  His focus will be on late-inning outs.

Wild Things’ General Manager Steven Zavacky outlined the pursuit of Adkins, “Davis was a guy we actively tried to sign following his time at Georgia Gwinnett. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to wrap up the deal to get him, and he signed with Florence. We saw his ability to make an impact in the league upon his arrival,” Zavacky continued, “He threw a masterful game against us on July 3rd in front of an electric Wild Things’ crowd, where we won 4-1. We kept him on our radar throughout the summer, and he was one of our priority signings once the off-season came. Davis wants the ball when the game is on the line!  He shows no nerves when he’s under pressure. Both the coaching staff and player believe that a full-time move to the bullpen will pay great dividends.”

The Wild Things will celebrate its 15th year in Washington at the home opener Friday, May 19th when the Windy City Thunderbolts come to town!  Season ticket and group packages are available by calling the Wild Things’ box office at 724-250-9555. The 2017 Schedule is available on the Wild Things’ website at www.washingtonwildthings.com.

MINERS ANNOUNCE 2017 DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE DATES

The Southern Illinois Miners announced the Daddy Daughter Dance will return in 2017. The 6th annual Daddy Daughter Dance will take place on two dates this year, Friday, Feb. 3rd at 6:00 pm and Saturday, Feb. 4th at 3:00 pm.

The Daddy Daughter Dance is a extravagant evening full of dancing and entertainment! Come enjoy “A Night in Wonderland” with us in the exclusive Diamond Club at Rent One Park. Tickets are $35 for a couple, $10 for each additional child and $5 for your Daddy/Daughter photo.

For more information, contact the Miners Box Office at 618-998-8499!

CRUSHERS LOOK TO CAPITALIZE ON STRONG FINISH

The Lake Erie Crushers head in to 2017 very optimistic and with a lot of new talent. The Crushers ended their 2016 campaign on a strong finish, winning 15 of their final 21 games down the stretch and missing the playoffs by just one game.  Director of Baseball Operations Cam Roth is spending the winter bolstering the roster and scouring the country in search of additional talent to bring home the hardware in 2017.

“We have a lot of talented Players returning next season, so the cupboard is far from bare” said Roth.  “But in this league, you’re constantly looking to upgrade, and get the right 24 guys that can bring home a title.”

Some of the new faces Crusher fans will see in 2017 include new signee Jordan Dean, formerly of the Schaumburg Boomers. Dean, a second baseman/shortstop, hit .256 last season, but is just one year removed from a .317 average and Frontier League All-Star appearance.

Left handed hitting First Baseman Alex Fink, from Augustana University in South Dakota, will join the Crushers in 2017. Fink was All-Conference his Senior season, hitting nearly .400 and playing gold glove defense.

The Crushers have also signed infielder Connor Hofmann, a former San Diego Padres draft pick. Hoffman split time in 2016 between the Traverse City Beach Bums and Sussex County Miners of the Can-AM League.

One familiar face in a new place will be former First Base Coach Derek Shoman, who has signed a contract to return to playing status in 2017. Shoman can play first base, catcher and will spend some time at DH.

There will be some 2016 Crusher plays, you will not be seeing in 2017.  Pitchers Stetson Nelson and Trevor Longfellow have both retired as has Shortstop Eric Grabe.  First Baseman/Catcher Jose Barraza recently signed a contract with the Pittsburg Pirates organization, the 4th member of the 2016 squad to sign to play affiliated ball.

The Crushers open their 2017 season on Friday, May 12th against the Joliet Slammers at the newly named home field of Sprenger Health Care Stadium.  Tickets are now on sale by calling the Crushers at 440-934-3636 or visiting the Crushers website at www.lakeeriecrushers.com

JOLIET SLAMMERS ANNOUNCE NEW ROYALTY NIGHT COMING 2017 SEASON

The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy announce Princess Night returning for the 2017 season, along with a new Royalty Night that features both princesses and their prince.  Princesses and princes provided by Magic, Music and More will be available on the three promotional nights for autographs and pictures.

The two Princess Nights will be held on Friday, June 2 at 7:05 p.m. as well as Friday, August 11 at 7:05 p.m. The new Royalty Night will be held on Saturday July 22 starting at 6:05 p.m.

A Princess parade pre-game will kick-off each night and fans are encouraged to dress up for the special nights. Those who participate will receive a free drink voucher at the gate. Post-game fireworks will follow each night.

Princess packages and individual tickets will be available for purchase April 2017.

For more information, call the Box Office at (815) 722-2287 or visit jolietslammers.com.

About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy play at the Slammers Stadium downtown Joliet, Illinois, and are members of the professional, independent Frontier League. The Frontier League is a 12-team league entering its 25th season of play in 2017. Visit the Slammers online at www.jolietslammers.com or call the ticket office at 815-722-2287 for more information! Don’t forget to “Like” the Slammers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jolietslammers or follow them on Twitter at @jolietslammers!

“VOICE OF THE GRIZZLIES” SAM LEVITT MOVES ON TO HOUSTON ASTROS ORGANIZATION

After spending three seasons with the organization, “Voice of the Grizzlies” Sam Levitt is moving on to a new chapter of his baseball broadcasting career. Levitt is joining the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

Levitt will be joining the Hooks radio broadcast team as a play-by-play announcer and will also serve in an on-air role for the team’s video content.

“I am thrilled for this opportunity and look forward to working at the Double-A level of professional baseball,” Levitt said. “I dream of one day working in Major League Baseball and this opportunity will help me continue climbing towards that ultimate goal.”

He joined the Grizzlies Radio Network as a play-by-play broadcaster after graduating from Northwestern University in 2014 and was promoted to the role of Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations prior to the 2015 season.

“Sam Levitt has been a tremendous asset to the Gateway Grizzlies and we wish him the best,” Grizzlies general manager Steve Gomric said. “He continues the long line of talented broadcasters that have been associated with the Grizzlies. I expect him to go far in sports broadcasting.”

Levitt called more than 250 games on the Grizzlies Radio Network while he was a familiar face on GTV, the team’s video platform both online and inside GCS Ballpark. The New York native represented the Grizzlies during local media appearances and worked with news outlets to cover the team. He coordinated the production of all Grizzlies radio and video platforms.

“I will be forever be grateful to owner Rich Sauget, general manager Steve Gomric, manager Phil Warren, and my great friend Adam Young, who I was so fortunate to work alongside during my first season with the team,” Levitt said. “They gave me the opportunity of a lifetime in baseball and took a chance on someone who just finished college. The organization and fan base welcomed me with open arms, while Phil always made me feel like a part of the team. That was so important to me as I got familiar with the grind and demanding schedule of a baseball season.”

Levitt became a steady voice in the St. Louis market and worked in many roles throughout the greater region. He called Division I basketball games at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville during the baseball offseason and broadcasted games for other universities in the area. Levitt also worked for various television broadcast outlets in Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

“I would not be the broadcaster or person that I am today without my time in this wonderful organization,” Levitt said. “I have come to know so many of our listeners and viewers personally. They allowed me to become part of their summer family and I will never forget that. I wish the Grizzlies organization, players, and fans all the best during the 2017 season and beyond.”

FORMER FL MANAGER GREG JELKS PASSES AWAY

The Frontier League is saddened to learn of the passing of former field manager Greg Jelks, as reported by the Community Newspaper Group of Perth, Australia, on Friday.   Greg fell asleep while on a flight back to Australia after spending the holidays visiting his family in Alabama and never work up.  Their stories can be viewed at http://www.communitynews.com.au/comment/news/perth-heat-baseball-legend-greg-jelks-dies-aged-55/ and http://www.communitynews.com.au/joondalup-times/sport/greg-jelks-death-devastates-carine-cats/

Greg served as a field manager in the Frontier League for seven seasons, posting a career record of 313-337, tied for 10th all-time in Frontier League managerial wins.  Greg made his Frontier League managerial debut with the Evansville Otters for the 2002 season.  He received the Roger Hanners Award as Manager of the Year in 2003 for posting an 18-victory improvement over his first season and leading the Otters to the Frontier League Championship Series.  Under Greg, the Otters would return to the league finals again in 2004 and in 2006, sweeping the Chillicothe Paints for Evansville’s first championship.  Greg went on to manage the Slippery Rock Sliders in 2007 and the Washington Wild Things in 2008.  He managed the East Division in the 2003 All-Star Game while serving as an All-Star coach in several other seasons.

Greg’s playing career saw him advance to the Major Leagues for 10 games with the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1987 season.  The Phillies signed Greg as a free agent following the National Baseball Congress tournament in 1981.  He spent eight seasons in the Phillies’ organization before concluding his playing career in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system in 1989.

After he finished playing in the United States, Greg moved to Australia where he began playing for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League in 1993.  Greg eventually became an Australian citizen and played for the Australian National Team in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, and the 2000 Olympics.  After shifting full-time into coaching, Greg served on Australia’s staff for the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

“Greg was a tremendous influence on hundreds of ballplayers during his time in the Frontier League,” said Deputy Commissioner Steve Tahsler, who worked as Greg’s general manager in Evansville and Slippery Rock.  “He brought an upbeat, infectious personality to the field and truly loved teaching the game of baseball.”

Greg was born and raised in Centre, Alabama, where he graduated from Cherokee County High School before attending Gadsden State Community College prior to signing with the Phillies.  He was selected as an inaugural member of the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Funeral information has not been released.

Entering its 25th season, the Frontier League features teams in seven Midwestern states, stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to northern Michigan.  More information and the complete 2017 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

CORNBELTERS WELCOMES TOBY KEITH PRESENTED BY FORD F-SERIES TO THE 2017 SUMMER CONCERT LINEUP!

The Normal CornBelters, presented by the Illinois Corn Farmers, are excited to announce superstar Toby Keith to the Corn Crib on June 29, 2017!

From the moment Toby’s debut single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” shot up the charts to become his first No. 1, the engine driving everything else has been the music. He writes it. He arranges and produces it. And he releases it on his own record label, Show Dog Nashville. At the core is his songwriting, as recognized in his 2015 induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City. The Nashville Songwriters Association International named him Songwriter/Artist of the Decade and he is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year. His songs have received more than 87 million BMI performances on commercial radio stations worldwide. Keith’s albums have sold more than 40 million copies. His tours have drawn more than a million fans each year for more than a decade straight, with recent expansion into Europe and Australia.

The awards are too numerous to count and include Artist of the Decade nods from Billboard and the American Country Awards, as well as the ACM’s Career Achievement honor. A musician’s musician, he was a last minute illness stand-in for the late Merle Haggard a few years back and responded to Merle’s query about which of the legend’s songs Keith knew and could cover with, “All of ’em.” And there have been some unexpected highlights along the way as well, including country’s most impactful viral event ever, “Red Solo Cup,” the video for which has received more than 30 million views and was named ACM Video of the Year. Toby’s most rewarding experiences, however, have come from giving back locally, nationally and abroad. His golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses. His 11 USO Tours to date have been recognized with the Spirit of the USO Award (2014). And when a tornado ravaged his hometown, Toby Keith was the face of the community and helped shoulder the cleanup with the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert. Triple threat? How about singer, songwriter, musician, producer, entertainer, humanitarian, Oklahoman and patriot. For starters.

Tickets go on sale January 9th at 9 am to Mini Plan and Season Ticket holders and January 13th at 9 am to the general public.  Tickets start at $45.00 for reserved box seats or field general admission and $70.00 for VIP pit. Purchase your tickets now at www.normalbaseball.com, by calling (309)-454-2255 or by stopping by our Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office during business hours located at The Corn Crib to reserve your seats!

BOOMERS TO HOST JOB FAIR FOR 2017 EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Join us February 18th from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Boomers Stadium for the 2017 Boomers Job Fair. The Boomers are seeking a number of hard-working, customer-oriented people to join their staff for the upcoming season.

The Boomers job fair will take place in the Schaumburg Club at Boomers Stadium on Saturday, February 18th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Applicants interested in joining the Boomers are encouraged to bring their resume to the event and a completed application (print here) to the event.  Prospective candidates will be able to meet and interview with members of the Boomers front office and learn about the fast-growing professional baseball franchise. Applications can be printed online at www.boomersbaseball.com and those interested in attending are asked to bring a completed application with them to the job fair.

Food & Beverage Jobs

Positions available in Food and Beverage (must by 16 or older, Suite Attendants must be 19 or older, Basset Certification required for all alcoholic beverage servers):

  • Cashiers
  • Catering Servers
  • Concession Stand Supervisors
  • Cooks
  • Stand Managers
  • Suite Attendants/Servers
  • Warehouse

General Operations

Must be 16 or older:

  • Janitorial
  • Ushers
  • Kids Zone Attendant
  • Parking Attendant
  • Camera Operator
  • Retail

Applications will be available the day of the event or follow the link below to download and print an application to fill out and bring with you.

More Info: The 2013 & 2014 Frontier League Champions and 2013 & 2016 Organization of the Year, the Schaumburg Boomers are an independent professional baseball franchise based in Schaumburg, IL. Named after the Greater Prairie Chicken, which once roamed throughout Schaumburg and the surrounding areas in the 19th century, the Boomers excel in providing fun, affordable family entertainment and the best customer service in the business. For more information, visit www.boomersbaseball.com.

MCLEAN COUNTY ORTHOPEDICS’ LEGENDS GAME WELCOMES CARLOS “EL TORO” ZAMBRANO!

The Normal CornBelters, presented by the Illinois Corn Farmers, are excited to announce one of modern day’s finest hitting pitchers Carlos Zambrano to the Corn Crib!

The game on Saturday July 29, 2017 will feature former MLB Legends as well as notorious superstar athletes with time still to be determined. To date the Legends participating in the events are: Carlos Zambrano, Rick Ankiel, Bob Dernier, Isaac Byrd, Brian Jordan, Ron “R-Truth” Killings, Mike Fontenot, Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams and Jose Canseco.

Venezuelan MLB pitcher, Carlos Zambrano was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1997 as a free agent and made his Major League debut in 2001. His starting and relief duties led him to his first full season as a starter in 2003, finishing with a 13-11 record, 168 strikeouts and a 3.11 ERA. Zambrano performed as a switch hitter with a career .238 batting average, 24 home runs, 71 RBIs, slugging percentage of .396 and 20-time pinch hitter. Zambrano tied with Fergie Jenkins for the Club home runs record by a pitcher in a single season, hitting six in 2006. As a Cub (2001-2011), Big Z was a three-time All-Star (2004, 2006, 2008), granted three times the Silver Slugger Award (2006, 2008, 2009), National League wins leader in 2006 and pitched a no-hitter on September 14, 2008. In 2012 he played his last Major League season with the Miami Marlins and announced his retirement from baseball after his highly successful one-year minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

This weekend of events will include a Friday night reception, pre-game autograph signing, 7-inning game and a post-game concert featuring The Chicago 6 Band. Game tickets are now on sale for $20 that includes the post-game concert. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase passes to the welcome reception and/or the pre-game meet and greet once the roster is finalized. First 1000 fans to purchase game tickets will have the opportunity to purchase reception and/ or meet and greet before the general public.  Purchase your tickets now at www.normalbaseball.com or by calling (309)-454-2255!

THE NIBLET: Too many emails? Be sure to follow us on Facebook at Normal CornBelters and on Twitter at normal_baseball for all the latest updates and announcements regarding promotional nights and events all season long out at the Corn Crib.