Wyoming Fastpitch Congress

[WYOMING-2/29/04]-The Wyoming Fastpitch Congress Travel League is ready to take the field for it's inaugural season in the Cowboy State.  The concept for the league was a long time in coming.  While I was sitting on the Blue Ribbon Panel with Mike Groves,Jim Williamson, Brad Morgan and a number of other fastpitch diehards, a number of issues were raised about the future of the game of fastpitch at all levels.  Other than the lack of young pitching coming through the ranks, two issues kept coming up.  These issues were the money that is being required to play and the distance that teams are having to travel to play.  At this point in time,there are no operating city leagues or tournaments within the Cowboy State.  Last year there were two tournament teams in the state and a total of five teams at the State ASA Tournament.  One tournament team was traveling a minimum of 5-6 hours to find a tournament!!!  Only 10 years ago there were still two State Tournaments with 8-16 teams per division.With the economics of the game and the ease of participation in mind,the travel league idea kept coming up...with a twist!!! 

After speaking with Herb Wisdom about the old Western Fastpitch Congress (I hope I have that name right), we made a decision.  We decided to use a baseball conference format with teams have home and away dates.  These would consist of 4 game sets.  A doubleheader Saturday evening and a doubleheader Sunday morning.  We decided if it works for college and professional baseball,why not for us.

With our goals of ease of participation and financial ease in mind, this
was the final piece to the puzzle.  We have NO Entry fee.  Home team is responsible for the fields, umpires and balls.  Visiting team already has enough to worry about in traveling, motel,etc.  Everybody gets two home dates and two away dates.   A 16 game schedule with only two nights of motels to worry about.  Where else could you find that?  Umpires are also very easy, how about going to find two umpires to work all 4 games?  Anybody used to running a tourney knows how tough it is to find enough umpires to work a 3-4 field complex.  Two umpires and pay them well to umpire.

In talks about the future of the game, pitching kept coming up.  After
speaking with Frank Escapita of El Paso, Texas we came up with a partial solution.  The first 4 innings of the first game, brand new pitchers must be thrown by both teams.  No questions asked.  After the 5th inning,you are allowed to pitch whomever you want.

We decided that unless we forced the issue on developing new pitchers, it would never happen.  Too many teams that have a couple of pitchers will just rotate pitchers through and never throw anybody else.  When their pitchers hang up their cleats, the whole team is done because they have no new blood coming up.  Sound familiar?  Well we decided to be proactive and force the issue.  So, now we have a travel league with a 16 game schedule that is cheap and easy to play.  The 3 major issues facing fastpitch softball today are pitching, money and tournament travel.  We took these 3 issues and came up with a solution.  We didn't just talk about it,we did something.  I still feel that we talk too much about all of the different things that we can do, we never take that first step and do something about it. During the Blue Ribbon Panel, Craig Crawford wrote a letter to us.  The points that he made, are all that we need to remember to fix this game.  We need to fix fastpitch (or fastball, sorry Craig) within an hour of our doorstep, that was the crux of his message to us.  It is very true.  If we do not make it easier to play the game,people will find something else to do.

Without further adieu, the five teams that will take the field for the
inaugural season of the Wyoming Fastpitch Congress are:

Team City

Gillette Budweiser 

Fremont Motors Rawlins,Wyoming
Rawlins Rebels Rawlins,Wyoming
Casper Fastpitch Club Casper,Wyoming
Brown and Gold Club


This is step one to fixing the game at our doorstep.  Hopefully it will
lead to step two.

Dave Parker
Wyoming Fastpitch Congress


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