Archive for August, 2004

Behind the Scenes in a Big Way

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

For the past several years, Southern California’s own, David Blackburn has been working behind the scenes at the ISC World Tournament, to bring the games right to our doorstep, wherever in the world that may be. David heads up the Streaming Audio (and perhaps soon, video), delivering live men’s fastpitch/fastball via live stream on the internet.

The pilot program for the ISC World Tournament was tested in the summer of 2001 Best of the West Tournament in Palmdale California, and then put into place for the first time at the 2001 ISC World Tournament, allowing those who could not make the trip to the World Tournment to follow all the action. I had the privilege of sitting in on some of those “beta test” broadcasts from Palmdale, and seeing David’s work on the program first hand.

The growth and popularity of the live audio broadcast program has been remarkable, with audiences now numbering over 10,000 listeners for the World Tournament each year. Post-game interviews broadcast after the games have introduced us to countless players and rising stars of the game, bringing us an up-close look at the tournament, and giving us that “almost-sitting-in-the-ballpark” feel.

Now in its fourth year, the David’s ISC crew, headed up by play by play announcer Ron Chambers and color man Ferdi Nielsen has been broadcasting games all week, including each and every game in the “Sweet Sixteen” playoff round. (In fact, I am listening to the 10am Saturday game between Calgary and Circle Tap as I type this story) David is on the air at times, but always “on” behind the scenes, tending to the production, arranging for sponsors to finance the program and all of the little details in between.

The ISC World broadcasts have become such a fixture at the tournament that it’s hard to remember the day when we didn’t have them. This year in Fargo, North Dakota, the ISC audio broadcast program was expanded to add 18 games from the intermediate level tournament, the ISC-II headed up by new ISC-II commissioner Blair Setford (which I was fortunate to be a part of).

Today (Saturday August 21, 2004) marks another step towards eventual live video broadcasts of the ISC World Tournament, as David coordinates a cable television broadcast of the championship game from Fargo, broadcast to homes in North Dakota and parts of Canada, and testing of streaming broadcast technology for use in future tournaments.

For all of the fastpitch/fastball fans around the world, we say “thanks” for your efforts Dave, exposing the great sport of men’s fastpitch to thousands more and giving the loyal fans our requisite dose live……

Below are the details for the TV broadcast (in case your local pub has satellite capability). Click the title of this story above to visit the “” page, which contains “click to listen links” for today’s final games, including the championship game on at 6:30 p.m. central time.

They are doing some testing of streaming video, so you may also want to click the video link on that page to see what they are up to. At last check, I was hearing that they had not yet
resolved some technical issues to do the video stream, but you never know.

Where David Blackburn and streaming media are involved, the future is just a day away.

Men’s Fastball Fans:

If you would like to watch the 2004 ISC World Tournament on live satellite Television at your local Sports Bar, here is what you need to do…

Tell the bartender, or the person who controls the satellite dish that you want to watch

IA – 6 / K 11
Satellite name is IA-6 [Intelsat Americas 6] *This is the
satellite formerly named Telstar 6*
· This is a KU Analog satellite
· Transponder 11

This is the information that Sports Bars will need to show patrons the championship game for free.

On Saturday night August 21, at 6:30 PM Central Standard Time, The ISC
World Championship game will be also broadcast live on ABC Television in North and South
Dakota, and to over one million homes in Manitoba Canada, on Cable TV.

For the first time in the ISC’s 4 year history of streaming fastball games, we will also be experimentingwith streaming video of the Championship via
More details on that, as plans are finalized. We still have some final technical details to sort out.

Stay tuned, and enjoy all of this ISC Men’s fastball action.

Dave Blackburn
ISC Commissioner
Streaming and Broadcasting

2004 ISC World Tournament Championship Game Live Video Webcast

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

ISC Championship Game Video


Pending on-site tech issues, the ISC will be webcasting the Championship game. You can view it by cutting and pasting the address below in your internet explorer browser address window.

(Please do not click on the link, or you will get an error message.)

Viewers will require a 200k or better Internet connection, Windows 2000 or better and Windows Media Player 9 in order to view.

Cup Check

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

The first ever California Cup Tournament was played this past weekend. After months of banter in the Fastpitchwest Forum, the teams finally took to the fields to compete. When it was all said and done, Fred Hanker’s Black Sox were crowned as the 2004 Cal Cup champs and will get to hold onto “the Cup” until 2005.

For those of you who have not followed the Forum discussion about the California Cup, it is an all comers tournament for ASA “C” level teams for teams from anywhere in the State of California, designed to crown a “California Cup Champion”, which takes home a perennial trophy for the year (a la Stanley Cup), passing it on to the next year’s champion, after engraving the name of the prior year’s winner. The idea for the California Cup did not surface this year until almost Memorial Day, and while not all of the teams in California were able to make it this year, we were pleased to have all three regions of California represented at the tournament, and hope to have even more include “the Cup” in their plans next season.

For the first year, the tournament was hosted by Eddie “Dude” Ybarra and the City of Fresno Parks and Recreation Department, which provided the facilities, balls, umpires, scorekeepers, trophies, logo, T-shirts, and full time grounds crew all for a remarkable $150 entry fee.
Job well done, Dude.

The concept is to “take the show on the road”, moving the tournament locale each year, to give each region an opportunity to host (and to be fair about the travel required for each region). The hope is to expose the fastpitch teams of the State to new places to play, give them the opportunity to play against opponents that they might not otherwise get a chance to face, and finally, to spur interest in the game of men’s fastpitch across the Golden State.

With host Fresno in Central California, the Cup will be in either Northern or Southern California. Cities or teams interested in hosting the tournament or people wishing to lend a hand to the organizing committed are invited to send an email to
We also invited teams and players (both those who played this year and those who did not) to send comments on things you liked about this year’s eveng, or suggestions on how to improve the tournament in the future. The tournament committee will revisit such topics as the tournament format, roster eligibility and the like, in an effort to be responsive to the wishes of the teams that compete for The Cup.

For 2004, those in attendance will probably remember the remarkable 8-game performance of The Tribe’s pitcher Mark Manuelito whose teammates said they would “ride him ’til he dropped” (he didn’t), and the three wild games played between the Black Sox and the Tribe to decide things. While the Sox escaped with the rubber game, and the Cup, the Tribe impressed everyone with their “never-out-of-it offense” and refusal to surrender to fatigue or the heat. In the last couple games against the Tribe, Sox centerfielder Steve Tollington was dubbed “The Fugitive”, because of the number of times that he hand his hands in the air to signal “ground rule double”. For all of the teams, it seemed like an “Earl Weaver” weekend, as home run ball reigned. Cal Cup MVP Gerald Pyle hit three, each one seemingly further than the last, and eliciting plenty of eye-popping reactions ’round the field. Even the slo-pitch fences behind the championship fences weren’t safe from his and a few others. Jerome Arteberry of the Native American team hit a couple of key homers to swing the momentum in two of their games, turning 5 run deficits into 11-10 wins. Valley Lyons , the pre-tournament pick by many and still regarded as one of the best teams in the state, carried the banner, along with the Shockers for the home-town Fresno fans, finishing in a tie for third, losing only to the Sox and Tribe in hard fought games.

A personal thank you goes out to all of the teams that did make it to Fresno, to take a chance on a first year tournament, including the Knights, Gaines Liquor, The Tribe, Raymar, Energy Link, the Amigos, Valley Lyons, the Black Sox, the Native Americans, the Shockers and KHT Pumpers. Win, lose or draw, you were there to compete. We hope to see all of you and many more at next year’s Cup, wherever that may be.

A Tale of Two Todds

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

For those of you who might have missed it, Rod Petersen’s Farm Tavern team of Madison, Wisconsin won its second consecutive ASA Men’s Major title over the weekend, with a 6-0 win over the Broken Bow Spirit of New York. Petersen waited 37 years to get his first ever title last year, but had a much shorter wait for the second. Thirty-five year old pitcher Dean Holoien of Surrey, British Columbia earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors, pitching a no-hitter in the championship game. It marked the first time in the ASA Major tournament that foreign born players were allowed (2 per team).

Playing key roles in the Farm’s National Championship victory were a couple of California natives, “the two Todds”, Todd Budke and Todd Garcia.

Budke was a member of last year’s championship team, while Garcia joined the squad this year after Team Lyons folded. (Lyons had finished third in last year’s tournament, the highest finish by a California team in recent memory). Garcia anchored the NAFA AAA World Series champion Team Lyon squad last year in Wisconsin, earning MVP honors for his contributions, which included a dramatic 12th inning home run against RWP, MN, which is depicted in the photo link above. Todd Garcia later travelled to Christchurch as the starting catcher for Team USA in the ISF World Championships. (Budke is a former Team USA player himself) Neither Budke nor Garcia are strangers to championship caliber play, and will be back on the field when the ISC World Tournament gets underway next week.

The Farm opened the season as the number 3 team in the ISC rankings, and finished up at number 2. Along with #1 County Materials and #3 Broken Bow, the Farm will be among the favorites to add an ISC World title to their resume in this year’s tournament at Fargo-Moorehead, North Dakota.

With most of the major tournaments taking place east of the Rockies, we don’t get a chance to see “the two Todds” play in person too much during the season, but California’s favorite sons continue to compete at the highest levels of the sport. Garcia doubled in the championship game, while Budke homered. Both earned First team All American honors (see below) We wish them well in Fargo. (Click title of this article above for more details on the game).
We hope to get a chance to see them in person in the upcoming ISC World Tournament next week.

Championship Final
The Farm Tavern 200 202 0 – 6 11 0
Broken Bow Spirit 000 000 0 – 0 0 3
Dean Holoien and Todd Garcia. Doug Middleton, Frank Cox (5) and Gerald Muizelaar (7th) and John Wodtke. W-Holoien. L-Middleton. 2B: The Farm Tavern – Todd Garcia 3B: The Farm Tavern: Boomer Brush. HR: The Farm Tavern: Todd Budke.

First Team All-Americans 1B – Tim Hatten, Blackhawk Athletic Club. 2B – Bill McDonald, Heflin Builders. 3B – Todd Budke, The Farm Tavern. SS – David Boys, The Farm Tavern. Outfield – Tony Gabriel, Heflin Builders; Rob Gray, The Farm Tavern; Chad Maxon, Blackhawk Athletic Club and Steve Schott, Broken Bow Spirit.Utility – Chris Delarwelle, Circle Tap; Chris Delorit, The Bull/Townline; Steve Price, Heflin Builders. Catcher – Todd Garcia, The Farm Tavern. Pitchers – Dean Holoien, The Farm Tavern; Gerald Muizelaar, Broken Bow Spirit and Rob O’Brien, Circle Tap.

Best of the West 2004, Postscript

Friday, August 6th, 2004

The 14th annual Best of the West Tournament is in the books now, with Team Rainey coming out on top for the third consecutive year. Chris Wright earned MVP honors with an 8-hit, 5 RBI Sunday, while Tony Peeples garnered Most Valuable Pitcher honors, on the strength of his 9 inning championship game win over Casa Trejo.

Casa Trejo’s Mark Bennett had a fine tournament as well, pitching 28 innings, going 3-1 with a no decision. Mark gave up only 3 earned runs in the entire tournament, and walked two, both in the final game. He gave way in the 8th inning of the title game, a bit weary for all the innings pitched.

The new facility at Winchester, CA (near Hemet) was a last minute replacement for the Soboba Sports complex, and got good reviews from those in attendance. (especially the concession manned by Ralph Trejo, Jr. whose culinary skills were on display) Kudos to David Blackburn for pulling this one off, under difficult circumstances, and spending a few hundred extra dollars for “field preps” to make sure the fields were in top shape for each game. The only criticism I heard was the long fences which stole a home run or three. (Didn’t prevent Ralph Salcido from going yard, or Keith Barker from reaching the centerfield fence on a fly, no easy feat). And that is easily remedied by portable fencing. The facility is new, but has modern clean restrooms and three good diamonds, making it tournament friendly. Once the trees around the park mature a bit, there will be shade as well. For this one, it was “umbrella city”.

One final note, was that we ran into an old friend we hadn’t seen in a while, Bob Otto. Bobby, as most of you know is a guest writer and photographer for Fastpitchwest, after giving up his duties as the official photographer for the ISC. (Maddy’s idol, as she often says.) Bob was kind enough to share some of his handiwork with us, which we have posted at the Best of the West pages. (click the title of this story, then the menu buttons at left) The photo collages he did for this one are some of my favorites.

Well, OK, I guess it was more than just one old friend that I ran into at Winchester… was good to run into an old Vista Bomber teammate of mine, Russ Snow, who is still winging it, in this tournament for the Edge. Russ spends most of his time on the other side of “the pond”, in England, where he and his family reside. He is still involved with fastpitch in Europe, and makes a few trips a year stateside, finding time to pitch in the Best of the West and the 45+ Nationals. Russ has played for the Vista Bombers, Long Beach Painters, Larry Miller Toyota and most recently, the California Painter team with another former Vista pitcher, Cary Weiler.

Next year will be the 15th Annual Best of the West.