Archive for February, 2009

Don Porter, ISF, Suggest Olympic Softball for Women AND Men

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

From the

(click AP logo for original story)

Softball says no to joint 2016 bid with baseball

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Softball chose to go its own way for the Olympics, rejecting a proposal from baseball for a joint bid to get reinstated for the 2016 Summer Games.

The president of the International Softball Federation, Don Porter, made the announcement Friday.

“We have offered the IOC a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world,” Porter said in a statement.

Porter met Thursday with Harvey Schiller, the president of the International Baseball Federation in Orlando, Fla. Schiller said he would move forward with baseball’s bid to get back to the Olympics.

The IOC voted to drop baseball and softball in 2005, and softball officials have said their sport was hurt by baseball’s doping scandals. Since softball was added to the Olympics in 1996, the U.S. won three straight golds before losing to Japan in Beijing.

The two sports are among seven competing for two openings for new sports at the 2016 Olympics. Baseball officials had argued that a combined bid would enhance the chances of both sports. The IOC will vote in October on which sports to add.

Porter said although softball’s bid is for a women’s sport, his group has offered the IOC an option of adding men’s softball. In a telephone interview, Porter said he thought combining with baseball would hurt that effort.

“We’re an independent sport, and we want to continue that way,” Porter said. “This is no disrespect in any way to baseball. Baseball’s a great sport.”

Editor’s Note: At the risk of hyperbole, this story might be the biggest news in the world of men’s fastpitch in the past couple decades. The proposal by Porter and the ISF has the potential to put men’s fastpitch onto the world stage, where many players and fans have said it belongs, and give it parity in worldwide competition. For many years, the argument against allowing men’s fastpitch softball the honor of Olympic competition along with women has been “well, the men have baseball”.

This decision by Mr. Porter and the ISF is clearly a move in a different direction, signaling an effort to give the sport of fastpitch softball it’s own identity, and one that stands on its own two feet, on a foundation of support for men’s and women’s fastpitch.

The ISF’s move — one we obviously support — has huge implications for the sport of men’s fastpitch. We urge our readers to voice their support of the decision, and decision to push for Olympic competition in men and women’s fastpitch softball.

I guess you could say that Porter and the ISF has provided a dramatic answer to the question posed here last weekend “Why aren’t mens sports groups lobbying for Men’s Softball at the Olympics?”

USA Softball Tabs Marcus Tan, Ty McKinney for Final 2 Slots on team for ISF Worlds

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

From the USA Softball website:
Two additional athletes named to USA Softball Men’s World Championship roster

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) announced today two additional athletes named to the 2009 USA Softball Men’s World Championship roster for competition this summer in the ISF World Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan July 17-26.

Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ky.) and Marcus Tan (Union City, Calif.) have been selected by the Men’s National team selection committee and will join Team USA as they look to bring home a world medal in July.

“I believe the two new additions offer us an opportunity to grow the program in a positive direction,” said head coach Pete Turner. “It also shows that our committee continues to look for new talent that can help us compete now and in the future.”

(Tyron McKinney at USA Softball Camp late last year)

(Photos by Maddy Flanagan)

(Marcus Tan at USA Softball Camp late last year)

The following is the complete 17-person Men’s National team roster:

Frank DeGroat (Ringwood, N.J.)
Chris DeLarwelle (Denmark, Wis.)
Nate Devine (Merced, Calif.)
Don Garvey (Appleton, Wis.)
Paul Koert (Brooklin, Ontario, Canada)
Adam LaLonde (Ashland, Ky.)
Terry Luster (Bunceton, Mo.)
Kyle Magnusson (West Valley, Utah)
Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ky.)
Blake Miller (Kingsville, Texas)
Daryn Miller (Bloomington, Il.)
Matt Palazzo (Pleasant Hill, Iowa)
Stephen Pinocchio (Merced, Calif.)
Travis Price (Corona, Calif.)
Landy Rodriguez (West Haverstraw, N.Y.)
Marcus Tan (Union City, Calif.)
Chase Turner (Sacramento, Calif.)

The 2009 Men’s National team will be led by head coach Pete Turner (Stockton, Calif.) and assisted by Thad Brown (Modesto, Calif.) and Avon Meacham (Upper Marlboro, Md.).

Interview with Pat Shannon

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

English Translation Courtesy of our good friend Martin Jorge, the editor of:

(click banner to visit site)

Martin Jorge, Editor of (“Softball News Latin America), based in Argentina.

Fastpitchwest Editor’s note:
Great, original piece by Martin Jorge, Editor of is the hottest blog going for Spanish speaking players and fans. We tip our cap to Martin and his great work. With the ISF World Championships coming up in July, the three Spanish speaking countries, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela will have a place to follow the news, not to mention a larger group of fans in all Spanish speaking countries. (By the way, the “LA” in the site’s name is for “Latin America”, not “Los Angeles”)

Patrick Shannon< is a member of the reigning (2004) ISF World Champions, the New Zealand Black Sox, as well as the reigning (2008) ISC World Champions, the Kitchener Hallman Riversharks. Shannon was 3-for-3 in the 2008 ISC championship game. As noted in this interview, it's safe to say that Shannon has a habit of coming up big in the big games in his career. Here is what his brief bio at the New Zealand Black Sox website says about him:

Position: Catcher
Club: Waitakere Bears
Province: Auckland
DOB: 21/06/75
Career details – Patrick first debuted for the NZCT Black Sox in 1995 and was in and out of the team before cementing his place in the side in 2001. Since then he has become a regular feature of the side and was part of the 2004 World Championship winning team. Patrick is joined in the team by his twin brother Heinie.

And now, the interview of Pat Shannon, from

– Pat, tell me something about your early days in softball. How, where and why did you start to play softball?

I started playing softball at age 5 in Auckland and I started playing because my Uncles played. One of my Uncles played for the Black Sox and was a catcher.

– I know that your twin brother is a pitcher, and that you had the pleasure of playing with him in the Black Sox. I imagine you both shared thousands of hours of training and play. How is your relationship with him, both inside and outside the field?

Like all brothers, very honest. On the field it’s very close, we know what makes us tick and off the field it’s very relaxed and we try not to talk to much softball.

– You have a particular stance when you are at bat, standing with your feet almost facing the pitcher. How, where and why did you start to have that kind of stance ? What benefits do you think this stance gives to you?

I started having that stance in 1994. I did it because when I stood ‘normal’ I always stepped away from the ball so I opened up my stance which forces me to step to the ball and I haven’t changed back since.

– There is something that surprises me, you have a lot of hits by pitch in your career. Why is that?

Because of my open stance it looks like I’m far off the plate but by the time I come around and step to the ball the gap closes up and results in a pitch that the pitcher thinks is a good inside spot but becomes very close to my body and I usually get hit.

– Your debut with the Black Sox was in 1995, when you were just 20 years old. What did this first call from the Black Sox mean to you?

That dreams do come true but requires alot of hardwork and honesty.

– Was there any player who specially inspired you?

Eddie Kohlase, his leadership and take no prisoner attitude.


2009 ISC Qualifiers – Update # 3

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

2009 ISC Qualifiers
February 24, 2009

Canada East Region
Blair Setford, Vice President – 905-826-2697
World Tournament – 3 + 2 berths awarded from ‘08
ISC II ToC – 7 + 4 berths awarded from ‘08


Panteras top Colton for Valentine Tournament Crown

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Host Panteras Capture First SCIFL Tournament of 2009 Season

(Click logo for official SCIFL website)
Panteras St. Valentine Tournament

From the SCIFL website:

The St. Valentine’s tournament is in the books and the Panteras have taken the first championship of the season with a 12-0 victory over the Colton Dirt Bags. The Panteras beat the Silverhawks 5-2 in their semi-final game while the Dirt Bags beat the Long Beach Black Sox. More information to follow shortly shortly…

Why aren’t mens sports groups lobbying for Men’s Softball at the Olympics?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

While perusing the internet for men’s fastpitch news today, I ran across an article entitled:

“Why aren’t women sports groups lobbying for a return of softball at the Olympics?”by Evan Weiner, Business of Sports Examiner.

Evan Weiner, a New York City-based journalist and speaker, is recognized as a global expert on the business of sports as well as emerging technologies such as broadband. He is also the author of the book, “The Business & Politics of Sports: A Collection of Columns by Evan Weiner

It struck me that we could — and should — be asking the same question about the men’s game. I started writing a quick email response to the author of the article, and, as is often the case, wound up with something that was anything but “brief”. So in the end, I decided to share it with readers, here at the Morning Brief.

My letter to Mr. Weiner, at Business of Sports Examiner:

Mr. Evan Weiner,

I read your article today, “Why aren’t women sports groups lobbying for a return of softball at the Olympics?” and had a few thoughts I thought I would share with you. By way of background, I host a website providing coverage to Men’s Fastpitch softball, and a companion site that provides internet radio broadcasts for their games,

The answer to the question posed in your article is that there is a well focused effort on the part of women’s sports to restore softball to the Olympics, via the ISF (International Softball Federation): (

The effort has been spearheaded by ISF President Don Porter, as detailed in this press release:

That said, a word about MEN’S fastpitch softball:

A reaction I often get when talking about men’s fastpitch is “Oh, do men play fastpitch softball too?”. The answer is, yes, of course, with a long history dating back decades, including the 1950’s and 1960’s when it was in its heyday.

The closest thing the men’s game comes to the “Olympics” is the once-every-four-years World Championships. The next competition is slated for this summer in Saskatoon, Canada, with 16 countries participating.

This competition comes on the heels of the “junior” Olympic-style competition for 19 and under boys, hosted by the ISF in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada this past summer, an event that I had the privilege to attend and broadcast via internet radio. Twelve countries competed, including three from North America, two from South America, two from Europe, two from Oceania, two from Africa, and one from the Far East.

While the advent of the women’s faspitch programs, both collegiate and Olympic has been great for the game of softball, and certainly women’s softball, the sport men’s fastpitch remains something of a red-headed stepchild.

Baseball is obviously more popular, and widespread, especially here in the U.S. From what I read, the doping problems are a big part of why baseball is not an Olympic sport. I note that the ISF separated their efforts to get women’s softball back in the Olympics from the groups pushing baseball. I think you can draw your own conclusions about why that happened, but it is noteworthy that the “Backsoftball” group is emphasizing the fact that women’s softball does not have drug use issues (like baseball).

Your article points up a number of problems that baseball has in getting back in the Olympics, including scheduling problems in the middle of the MLB season.

I would argue that the Olympics should reinstate women’s softball, for many of the cogent reasons listed on the BackSoftball website. But I would take it a step further and suggest that BOTH men’s and women’s fastpitch should be in the Olympics.

First, men’s fastpitch is an amateur sport, in the truest sense of the word, and better suited for Olympic competition. Second, and maybe the most pragmatic reason — the venue question. It is my understanding that one of the reasons that baseball was dropped, is that not all countries have a large baseball stadium in which to host Olympic baseball. Certainly, that is not a problem for cities like Chicago, hosting here in the U.S. But we have only one vote with regard to the restoration of softball as an Olympic sport. (a vote which, ironically, wasn’t even cast last time around when the sport was eliminated, due to a perceived conflict of interest by the member holding that vote). However, the venue cost factor looms large for other countries outside the US, and one that mitigates against having baseball as an Olympic sport. The cost of building a softball facility for men AND women jointly is far less than a baseball stadium.

Not so with men’s fastpitch – the venue required is smaller, and much less expensive. The men and women’s games are very similar, and could be played at the same facilities, simply moving the base stakes back a few feet, along with the outfield fencing, which is usually the portable “safety fences” at most locations anyway.

Your article makes a good point that the Olympic committee wants “stars” to participate, if baseball is to be an Olympic sport. But that is not happening in the present state of affairs with Major League Baseball unwilling to disrupt its schedule in the summer months. If you think about it, baseball as a sport has taken a different direction, via the World Baseball Classic , that provides for worldwide competition on a larger scale than it would in the Olympics, with the World Baseball Classic.

I would answer the question posed in your article by noting that there are women’s sports groups lobbying — in a very profession, organized fashion — for the return of softball at the Olympics, for women, most notably the ISF and the women’s Olympic teams and players who have competed in the sport to date.

But I would pose a question of my own — Why aren’t men’s sports groups lobbying to introduce MEN’S fastpitch softball as an Olympic sport?

We may not have the star power of baseball, but from the standpoint of the Olympic movement and ideals, we also don’t have the steroid problems that come along with someone like Alex Rodriguez. What we do have is a tremendously exciting sports played by amateurs in the true Olympic tradition, who play the game for love of the sport, and the thrill of competition.

Al Doran, of will tell you that his email list for Men’s fastpitch news has grown into the thousands, and all without the benefit of major media exposure. Those who have discovered the sport have become its biggest advocates.

The men’s fastpitch softball players from 16 countries who will compete in the ISF World Championships this summer in Saskatoon are largely unknown to sports fans outside the fastpitch community itself, seen by some as a “niche” sport. But that can be said of many sports that currently enjoy the opportunity of the Olympic showcase. Every Olympiad reveals to the sporting world unheralded athletes who rise to the occasion, and become known the the rest of the world when they step up onto that medal stand. The list of Olympic athletes toiling in relative obscurity is legion – but so is the list of athletes who have risen about that obscurity because of the spotlight of Olympic competition. Countless times we have seen that story showcased in pieces by Jim McKay, Bob Costas or shows like HBO’s Real Sports.

There are Olympic caliber athletes in men’s fasptitch softball competing right now, and deserving of that opportunity to compete for Olympic medals, as are the women of the sport.

The excitement and high level competition of men’s fastpitch is, to much of the world, a well kept secret. I invite you to let it out.

Best regards,
Jim Flanagan
Executive Producer,

Editor’s note: As we suggested before, ……………….

Update on Michael White’s daughter, Sidney

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

From: Al’s Fastball:

Sidney White update – off to Florida

Sunday, February 22, 2009– Sidney and Lisa leave for Florida tomorrow morning to begin the 3 week therapy program at the University of Florida. Sidney will miss her friends at school, as well as her volleyball and softball teammates while she is away. Any cards and well wishes that her friends would like to send can be mailed to:

Sidney White
c/o Angela Revers
2701 Southwest 13th Street Apt. K1
Gainesville, FL 32608

Thank you all for your support which has helped make this possible.

God Bless

Mike, Lisa, Nyree, Kenzie and Sidney

Boulevard Lounge Tournament – Midland, MI

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Midland, MI

The Explorers and their Booster Club are pleased to announce that the Boulevard Lounge will once again be the title sponsor of the June 12th – 14th tournament at Emerson Park in Midland.

The support that Scott Dexter and his staff have given to the team over the years as a sponsor of the tournament and great advocate of softball in Midland is greatly appreciated.

In 2009, the tournament will once again be an ISC World Tournament and ISC II Tournament of Champions qualifier. Any interested teams can contact me for details.

Kyle Beane

Passing of Larry Miller

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Update, Sunday, February 22:

Here are the announced services for Larry Miller.

Friday, February 27 – Viewing from 4 – 8 PM at Energy Solutions Area
(formerly Delta Center)

Saturday, February 28 – Funeral service at 12 noon at Energy Solutions Arena

Interment follows the funeral at Salt Lake City Cemetery – 200 N Street –
Salt Lake City.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Larry H. Miller
Charities – 301 W. South Temple – SLC, UT 84101

We are saddened to report the passing of longtime fastpitch player and booster, Larry Miller. Miller was widely known to the sporting world as the owner of the Utah Jazz NBA team, but to those of us in the fastpitch community, we will remember him as a longtime pitcher and generous, hard working sponsor of Larry Miller Toyota teams, one of the world’s top open teams, with the legendary, ISC Hall of Famer, Peter Meredith. Miller also sponsored youth teams, including Larry Miller Chevrolet. He died of complications from Type 2 Diabetes, at the age of 64. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Sure, you knew this guy, but . . .
Quiet legacy » Much of his community contribution was out of the public eye
By Steven Oberbeck And Mike Gorrell

Everybody knew this guy because of the Utah Jazz and all of his car dealerships.

Yet there were things about Larry H. Miller — the businessman — that were not as high profile, things he quietly did out of the public eye that demonstrated his devotion to his community and the free enterprise system.

He taught masters of business administration classes for years at Brigham Young University.

He donated millions of dollars to build a 20-acre Salt Lake Community College campus in Sandy where students learn entrepreneurial skills.

For two years he underwrote an exchange program between Utah Valley Community College and the Kiev College of Hotel Management in Ukraine.

And even as his health declined, Miller gave money to help establish a police officer training center.

“The true legacy of Larry Miller is that people will never really know all that he did,” said Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan. “He did a lot of things behind the scenes and never asked for a single thing in return.”

And what did he give to Utahns?

The chance to enjoy sports through his basketball, baseball, race car and hockey operations — and access to many of those games through his television and radio stations. He showed movies, too, at five different Megaplex Theatres complexes. He sold sports memorabilia at retail stores, had a catering business, provided advertising and media services.

And, of course, he sold cars.

From a modest start in 1979, he passed away owning more than 40 dealerships in six Western states, representing nearly two dozen brands. His group of companies also included a financing operation to help people buy cars and a service system when repairs were necessary.

“Larry was not only one of the finest auto dealers in the country, he was also one of the finest humanitarians,” said Iowan John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. “In fact, it would be hard to find a finer human being. When it came to helping others, Larry set the standard.”

A. Sterling Francom, former director of SLCC’s Center for Entrepreneurship Training, saw Miller in much the same light.

“There are literally hundreds of small businesses operating in Utah today” whose owners were taught and received encouragement and guidance from Miller, who was always generous with his advice, Francom said. This relationship dates to 1990 when Miller, who had taught business management classes at BYU, approached Francom about helping prepare community college students for the business world.

“Things grew from there,” he said. “We brought him in as a guest speaker and he was soon doing seminars. Eventually [Miller] broached the idea of building the entrepreneurship center. And he went out and found the land for it.”

Francom estimated Miller’s donations to the school approached $100 million.

Not bad for a kid who “wasn’t motivated” to study much at West High School or in the one quarter he attended the University of Utah before dropping out. Miller was more into drag racing and being a fastpitch softball pitcher.

But those two interests helped get him into the car business. In 1970 he moved to Denver where he worked at Stevinson Toyota, ultimately running five dealerships and earning $100,000 a year. He also pitched for the company’s elite-level team.

Miller returned to Utah in 1979 and purchased his first dealership. By 1984, he was the state’s top seller of cars. His rise prompted former automobile dealer Cline Dahle to describe him as “very aggressive, very modern. He’s like a tree. He’s growing stronger, taller and quicker than any other tree in the valley.”

Less than a year later, Miller acquired half of the Jazz. He would own it all by 1987, turning the franchise into a state institution. Miller also bought the Salt Lake Golden Eagles hockey club in 1991, a deal he later described as one of the worst decisions he ever made.

When he sold the hockey team in 1994, Miller somberly addressed the news media, saying “I don’t like losing. It’s difficult for me to walk away. I just can’t see how to make it work.”

That experience was characteristic of one of his strengths as a businessman — his willingness to face reality and adapt to changing circumstances.

Miller demonstrated that again just last month when he sold The Mayan and Spaghetti Mama’s restaurants in Jordan Commons, the 250,000-square-foot retail and office complex he built in Sandy.

Keith Marshall of South Carolina-based Atlantic Restaurant Consultants, which purchased the restaurants, said he met Miller only a month ago but was impressed with the vision Miller had in building The Mayan, with its indoor cliff divers and jungle motif.

“It says a lot about his vision that he was also willing to turn those properties over to us, knowing we could improve them,” said Marshall.

But what Miller will be remembered for most is keeping the Jazz in Utah.

“It may sound a little corny,” he once told The Tribune , “but to be able to be the catalyst for something this significant in this community, it’s a neat feeling. It’s not one of being haughty or arrogant. I love Utah. I love Salt Lake City. It’s a community I’m interested in giving something back to.”

More after the jump.


Worth remains official ball of ISC for 2009

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The official ISC ball remains the Worth C120WISC for 2009. Here is information on sources for the ball in both US and Canada.

US Retailer
MVD Sports
Mike Van Dine II
1226 East Main Street
Ashland, OH 44805
419-281-4429 – Store
567-203-9104 Cell

Cost: $53 per dozen plus shipping

Canada Warehouse
Rawlings – Worth
70 Morton Ave E – Unit 1
Brantford, ON N3R 7J7
519-730-1380 ext 228 – Jason Shipley

It is suggested teams and tournament directors contact their local Worth
sporting goods retailer for the balls. For retailer location information,
contact the warehouse at above address, phone or email.

Cost: Will depend on individual retailer and their location.