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Tailgate

Bandits Thu Aug 22 2013

NPF Championships Come To Chicagoland

fastpitch.jpgIf you're a fan of fastpitch softball, there will be no better place to be then The Ballpark at Rosemont this weekend. The home of the Chicago Bandits will host the National Pro Fastpitch Championships all weekend long with a stepladder-style tournament. The Bandits will be looking for their second consecutive Cowles Cup after demolishing the USSSA Florida Pride a year ago.

The Bandits locked down the top seed with a victory on the final day of the season last Saturday night, and will likely be facing them in the best of three title series starting Friday night. Outfielder Megan Wiggins headlines a well balanced offensive attack for Chicago after leading the league in batting average and homers by solid margins. League ERA leader Monica Abbott will also be leaned upon heavily as staff ace for the Bandits.

Check out the schedule below for the full tournament information:

Continue reading this entry »

Chad Ruter

Bandits Mon Jul 15 2013

Rosemont Hosts the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch Softball Championship

Chicagoans know that softball (16 or 12 inch) is a way of city life once the grass turns green and temps rise above 50. Local parks fill up with all ages of ballplayers, hoping to squeeze in one more season and do their best to not pull a hammy.

And while cheering on your friends and loved ones, while praying they don't break an ankle, might seem like a lot of fun, why not hop the Blue Line to Rosemont and watch how the real pros get it done at the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series.

The event takes place Thursday, August 22, through Saturday, August 24, at the Ballpark in Rosemont located at; you guessed it, 27 Jennie Finch Way. The Championship Series is sponsored through National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), which has given elite female fastpitch players the chance to compete since 1997. The teams representing this year are USSSA Pride, NY/NJ Comets, Akron Racers and your Chicago Bandits, the 2011 Cowles Cup champs.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Bandits Tue Aug 28 2012

Sunday's Storms Washed Away Bandits' Championship Chances

chicago_bandits_logo.jpgSunday's storms may have caused some minor inconvenience to the Cubs and White Sox, who both suffered rain delays -- but the damage was devastating for the Chicago Bandits pro softball team. The defending champs were 3-0 in the National Pro Fastpitch playoffs, including a 2-1 win over Florida's USSSA Pride in the first game of the three-game championship series, when the torrential rain caused the cancellation of game two, which led to the decision by league Commissioner Cheri Kempf to cancel the championship altogether. Rather than pick a winner based on one game, the league opted to leave the championship vacant for the season.

"Obviously, the best solution would have been to delay the competition to Monday. However, one team would have suffered significant losses to their roster, due to travel plans, making the postponement and continuation unfair to say the least," Kempf said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our policies do not provide for naming a winner in the event the series is not completed."

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Bandits Fri Jun 17 2011

Bandits' Grand Opening Night in New Stadium

bandits new stadium.PNG

Opening night from the third-base stands / Photo: Veronica Arreola

By Veronica Arreola

Opening night for the Chicago Bandits, Chicago's professional softball team, was a pitchers' duel between Bandit Monica Abbott and the USSSA Pride's Danielle Lawrie. After a picture perfect first inning, an errant throw by Abbott in the second led to the Pride getting on base. Thankfully she was saved by a clinic-worthy cutoff throw to home to keep the game scoreless. The duel resumed and continued until the bottom of the seventh, when the Bandits skillfully moved Megan Wiggins, who led off the inning, around the bases, capped off with Caitlin Lever's shot to right field to bring Wiggins home. The crowd erupted in a roar to signal the end of the game.

This was also opening night for Rosemont Stadium, the new permanent home for the Bandits. Having attended Bandits games in Lisle and Elgin, where they were visitors using college fields, the news of a permanent home field was much welcomed. Not only do fans know where to find the Bandits in coming years, but the place is beautiful. The field is lush and well maintained. The stadium is configured to keep the sun out of fans' eyes (except those in the outfield bleachers) -- and as my husband pointed out, right in the eyes of first base. Even though the stadium is located next to O'Hare, the parade of planes didn't take away from the atmosphere. Located just off of I-294 just west of the Rosemont Theater and close to the Rosemont Metra station, it is a welcome addition to the area. The field is so new that Google still does not have it listed, so be sure to check out the Bandits' stadium page for directions and a map. Single game tickets range from $9.75 to $13.25.

Disclosure: Veronica Arreola was an invited guest of Bandits at this game.

Tailgate

News Thu Aug 27 2009

Short Hops

  • The Hawks' Patrick Kane and his cousin plead guilty to a noncriminal charge in their incident with a Buffalo cab driver. While he breaths a sigh of relief, his teammate Jonathan Toews is a little nervous while practicing for the Canadian Olympic team.
  • The Cubs' Milton Bradley is not happy. So what else is new? Besides, he's now the Ricketts family's problem.
  • The White Sox have lost four in a row and five of their last six. The Bleacher Reporter ask if they're heading in the wrong direction. Hmmm...let me think about that one.
  • Don't let Jay Cutler's cool demeanor fool you. According to ESPN he's a little jittery about returning to Denver as a member of the Bears this Sunday. Elsewhere on the Bear beat, Matt Forte is looking for balance and Dusty Dvoracek is looking at a doctor this Friday.
  • As if running a triathlon (like the Chicago Triathlon this weekend) wasn't difficult, try throwing cold, rainy weather into the mix. Here at some tips for coping with that.
  • While the state debates video poker, the real thing is going on in a tournament in Arlington Heights tonight. Wanna play? Ante up here.
  • The Chicago Sky host a benefit this Friday to promote breast cancer awareness.
  • Chicago - home to the next generation of cricket superstars?
  • Chicago - home to the next generation of dodgeball superstars?
  • No matter what you think about the Lingerie Football League, one fact remains: It's football. Played in lingerie.
  • With their season unceremoniously over, the Chicago Bandits wave bye-bye to pitcher Kristina Thorson, who is leaving to play for an Italian pro softball team.

Ken Green

Bandits Fri Aug 21 2009

Bandits Make Off With League Honors

williams.jpgCanney.JPG
(Ed. Note: As they continue their run through the National Pro Fastpitch playoffs this weekend, the Chicago Bandits may take a moment to polish up their hardware as they picked up seven post-season individual honors for their NPF play this season. Tammy Williams - left - picked up the Bandit's second Rookie of the Year award while Eileen Canney was named NPF Pitcher of the Year. Bandits PR chief Andrew Phillips gives the details.)

Akron, Ohio - For the second year in a row, a Chicago Bandits has been awarded National Pro Fastpitch 'Rookie of the Year' honors. The Nokona American Glove Rookie of the Year award, given to Tammy Williams on Wednesday night as part of the NPF Fan Fest and Awards Ceremony, was just one of seven awards the Chicago Bandits received.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

Bandits Thu Aug 13 2009

Bandits Blanked

chicago_bandits_logo.jpg(Ed. Note: The slide continues for the Chicgao Bandits as they drop yet another game, this time against the Rockford Thunder, a 2-0 loss that gave them their third defeat in a row. They're still in first place with a 23-12 record and have four games left (today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to tune it up before the National Pro Fastpitch championships begin August 20. Bandits PR chief Andrew Phillips gives us the lowdown.)

In the top of the seventh, Bandits catcher Rachel Folden finally broke through against Rockford's Cat Osterman, getting the first hit of the game off Osterman (11-0) for a single through the left side. Bandits' first baseman Samantha Findlay followed Folden up with her own single to put two on.

With two down and two on, Osterman did what she does best, getting Bandits' left fielder Nicole Trimboli swinging for the final out of the game, giving Rockford the 2-0 victory.

In the top of the first, with two down and Chelsea Mesa on second, Rockford's Chelsea Spencer opened the scoring for the Thunder with a line-drive blast up the middle to score Mesa as she was able to reach second base for a double off Bandits' pitcher Eileen Canney (9-4). The hit gave Rockford an early 1-0 lead.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

Bandits Mon Aug 10 2009

Errors Lock Up Bandits

.Canney.JPG
(Ed. Note: Even the return of the team's and sports' biggest star, pitcher Jenny Finch, couldn't keep the Chicago Bandits from dropping their second game in a row to the Akron Racers over the weekend in women's professional fastpitch softball action. Bandits' media relations chief Andrew Phillips gives us the lowdown.)

Costly errors foiled the Bandits for the second day in a row as the Akron Racers (26-14) were able to take down the Bandits (23-11) by a score of 4-0 in the Sunday afternoon battle.

Jennie Finch (5-2) was solid in the circle for the Bandits, but defensive mishaps cost Chicago a win as runners came around to score in the sixth and clinch the victory.

With Stacy May on first in the bottom of the third, Bandits' rookie Amber Patton dropped a timely bunt to move May around to third. Patton, who reached on an error, moved to second one pitch later with a stolen base.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

Softball Mon Jul 27 2009

Gender Wars Pit Flyers vs. Bandits

It may not be as big a spectacle as the Bobby Riggs-vs.-Billie Jean King match up (ask your parents or older siblings), but the Schaumburg Flyers and Chicago Bandits are the latest "battle of the sexes" to hit the sporting field.

The idea for the diamond clash between the baseball-playing Flyers (members of the Northern League of Professional Baseball) and the fast-pitch-tossing Bandits (of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league) was reportedly cooked up by Bandits owner Bill Sokolis, who insisted to Flyers Managing Partner/President Rich Ehrenreich that the Bandits women could beat the Flyers at their game (meaning softball).

Forget the image of underhand tosses and slightly overweight players circling the bases. If you haven't seen fastpitch softball before, know that pitches typically travel to the plate around 60-75 MPH, meaning the match-up isn't as lopsided as it might originally seem.

The game will be played tonight, 7:30 p.m. at the Flyers' Alexian Field, with tickets still available.


Ken Green

Bandits Mon Jul 06 2009

Big Cleats To Fill

(Editor's Note: With a 16-4 record, the Chicago Bandits are pretty much running away with the National Pro Fastpitch women's professional softball league. That they have one of the most recognizable faces in the history of women's fastpitch softball, Olympian Jennie Finch, only adds to their stature as one of top teams in the league. But as in every other sport, there eventually comes a time to bring in the next generation of star. Bandits' media relations staffer Tim Miller fills us in on the next face of Bandits. Hint: She's the one with the goth-style eyeliner.)Thorson during recent interview.jpg

Long after the night game has concluded the glistening stadium lights power down, flooding the field with darkness. Fans settled safely in their homes, the rakes and bases put away - a star pitcher hoists her bag onto her shoulders and exits the dugout on a serene summer night.

The murky Fox River runs alongside the Bandits stadium, and for a while I thought the solution to the popularity woes for the Chicago Bandits was the mysterious water that runs perpendicular to the field.

What if the Fox River is the fountain of youth-relocated?

Think about it, imagine if they could bottle a few ounces of it and immortalize the face of the organization, let alone the face of softball. Can you picture a 200-year old Jennie Finch in the circle, still hurling the high heat? Post-game autograph sessions after the fireworks on Fridays would last to the wee hours of the morning.
Helen of Troy? More like Jennie of Elgin.

Then suddenly it dawned on me. Not only is that neither plausible nor eco-friendly, it also would spoil the spirit of the sport itself. How would Finch's motto "dream and believe" sink in if she was around forever? Young girls with high hopes of becoming someone, working tirelessly and overcoming adversity would simply find themselves heads hung low strolling through an obscure shadow cast from a giant star. Isn't that the end goal of athletes - to have their time to eventually become a role model for the younger fans?

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Fri May 15 2009

Short Hops

  • If you were looking for the results of today's Cubs-Astros game, forget it. Rain washed it out.
  • For his uncharacteristic helmet-throwing incident, the White Sox' Jermaine Dye gets suspended and fined, meaning he's going to miss most of their series against Toronto.
  • Speaking of Chicago vs. Toronto, the Fire travel to the Great White North to take on Toronto FC this weekend. Other Fire news: the team has qualified for the 2009 SuperLiga tournament and kick off their annual Community Soccer Series net week.
  • Meanwhile, Chicago's other pro soccer team, the Red Stars have a budding star with the free-spirited midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Elsewhere, ESPN shows the Red Stars some by singing out goaltender Caroline Jonsson as one of the standouts in the Women's Professional Soccer League's inaugural season.
  • Vancouver is still trying to hold its collective heads up high after being bounced by the Blackhawks. But at least they don't welch on a bet.
  • If you had a brand-new boat (and really, in this economy, who doesn't?), the Chicago Park District has given you two new harbors.
  • Yahoo! Sports has the Bears finishing 11-5 this season. Hmmm...what changed?
  • As long as the Arena Football League is gathering mothballs, former Rush coach Mike Hohensee figures he's better earn a buck somewhere else.
  • Tired of movie dates, candlelit dinners and walks along the beach? Try antigravity yoga (among other alternative and physical date ideas).
  • New video game upstart retail outlet Play N Trade opens a new store in the Chicago area.
  • Seeking to assert their masculine superiority, the baseball-playing Schaumburg Flyers will take on the Chicago Bandits, the 2008 National Pro Fastpitch champions, in a fastpitch softball game. Why am I temped to bet the house on the Bandits?
  • This song? Get used to it.

Ken Green

News Fri Feb 20 2009

Short Hops

  • The latest to fill the economic pinch? The sports memorabilia business. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio autographed napkins?...
  • Never say Dye: The White Sox right fielder hopes to stay put.
  • When you have a half-ton bull step on your head and you don't quit, you've earned the right to be called tough. The Toughest Cowboy competition comes to Chicago.
  • One group is working to ensure that the potential 2016 Chicago Olympics Games are a winner for everyone.
  • Pay to play: School officials in Waukegan have raised high school sports fees.
  • Lisle may have lost the Bandits, but they've gained the Red Eleven (who used to be the Gales and are not to be confused with the Red Stars, even though the two are connected. Got all that?).
  • The local mixed martial arts center expands its range. Now there's something for everyone...who likes to punch other people in the face.
  • A new book examines the "holy" (or unholy, depending on where you stand) trinity of men, sports and beer.
  • He might have flew a bit under the radar on the local sports scene, but they'll no doubt be a tip of the cap in the press boxes to the one-of-a-kind Larry Gross, who is mourned here in Chicago and in his native New Jersey.

Ken Green

News Sat Jan 10 2009

Short Hops

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Bandits Mon Aug 25 2008

Bandits Swipe Fastpitch Title

Even without star pitcher Jeannie Finch, who was busy elsewhere, the Chicago Bandits found a way to make history of their own by winning the first ever National Pro Fastpitch championship in Kimberly, Wisconsin on Sunday.

The Bandits, who have won the regular season title three times but never the championship, posted an impressive record in their run toward the title, winning 20 of their last 24 games of the regular season before going 3-0 in the playoffs. Nicole Trimboli was named the series MVP after going 5-for-9 in the series with two home runs and five runs batted in.

Ken Green

News Thu Aug 14 2008

Short Hops

  • It may not make it to the side of a milk carton, but the Chicago Fire fan club Section 8 is missing their banner.
  • Some people might have an opinion about who they are, but a new book of photos entitled "We Are Cubs Fans" seeks to define the loyalists visually. The obligatory Ronnie Woo Woo photo is included.
  • Speaking of the Cubs, Sports Illustrated joins the rest of the country in being amazed that they AND the White Sox are both in first place and may make the playoffs in the same season for the first time since 1906.
  • And speaking of the Sox, Fox Sports calls the acquisition of Carlos Quinten the steal of the century. OK, they call it the steal of the season. It just LOOKS like the steal of the century.
  • The Bears are set to unveil a major advertising blitz. Too bad they can advertise for a quarterback.
  • Tickets for the National Pro Fastpitch softball championships go on sale this Saturday at Judson Sports Complex in Elgin, home of the Chicago Bandits. The Bandits are one of the four teams who will be participating.
  • Now that the Blackhawks are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, new fans might want to read about one of the team's legends featured in a story from the Sports Illustrated vaults.
  • Mark them on your calendar: The Human Race, the cycling National Championships in Downers Grove, Chicago Gems women's baseball, Windy City Rollers action and gay rodeo.

Ken Green

News Thu Jul 17 2008

Short Hops

  • The Windy City Rollers threw the smack down in their 138-19 trampling of the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in roller derby action.
  • The Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin to the Ottawa Senators? Reports out of Canada say it's in the works.
  • Never let them see you sweat: Barack Obama is apparently a gym rat.
  • Women's Health Magazine is asking local female fitness buffs: "Are You Game?" (pdf)
  • The Chicago Bandits have a chance to move into first place in the NPF when they continued their four-game series against the league-leading Philadelphia Force tonight. The Bandits beat the Force 3-1 in the series opener on Wednesday.
  • The 2008 Aberdeen Street Dodgeball Ninjas will host their summer tournament this Saturday at Sheridan Park. If nothing else, it should provide some interesting photos.
  • The Chicago Cycling Club hosts a "Baseball Nostalgia Tour", which includes stops at 10 present and former ballparks and lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern.
  • And speaking of baseball, an all-Cubs channel? I thought we already had that...and referred to it as the local news (said the White Sox fan with the inferiority complex).

Ken Green

News Thu Jul 10 2008

Short Hops

  • The Chicago Force take another step toward the Independent Women’s Football League title when they take on the Pittsburgh Passion in a playoff contest this Saturday, 3 p.m. The Force are also getting national exposure thanks to a segement on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric tonight at 5:30 p.m. A related Force segment may also run on The CBS Early Show this Friday morning.
  • Pro beach volleyball hits North Avenue Beach this weekend. See it on television or in person.
  • The Chicago Bandits kick off a four-game series against the Washington Glory at Judson University in Elgin.
  • Got the need for speed? NASCAR comes to the Chicagoland Motor Speedway this Friday and Saturday. The city already has a fan in racer Kurt Busch.
  • Ultimate fighting in Chicago that DOESN’T involve the City Council? It could happen.
  • The Windy City Rollers hit the hardwood against the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in Cicero on Saturday
  • Yet another Chicago Olympic rally/celebration has been slated, this time for Monday at Millennium Park.
  • Peyton. Butkus. Dent. … and now cornhole? The new drinking man’s favorite (ahem) sport has its second tournament at Soldier Field.

Ken Green

News Thu Jun 26 2008

Short Hops

  • Championship football in Chicago? In June? Yup, when the Chicago Force take on the Detroit Demolition in an Independent Women’s Football League playoff game this Saturday, 3 p.m., at North Park University’s Holmgren Athletic Complex, 3225 W. Foster Ave. Incidentially, two members of the Force also compete in the Chicago Gems Women’s Baseball League
  • …who are also involved in a playoff of sorts of its own, as they compete in the Can-Am Spirit of Sportsmanship Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, this Friday-Sunday. In addition to the Gems, women’s baseball teams from Canada and Australia, as well as elsewhere in the U.S., will compete. Meanwhile, action in the CWBL’s own league is on hold and will resume in Bedford Park, Ill. on July 12.
  • And speaking of Canada, the Chicago Bandits women’s fastpitch softball team (5-7) fell to the Great White North, posting a 1-3 record in their recent four-game series. The Bandits will try to do better against a southern foe, the Venezuelan National Team, in a similar four-game set beginning today (Thurday) at Bandits Stadium at Judson University in Elgin. Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is slated to throw out the first pitch in today’s matchup and all games begin at 7:05 p.m.
  • Oil up those skates. The Windy City Rollers will hold tryouts this Saturday and Sunday, July 13. You need only attend one tryout. For exact time and location, contact the WCR. Also, the league will host their next All-Star Match-up on July 12 at The Stadium, 1909 S. Laramie in Cicero. This time, they take on the Tuscon Saddle Tramps.
  • Finally, North Avenue Beach Sports will host a one-day Dodgeball Tournament on July 12 at (where else?) North Avenue Beach. Go out and pound someone in the face with a.. I mean, go out and enjoy some fun, healthy competition. Contact NABS for details.

Ken Green

Bandits Wed Jun 11 2008

Softball With An Attitude

With star pitcher and oft-photographed Jennie Finch MIA from the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) while she competes for the U.S. Olympic squad, the 4-4 Bandits needed someone to fill the "hey, check HER out" role on the team. And along comes Kristina Thorson. But while Finch drew looks for her California-surfer girl looks (blond, blue-eyed, etc.), Thornston goes a whole different route... tattoos, piercings and dark eye shadow to be specific. In a Chicago Tribune profile, Thorson says her goth-esque look has brought a new category of fan to the games. "The people with tattoos and piercings, we usually sit and chat at games and compare artwork," she said.

Despite her aggressive approach to body adornment (18 piercings and a tattooed homage to the Norse god Thor - get it?), Thorson has been struggling a bit this season. She has an 0-3 record but a respectible 2.87 ERA. However, she went 14-5 last season with the Phildelphia Force of the NPF which hints at better things to come.

The Bandits take a break from league play this week and face the Canadian National Team this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at their home field at Judson University in Elgin. Looking ahead, Cubs' ace Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at their June 26 game against the team from Zambrano's home country, the Venezuelan National Team

Oh, and if you're hoping to get a look at Thorson in all of her body art glory, the offical Bandits website photo will be something of a disappointment. Guess you'll have to go out to an actual game...

Ken Green

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