Wild About Things

We're back!

Following a long break, in part because this has been perhaps the least interesting Frontier League offseason in, well, ever -- and that's a good thing -- the blog is back.

So what has been happening over the last five months? Not much if you like franchise movements, hirings, firings and player signings, especially out of Wild Things land.

There have been some changes, so let's recap:

Who's back: Bob Bozzuto. Boz will be returning for his first full season as Wild Things manager.

Who's gone: Kevin Gryboski. The Wild Things' pitching coach from last year will not be returning.

Who's new: Brent Metheny and Ben Moore. Metheny, the former manager of the Frontier League Greys, will be the Wild Things' hitting coach in 2015. Metheny managed the Greys in 2013 and spent last season as the hitting coach for the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association. You might recall that Metheny is the nephew of Bethel Park High School football coach Jeff Metheny.
The 33-year Moore is in his first coaching job in pro baseball. He was a pitcher for 12 pro seasons, is a two-time American Association Pitcher of the Year and holds the league's career record for wins and strikeouts.Moore played three of the last four years with the Sioux Falls Canaries.

Who's gone: Kyle Haines, who was manager of the Greys last season, is now the manager of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, the San Francisco Giants' affiliate in the Class A Northwest League.

Who's in: Vinny Ganz, the Normal CornBelters' hitting coach the last two years, is the new manager of the Greys.

Who's gone: Frontier League Hall of Famer Fran Riordan is no longer manager of the Florence Freedom. Riordan was hired as manager of the Beloit Snappers, the Oakland Athletics' affiliate in the Class A Midwest League. This will be Riordan's first coaching stint in affiliated ball. He is the Frontier League's all-time winningest manager with 625 victories.

Who's in: Dennis Pelfrey, a former Frontier League player, replaces Riordan as manager of the Freedom. Pelfrey was a good player for Dubois County, Kenosha and Springfield/Ozark. For the last four years, Pelfrey was an assistant for the Gary SouthShore RailCats under manager Greg Tagert, who is one of the most respected coaches in independent baseball.

What's out: The grass at Windy City's Standard Bank Stadium. The home of the ThunderBolts will have a new synthetic surface this year.

Who's out: For the Wild Things, it's pitcher Jonathan Kountis and Shawn Blackwell. Kountis, the top reliever in the Frontier League last year, was traded to John Massarelli's Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association in exchange for two pitchers, Hamilton Bennett and Andy Noga, and a player to be named. Blackwell, who was 10-4 with a 3.70 ERA last year, his second with Washington, was dealt last month to Sioux Falls for pitcher Kyle Vazquez. The last two seasons, Vazquez has been a teammate of Moore in the American Association. Vazquez is coming off a rough year (5-9, 6.02).

Interest from: Something you can count on every season is some politician and some prospective team owner in some city/town/hamlet in the midwest expressing interest in building a stadium for a Frontier League team. Last year, it was Kokomo, Ind., which landed a team, but in the Prospect League, a summer college league. This year, interest has been sparked in Jackson, Mich., and Jefferson City, Mo. Both, IMO, look like long shots to ever build and land a team. We'll give some more information on this two cities in the near future.

Then there is Parkersburg, W.Va., where Wild Things owner Stu Williams has turned his attention. With Bridgeport, W.Va., out of the picture because of the new ballpark in Morgantown, W.Va., Williams has an agreement to bring a Frontier League team to Parkersburg, if a ballpark can be funded and built. So far, everything is in the planning stages but the mayor in Parkersburg seems to be throwing his full support behind the project.

The question I have is, with the Wild Things' attendance basically stagnating the last two years and the Pennsylvania Rebellion struggling mightily to put butts in the seats at Consol Energy Park, is Parkersburg seen as a place for greener (as in money) pastures and a potential home for the Wild Things?

Excuse me if I sound a little like Mike Tomlin, but I'm sure this will be a hot topic moving forward.Read full post: We're back!

Werman to coach defending state champions

La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pa., located just north of Philadelphia, is the defending PIAA baseball champion in Pennsylvania's largest classification, Class AAAA. The Explorers have won two of the last three PIAA championships. They also will have a new head coach this spring, former Wild Things second baseman Kyle Werman.

Werman was named La Salle's head coach earlier this month, replacing Joe Parisi, who retired from coaching after 28 seasons. This will be Werman's first head coaching job. After leaving the Wild Things during the 2007 season, Werman has been coaching college in college. Werman's stops have included his alma mater, Virginia, along with George Mason, Radford and most recently St. Joseph's.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dnpreps/Kyle-Werman-named-head-baseball-coach-at-La-Salle.htmlRead full post: Werman to coach defending state champions


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