By Joshua Hart
It’s a new day in 2021 for Circle City Wiffle Ball. With Covid-19 in its rearview due to each responsible league member guaranteeing full vaccination by opening day, league commissioner Brendan Dudas is eagerly anticipating what could be the most exciting summer yet of having people over to his parents’ house well into his 20’s.
Speaking of which, I have no idea why Keith and Debra Dudas have not aggressively pursued financial compensation for housing this league’s operations more. For one, just sell the house and property! As adults headed towards retirement with no financial dependents living with them (plus a booming sellers market), why not cash out now? Yeah, you might destroy CCW and The Dirtyard forever, but it would definitely be worth it from a money standpoint. And if that’s a no-go, let’s talk about parking. How have they not considered a $50 parking pass or something for all league players as payment to ruin their yard each summer? Approximately 50 players x 50 is $2,500. That’s a nice vacation right there! Come on Keith and Deb. Be better. A sports institution is only fully legitimate once it starts preying on its participants’ financial well-beings.
Okay, I got sidetracked there a little. From about four minutes of research and reading a few Tweets, it appears that CCW is out of its toddler phase as a league so no sweeping rule changes or reduction/expansion of league franchises. If a team was added, there’s no way they will be competitive so who cares. Furthermore, if anything is new and exciting about CCW, it most definitely isn’t the new crop of players coming in either. Without even looking at rosters or names, I can tell you most new additions play in multiple fantasy football leagues, think Buffalo Wild Wings is a good restaurant, are 15 or so pounds overweight, and drink far too heavily for their own good under the disguise of being fun and sociable. I think part of that joke was used in an older season preview so please do not check on that. Thanks.
I do think Dudas wants me to promote the league’s blossoming Tik-Tok account in this article which is actually making some noise on the popular app. Connecting with younger generations has been a goal for CCW the past few years and Tik-Tok seems to be the perfect recipe for that. There’s no possible risk in adults creating a digital platform targeted at 10-14 year-olds so this move has my full support.
With that in mind, I will run down each team in the league individually. I want to remind everyone that I am more uninformed than ever and am writing this at 5 p.m on a rainy Thursday in April. My goal, per usual, is to hurt at least one person’s feelings who can’t take a joke.
Noodlers - I believe these guys won the title last year, but I will not be crediting them for that formally. The story of this team is Caleb Jonkman, a sensational player from Canada who took the league by storm last year after manager Cody House brought him into the league in a completely fair and reasonable mid-year transaction. Pardon the incoming rant, but I can not stand that it seems like Jonkman is a good person. People generally like him and it infuriates me. You do not get to waltz into CCW, be great at wiffle ball AND earn the admiration of your peers. It’s one or the other pal! My mission in 2021 is to figure out this man’s dark secrets and expose him. At the very least, I’d like to start with getting the IRS to audit his tax returns and then go from there. This league is too wholesome anyways.
The Noodlers have other players named James, Kyle, and Dalton on their roster. They will get last names when they do something interesting.
Yakkers - The “Ohio” of CCW teams, these guys are back and as mediocre as ever. Led by league staple Rudy Lyon, a man significantly more threatening with a camping chair in his hands than during an at-bat, the Yakkers will once again dominate the league in attendance and effort, but not wins or playoff success.
In reality, the star power of this team comes from Ryan Voges, another northern transplant who has an infatuation with wearing sleeveless t-shirts in all of his social media pictures. No, I’m serious. Look at this man’s online footprint. I get that he can probably do 35lbs on bicep curls for reps, but take it easy dude. Critiques aside, he might be sort of halfway decent at wiffle.
A key addition to note is Sawyer Mitchell, a guy who most definitely did not peak over 5 years ago. He will bring...competitiveness(?) to a team that could use it I guess. Reports suggest Mitchell’s motive to play for the Yakkers is based on seeking vengeance against Jonkman. One can only hope this leads to a physical altercation of some kind (Tik-Tok content??).
There are approximately 40 other players on this team I don’t care to mention. The fact that the Yakkers even got a fourth paragraph on this preview repulses me. No more.
8 Balls - You can’t be serious. There are two more Speek players now? Everyone has had problems with Mike Speek Sr. and Jr. over the years and now there’s expansion? Yikes. And only to add insult to injury (quite literally), one of them is named Keegan! Who, ironically enough, will instantly take the mantle as the greatest Keegan to ever play in CCW the moment he enters his first game.
If you want team information and predictions, go elsewhere. I think they are usually good at pitching and like to win games 3-1 (yawn). The fatal flaw I suppose is the potential of Sr. finally succumbing to his age and the organization struggling to keep it together from there. However, as long as he limits weekend visits to Vegas and stretches for 30 minutes before each game, that does not seem on tap for 2021.
Zach McFarland is on the roster.
Short Shorts - Boasting a 2021 lineup about as fresh and interesting as a Golden Corral buffet, the Shorts struggle to interest me on any level. Sure, Dudas is a strong player, but 2017 was a long time ago and the dominant performances seem to be a thing of the past. I do not know if that’s actually true, but it seems kind of true so we’re going to roll with it.
The greater tragedy with this bunch is the loss of veteran Keegan Caughey, who recently experienced the most devastating accident on wheels since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 when he crashed a motorized scooter near his apartment complex in Indianapolis. Stripping him of an effective right shoulder and his dignity, Caughey is likely to spend the season on the sidelines as a media consultant for CCW.
The new member to note is Kevin Keefe, nephew and roommate of the aforementioned Dudas. Knowing the mental toughness of middle schoolers, Keefe is assured to keep his poise and focus consistent throughout the season no matter the score, weather, or general circumstances.
The Shorts also boast Taylor DeHart, a player likely to struggle with communication and consistent attendance throughout the season. Hopefully, team manager (I think) Dylan Jones can try to piece this all together, but he has a tall task trying to make a stagnant collection of parts work. As an aside, I would like to note I ripped a pair of dress pants at Jones’ wedding this past spring while dancing to “Low” by Flo Rida and T-Pain. That is all.
6:51 p.m update (4/29) - Apparently they have a player coming from St. Louis by the
name of Spencer Bogad who might breathe life into this group. This also takes away from my entire take on this group being stagnant, but whatever. I’m not going back and deleting anything.
Hackers - I took one look at this roster and instantly questioned every moment of my life that brought me to this moment. Their names bring me immense sadness and I just want to go home and have dinner right now. Time is a flat circle.
Moonshots - Boy, it is amazing what a good night sleep will do for a man. Let’s talk about the wonderful Moonshots, shall we? New day, new me.
With a collection of players that likely consider Florida to be the best vacation spot in the world, the Moonshots are back and ready to be as semi-competitive as ever. The group resembles some of the previously mentioned players in that they peeked several years ago. Faces like Austin Church, Blake Voris, and Tyler Gregory no longer represent CCW on a national level anymore. Decisions to focus on wedding planning, career-oriented goals, and family life seem to be a bigger priority for each of them which is particularly nauseating in my mind.
Reid Werner still throws 145 mph and forces batters to pretend it doesn’t hurt when he pegs them.
Notable Hollywood actor Will Smith and Cam Smithey will be joining the organization to round out the roster. One of them will be good and one of them will be bad. I think Smithey is another one of the nut-cases commuting from St. Louis. And I think Smith may not actually be a rookie as I type this out. Oh well.
Pork Pistols - A team that seemed way cooler two years ago, the Pistols return to CCW despite being way better at slow-pitch softball. Led by ace Christian Leffler, a man two handles of Fireball away from his first AA meeting, the group generally delivers more entertainment than victories.
The group also features Nick Bundy, grandson of infamous American serial killer Ted Bundy, as well as cool guy, terrible player Michael Plourde. The manager and team dad is Thomas Hopkins, who comes off as extremely mature and reasonable when compared to some of the other dingleberries associated with the Pork Pistols franchise.
This team will never matter from a standings perspective, but man is it nice to have an even number of league teams so they’ll be around for a while.
Outlaws - Well, well, well. In one of the most ironic moments in human history, the very team that I mocked for being filled with single dudes and being completely irrelevant, has selected (unannounced to me) yours truly in an offseason compensation draft. As I scroll up and read some of the mildly horrible things I’ve written about my future competition, I realize that I should take a moment to apologize for absolutely nothing.
Here’s the plan. Remind everyone early and often that I haven’t played in years to lower expectations, have a really positive and friendly attitude to negate anger when I strike out all the time, and strategically miss games when the top pitchers in the league are on the mound. If I hit one home run, I will declare myself league MVP.
As far as my new teammates, I don’t know them. Team manager maybe: Mitchell Buis reaches out to me via text sometimes while I’m at work and seems like a really friendly guy. I’ve only forgotten to reply twice so far in the relationship.
My other teammates will include noted trainwreck Aidan Palmer, someone named Kyan(?), and Aaron Rogers, who is the league’s comic relief figure if CCW was a bad Adam Sandler movie.
MVP: Caleb Jonkman
Cy Young: Mike Speek Jr.
Silver/Sleeveless Slugger: Ryan Voges
Rookie of the Year: Whichever one out of Smith/Smithey/Bogad is actually a rookie. If multiple are rookies, I predict a tie.
Defensive Player of the Year: Per tradition, someone who tries way too hard (probably a Hacker or Yakker)
Championship: I literally have no idea. Seems like it’s going to come down to attendance from out of town players (some league, huh?). Let’s go Short Shorts over Noodlers.
Most Likely To’s
Forget to show up to half of the games: Aidan Palmer
Be pleasant to have a chat with: Michael Plourde
Interrupt a game with demands about his camera angles: Keegan Caughey
Blame a non-injury for poor performance: Rudy Lyon
Say “just having fun out here, not about wins and losses:” Entire Outlaws team
Lose their battle with the heat despite having a gallon of water and a large towel: (tie) Cody House and Zach McFarland
Cry in a game: Kevin Dudas
Post a regular season HR to Twitter as a serious highlight: Ryan Voges and Will Smithey
Complain about fiscal policy: Spencer Schneider
Twist an ankle: Austin Church
Talk about the time he got a hit off of Speek Jr.: Josh Hart
Throw his arm out: Christian Leffler
Complain about the rules: Thomas Hopkins
Stop playing to make a TikTok: Brendan Dudas
Demand a trade: Kyle Gagliardi
Run through the Dirtyard wall: James Haworth
For the first time in league history, Circle City Wiffle hosted a free agent draft. The order was created based on the reverse order of last year's standings. Additionally, each team that lost a player to the free agent portal was compensated with an extra pick between the first and second round.
Watch Brendan Dudas' video recap HERE
1. Outlaws - Aidan Palmer
The most obvious choice to go #1 overall. Palmer has endured a very up and down CCW career, but his "ups" have landed him in talks with some of the best pitchers in the country. If the Outlaws can get Aidan and Buis on the board, this becomes one heck of a fireballing, lefty/righty duo.
Hackers trade picks 3 and 10 to Yakkers in exchange for 2nd pick.
2. Hackers (via Yakkers) - Alex Gurtcheff
The biggest surprise in the draft came just two picks in. Gurtcheff made his CCW debut at Monday night's free agent workout. His batting practice was impressive and he showed the ability to hit the board from the mound. Anchored by Alec Buchman and Holden Palmer, the Hackers' rotation is just fine. Starke is taking a gamble in hoping that Gurtcheff provides some much-needed offensive thump.
3. Yakkers (via Hackers) - Sawyer Mitchell
Mitchell seemed like a shoe-in for a top 2 pick before the Hackers selected Gurtcheff, but he falls to the Yakkers and Rudy Lyon adds a decorated CCW vet to a roster in desperate need of bodies. Now, Lyon must turn his attention and effort to getting Mitchell to the Dirtyard on a consistent basis.
4. Pork Pistols - Michael Plourde
After failing to strike a deal to move up in the draft, the Pistols are forced to settle with this pick. Plourde is going to provide great value on the defensive side, but likely won't give the Pistols what they're looking for from the mound or at the plate. That being said, Plourde is a great teammate and most franchises would openly welcome his addition.
5. Short Shorts - Spencer Bogad
The Shorts spark a chain reaction of out-of-town picks with this one. Spencer Bogad (Skibbe Wiffle) intends to make a few trips to the Dirtyard this summer. Bogad is an elite fast pitch player and will help the Shorts on both sides of the ball.
6. Moonshots - Cam Smith
Also from Skibbe Wiffle, what was said above can be said about Cam Smith. Both the Shorts and the Shots will be looking to do everything they can to get these guys playoff eligible. From there, Smith and Bogad become complete game changers.
7. 8 Balls - Jared Jonkman
With a roster that's tight-knit and nearly full, most figured Mike Speek would pass on taking anyone here at number 7. Jared provides the 8 Balls with an offensive weapon and Wiffle mind that only strengthens this CCW powerhouse.
8. Noodlers - Kyle Gagliardi
Gags has bounced around a few times in his short CCW career, but lands in a great spot with the defending champion Noodlers. The Jonkman/Gags pairing puts a lot of pressure on the Noodlers roster should those two be unable to make the trip down to Indy consistently, but Gagliardi will be a plus contributor from the plate and on the mound when he's there.
9. Outlaws - Kyle Cortner
We're getting into the players that we don't know much about. Cortner is a current college baseball player and has received a glowing endorsement from league villain, Spencer Schriner. This is exactly the type of player the Outlaws need to surround Aidan Palmer.
10. Yakkers (via Hackers) - Cameron Gross
According to his resume, Gross has a solid amount of baseball experience. The Yakkers are in need of bodies, so Gross should get an opportunity right away to see if he has what it takes.
11. Pork Pistols - Paul Agresta
His profile reads "draft me and you will NOT regret it", to which Thomas Hopkins responded, "Gimme Agresta. I like his style." *shrugs*
12. Noodlers - Nick Booker
Not much is known about Booker, but he's 23 and has high school/travel baseball experience. Cody House is looking to replenish a roster that lost both Jordan Tackett and Sawyer Mitchell.
1. Outlaws - Josh Hart
HE'S BACK! Truthfully, Hart didn't expect to be drafted by anyone other than his close friends on the Short Shorts. He was part of a championship roster in 2015, but hasn't played competitive fast pitch in some time. Still, Buis is laser-focused on surrounding Palmer with athletic bodies and this selection achieves that.
2. Yakkers - Ryan Galiher
Galiher is a fixture in NWI. He's played a lot of high level Wiffle ball, but doesn't intend to be a CCW regular.
3. Hackers - PASS
4. Pork Pistols - Kenny Boger
This is likely nothing more than a depth addition. Boger is a competitive athlete that will likely factor in once the Pistols' throw their arms/backs out by week 3.
5. Short Shorts - Kevin Keefe
The Shorts begin stocking their farm system by selecting Keefe - Dudas' nephew - in his first year of CCW eligibility.
6. Moonshots - PASS
7. 8 Balls - PASS
8. Noodlers - PASS
Three CCW studs laid claim to prestigious National Wiffle awards this postseason - a fitting culmination for what was a very successful year for Circle City on the national level.
3 National Awards, 17 National Team selections, 6 Top 100 Players, Top 8 finish at the NWLAT, Most Improved Website.
With the young talent in this league, it’s beginning to feel like this thing might just be getting started.
Central Hitter of the Year, The Drop #76, CCW Silver Slugger
Smithey broke onto the scene in a big way during his 2019 rookie campaign. He led a dangerous Hounds squad to within one half-inning of a World Series appearance, impressing Mike Speek along the way and earning a spot on his team for the CCW Top 40 draft.
Some of the best players in the world, regardless of their sport, fall into the ‘Sophomore Slump’. But some unique circumstances - like the addition of the best Wiffle baller in the country (see Jonkman, Caleb) - somewhat silenced the noise of the mounting pressure that usually accompanies being labeled the next face of CCW. Will Smithey responded with a sophomore surge.
Smithey devoted himself to Wiffle in the summer of 2020 and it paid off handsomely. #1 in slugging, on base percentage and average while turning in top 5 pitching numbers that enabled him to *legitimately* compete with Caleb Jonkman for league MVP.
In his first NWLA Tournament, Will Smithey led the Chasers to their best finish in league history. CCW finished 1st in OBP, T1st in HR, 4th in runs, 2nd in SLG and 5th in AVG. With Smithey leading the way, Circle City Wiffle is going to find itself in the National conversation for years to come.
Alec Buchman, Central Rookie of the Year, The Drop #71, CCW Rookie of the Year
Buchman’s rookie campaign was largely just “fine” until his July 7th outing against the Short Shorts. 0 runs, 1 hit allowed and 12 strikeouts. Boom - it’s on.
Something clicked on that night and Alec Buchman never looked back. His final two starts of the 2020 CCW season? 1 run and 13 strikeouts in a playoff upset of the Yakkers, then 1 run and 17 strikeouts in a heartbreaking loss to the Short Shorts.
Buchman carried that momentum into his first NWLA Tournament appearance, leading the CCW staff with a 0.55 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 11 innings of work.
The velocity, arsenal and investment are all enough to make Buchman a perennial mainstay atop the CCW pitching leaders.
Caleb Jonkman, National Player of the Year, The Drop #2, CCW MVP and Cy Young
While it would be wrong to claim Jonkman as CCW’s own, he’s going in this article due to his impact on CCW, but mostly so the commish doesn’t have to hear it from him for the next 3 months...
It would be a waste of your time to do a recap on Jonkman. If you want the full season-long scoop, go read his write-up on The Drop’s Top 100 list.
There’s no statistical summary needed. No list of achievements, accomplishments or records. What Caleb did for CCW in 2020 was paradigm-altering. He brought a level of competition and discomfort to the league’s best players that will prove to be foundational in the growth and development of CCW for years to come.
In addition to the 3 National Awards, CCW had 17 players earn National Team honors - easily setting a league high, and 6 players listed in The Drop’s Top 100:
Speek Jr - 1st
Sprinkle - 2nd
Smithey - 2nd
Werner - 2nd
McFarland - 2nd
Leffler - 3rd
Smithey - 1st
Dudas - 2nd
Lyon - 3rd
Caughey - 3rd
McFarland - 3rd
Morris - 3rd
Buchman - 1st
Dudas - 1st
Gregory - 2nd
Plourde - 3rd
Hopkins - 3rd
Speek - 98
Smithey - 76
Lyon - 73
Buchman - 71
Speek Jr. - 30
A revamped Circle City board of directors has set the date for the 2021 preseason meeting. 2020, while an amazing year of Wiffle, was not free of missteps. CCW will look to address those issues and move forward with a clear plan of action.
Stay tuned for updates regarding the 2021 season. We look forward to having you join us for another amazing year!
REGISTER FOR THE 2021 SEASON!
SIGN UP FOR THE CCW GOLF OUTING!
Opening Week ends with Wiffle-filled Sunday
All 8 teams were in action Sunday at the Dirtyard for the Opening Week round robin tournament.
The Moonshots and Short Shorts both went 3-0 to collect their respective division titles. Both of the 2019 World Series participants, the 8 Balls and Yakkers, struggled en route to a 1-2 record on the day.
The teams displayed the much-improved competitive depth of the 2020 CCW field, and the packed standings reflect that.
League leaders: https://www.mystatsonline.com/ballsports/visitor/league/stats/leaders.aspx?IDLeague=53281
Player of the Week: Will Smithey
The Moonshots (3-0) finished Sunday looking down at the rest of CCW in the standings, and a large part of that can be credited to Smithey’s contribution from the plate and mound.
The 2019 Rookie of the Year turned in a 2-0 pitching record, striking out 14 hitters and allowing only 4 runs. At the plate, Smithey hit .786 with 4 HR and 10 RBI, including a walk-off grand slam against the Yakkers.
All-State “You’re in Good Hands” Play of the Week
The Pork Pistols used an impressive display of teamwork to cut down TWO would-be runs in one play.
View the play here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWGrsRlct2U
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Thursday, June 11
6 PM: 8 Balls (2-3) vs Pork Pistols (3-2)
8 PM: Moonshots (3-0) vs Short Shorts (3-0)
Sunday, June 14
2 PM: Yakkers (1-4) vs Outlaws (0-5) – 3 game series
CCW Fantasy Wiffle
With the first week officially in the books, circlecitywiffleball.com/fantasy-wiffle will now transform into the home of all the information you’ll need to keep tabs on your team.
Please note that stats and points are updated manually, so allow some time following the completion of games for fantasy stats to be updated.
Reid Werner threw a perfect game vs the Pork Pistols on Sunday afternoon. Werner went 6 perfect frames, striking out 16 hitters and becoming only the second pitcher to record a perfect game (Mike Speek Sr., 2017).
Austin Church hit 1 home run to become the 9th player to join the 50 home run club.
Josh Hart releases hilarious season preview article
Although he lives 2 hours away and knows less about CCW now than he ever has, Hart has continued the tradition of writing the annual CCW preview article.
The article acts more as a CCW roast than a substantial preview, and nobody is safe from being roasted!
Read the article here: https://www.circlecitywiffleball.com/news/2020-ccw-preview
By Joshua Hart
Hey everyone. As our nation faces an international pandemic, stares down the barrel of a severe economic recession, and gears up for the most important Civil Rights movement in this country since the 60’s, it means there is only one thing to talk about. Midwestern, backyard wiffle ball! Can you feel the energy??
I am back, and a week late this time! Apparently, Circle City Wiffle Ball league commissioner Brendan Dudas was simply too busy working on his seventh 2K myPlayer build from March through May to reach out and plan this article with me. The league delayed opening day for crying out loud! I should simmer down though. No one had any extra free time on their hands the past few months to read about upcoming summer events, so publishing a season preview after the season started in June was the best logistical option.
So once again, I have risen from my one-bedroom Mishawaka apartment to write this article for 16 people. I dream one day I will be able to get out of writing this due to a backpacking trip in New Zealand or some kind of exotic honeymoon with my future wife. Unfortunately, 2020 was not having it. Until then...
It seems from an outsider's perspective that sweeping changes were not a major focus of the league this offseason. In 2019, it was about rebranding a league for a wider audience with slick social media accounts and an increased effort to improve team and field quality. Sure, there’s been some tinkering to team names and rosters in 2020. However, it appears CCW may be exiting the developmental stage of league building and entering into a more stable, consistent production. Hopefully you realize that bouquet of words was code for Josh did not actually care to research if any changes happened or not. It sounds eloquent though!
Alright, alright...I do believe there is a new rule that allows hitters after earning a walk to make a decision between receiving soft pitches to hit (any strike and the batter is out) or simply taking the earned walk. The hope is to add an element of decision-making the league has not seen before, deter pitchers from throwing around quality hitters, and spike the amount of home runs in an average game. I wish I had a joke here...seems like a cool rule. Let’s give credit to Cody House for this one. He certainly is not the kind of guy I would make a queso quip about.
8 Balls - Ugh, these guys again. Look, they are really good (62-15 and two titles in three years of league play), and they might just become the first dynasty in league history. With the roster returning intact, the 8 Balls had to look for other challenges to overcome this offseason such as finding a way to improve team uniforms, which they didn’t. Once again, the squad is led almost entirely by the Sr/Jr duo of Mike Speek. While Sr. is quickly heading towards becoming the first player in CCW history with an AARP membership, Jr. might just be entering his prime, which is terrifying for the rest of the league. Joining the Speek’s per usual is jar of mayonnaise Zach McFarland and Connor Morris, a hostage of the Speek family. Blink twice if you want to play for another team Connor!
Short Shorts - Ahh yes, the team that cares more about its’ Twitter account than actual performance on the field. Despite their status as a consistent title contender, this organization has sneakily regressed since the departure of...guess who? Me! A 2015 title and 2017 runner-up performance were the peaks of this franchise. After my exit in 17, the team has not returned to a championship series. There are no other possible explanations for this. And if there are, I have no intentions to listen to them.
The SS are again led by commissioner Dudas. A regular in the MVP discussion, he tops pretty much everyone’s list for league player that’s the most enjoyable to watch struggle. With the influx of quality pitching across the league for the 2020 season, one can only hope. Returning to the Shorts is prodigal son Keegan Caughey, who was viciously terminated in a Red Wedding level betrayal from the Moonshots by dear friend and former roommate Blake Voris. Caughey claims to be prepared to go on a “revenge tour” of sorts in 2020. With his 31 walks and 4 home runs in 2019 in mind, opposing teams are absolutely terrified at the raw power an angry Caughey will bring to the table.
The team is rounded out with Dylan Jones who I’m not even sure is playing, Jake Sprinkle (hahahahaha his last name is Sprinkle), local hippie Taylor Dehart, and Aidan Palmer, a kid I worry is dangerously close to buying Supreme t-shirts.
Moonshots - Coming off an extremely disappointing 2019 season that saw the Moonshots go 5-13, changes had to be made by the previously mentioned team manager Blake Voris, a man passionately committed to wearing his watches. One of these major shake ups included bringing over Reid Werner and Will Smithey from the shutdown Hounds organization, who were #1 and #3 in total strikeouts during the 2019 season, respectfully. The group fills out with a couple of B+ players that have probably seen their best days already go by them in Tyler Gregory and Austin Church. Similar to three-day old leftovers you have for lunch on Wednesday, expect the Moonshots to leave you with a sense of disappointment and despair throughout the 2020 season.
Noodlers - Just like the seasonal flu and Converse Chucks, the Noodlers find a way to be relevant each and every year. This time around, the roster is constructed with a 2016 championship-level team that includes the aforementioned Cody House, great dad Sawyer Mitchell, and the always serious Jordan Tackett (whose wedding I crashed, but that’s a story for another day). The secret sauce that might actually produce a title is one Caleb Jonkman, a star on the national wiffle circuit who decided it was worth commuting to Indy to play wiffle ball with players that have personalities and lives. Consistent attendance from Jonkman will be critical to the Noodlers contending status.
Yakkers - The Yakkers BS’d their way to a title appearance despite a forgettable 12-9 record in 2019. These guys seem like the Houston Rockets of CCW, always around to make things more competitive, but no one is actually threatened by them. This group is led by unseasoned potato Rudy Lyon, and a bunch of other forgettable, pasty white dudes. The one interesting thing about this bunch is the addition of Ryan Voges, who I believe is really good, but once again do not care to clarify that assumption. Similar to Jonkman, sources tell me he is not a resident of central Indiana so week-by-week status of Voges playing could be an issue.
Pork Pistols - Allegedly, the Pork Pistols are the fun, “wild” group that actually has female friends. I was wildly disappointed in 2019 when I heard zero reports of arrests, brawls, or other extremely devious behavior by them. Part of me wonders if they are just another group of basic dudes who drink beer and talk a big game, but end up going to bed at 10:30 every night after watching reruns of NCIS. I want to take this space to personally challenge them to be better (or is it worse?) this season. Circle City needs it. Scandal is the quickest way to new audience members online.
As far as wiffle goes, they have some players. Christian Leffler is good. They won’t win the title, and they won’t finish last.
Hackers - It appears the Hackers believed this was going to be a basketball league as their roster boasts 7(!) players. I certainly hope they all enjoy their 2 at-bats per game. The Hackers are led by a man with the tiniest nipples I have ever seen in Michael Plourde, a player who has a genuine heart of gold and a wiffle ball skill set that mirrors TJ McConnell. Plourde is joined by Holden Palmer, someone who certainly says, “I don’t care, where do you want to go?” every time he’s asked to pick a restaurant for dinner. Tucker Carlson fan and guy who doesn’t look great in sunglasses Spencer Schreindeir also returns as a force to be vaguely reckoned with. The other players on the Hackers I’m sure have fun personalities and stories to share.
Outlaws - I do not even know if this team exists or Dudas put it into the website to screw with me. Let’s roll with them being an expansion team. Welcome to the league, and congrats on being single! If you do anything of relevance (you won’t) in the 2020 season, I will donate $20 to the charity of your choice. Good luck.
MVP: Mike Speek Jr.
Cy Young: Christian Leffler (Pork Pistols)
Silver Slugger: Brendan Dudas (Short Shorts)
Rookie of the Year: Caleb Jonkman (Noodlers)
Defensive Player of the Year: Per tradition, someone who tries way too hard
Championship: Noodlers over 8 Balls
Most Likely To’s
Look the worst post-quarantine: Taylor Dehart
Break any concept of social distancing immediately: Everyone in the league
Leave for 15 minutes to get something in their car: Holden Palmer
Destroy his body attempting to run through the Dirtyard fence: James Hayworth
Choose to take his base after ball four to “protect his OBP”: Spencer Schneider
Bring up wiffle ball on a date: Rudy Lyon
Attempt to sell you on the value of Bitcoin based on one article they read: Aaron Rogers
Have gained 10 lbs but somehow still look pretty darn good: Tyler Gregory
Not do anything impressive or noteworthy: Everyone on the Outlaws
Say he’s a “coach only” after his first bad game: Blake Voris
Wear a ridiculous hat: Cody House
Make himself impossible to dislike with really pleasant conversation: Mike Speek Sr.
Have the most in-game arguments: Austin Church and Brendan Dudas
Show up for no reason: Dakota Rogers
Blow up on someone about the 2020 election: Keegan Caughey
Argue to change the rules back once they realize they still suck: Pork Pistols
Opening Week Ripe with Juicy Storylines
We are less than a week from Wiffle and this season appears to be the most interesting and competitive yet!
Monday: The past two CCW champs, the Noodlers and 8 Balls, will clash on the Dirtyard for Opening Night. Caleb Jonkman, the 2x National Player of the Year, will square off with the current king of the CCW hill, Mike Speek Jr. Both players ranked inside the top 30 in the 2019 installment of The Drop’s top 100 Wiffle players. Jonkman will become the first player to play in all 4 of the major Indiana Wiffle leagues.
Tuesday: Both CCW expansion teams, the Hackers and Outlaws, take aim at their first wins. Eric Starke (Hackers) and Aaron Rogers (Outlaws) both feel confident about their rosters, and they’re each looking to buck the trend of expansion teams being doormats for the better CCW franchises. Rogers has already labeled his rookie pitcher, Mitch Buis, as a rookie of the year contender.
Wednesday: The Pork Pistols have spent the offseason fuming after getting the short end of the CCW playoff stick last season. Rudy Lyon and the re-tooled Yakkers find themselves on the opposing side of the revenge tour to start the season, but the addition of CCW-slayer Ryan Voges and promising newcomer Dustin Dowden ensures the Yaks will remain a CCW title contender. All things considered, the biggest storyline here MIGHT just be whether or not the lines will be chalked before Hopkins arrives at the field.
CCW Fantasy Wiffle
The deadline to submit rosters is Tuesday, May 26th (TONIGHT) at 10 PM.
When the season begins on June 1st, the CCW Fantasy Wiffle page will transform into the hub for all of the stats and leaderboards you’ll need to track your team’s performance.
Confirmed prizes for the best teams include CCW logo hats by Branded Bills and a custom CCW logo drink tumbler! Submit your roster and $10 entry by 10 PM tonight!
Governor Eric Holcomb has updated the Indiana social distancing guidelines to allow for outdoor recreational activities (such as Wiffle ball). The easing of social restrictions does NOT mean the virus and its dangers are gone; it simply means that hospitals are confident in their ability to handle an influx of patients.
We have several at risk individuals within the league and we all likely come into contact with older relatives. PLEASE monitor yourself for symptoms and respect the space of people aiming to keep distance. To help lower risk, teams will be required to bring their own bats and seating.
Week 1 Power Rankings
Based on average ranking from each coach
1.8 Balls (1.3)
2.Short Shorts (2.9)
6.Pork Pistols (4.9)
Dirtyard to Remain Closed
The Dirtyard WILL be ready to go come June 1st, but will remain closed to practices through the end of May. The field directly behind the Dirtyard is open, and I encourage the use of it for batting, pitching and scrimmages.
In an effort to KEEP the Dirtyard beautiful, we want to give the grass plenty of time to establish before getting trampled by gameplay. Thanks for your understanding.
8 CCW members took turns picking players in a fantasy-style draft. Their goal was simple: to assemble the best all-time roster possible.
The draft resulted in eight 5-man squads of players stretching all the way back to Circle City Wiffle’s beginnings. Surprising players rose and fell based on the coaches’ strategies.
See the draft results below. Who do YOU think picked the best team?
Drafting Members: Blake Voris, Mike Speek Sr. Rudy Lyon, Dylan Jones, Cody House, Tyler Gregory, Brendan Dudas, Reid Werner
1. Mike Speek Jr. – Team Voris
MVP ('19), Cy Young ('19), 2 x CCW Champ
2. Will Smithey – Team Speek
Rookie of the Year ('19)
3. Brian Schaler – Team Lyon
2x Cy Young, CCW Champion ('18), Rookie of the Year ('16)
4. Dakota Rogers – Team Jones
MVP ('17), Silver Slugger ('17), Triple Crown ('17) CCW Champion ('18), ROTY ('15)
5. Brendan Dudas – Team House
3x MVP, 4x Silver Slugger, 4x Triple Crown, CCW Champion ('15)
6. Mike Speek Sr. – Team Gregory
Cy Young ('17), 2x CCW Champion
7. Rudy Lyon – Team Dudas
8. Aidan Palmer – Team Werner
9. Taylor DeHart – Team Werner
10. Austin Church – Team Dudas
MVP ('14), CCW Champion ('16)
11. Tyler Gregory – Team Gregory
CCW Champion ('18)
12. Blake Voris – Team House
13. Reid Werner – Team Jones
Rookie of the Year ('17)
14. Conor Morris – Team Lyon
CCW Champion ('19)
15. Keegan Caughey – Team Speek
CCW Champion ('15)
16. Christian Leffler – Team Voris
17. Sawyer Mitchell – Team Voris
Cy Young ('15), CCW Champion ('14)
18. James Haworth – Team Speek
19. Drake Capps – Team Lyon
2x CCW Champion
20. Jordan Tackett – Team Jones
Silver Slugger ('14)
21. Cody House – Team House
Cy Young ('14), CCW Champion ('18)
22. Dylan Jones – Team Gregory
23. Brandon Benedict – Team Dudas
CCW Champion ('16)
24. Devon Hensley – Team Werner
Rookie of the Year ('18)
25. Holden Palmer – Team Werner
26. Slater Burger – Team Dudas
CCW Champion ('14)
27. Zach McFarland – Team Gregory
2x CCW Champion
28. Christian Abner – Team House
CCW Champion ('14)
29. Bailey Buescher – Team Jones
30. Thomas Hopkins – Team Lyon
31. Dave Bailey – Team Speek
32. Mason Nickell – Team Voris
CCW Champion ('16)
33. Colin Miller – Team Voris
34. Joshua Hart – Team Speek
CCW Champion ('15)
35. Jake Sprinkle – Team Lyon
36. Michael Plourde – Team Jones
37. Dillon Douthitt – Team House
38. Jeremy McIntyre – Team Gregory
39. Griffin Ball – Team Dudas
40. Jacob Harris – Team Werner
TEAM HITTING TOTALS
TEAM PITCHING TOTALS
Head to Twitter and let us know who YOU think put together the BEST All-Time roster!
Decision made on season start date
Circle City Wiffle will return to action the week of June 1st. “Opening Week” will feature one matchup per night from Monday, June 1 through Thursday, June 4 and culminate in the Opening Week round robin tourney on Sunday, June 7.
The decision to begin the season comes on the heels of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s announcement to ease stay-at-home orders and allow gatherings of up to 25 people.
CCW plans to limit the number of people allowed at the Dirtyard while offering solutions for disinfecting bats, balls and hands. The league strongly encourages anyone experiencing symptoms to inform CCW officials and stay home.
All games during the CCW season will be live streamed on Periscope (@circlecitywiff) and uploaded to YouTube the following day.
The CCW Board met via Zoom Sunday night to discuss modifications to some of the rules heading into 2020. Summaries of these modifications are listed below:
CCW members, both new and old, took turns selecting players in an all-time CCW player draft. The result was eight 5-player teams and a list of the 40 best Circle City Wifflers of all time.
Each coach displayed a unique strategy when picking their team which led to some surprising names rising and falling on the list.
The selecting members enjoyed the exercise. One anonymous member wants to see these teams in action: “I want to see these come to life on the field! A weekend draft-style tournament would be an insanely fun and competitive time.”
The selection committee, player list and complete rosters will be revealed this week! Stay tuned and prepare to let them know who YOU think picked the best all-time roster.
Dirtyard Dish to return on May 22
After a brief hiatus, Dirtyard Dish will release a new episode this Friday. The original episode schedule included a fantasy Wiffle panel and a season prediction show in the two weeks leading up to Opening Day.
With the updated timeline, expect those two topics to be discussed during each of the next two Friday episodes.
If you’d like to be included in an episode, please contact @DirtyardDish on Twitter or reach out personally.
Prizes for CCW Fantasy Wiffle
The season is right around the corner, and fantasy Wiffle rosters are due May 24th! If you haven’t selected your roster yet, head to circlecitywiffleball.com/fantasy-wiffle. Good luck!
Circle City Wiffle is pleased to confirm the following prizes, with more to be announced soon:
On This Day
May 17, 2017
Circle City Wiffle brought LIGHT to the Dirtyard!
Around the Wiffle World
I can't wait to get back out to the Dirtyard! If you or your team wants to set up a small practice, text me and we can work it out!
Aaron Rogers – Fired up by the Crazy Fat Kids’ suckiness, Rogers is branching off to start his own CCW franchise. He has assembled a 6 man roster and is looking to buck the historical trend of expansion teams being doormats and stat padders for the rest of the league.
Alex Gates – Transferred to the Outlaws from the Yakkers prior to the 2020 season. For the Outlaws to be competitive, Gates must become the centerpiece of this lineup and pitching rotation.
Jay Wilsey – Will play full-time for the Outlaws. Described by Rogers as a solid field with great plate awareness – a good skill to have in a league that walks so many hitters.
Tyler Harnish – As a softball specialist and HS baseball coach, Harnish can potentially bring a lot of baseball IQ and hand-eye coordination to the table for the Outlaws.
Mitch Buis – “Our ace if I can get him to be a part of our squad” is a ringing endorsement for a player who has never stepped foot onto the Dirtyard. Let’s hope Buis can carve out time for CCW in his schedule and live up to his coach’s expectations.
Shawn Rogers – The brother of the head coach, Aaron. Their Wiffle experience goes way back, and Aaron describes him as a “Ri
Key Player(s) – The Newbies. In order for this to work, at least one of these guys has to actually be something. If Buis is the ace Rogers promises, or Wilsey turns his plate awareness into a league-leading OBP, then we MAY just have something here.
Projected Record – (4-17)
Best Case – Two of the new guys turn out to be really good players, Alex Gates steps into the centerpiece role nicely and the Outlaws are able to push .500, upset some teams and put up a really good fight on Wild Card Weekend.
Worst Case – The new guys show up and realize how hard Wiffle ball really is, Rogers and Gates have their spirits crushed by Joe Burrow being a bust and this team never gets off the ground. They struggle to even finish the season, and every team in the league salivates at the idea of padding their stats against them.
Eric Starke – Taking over as head coach of the Crazy Fat Kids, Starke decided to scrap the team name and start from scratch. The Hackers were born and they are ready to hack their way out of the dumpster fire that was the Crazy Fat Kids franchise.
Holden Palmer – Finished top 4in strikeouts THREE straight years from 2016-2018 before a disappointing 2019 campaign that was derailed by attendance issues. Palmer has the ability to be an ace, but he needs to consistently be at the field.
Michael Plourde – One of the most tenured vets in the CCW player pool, Plourde is a jack of all trades type of guy. He will put up respectable numbers at the plate, eat up innings on the mound and his athleticism makes him an above average base runner and fielder.
Spencer Schriner – He’s been a bit of a polarizing player at CCW. Not afraid to rub people the wrong way, his bat flip walks and sky high pitches will make even the most level-headed people lose their cool. Schriner has baseball experience and is really looking to take the next step as a Wiffle ball player.
Kyle Gagliardi – Coming over from Leroy/GBL, Gags intends to be a part-time player in 2020. Finished top 5 at GBL in HR and RBI, and will provide some very much needed thump for this lineup when he’s available.
Key Player – Holden Palmer. ATTENDANCE, ATTENDANCE, ATTENDANCE. If Palmer can get to the field consistently, he will turn in top 5 pitcher numbers. We saw it 4 straight years. In order for this team to reach its potential, Holden Palmer has to perform like an ace.
Projected Record – 7-14
Best Case – Palmer shows up and hits the board, Starke continues to be a rock solid arm and Kyle Gagliardi is able to make it to more games than he anticipated. This team’s ceiling is right above .500, and with Palmer on the mound they will have the ability to cause an upset in the wild card round of the playoffs.
Worst Case – Gags isn’t able to make any of the games, Palmer shrinks under the pressure of being an ace and the Hackers struggle to score enough runs to make up for the lack of pitching. They compete with the Outlaws to see who can lose the most games.