On December 17th, 2014 I received an email from an unknown man named Derek Dust. “I am always up for any kind of wiffle”, he wrote. This was the first time a complete stranger expressed interest in playing at Shed Field. I was very excited as a 16 year old wiffleball commissioner, but my stranger danger instincts were also on alert.
I decided take a chance on this enthusiastic wiffler and sign him to my team.
He strolled into my backyard on opening day 2015 with his son Cam and a corked bat. He made an immediate impact on the league with his infectious energy and chatter. He also won rookie of the year.
The most memorable moment of his career came in a hotly contested game versus the Red Sox in 2015. Exact details are shady, but let’s just say in a tied ballgame Sam Essen hit a home run off the shed roof. He called it fair and Derek promptly responded “fair my ass”. This single line has become legendary among the Shed Field faithful.
Derek was also a pilot member of the Shed Field Loons, back-to-back NWLA National Tournament qualifiers! Without him, we surely would not have made such a splash on the national scene. I will never forget the iconic photo of him “fighting the power” at the 2016 tournament (see below).
Derek has taught me one important lesson about the game of wiffleball: it’s not worth playing if you’re not having fun. Derek always took the field with child-like wonder and awe. Play hard, have fun hard.
In honor of Derek, Shed Field will be retiring his initials “DD” in a special ceremony in 2020. No other player with those initials will be allowed to hit a home run at Shed Field ever again. All future DD home runs will count as negative points.
Signing off for probably another 2 years,
PS. No, Derek isn’t dead. He’s just moving to Florida.
Cubs def. Rockies 3-0
Red Sox def. Brewers 5-2
Rockies def. Brewers 1-0
Cubs def. Red Sox 9-8
Red Sox def. Rockies 8-4
Cubs def. Red Sox 6-0
League leaders page is updated!
The Cubs won the 2016 SFWL Championship.
From the desk of the Commissioner:
Fans, family, players, annoyed neighbors, and the rest of the NWLA, I would like to apologize and explain the totally lame 2016 SFWL season.
It started with so much promise, 2 expansion franchises and 15 new rookies. Opening day was a success and things were looking up. Then the Henry Sibley High School baseball team got distracted and won a state championship and the rest of the season was lost. The last league games were played on June 12th, 4 days after Sibley upset South St Paul in the section finals to advance to the state tournament. Multiple league members played a role in Sibley's run: Sam Essen (starting DH), Matt Richards (Starting catcher), Austyn Moryn (starting OF), Dan O'Reilly (internet sensation), and John Cronin (bullpen catcher). The magical cinderalla run of Sibley was the true glory story out of Shed Field this summer.
Commissioner Cronin managed a team in the HRL Twin Cities this summer also. The HRL is the best league in the nation. Cronin along with Essen, Andy Lehman, and Mark Kladar played on that team. Simply put, HRL > SFWL>MNWA>rest of the NWLA. Wiffleball is a lovely sport but with 2 nights a week playing HRL, Shed Field got put to the bottom of commish's priorities.
Plenty of fun was had at Shed Field this summer though. The wiffleball spirit in the Cronin backyard is far from dead. Many fun pick up games, HR derbies, and hours spent practicing for NWLA 2017. Shed Field is alive and well, but the days of weekly organized wiffleball at Shed Field are likely over.
The 2016 playoffs will be held on either October 23rd or October 30th. The Can, wiffleball's greatest postseason tradition will once again be awarded to the champions. Award voting will also take place on that day.
Semifinal matchups (best of 3):
#1 Cubs vs #4 Giants
#2 Nationals vs #3 Pirates
Championship will also be best of 3.
-COMMISSIONER JOHN CRONIN
PS SORRY THERE ARE NO STATS FROM THIS SEASON. Well there are but league statisticians need to get to work to get them into Excel. May or may not be entered this season. They are a jumbled mess of numbers and scribbles. Thanks Andy!
***The American League (Twins and Blue Jays) will not be competing in the postseason as they didn't play hardly any regular season games
It started as a dream. The type of dream that can only come to fruition when the wide-eyed imagination of a 13-year-old boy is blessed by a smiling father to create a backyard where legends are created and destroyed all in the course of a humid summer evening. The year was 2012 and John Cronin was the boy who convinced his family to join in to the pursuit of creating something bigger than they could ever have imagined.
Shed Field Wiffleball League started as a place where friends and family could drop by for a chance to experience the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the delicious hot dogs straight from the local butcher shop. A place where siblings could deepen their rivalries and three generations of family could join forces to take down a team of cocky neighborhood kids from up the block. From the start, John had the vision of a website where meticulous stats were kept and power rankings provided the chance to actively argue over league bragging rights. We were blissfully alone in our corner of the wiffleball universe until a simple google search opened our eyes to the fact that there were dozens of similar backyard leagues across the nation and that we could meet the people behind them by playing in the NWLA tournament.
So it was that in 2015, a Shed Field team featuring the first 60-year-old in NWLA history and the first woman in NWLA history took the field, got shelled 3 times by teams with superior talent, yet still unexpectedly qualified for nationals by beating an inebriated BCW squad and finishing with a 1-3 record. External obligations (half of our starting roster being in the same wedding) kept us from sending a team on to nationals, but we had enough fun meeting other wiffleball enthusiasts that we decided to try again for the following year.
John signed us up for the 2016 version of the NWLA tournament this spring and began recruiting team members immediately, while realizing the difficulty he faced as a 17-year-old trying to convince grown adults that they should take PTO and spend their vacation funds on a trip to America’s armpit, all so that they could get their asses blown out by teams who play with the passion of a thousand suns. Word of Shed Field’s low-key and fun atmosphere was spreading throughout the Twin Cities wiffleball scene, however, and we gained a couple of members who were long-time mainstays of the HRL.
Our first two scheduled league meetings were rained out, but we ultimately were able to gain eligibility for 3 new SFWL members: Sean Pabon (Rocket), Karl Kohnen (Knuckles), and Brad Adams (Shandy). A 4th new member, Keith Pabon (Torpedo) gained eligibility, but we were 2 hours late for submitting the final roster and he was declared ineligible (not that that stopped us from trying to get him in anyways. A league that plays together stays together). Our new members joined returning team mates from the 2015 squad: Derek Dust, Thomas Randolph, Howard Cronin, and myself (Joe Cronin) to form the 2016 SFWL Regional squad.
The day started versus an HRL team that gladly welcomed us to the 2016 regional tournament by pitching Dr. Suess, with his never ending toychest of rising sinkers, straight curves, and backdoor sliders. Would he, could he, with a fox? Would he, could he, in a box? Probably. One hit and one walk later for SFWL and we had lost the first game by a score of 10-0. Oh the places we would go! (Straight to the liquor store to cool off in the walk-in freezer).
Next up were the BWACS Lot Lizards, a team as seductively charming as their name would suggest. A great wiffleball game followed, both teams eager to swing early and swing often. Derek Dust started us off with a solid single to left field and was promptly caught stealing by the eagle eyed umpire standing right behind him as he led off first base. The game blew open the following inning with Brad Adams’ 3-run shot and we ground out a 6-4 victory that Sean tried to give back to the Lizards by putting the winning run at the plate before inducing a game-ending fly ball. Thanks to the BWACs crew for an awesome game and thanks for the parking lot pull of Jameson after the game. We hope you found the strippers you were looking for.
3rd game of the day was a rematch with BCW. Memories of last year’s matchup must have remained fresh, they brought their ace versus us and he brought some stuff that was nastier than the smell in the zebra den at the Milwaukee Zoo. Brad Adams pitched wonderfully, but was done in by my two fielding errors in the bottom of the 3rd that resulted in 2 Keg Crusher runs. Down 2-0 in the top of the 5th inning, with one runner on, we turned our hopes to our sole ineligible player to put one past the tournament committee and save us from defeat. Keith Pabon confidently strode to the plate and proceeded to strike out in front of the watchful eyes of Commissioner Galloway. Controversy reigned supreme. John got an earful from the commish for not respecting the integrity of the game, wasting everyone’s time, and general managerial ineptitude (Author’s note: I have no clue what Commissioner Galloway actually said to John. John was respectful of Commissoner Galloway’s ruling and openly admitted that we should probably not have tried to play someone who was not on the official roster. But as Michael Scott once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.) With that, the game was over and BCW had avenged their loss. BCW is probably the most fun team to play against and we wish them the best of luck if they end up with a bid to nationals (more on that to come).
4th game of the day was against SWBL and we had a complete team breakdown in front of the Fox 9 cameras. It started when Sean got heat stroke and had to leave halfway through the game to keep himself from blowing chunks all over the bench. Thomas came in to close the game from the mound. 47 feet is a lot further than most people might think, and SWBL turned his soft toss into a stat-padding festival. Down 13-0, we were faced with trying to come back while taking an automatic out every time Sean was due up to bat. The fear in SWBL’s eyes was palpable, and they proceeded to bring in the high heat to shut us down for the bottom of the 3rd inning. After an up and down 4th inning, we ended up losing 17-0. Props to Brad for having his missed peg make the Fox 9 news report. The Skibbes have one of the most interesting formats for a league. Family and friend bonding is a big part of our league’s wiffleball philosophy and it was cool to see such a close knit team compete together at the regional tournament.
We lost Derek and Brad for the final game of the day. The two hour break helped Sean make a recovery and we had 4 players to face the MNWA squad, a team that we have the most fundamental philosophical differences with when it comes to the pastime of wiffleball. A team with a strong baseball background, they are insanely disciplined at the plate. We did not expect a win versus them. They are frustrating to watch, frustrating to play against, and feature some of the best sideline chatter of any team in the tournament. For all of the crap we gave them for walking their way to a victory over BCW, the literal winds of fate blew us to victory. With 20 MPH gusts blowing all over the field, their pitchers struggled with control and we ended up with a 7-2 win. Props to Thomas for crushing a 3 run homer in the bottom of the first to set the pace for the remainder of the game.
We found out after the game that the win got us in as the 16th seed to nationals for the 2nd year in a row. For the 2nd year in a row, John is in the difficult position of rounding up enough players to make the trip down to Ohio to compete for a team that he cannot play with. We have 2 players with solid commitments and two more players requesting PTO from work tomorrow morning in order to make it. Commissioner Galloway has informed us that we have until Wednesday, June 29th to make a commitment to nationals otherwise we will not be invited to participate in future NWLA events.
If we manage to field enough players for a team, we look forward to facing you all in Ohio. If not, we wish you the best of luck this year and in the future. It amazes me how the construction of a single backyard fence can draw a family closer, deepen friendships, and create memories that will last us until the end of our days. It has been amazing getting to know the wiffleball community and witness how supportive you all are of each other. You have brought people together from all over the country and raised thousands of dollars for charities. Your passion for a simple backyard pastime is beautiful. Never let anyone take it away from you.
10 bold predictions for tomorrow's regional:
1. It will rain, a lot.
2. Brew City will be the defend their "Fun Team of the Year" title.
3. MNWA will beat the HRL.
4. SWBL/HRL will be an underwhelming game. They're both guaranteed Ohio, I think they'll just have a fun game without over-the-top competitiveness.
5. SWBL will win this regional.
6. Regional MVP will be Nate Hill of the HRL.
7. MNWA will qualify for Nationals.
8. SFWL/MNWA will be the game of the day.
9. No one will get ejected from this regional.
10. The 2016 NWLA National Tournament Champion will come from this regional.
See you all tomorrow!
Twins 3 Blue Jays 1
W: J. Cronin L: H. Cronin
HR: Adams, Randolph
Blue Jays 5 Twins 2
W: L. Cronin L: Hubly
HR: J. Cronin (2)
Cubs 11 Nationals 2
W: Cronin L: Essen
HR: Nilles, Richards, Essen (2)
Cubs 6 Pirates 4
W: Richards L: Greer
HR: Richards (2), Cronin (2), Greer, Belmares
Nationals 6 Pirates 3
W: Johnson L: Belmares
HR: Johnson, Lehman
Cubs 6 Nationals 3
Cubs 7 Nationals 3
Nationals 5 Pirates 1
W: Johnson L: Moryn
HR: Essen, Johnson
Nationals 5 Giants 2
W: Essen L: Nilsen
HR: Essen, Nilsen
Pirates 4 Giants 2
W: Kladar L: Nilsen
HR: Kladar, Lehman
Cubs 15 Pirates 0
W: Cronin L: Moryn
HR: Richards, Edwards (2), Cronin (2)
Pirates 21 Giants 14
W: Kladar L: Nilsen
HR: Nilsen (2), Morisset (3), Jeff (2), Greer (2), Kemp, Moryn, Kladar
Cubs 6 Giants 3
W: Edwards L: Morisset
HR: Nilsen, Edwards (2), Cronin (2), Nilles
Hey there! Here are all the moves that happened this offseason. Team events in chronological order. Rookies are highlighted in italics.
Blue Jays: Will play in the American League this season. Manager is Howard Cronin. Signed Brad Adams.
Cubs: Expansion team, will play in the National League. Manager is John Cronin. Signed Andrew Cronin. Drafted Alex Nilles and Dan O'Reilly. Traded for Matt Richards. Signed Zach Edwards. Releasd Dan O'Reilly.
Giants: Expansion team, will play in the National League. Manager is Seth Nilsen. Signed Nate Thomas. Drafted Matt Richards. Traded away Matt Richards. Released Nate Thomas. Signed Sam Morisset, Logan Tschida, and Jeff Verway.
Nationals: Expansion team, will play in the National League. Manager is Sam Essen. Signed David Johnson and Matt Morse. Drafted Jack Korte.
Pirates: Expansion team, will play in the National League. Manager is Andy Lehman. Signed Mark Kladar and Nick Belmares. Drafted Ben Kemp and Gabe Segura. Signed Allen Greer.
Twins: Will play in the American League. Manager is Joe Cronin. Signed Derek Dust and Cameron Dust. Drafted Sean Pabon.
Opening Day is around the corner sometime in mid-April! Stay tuned for the details.
Here are the full results for every award:
Joe Cronin (3.7%)
David Johnson (1.3%)
Pat Cronin (5%)
Rose Cronin (4%)
David Johnson, Shehan Perera, Andy Lehman, Cam Dust (2.75% each)
Shehan Perera, David Johnson (5.5% each)
Seth Nilsen (3%)
Derek Dust, Rose Cronin, Howard Cronin, Sarah Nels. Cronin (2.75% each)
GIANTS Most Improved Player
Andrew Cronin, Tony Thompson (6% each)
Derek Dust, Karen Cronin, Andy Lehman (5% each)
Erik Essen, Kasey Thompson, Leona Cronin (3% each)
Shehan Perera (2%)
Mark Kladar, Joe Hubly (1% each)
Rookie of the Year
Erik Essen (9.5%)
Andy Lehman (7%)
Sam Essen, Cam Dust (3% each)
Seth Nilsen (1.9%)
Fan of the Year
The 2015 SFWL Postseason is right around the corner on October 11th!
Here are the matchups and pitching probables:
Semifinal #1: Red Sox vs Twins
Game 1: S. Essen vs. T. Thompson
Game 2: D. Johnson vs. J. Cronin
(Game 3): S. Nilsen vs. T. Thompson
Semifinal #2: Padres vs. Blue Jays
Game 1: J. Cronin vs. H. Cronin
Game 2: A. Cronin vs. P. Cronin
(Game 3): D. Dust vs. P. Cronin
SFWL Championship occurs following the 2 semifinals.
The league has slowed down in the middle of summer. Here are the regular season games that need to be completed before the playoffs:
Padres vs Blue Jays (doubleheader)
Red Sox vs. Twins (doubleheader)
Twins vs. Blue Jays (doubleheader)
After these games the playoffs will commence!
A much better, more in depth article should have been written by now from Joe Cronin but it isn't, so you get the next best thing. Here are some misc. thoughts from yours truly, John Cronin, manager of the SFWL Loons:
3 days until we meet again on the hallowed grounds of Shed Field. Here are my predictions for each of the 6 games:
Game 1: Blue Jays vs. Red Sox: The Jays are 0-3 and already look winded from only 1 month of games. The young and energetic Red Sox will come out fast and shut down the Blue Jays quick and pain-free. Red Sox 8-1
Game 2: Twins vs. Padres: The Padres are 3-0 and ranked 4th in the nation (according to the NWLA). Derek Dust is projected to make his first start of the year for the 'Dres, while rookie sensation Tony Thompson will likely get the nod for the Twins. Tony will dominate on the hill but if manager Joe Cronin pulls him early the league leaders in HR will take advantage. Padres 4-3
Game 3: Padres vs. Red Sox: Padres 15-0
Game 4: Twins vs. Blue Jays: The Twins will recover from an early loss behind stellar batting from the Joes (Joe Hubly and Joe Cronin). The Blue Jays will struggle to get in a groove and fall once again. Twins 6-2
Game 5: Red Sox vs.Twins: The Twins fell to the Red Sox in April after a big 14-run rally. This time the Twins will remember their mistakes and get some payback. Twins 8-5
Game 6: Padres vs. Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will give the Padres a run for their money while looking for their first win of the season. A walk-off dinger from Andrew Cronin will seal the victory in extra innings. Padres 5-3
The SFWL will be playing in the West Regional NWLA Tournament on Sunday June 14th. We will be playing as the "Loons" and have 7 league members involved on the team. Here is the roster:
Manager: John Cronin
Coach: Karen Cronin
Players: Howard Cronin, Joe Cronin, Derek Dust, Tony Thompson, Thomas Randolph, Joe Hubly
Come cheer us on at Sky Hill park in Eagan on the 14th!
Red Sox 14 Twins 3 W: Seth Nilsen L: Tony Thompson
Padres 3 Blue Jays 0 W: Andrew Cronin L: Howard Cronin
Padres 6 Red Sox 2 W: John Cronin L: Sam Essen
Twins 9 Blue Jays 0 W: Tony Thompson L: Howard Cronin
Red Sox 6 Blue Jays 3 W: David Johnson L: Paul Cronin
Padres 7 Twins 6 W: Shehan Perera L: Joe Hubly
Next league meet will be on Sunday, May 24th.
Here are my predictions for each game:
Game 1: Twins vs. Red Sox- The first game of the season will be a showdown between veterans and rookies. Expect the Twins to get off to a hot start and take this one 7-2.
Game 2: Blue Jays vs. Padres- The Padres Opening Day starter is TBD, but the Blue Jays ace Howard Cronin will be sure to retire Padres with little trouble. Blue Jays 2-0.
Game 3: Padres vs. Red Sox- The Padres will pick up their first win of the season in dramatic fashion behind terrific offense. The Red Sox will struggle on the mound. Padres 11-1.
Game 4: Blue Jays vs. Twins- The Blue Jays #2 starter will fall behind early and the Twins will ride their high-power batting to an easy 8-0 win.
Game 5: Twins vs. Padres- The best game of the day will go back and forth until a walk-off HR by Derek Dust in the bottom of the 5th. Padres 6-5.
Game 6: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays- Another close game will find the Blue Jays on top 5-3. Lack of a viable #3 starter for the Red Sox will influence this game.
Article by John Cronin
West St Paul MN-- Today the Twins added another rookie to their team. Rachel Hubly will be a fantastic addition to the team. She has been playing fast pitch softball since 7th grade as well as playing for the D-III St. Thomas Tommies for college. She will be helpful in bringing up top-prospect Leona Cronin as she has some coaching experience as well. Co-Manager Joe Hubly said of the move, "I sense some real competition here!". This move highlights a busy offseason for the Twins after they signed Tony and Kasey Thomspson a couple weeks ago. Tony is an enthusiastic young wiffler who will turn heads also. The Twins are looking like a pre-season favorite to win the championship at this point in the year. The Twins roster is filling up fast, but don't forget about the other Hublys. Joe has some other talent in the family that could get called up from the minor leagues (AAA Albert Lea or AA Faribault). Beware of the Twins!
West St Paul-- If you've checked our twitter recently @shedfieldwiffle, you have probably noticed some crazy stuff going on. Let's recap how we got to where we are today:
Yesterday manager John Cronin of the Padres and manager Sam Essen of the Red Sox agreed to a trade as follows:
Padres receive: 2015 1st round pick and a bag of Skittles
Red Sox receive: Derek Dust, Cameron Dust, bag of Hot Tamales, and 2015 second round pick
Today at around 5:31 pm, that trade was reported to be a sham. The league social media offices received a false report that the trade was signed off on by the commissioner and tweeted yesterday that the trade was official. Sam Essen got cold feet at the last minute before it was to be announced official and backed out of it.
Padres receive: 2 bags of skittles and a 2016 1st round draft pick
Red Sox receive: Andy Lehman
So to recap the moves, Derek and Cameron Dust are still on the Padres. Andy Lehman is on the Red Sox. Also, yesterday the Padres signed Andrew Cronin and today signed Shehan Perera. That is all.
The league apologizes to anyone confused by the trade and especially Derek and Cameron Dust, who must have had some emotional hardships as they rode this dramatic trade rollercoaster to it's finish.
West St Paul MN-- Highly touted free agent Andrew Cronin chose today to spend the next 3 years in the Padres organization. Andrew picked them over the Blue Jays. It was the personal letter and contract sent to him from Padres manager John Cronin that sealed the deal. Andrew responded "I will acept. I can't wait!". The signing was approved today in the commissioner's office. Andrew joins Rose Cronin and Andy Lehman as teammates on Cronin's squad. You can take a look at his contract by clicking the file below. It includes payments of skittles, snickers bars, gummi bears, and kit kat bars. Andrew's agent did a poor job negotiating the deal. There was no negotiating period according to Manager Cronin. All in all, this is a good move for both sides as Andrew will get his chance at a title. Andrew is projected to be the #2 starter in the rotation.