Muffs Rookie, All Star Mark Richards sits down for a Q & A with the Commish!
SOUTH BEND- The South Bend Muffs currently hold a half a game lead over Maple City for the American League regular season title. Regardless, the Muffs are in prime position to earn a Bye which will be very important in the loaded American League.
A huge reason for the Muffs success has been Rookie and newly named All Star Mark Richards. Richards has to be the front runner to win the AL Rookie of the Year right now so I wanted to sit down and chat with Marky-Mark himself for a little Q & A session!
FRIEDMAN: I’m here with Rookie and AL All Star Mark Richards of the South Bend Muffs! Mark, tell us a bit about yourself and why you wanted to get into ORWBL?
RICHARDS: Well I'm at student at Purdue Northwest. I'm from a small town called Union Mills. I'm a huge Notre Dame basketball fan. I started Wiffleball last year with some of my closest buddies. We had heard that there was this huge tournament in New Carlisle at the end of July called Hometown Days and myself and my team, Zone 3, knew that it would be right up our alley.
With how competitive I am, right away I wanted to go grab bats and balls and start taking cuts. We ended up going 3-1 on Saturday at hometown for our first tournament and made it to Sunday where we fell to Jet City 3-1.
After that tournament, I was just itching to play more tournaments and I ended up finding out on Sunday at hometown from a player on Jet City that there was this Wiffleball league in the area. He talked about division championships and I immediately knew it was legit. So after hearing that I devoted the rest of the summer and into the fall and winter time to take BP almost every day and see what happens next spring when ORWBL season rolls around.
FRIEDMAN: When you signed with the Muffs, you likely did not know anyone on that team on a personal level. How has that changed throughout the course of the year and do you feel like the Muffs have been a great fit for you?
RICHARDS: Absolutely, when I first started I didn't know one person on the team. I had heard from Commisioner Friedman that these guys from the Muffs were a very tight knit and very cool group of guys. Manager Anthony Rieff texted me in the offseason after I was signed that they love to have a good time but we also are looking to do big things in the league this year and we're excited to have me on board. From our first series til last Sunday against the Godfathers, everybody on this team has been very encouraging and great teammates. I love the competitiveness out of all the guys because that is exactly how I am. I feel like getting signed with the Muffs was the best fit for me and I couldn't be any more honored to play with such a talented organization.
FRIEDMAN: You guys currently hold a 14-4 record and are in prime position to get one of the two Byes. You currently are 2nd in Batting Average for the Muffs, are tied with the reigning NL MVP Aidan Cotter for the team lead in RBI’s and are just 1 home run back from being the team leader. How have you been able to adjust to a new team and perform the way you have?
RICHARDS: I feel like I really adjusted to the team and understood what the Muffs were trying to do during Game 3 of the 1st series against the Magic. I didn't play game 1 and I think I went 2-5 in game 2. Manager Rieff told me that he still wanted me to play game 3 even though that was the rubber match of the series. I told him I won't be offended one bit if he puts someone in place of me and he said no I want you to play game 3. After hearing that, I knew that he and the team had faith in me to deliver in game 3. As far as crediting my success, just taking BP all the time and finding my swing is what did it for me.
FRIEDMAN: You will be making your All Star debut on Saturday, how excited about that are you?
RICHARDS: My excitement for the All Star Game is off the charts. So many things go into my excitement level...obviously playing at the stadiums of stadiums, Migley Field. Being able to play with and also against the most talented players in all of ORWBL. The thing I'm probably most excited about though is playing with my teammates Aidan and Connor. It's always a blast to play with these two and I think we are gonna represent the Muffs as best as we can.
FRIEDMAN: Thanks for your time Mark, keep up the good work! Looking forward to being your Manager at the All Star Game!
RICHARDS: Thanks for having me commish!