ORWBL to move forward with 16 teams in 2021
With the calendar having turned to a new year, the league office has begun ramping up offseason planning for the upcoming 2021 season. After having 14 teams in the league last season, ORWBL will be returning to 16 teams in 2021 with 8 teams in the American League and 8 teams in the National League.
After some surprising news surfaced a couple of month ago that the reigning National League Champion Elkhart BFAM would not be returning in 2021, there was certainly a gap left to fill in the NL. On top of that, the historic Rolling Prairie Emery's Army franchise have decided to hang it up as that brought us back to 12 teams. (Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an official press release from the Emery's Army ownership group.)
Enter our four new expansion teams and that brings us right back up to 16 which matches our previous high from the 2019 season. Let's meet our four new teams!
First off we have the Pink Pandas who are managed by former Goon Squad slugger Andrew Karsten. Karsten has announced that their team location is still to be determined so we will have more information on that later. Karsten will be bringing along former Cyclone Zach Christy as he will provide them with some power from the left side.
Moving on we are excited to welcome the South Bend Truffle Butter who will be managed by former New Carlisle Newt Hometown Cup Champion Ryan Galiher. The Truffle Butter will be an interesting team to watch out for in 2021 as this roster should bring loads of wiffleball experience. The roster expects to feature multiple guys from the Griffleball (GBL) scene as they will look to do some damage in the slow pitch format just like they have in the fast pitch GBL league. The Truffle Butter will also bring along former Maple City Magic 2x World Series Champion, Jeremy Ratajcyzk as he provides the team with a great hitter from the left side of the plate.
Next we have the Glen Lee Skeeters who will be managed by former Billy Goat, Peyton Doran who is also the brother of Billy Goats Manager, Andrew Doran. The Skeeters will play their home games in the Granger area as Granger will now be the home to three different ORWBL teams as that area has truly become a premier destination for a Wiffleball franchise.
Last but not least we have the Crown Point OTF (Only The Family) who will be managed by James Ooms. Although this team is based in Crown Point, they will be playing their home games at a location in Michigan City to help minimize the road trip foropposing teams. This family based team has competed in the Hometown Cup in the past and it will be great to welcome some new faces into our growing wiffleball community.
Upon finalizing our field of teams for the upcoming season, the league's sixteen Managers discussed alignment and agreed that we wanted to try and make the league's as even as possible while also focusing on geographical locations. Without further ado, here is the alignment for the 2021 ORWBL season.
Maple City Magic
County Line Kings
Flat Rock Cyclones
Bourissa Hills Wildcards
Twin Branch Billy Goats
Hudson Lake Heat
Pink Pandas (Location TBD)
Crown Point OTF (Only The Family) **Will be playing their home games in Michigan City**
New Carlisle Newts
South Bend Truffle Butter
Lynn Street Leprechauns
Great Lakes Godfathers
Union Mills Goon Squad
Glen Lee Skeeters
As you can see, the most notable change is the Mishawaka Meatspins moving from the American League to the National League. Aside from losing the Meatspins, the American League added OTF and the Pink Pandas.
Meanwhile, the National League lost its reigning NL Champion Elkhart BFAM along with the storied Emery's Army franchise. The Meatspins figure to be an immediate threat over in the National League after putting together a solid first season in the AL and will hopefully be able to fill out the void left by BFAM's departure.
Along with the Meatspins, the National League also receives two newcomers in the South Bend Truffle Butter and the Glen Lee Skeeters. With a couple of exceptions, most of the teams are geographically grouped near each other in each respective league as that should definitely help minimize traveling throughout the course of the season.
Now that our sixteen teams are set, the virtual offseason Manager's meetings are in full swing as we will continue to release more information regarding the upcoming season as it comes in. The length of the season is currently being discussed and we will have more information regarding the schedule later this week!
In the meantime, look out for the release of the first episode of Slow Talk on Wednesday which is a new podcast brought to you by the guys over at Wiffleball News!