ORILLIA, ON, (March 27, 2008) - The ideal for Orillia tocreate an annual men’s fastball tournament was hatched on awarm July evening in 1997, when the Decatur Pride and the Owen Sound Tiremencompeted in an exhibition double-header as they traveled to the annual PerthShootout. A committee of local fastball enthusiasts was formed and aftermany meetings as well as the assistance of the Perth Shootout Chairman, Mr.Neil Fennell the inaugural “Casino Rama World Series of Fastball”was played on the 2nd weekend of June in 1998.
From the very beginning the committee members, fastballenthusiasts and some players could tell that the Orillia tournament had thepotential to be an important annual event. An annual Friday eveningtradition was started accidentally in the very first year of thetournament. As Tampa Bay Smoker teammates Darren Zack and Todd Martintraveled into Orillia with different teams and put on an extra inning 1-0pitching demonstration. From that accidental start, the World Series hasalways had a Friday night feature game to kick the tournament off in style.
For the first four years of the World Series of Fastballs’operation, the tournament was always operated on the 2nd weekend in June. As well, during those four years the tournament was building a reputation ofannually hosting the very best teams in major men’s fastballand for being one of the toughest open men’s tournaments to win. Each of those first four years more and more major teams added Orillia as anannual stop on their schedules.
At the end of the 2001 fastball season, the PerthShootout announced that they would cease operation of their annualtournament. The Perth Shootout had operated on the third weekend in Julysince its inception in 1990 and they were the blueprint for all the otherannual major fastball tournaments. With the ending of the Perth Shootout,the Orillia World Series of Fastball moved their date to the third weekend inJuly to keep that Ontario tradition alive. For the past six years theWorld Series of Fastball has kept that tradition alive and operated on thethird weekend in July.
Fastball fans from Orillia have been blessed over thepast 10 summers as we have had the opportunity to watch the best players in thegame today. Names such as Darren Zack, Peter Meredith, Tim Wahl, ColinAbbott, Frank Cox, Jarred Martin, Thomas Makea, Sean O’Brien and many,many more have all visited Orillia and competed at the World Series ofFastball.
That being said, they say that all good things must come to an end andunfortunately we must announce the end of an Orilliatradition. For the past ten years, the City of Orillia has hosted thebest men’s fastball players in the world as they competed at the annualWorld Series of Fastball. Unfortunately, there was a conflict on the 2008 fastball tournament schedule with both the World Series of Fastball and theWalsh tournament in Allentown, PA, scheduled for the same weekend.
The World Series of Fastball organizers have always prided themselveson operating a top level, professionally run tournament with the best teams inthe world. The World Series of Fastball has always been about teamstraveling to Orillia for extremely tough competition with no easygames anywhere in the schedule. With a number of the major teams decidingto forgo Orillia this year, the committee came to the decision that to be fairto the remaining teams that still had Orillia on their schedule, the only thingto do would be to cancel the 2008 World Series of Fastball. By cancelingat this time, those teams can still make other plans for that weekend.
With the cancellation of the annual World Series of Fastball, aseventeen year tradition in Ontario will come to an end. For the past seventeen years, on the third weekend in July, the province of Ontariohas played host to the top men’s fastball teams. The first elevenyears at the annual Perth Shootout and for the past six years in Orillia at theWorld Series of Fastball.
During the ten years that the tournament operated, we have had only oneumpire-in-chief that looked after our “blue crew” each and everyyear. Bruce Beirman accepted that job in year one and has been thereevery year since. As much as we have always operated the tournament withthe top teams in the world, Bruce has always assembled the best “bluecrew” of any of the major tournaments. Heartfelt thanks must go outto Bruce for all of his hard work and dedication over the years.
The World Series of Fastball organizing committee will meet in the nextfew weeks to determine the long-term future of the annual tournament. Additional information will be sent out in the coming weeks.
City ofOrillia, Parks and Recreation Department
WORLD SERIES OF FASTBALL
CHAMPIONS & MVP’s
1998 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: HefflinGremlins – Ballston Lake, New York
1998 TOURNAMENT MVP: DarrenZack – Hefflin Gremlins
1999 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: TheFarm Tavern – Madison, Wisconsin
1999 TOURNAMENT MVP: Frank Cox – Owen Sound Selects
2000 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: NOWINNER DECLARED – tournament rained out
2000 TOURNAMENT MVP:
2001 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: Decatur Pride – Decatur, Illinois
2001 TOURNAMENT MVP: ShawnRychcik – Decatur Pride
2002 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: BrokenBow Travelers – Broken Bow, Nebraska
2002 TOURNAMENT MVP: KarlGollan – CountyClassics
2003 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: CountyMaterials– Marathon, Wisconsin
2003 TOURNAMENT MVP: DeanHololein – The Farm Tavern
2004 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: CountyMaterials– Marathon, Wisconsin
2004 TOURNAMENT MVP: PatShannon – CountyMaterials
2005 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: TheFarm Tavern – Madison, Wisconsin
2005 TOURNAMENT MVP: ColinAbbott – The Farm Tavern
2006 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: CountyMaterials– Marathon, Wisconsin
2006 TOURNAMENT MVP: NathanNukunuku – CountyMaterials
2007 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: QuakerRiverSharks – Orillia, Ontario
2007 TOURNAMENT MVP: BlairEzekial – QuakerRiver Sharks