The National Pro Fastpitch season ended with my Chicago Bandits losing to the USSSA Pride in the championship series. Despite the disappointing end, the season was a lot of fun, with several highlights in the last few weeks.
A few days before the last home series, the Bandits invited me to throw out a first ceremonial pitch. I had no doubt I could throw a decent overhand pitch, but this is softball and Bandit Nation expects a classic underhand toss. Despite being a pitcher in park district softball, I practiced a bit the day of the game.
As game time approached, I felt a little nervous … but more excited. The starting lineups were announced, the teams lined up on the foul lines, and the National Anthem played. All eyes were on the mound as I was announced. The Bandits infielders all wished me luck as I focused on catcher Amanda Chidester.
I’d like to say I threw a perfect strike, but I’ll settle for my throw landing in the catcher’s mitt (after she stood and stretched to nab it). It was a thrill, and I appreciate the Bandits recognizing Global Traveler and me.
Later in the week, the Bandits honored former players Amber Patton and Tammy Williams with the retirement of their jerseys. Many former players and staffers came to share the night with the two softball legends.
The next week, I attended the NPF Awards Banquet at Gene and Georgetti’s. It was a wonderful evening with the players away from the field. As expected, many awards went to players from the Bandits and the Pride. NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf presided over a fun evening. Longtime star Kelly Kretschman won the first-ever Legacy award and surprised everyone with her retirement announcement.
The Bandits made the championship series in seven of the last nine seasons, winning the title three times. Unfortunately this season, the Pride swept the Bandits in three games. Coach Lauren Lappin and the Bandits kept it close but fell just short in every game.
The Bandits and their fans stayed long after the final out was made. It seemed nobody wanted the season to end and everyone wanted to congratulate and thank pitcher Rachele Fico, who was retiring. It was a bittersweet end, but it was a perfect summer night to hang out with friends, recalling our favorite moments from the season.
After the first game, I interviewed Kretschman about her retirement announcement and Bandits catcher Amanda Chidester about her awards and the season. I also interviewed onfield reporter Kacy Standohar to get her thoughts on the season.
The Bandits organization continues to provide great softball action on the field while growing the sport with their fan interaction. GM Toni Calmeyn leads a dedicated, energetic staff who work very hard to make a fun atmosphere at the games. I love and appreciate the Bandits, and I already cannot wait for next season.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
After driving through the arts and entertainment district of Delray Beach, I was expecting the lively and vibrant energy to follow me to my doorstep at Crane’s Beach House that evening. I was pleasantly surprised when the spirited rumble of a night downtown halted right at the front gate. As I walked the pathway to the front office for check-in, I was welcomed by a quiet rustle of the greenery and flowers that guided my walk, strung with lights and colorful, tropical décor. At check-in I was provided with a complimentary parking pass; although I would only be there for one night, I much appreciated this unexpected perk. I received my room information, including a pass code that would open my door. Keyless entry was a nice touch.
Barclays and Frontier Airlines announced a first-ever introductory offer for the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard: no annual fee for the first year, then $79 every year after. New cardmembers also earn 50,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases.
Kontiki Expeditions shared a look at one of the nine luxury staterooms on its new boutique yacht M/Y Kontiki Wayra. Launching in August, each stateroom creates an inviting space of comfort and beauty. The yacht follows a biophilic design, mirroring the ambiance and look of the landscapes visited and connecting people to the environment.
As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through Cleveland, Ohio, with us.
Cocktail culture is an integral part of the history of New Orleans. Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans pays homage to classic cocktails with its Chandelier Bar. Opening in summer 2021, the lobby bar serves traditional and new cocktails under a stunning 15,000-crystal custom chandelier.
Until you visit, you may never know the extent of Buenos Aires’ cosmopolitanism. From design and architecture to technology and banking — and across all the arts — Buenos Aires truly has a global feel that rivals Paris, New York and Tokyo. While it’s on the water, Buenos Aires is not a beach destination like Rio but rather a port city — hence locals are called Porteños and have a zest for life and want to share it with all who visit.