The Chicago Bandits start their season one week from today. I have had the pleasure of covering the Bandits for the past two seasons and one of the greatest experiences was meeting softball Hall of Famer Jennie Finch.
Finch has done it all in the world of softball. Time magazine described her as the most famous softball player in history. She won the 2001 Women's College World Series with the University of Arizona and helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Then she embarked on a pro career.
She pitched for five seasons with the Bandits, going 36-8. She pitched two perfect games along the way. I could fill a page with the rest of her accomplishments and awards, but you can find that info in many other places.
I have seen Finch around the Bandits, as well as teaching youngsters. She is immensely popular and viewed as royalty. I was very excited about meeting and interviewing her. I am happy to say she was as nice and professional as could be. It ranks as one of my all time favorite interviews. That interview can be found at On the Beat with Jennie Finch.
Finch is the real deal. She was a winner at every level. She continues to give back to her sport with her clinics and other commitments to the softball community. Finch didn't have to take time for my interview, but she did so willingly and we talked a bit after, too. Then, she went on to do a couple more interviews.
There are few players higher in their respective sports than Finch. She's like the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth of softball. That isn't exaggeration either. She would definitely be on the Mount Rushmore of softball.
One week from today, the Bandits start their season. Two new teams are in the league (Dallas and Houston). Young women softball players will be trying to make their name in the great sport, like Finch did not so long ago. I'll be there for plenty of games and hopefully I'll see Finch again.
For more info on the Bandits, check out ChicagoBandits.com. I hope to see you at the Ballpark in Rosemont!
Jennie Finch and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2015.