The 2017 National Pro Fastpitch regular season ended on Sunday for the Chicago Bandits and now they head to the playoffs. Our coverage of the back-to-back reigning champs continues today with our interview with Stacy May-Johnson.
Stacy has one of the most interesting stories. After a stellar career at Iowa, the Bandits selected Stacy in the second round of the 2006 NPF draft. She was the 2006 NPF Rookie of the Year. She followed that by being named the 2008 NPF Player of the Year, while leading the team to their first title. She won her second Player of the Year award in 2011, while the Bandits won their second title.
Stacy retired after the 2011 season, with her place secured as one of the NPF all-time greats. The Bandits retired her #5 jersey and Bandit Nation adjusted to life after Stacy.
Earlier this year, Stacy announced she was coming out of retirement and signed with the Bandits. I was excited, as I hadn't seen Stacy in her earlier years. I was finally going to see the legend in action.
This season, Stacy hit .211 in 76 at bats in 35 games. She also had 9 RBI's and 6 runs scored.
I'd call it a successful comeback. Her contributions go well beyond her stats though. The fans embraced her again. As a returning veteran, she immediately became a team leader. She looked to be having fun. It was a real feel-good story.
I had the pleasure of finally interviewing Stacy. I asked her about her decision to return and her thoughts on the season. Stacy talked about the possibility of next season and the Olympics. I also asked her about her children seeing mommy and her role as a team leader.
It was really great talking to Stacy. She is a true professional and a class act. The team, the NPF and the sport of softball are better because of her.
Thank you to the Chicago Bandits for giving me the access to do these interviews. Thank you to Stacy for her time and consideration. Thanks to Bandit Nation's Mark Pandocchi for last-minute duty in helping me with this interview.
The Bandits head into the playoffs ChicagoBandits.com has the latest info on scheduling and viewing options throughout the playoffs.