As I have written, the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch season ended with the Chicago Bandits losing to the USSSA Pride in the championship series. It was a fun-filled season, with many highlights, especially in the last couple weeks. I wrote a recap of the major August events online for Global Traveler at A First Pitch, Awards and the Pro Softball Championship.
I have expressed my love and appreciation many times for the Bandits organization. While she will eschew the praise, it all starts at the top with General Manager Toni Calmeyn.
When the Village of Rosemont took over control of the Bandits a couple years ago, there were a lot of questions about the future of the team. Very quickly though, those questions started to be answered. We saw advertisements for the team popping up around the area. We heard of new signings. It seemed to be business as usual.
When the season actually started, Toni was a constant presence at the game. She was there to meet the fans. She was also ready to face the fans and their questions and concerns.
Since then, I have seen a lot of effort from Toni and her staff. Former intern and Director of Game Day Operations Jordan Skirha was named Assistant GM. Both Toni and Jourdan always seem busy at the games, but both also have time for fans and friends.
Toni has made trades and roster moves, some of which haven't been well-received (admittedly a few times by me). The Bandits finished the 2019 season with the NPF's best record and that speaks volumes on what Ton has done with the team. Losing to the Pride in the championships did not diminish what this team accomplished.
As in any sport, the management of the Bandits is already looking at 2020. I am sure many moves will be made. Players will retire. Some will be traded. New players will be drafted. There will probably be about a 33% roster turnover. I am excited to seee how the team comes together and I am already counting the days until next season.
I thank Toni for all she has done for me over the years. I couldnt do any of my coverage without Toni facilitating it. I appreciate Toni and the entire Bandits organization for allowing me access and availability.
Go to ChicagoBandits.com for more news. Also, follow the Chicago Bandits on Facebook for regular updates.
Toni Calmeyn and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.