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The Renegades in the News

The Acton Beacon featured the Renegades

Three Acton-Boxboro grads from 1988 – Ace, Ron and Rob

The Acton Beacon featured the Renegades in their paper on Thursday, August 30th.  The Beacon is both a print and online resource that serves both the Acton and Boxborough community.  They are part of the Wicked-Local community and the story got picked up by a few other towns in their on-line papers as well.

Acton is an important part of the Renegades history.  Three volunteers with a combined 45 years of volunteering for this organization hailed from Acton in the 1980’s.  Rob Weissman, Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck all grew up on the little league fields of Acton playing with and against each other.  They played for years into and past High School as well.  Baseball has been a big part of their friendship.  “Being able to coach/Volunteer with my lifelong friends has made this experience so enjoyable”, Weissman said.  “When life finds a way to keep us all busy, we still find time to volunteer together.  It becomes something which is more than volunteering, It’s an opportunity to hang out with our friends”.

The Hall Calls

These three guys all had less than mediocre baseball careers.  Weissman and Cochran played a ton of summer ball, but could not make the High School team in the highly competitive Acton-Boxboro sports community.  Lenicheck did play some High School ball as an all-hit, error prone 3rd baseman.  Nobody who ever played with them would ever think the National Baseball Hall of Fame would want them to put on a program for the day at the Hall of Fame.  Though their baseball careers never took off, the skills they learned has made a far bigger impact on many lives.

As Ron and Jason were unavailable for the interview, Joe Yee, one of the people impacted by these three guys, pinch hit and helped talk about the game, their impact and what the sport of Beep Baseball meant to him.

Ron and Rob were also part of something special that happened at the Hall of Fame.  One of their players, Christian Thaxton has his bat on display in Cooperstown as Christian set the league record hitting .897 in the 2017 World Series.  In Beep baseball, the Pitcher and catcher are part of a team working with (as opposed to against) the hitter.  In Beep baseball, the Pitcher and catcher are on the same team.  Ron did an amazing job of grooving pitch after pitch in Christian’s wheel house.  Weissman sat behind the dish and identified and set a target for Cochran to trust as well as making sure Thaxton was set up in the batters box in the right spot.  All three of these guys worked together to communicate on timing and adjustments.  All three of them were damn proud to see Thaxton’s bat enshrined in Cooperstown!

The article can be read here:  The article also appeared in the Watertown Tab and the Wicked Local Braintree paper! We have it in PDF as well

Picture of the print version of the article from the front page of the Beacon sports page - in color

 

 

South Shore Health System does a feature which spread to the Herald and more!

Coach Mike Marciello Recognized

Coach, Dr. Mike Marciello found the Renegades after reading an article in the Boston Globe in 2013.  Since reading that article both his life and the life of about 30 other people have changed.  Why?  That article motivated him to become a volunteer hitting coach and team doctor for the Boston Renegades.  His love of baseball combined with his personal struggles with vision loss make for an intriguing win-win story.  This July, his affiliated hospital, the South Shore Health system wanted to do a feature on him and his story.  When they came out to do the piece, they fell in love with the team, it’s players and the sport

South Shore Health System

Three members of South Shore Health Systems came out with the intent of doing a small piece on Dr. Marciello.  The original intent was to write an article, do a video and take some photos.  They got so much information and had such a good time, that they decided to come back to a second practice to get more video coverage for this piece.  Below is a copy of the video with many thanks to Kristen Perfetuo, News and Information officer with the South Shore Health systems.  She was key in making all this possible!

Along with this video was an article written in the South Shore Health Systems newsletter.  To read a copy of it in PDF format, click here

The press release around this story got a lot of attention.  To read the amazing press release that got all of this going.  A copy of the release in pdf format is here

the Amazing work of this PR team , also got the story in a local Needham paper called hometown weekly.  A PDF version of this can be found here:

The Phyllis Show

Kristen loved this story and her team started to pitch Marciello’s story to local media.  The Phyllis Show is a local show on the south shore and they gave Mike an opportunity to get some TV time.  They made the show available to us and we have it here:

The Boston Herald

Kristen and her team did not stop there.  They did an amazing job and even got the Boston Herald interested in a piece about the team.  The Herald came out to two practices in bad weather to write a story and capture videos.

We’d like to recognize and thank the three Herald reporters who were so willing to tell our story.  Stephen Hewitt was the author of the story.  He came alone in the rain and watched the team practice in a steady drizzle.  Stephen truly listened to us and made an effort to get key points across in the story.  That story ran in the paper the day we flew to the World Series.  Christopher Evans brought his photography skills to the job.  He got many amazing pictures and was even willing to share some of the shots that did not make the paper so the team could use them for grants and to promote the team.  Megan Ottolini worked hard to capture the team on video.  That video aired on the Herald’s web site. Follow this link to read the article, see the pictures and the video about the team

 

Renegades on Fox25

Last season, Fox 25’s Jeff Robinson came down to see the tournament in Woburn.  Shortly after his arrival, the skies turned purple and it poured.  He was able to put a small piece together for the news but felt there was a bigger story to tell.  For the past year, he had stayed in touch with the Renegades.  In July, he made it to a practice as the team was prepping to defend the title in Haddonfield.

Here is a link to the final version that aired on Sunday night on Fox25 Sportswrap

https://www.boston25news.com/sports/baseball-for-the-blind-beep-baseball/796279288

 

 

They aired a teaser video on Fox 25, On Friday, July 20th that we captured in a crude manner here:

 

And to see the Piece he did last year, we have that on our youtube channel:

NESN visits with the Renegades

NESN Sports

NESN has their studio less than a mile from where the Renegades practice.  We have always hoped they could help us spread the word about beep baseball.  This station is the primary station for all things Red Sox and Bruins.  How cool would it be if they  would help us tell our stories?  If we could begin a relationship with them, maybe they could help us get the word on the street.  A word to help us recruit new volunteers and new players.  Help us reach people who never thought they could be part of a team for the blind and visually impaired.  So many Baseball fans watch the Red Sox, Many of them have vision loss and would never dream of playing baseball.  That dream can be a reality…if we could just reach them!

Pulling it Together

Sometimes a story gets hot and you need to ride the wave.  Sometimes its all about reaching the right person at the right time.  With the world’s first ever book about beep baseball doing some book signing events in the area in early June, the author, David Wanczyk had a family member with connections at NESN.  They agreed to come out and do a story on the team.  We had a short window to pull this off and a bunch of coaches and players came down on their lunch break, or took time off of work to put on a demo for NESN to use on their broadcast.  The footage shows many of the Renegades and features coach, Aaron Proctor explaining the game

 

Side fun after the Footage

Since this was thrown together quickly at the last-minute, Rob Weissman was forced into action to pitch.  This 4th string pitcher did not have much confidence he could put balls on the bat for the camera. We even joked about staging the video to make it look like they were hitting him.  In the end Weissman was ON! Most of the players were getting hits.  Even David Wanczyk and the NESN reporter, Shaun Blaney got into the fun

below is a video we made during the practice showing both Dave and Shaun hitting

 

After the day was over, we gave a ball to Shaun and challenged NESN to a game.  We figured the proximity of their studio being so close that maybe we could hook them.  To date, nothing has been scheduled…but stay tuned!

 

Three “Beep” Book signing events coming to Boston area in June!

Beep Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind

Three book signings will be in the area in JuneWe are excited to announce three book signings coming to our area in June!  The World’s first ever book about the sport of beep baseball was published in April of 2018.  Author David Wancyzk found this sport and decided to check out the finals of the 2012 World Series in Ames, Iowa.  Once there, the sport caught Dave’s attention and he felt he had a story to tell.  Little did he know at this time, that he would get hooked on the sport.  His trip to Ames Iowa was just the beginning.  He traveled to Georgia, Minnesota, New York, the Dominican Republic and even Taiwan to get the scoop on the sport.

Boston Featured in the Book

As Wanczyk was trying to piece together an idea of a story, he needed to find some teams to follow.  The Austin Blackhawks and Taiwan Home Run hooked him with so many interesting back stories to dive into.  After all, these were the two teams he saw face off in that 2012 World Series.  Being born and raised in Massachusetts, he started to dig around about the Boston Renegades. and eventually adopted the Gades as one of his under dog darlings for the story.  He picked up our journey in 2013 in Georgia and spent countless hours on our bench, in our hotel and doing phone interviews.  He dug deeper during the off season and came back in 2014 in Minnesota to see the team make big improvements.  Readers will feel like they are on the Renegades bench during the games.  They will get a sense of what makes the Renegade culture unique and special.  Wanczyk takes you into the team meetings and looks at the competition from many angles that are both enjoyable and insightful to read.

Three Book Signings in Mass in June – Come Join us!

Author David Wanczyk gives a talk

Author David Wanczyk will be reading from his book at three book signings in the Massachusetts area

David Wanczyk will be in the Massachusetts area in early June doing three book signings.  Here he will read passages and answer questions about the book, the sport and his experience.  He will also be very willing to share  some fun stories about his experience with his hometown, Boston Renegades and its players & coaches.   His book tour consists of the following dates and Venues

We have set up some facebook events for the signings in Cambridge and Acton if you would like to sign up and see who is going.

More about the book and our spin on it

Check out who was interviewed, where to buy the book and much more in a post we wrote in April here

Here is a fun excerpt from the book showing the writers wit and sense of humor in explaining the sport

” Guy Zuccarello, whose slimness and aww-shucks grin make him seem like Captain America before the serum, scores on a three-bounce single through the left side, and the Heat are in disarray.  Gers pipes up again, and a Boston Coach-These guys are like codebreakers with their lingo—calls Zuccarello’s modest smash “a lowercase bomb with double stars.”  He draws a diagram on a scouting report…”

photos of Captain America and Guy Zuccarello

Photos of Captain America before the serum, Captain America and our leader, Guy Zuccarello

Making the Podcast and book review circuit

Beep Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the blind was one of the top 100 books about baseball on Amazon in April.  It also has drawn interest from media around the country.  To hear Wanczyk talk about the book, listen to a few of his interviews, and read reviews of the book below:

We hope you consider coming to one of these events and/or buying a copy of the book to learn more about this amazing sport, it’s athletes and the Boston Renegades culture.

The World’s first ever book about beep baseball features the Boston Renegades!

The World’s first ever book about beep baseball features the Boston Renegades!  Author David Wanczyk published a book about beepball, which he first became interested in during the title game of the 2012 season.  He caught the fever and then decided to follow the sport intensely for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. Dave spent a lot of time with the Renegades in the hotel, on the bench, on the phone and around the World Series.  He even spent time at the McCormick household.

On the Radio

Recently, Dave hit the airwaves to promote his new book called Beep Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind.  On Friday, March 30th David appeared on BYU Radio on a show called Top of mind with Julie Rose.  Julie was a well informed interviewer and talked about the book with Dave for nearly 50 minutes.  Dave even read some passages from the book to give you a flavor of his writing style.  You can listen to that interview here

Buy it on Amazon

The book is available on Amazon for purchase in both hard cover and kindle version and can be purchased here 

Beep and the Renegades

It was an honor to share the sport with Dave.  He became part of our team and got to know many of our athletes and volunteers.   Here is a small quote from the 218 page book.

“…The Renegades spooled off stories about blindness and baseball and let me into their team jokes, their judgements of other players, and their nicknames for each other.  Larry Haile, who travels all over the world to ride on subway systems that intrigue him is “L train”.  Shayne Cantan, who is of Hawaiian descent and had gained weight since his last season, is “Hawaiian Lunch.

I asked “Lunch” and “Train” and the coaches what would constitute success in the series.

I think everyone has a different definition of winning the tournament,” coach Justin Manjourides said.

“Oh, start coaching girls’ softball, for god’s sake,” pitcher Ron Cochran said (Cochran does, it turns out, coach his daughters’ softball teams.)…”

Wanczyk and the Boston Globe

Photo by Dina Rudick/Boston GlobeIn May, 2014, Wanczyk wrote an article about our very own Joe McCormick.  That article appeared in the Globe Magazine.  This article was amazing and did a great job of promoting the book almost four years before it was published.  You can read more about that article here

Who did he talk to from the gades?

Dave interviewed many of the Renegades including: Shayne Cantan, Ron Cochran, Rob Dias, Bryan Grillo, Lisa Klinkenberg, Justin Manjourides, Joe McCormick, Joey O’Neill, Joe Quintanilla, Aqil Sajjad, Sean Sweeney, Rob Thayer, Dino Vasille, Rob Weissman and Guy Zuccarello

He also spent time with some of our fans including Ashley Borders, Sarah Ellen Cochran and Dawn McCormick

Christian Thaxton appeared on NPR’s “Only a Game”

On Saturday, August 12th, Christian Thaxton appeared on NPR’s “Only a Game” which aired nationally.  Only a Game is an Acclaimed show on NPR radio that has an audience of nearly a half a million listeners.  The story was a seven and a half minute piece that can be listened to our read on their web page at this link

Christian is an amazing man with a great outlook on life despite losing his vision only a few short years ago.  Not only does he make the Renegades better on the field, he helps make them better off the field a well.  In 2017, Christian set a league record for the highest batting average in league history.  That story can be explored here:

We want to thank Producer Gary Waleik for being interested in the story and doing such a good job telling it.  We also need to give Bryan Grillo of the Renegades some love as he has always wanted us to appear on this show and created the pitch tat caught Gary’s eyes.  Here are a few pictures of Christian at WBUR where he went into the studio to tell his story

Renegade Christian Thaxton in the studio at WBUR for Only a game

Christian telling his story in the WBUR studio

Christian Thaxton with the only a game producer

Christian Poses with Gary Waleik of WBUR after the show

Christian Thaxton stands in front of the WBUR sign

Christian Thaxton stands in front of the WBUR sign

 

 

 

 

The Renegades Featured Prominently in the News During July

The Renegades featured in the Boston Globe

The Renegades were featured in an article about the Beast of the East Championship.  The articles ran in the north and west editions of the Sunday Globe.

Renegades featured twice in the Watertown Tab

The Renegades were features in an article in the Watertown Tab this past week in the lead up to the Beast of the East tournament in Woburn.
They were then featured again after they won the Beast of the East tournament.  This second article also ran on the Waltham Wicked Local site.

Local Boston TV news stations ran several stories on the Renegades and the Beast of the east Tournament

 

Melissa Hoyt featured in article on Mito Action Website

Mellisa Hoyt was recently featured in an article on the Mito Action website. The article talks about Mellisa and her fight with mitochondrial disease. It also talks about beep baseball, the Renegades and how Mellisa, as the only female member of the team, is an inspiration. Mellisa recently threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game, while the rest of the team stood on the filed with her. The full article can be read on the mitoaction.org website.