Four of the five Chicago-based teams heading to Milwaukee in August for the 33rd annual North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ) Gay Softball World Series competed in 2008.
Only the Sidetrack Blues of the C Division are new participants, although they are veterans within the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) Sunday league.
Chicago's other World Series-bound teams are the Roadhouse 66 Dragons and Spin Cougars of B Division, Spin Wildcats of C Division and the Broadway Cellar Crush of D Division.
The series runs Aug. 31-Sept. 7. About 200 teams and 4,000 players, fans, and friends are expected in Milwaukee from across the Unites States and Canada for the largest annual gay sporting event. The series is open, meaning that women may compete on the teams as well.
"All of the [ Chicago-based ] teams have a good chance of winning the title," said Shawn Albritton, who plays and manages the Spin Wildcats, and will be participating in his sixth Series. "Truly, anything can happen during the weeks; injuries, hot streaks, you name it. Most of the [ Chicago ] players play on multiple days [ during the week ] , just to prepare for tournaments, particularly the World Series. Sure, we do it to improve, but ultimately we do it because we all truly love the sport."
Jack Nielsen is the commissioner of the CMSA Sunday league and a past World Series champion in the D-Division.
Chicago does not have a participant in the top-tiered A-Division.
Here's a look at the Chicago-based teams heading to the annual NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series:
B Division: Roadhouse 66 Dragons; Key players: Glen Rexing, Brian Redar, Gil Minor, Frank Kisner ( manager )
Spin Cougars; Key players: Cameron Turner, Mark Febonio, Bob Chada, Chris Vernald ( manager )
C Division: Sidetrack Blues; Key Players: Nick Gehl, Doug Malm, Peter Bonavia, David Barknick ( manager )
Spin Wildcats; Key players: Matt Levin, Jamie Martin, Martin Cherrier, Shawn Albritton ( manager )
D Division: Broadway Cellar Crush; Key players: Joe Wirtz, Don Renner, Lonny Glover, Rodrigo Carrillio ( manager )
Women's softball: Chicago will also be well represented at the annual ASANA ( Amateur Sports Alliance of North America ) Gay Softball World Series, to be held in Madison, Wis., Sept. 1-6.
Seven teams will be playing, the most ever from Chicago.
"We really wanted to get more [ in the tournament ] , but we're happy with seven," said Jen Hostetler, commission of CMSA's women's softball league, which, this year, features 44 teams and about 780 participants. The CMSA women's league plays Sundays at Waveland Park.
"We've got a got group of teams going [ to the World Series ] and we're expecting some very good competition."
Here's a look at Chicago's representatives for the annual ASANA Gay Softball World Series:
B-Division ( 11 overall teams ) : Mood Swings; Nubians; and Mic's Girls
C-Division ( 18 ) : Raw Energy; Chicago Daisies; and Chicago Breeze
D-Division ( 12 ) : Chicago LSD
See www.nagaaawomen.org .