2023 League Update - February 6th, 2023
On the afternoon of February 6th, 2023, Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League commissioner Ben Fiore released a statement regarding the future of the organization and - more specifically - the Elite League.
For a PDF letterhead version of the statement, click here.
Below is a full transcription of the statement:
FOR RELEASE ON FEBRUARY 6TH, 2023 AT 3PM EST
An Update on The Future of the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League Elite Series
To our players, Clubs, volunteers, partners, and fans:
A new year has arrived, and with it, a new opportunity. The hopes and dreams of wifflers all over are slowly starting to come alive again, as the 2023 season is right around the corner for many of us invested with this game. As the calendar turns to a new year, the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League has been very excited to continue our mission of growing the sport within our State. With such a plethora of enthusiasm and talent in leagues and organizations all over, we feel confident that the local connection to this game has a place not just in the now, but in the long term as well. 2023 has all the markings to be another successful year for the game at all levels, though we have wondered how we are going to directly make an impact on this growth moving forward.
If nothing else, our league’s main goal going into this year was to return the action of where our involvement started in the first place: competitive, amateur, fast pitch Wiffle®Ball. Now under a new name, the CTWL Elite League has been poised to make its return to our State’s best prospective players and long-loved venues, picking up right where we left off all the way back in 2021. With a few Clubs slated to return well before the return announcement in January, the prospects of this endeavor seemed brighter than ever before. That is, how it looked on paper or on screens. What is has played into over the past several weeks, however, is much the opposite.
After consultation with several interested parties looking to join the Elite League, we have been unsuccessful in finding enough Clubs to enter and fill all the necessary Club positions. This, you may recall, is much of a position we found ourselves in last year, when we were forced to cancel our 2022 season plans altogether. Unfortunately, the same way it has occurred then is the same way it is occurring now, albeit just several months sooner. Many of the parties who have declined participation then have declined again now, leaving our organization with too little support for the development of our amateur competitions. We feel we have made enough concessions to work with our prospective parties to make their first foray into competitive Wiffle® feasible – both in a logistical and financial sense – but it simply has not been suitable enough for most of them. Without the support of these Clubs, our organization’s investments into our proud league are simply futile. Left with no other viable or sustainable alternative, the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League Executive Board – in conjunction with myself – has made the unfortunate decision to cease operations of the Elite League, effective immediately.
We regret to share this announcement with everyone, especially to those players who were yearning to return to play this spring and summer. Many of the players planning to return have been with us since Day 1 back in 2020, and we know this decision must not be an easy one to accept. When we went into planning the return of the Elite League, the mission was to return this competition to play, whatever it took. But for everything we tried and attempted to generate interest of old and new prospects, there was nothing left for us to salvage. If our players are still yearning to play this year, we encourage you all to find other leagues and continue to play in whatever means you can. Your love for this game should not be confined behind our logo or brand. It is something that you all shall embrace and enjoy for as long as you yearn for it.
We also understand that there has been plenty of support from our fans, our partners, and other Wiffle® leagues and organizations. All of them wanted us to succeed from the get-go, and we thank them dearly for everything they have provided to us over the past three years. Without their support, it would be safe to say that we would have never looked at returning the Elite League after last year. We hope that there will be opportunities in the future where you will be able to support us and our Wiffle® endeavors sometime in the future.
Without a confirmed competition under our branding for 2023, we are not yet decided on how to continue the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League as an organization. These are truly unchartered waters for us, and we are unsure of how to continue our mission without a direct hand in the Wiffle® scene in our State. I, for one, never expected the Elite League to be this short-lived. It seemed like a perfect connection between the backyard game many of us grew up on and the ever-growing presence and excitement of competitive, professional-level Wiffle®Ball. Contrary to my desire and hopes for this league, fate, unfortunately, had a different idea. Not deterred by adverse conditions like times before, the Executive Board and I are hard at work to determine the best new direction for our organization. When we are able to provide you all with an update, we will do our best to inform you as soon as possible. We are not sure when we will return to physical action, if we return at all. But whatever we decide, we can ensure you it will be in the best interest of our State and our sport. That, regardless of what the future holds for us, will always remain true.
While we may not be playing this year, that does not mean you should not be either. There are many great leagues and organizations out there to get involved in this awesome sport, and we encourage all those passionate like us to explore these options and support them. Many organized leagues in this sport fall to a finite timespan, so we hope you will go out and support those as great as ours – big or small, for fun or for glory – before they too are cast to history.
We wish everyone well through the rest of this offseason, and we hope to be back on the field some day soon, whatever form that may be.
Commissioner, Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League