Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Future Bright for Rebellion in Npf League

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Future Bright for Rebellion in Npf League

Article excerpt

Minor professional sports teams tend to come and go. Pittsburgh fans may remember rooting for teams such as the Bulls, Crossefire, Gladiators, Piranhas, Power, Spirit, Triangles, Xplosion, or any of three teams named the Phantoms (soccer, roller hockey and an ill- fated attempt at basketball).

So when the Pennsylvania Revolution, the area's women's professional fast pitch softball team based in Washington, concluded their second season as the only team of the five franchises in National Pro Fastpitch to not make the playoffs, there may have been natural cynicism as to the future of the club.

NPF commissioner Cheri Kempf wants to dispel those thoughts immediately.

"Yes, they are!" she exclaimed last week prior to the league playoffs when asked if the Rebellion would return to Consol Energy Park in 2016. "They are signed up and committed."

The Revolution came into existence in 2014 and despite finishing with a 9-41 record led the NPF in attendance in 2014.

"The NPF crowd is usually an average of 1,000. Pennsylvania actually led the league with an average of 1,100," Kempf said.

This season 15,948 fans came through the turnstiles at Consol Energy Park for 19 home dates in a 16-32 campaign, with full season tickets priced from $67 to $209 depending on location.

But more than attendance, the real reason Kempf sees the Rebellion having longevity in Washington is ownership. The team is owned by Stuart and Francine Williams, who not only own the Frontier League Washington Wild Things baseball team but are the major shareholders of WashCo Ballpark Holdings, which owns Consol Energy Park.

The sale of Consol Energy Park to WashCo Ballpark Holdings in 2012 demanded the Wild Things be a tenant for 10 years. A ballpark is best served when it has a maximum amount of events, and the Rebellion represent nearly a month's worth of dates, even if the field they play on is somewhat makeshift.

"I think they have a lot of potential and I think there is a lot of synergy in their business model with minor league baseball owners. They have a wonderful, scenic setting," said Kempf. "I think it's a good region and a good softball audience. …

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