Players from 45 cities representing 168 of the 800 NAGAAA teams will be in Dallas for the week-long Gay Softball World Series
More than 4,500 softball players and fans from 45 North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance member cities are expected in Dallas Sept. 22-27 for the 2014 Gay Softball World Series. Many of those players plan to arrive early to attend the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and Pride Festival in Lee Park on Sunday.
Of the league’s more than 800 teams, 168 will be in Dallas to compete. That includes nine teams from Dallas’ Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association competing in four of the five divisions in one of the world’s largest annual LGBT sports events. Playing with home field advantage in the Masters Division is Dallas Woody’s Real Master Batters.
Teams from Austin and Houston will also compete. San Antonio’s league is still forming and doesn’t qualify for World Series play yet.
Regular games will be played Tuesday, Sept. 23, through Thursday, Sept. 25, on fields in Oak Cliff, Grand Prairie and Euless. Each team is guaranteed to play a minimum of six games. So fans can follow specific teams, a schedule of where they will play will be posted online at DallasSeries2014.com.
While Euless sounds far, the host hotel is the Hilton Anatole, just a 20 minute ride from Softball World in Euless. Some cities have used fields as far as an hour-and-a-half away.
Double elimination rounds will be played Friday, Sept. 26, and championship games are set for Saturday, Sept. 27. Games will be full seven-inning games, using standard American Softball Association rules.
World Series organizer Matt Miller said he expects this year’s series to be one of the best in the event’s history.
“Not all cities can afford to do things we’ve been able to finance,” Miller said.
From opening ceremonies in the Arts District to a block party closing ceremony, the week is filled with more events at better venues than other host cities have been able to offer.
Opening ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22 at Annette Strauss Artist Square in the Arts District.
“We hope to get people to go downtown early, enjoy the new deck park, eat in the Arts District restaurants and then enjoy the ceremony,” Miller said.
He said Artist Square was very reasonably priced and would provide a venue for the opening ceremonies unparalleled in the history of the World Series. When Dallas hosted the World Series in 2004, opening ceremony was held in Lee Park.
Dale Hansen is the special guest. DJ Tiffin Ryan provides the music and 103.7 KVIL afternoon drive-time personality and PSSA player Kory appears. Players participate in a traditional city shirt swap. The after-party takes place at the Round-Up Saloon.
On Tuesday, Sept. 23, 10 contestants will compete for the Miss GSWS crown at JR.’s Bar & Grill at 10 p.m. Three cash prizes include $500 to the winner. Judging the competition are Miss Gay USofA 2014 Jenna Skyy, Miss Gay Dallas State at Large 2014 Onyx and Miss PSSA 2014 Britney Queers.
The first 10 to register get to compete. Registration begins at 8 p.m. in the Vixin Room at Sue Ellen’s.
Wednesday, Sept. 24 is NAGAAA’s Got Talent show night in the Rose Room at S4 at 9 p.m. Miller said they’re hoping to attract the best talent so a grand prize of $1,000 is being offered.
“No one’s ever offered prize money before,” Miller said.
A silent auction begins at 8 p.m. with proceeds, including all ticket sales, benefiting Legacy Counseling Center. The evening is hosted by Queen of the World (World Series 2002, that is) Selma Sue with guests Alyssa Edwards and Laganja Estranja.
In 1997, the then-20-year-old North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance started its Hall of Fame by naming six players. Since then, two players from Dallas have been inducted — Bill Smith in 2003 and Miller in 2006. This year, the number of Hall of Fame players from Dallas will double.
Greg Smith, better known in the community as SheGotta Mustache, and Johnny Russell are the new Dallas entries. Smith died in 2011. Nine others from around the country will be inducted with them.
“We have two local inductees,” Miller said. “It’s the nicest venue it’s ever been held at.”
This year’s Hall of Fame dinner will be held at the Belo Mansion on Thursday, Sept. 25.
On Friday, Sept. 26, Woody’s Sports & Video Bar hosts the Championship Eve Bash.
The championship games on Saturday, Sept. 27 will be played at Kiest Park. Play should be over by 6 p.m.
At 7 p.m., Cedar Springs Road will be closed off from Reagan to Knight streets for the closing ceremony and block party.
Deborah Cox is performing on the main stage on the north end of Cedar Springs Road that night. Sandy Anderson as Dolly Parton opens for Cox.
The championship teams will have a police escort to the stage.
A dance tent features San Diego DJ Drew G. Vendors on the street include artists, T-shirt and candle vendors and others. Cedar Springs Merchants Association Executive Director Dave Berryman said he wasn’t sure how many vendors would be out on the street that night because applications were still coming in. He encouraged anyone participating in Pride in Lee Park or who has had a booth at the Cedar Springs Artsfest to contact him.
Food trucks will be on the street and beer will be served by local softball players.
Frank Librio, Dallas Visitor and Convention Bureau vice president for communications, said he expects the World Series to have a $5.5 million effect on the Dallas economy. He said CVB estimates are usually conservative and that number could go higher.
“We’re excited to host this event and show these athletes everything Dallas has to offer,” Librio said.
He said the 4,500 people coming from out of town translates into 5,400 room-nights in Dallas hotels.
“It’s a great opportunity to expose these athletes to our diverse city with a thriving LGBT population,” he said.
Dallas Woody’s Real Master Batters
Dallas Hidden Door Assault
Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion
Dallas Round-Up Synergy
Dallas Woody’s Wreckin’ Crew
Dallas Drillers D
Dallas Woody’s Demolition Crew
Kiest Park, 2324 West Kiest Blvd.
at Hampton Road, Dallas
Softball World, 1375 W. Euless Blvd, Euless
Mike Lewis Softball Complex,
North Carrier Parkway & Parkwood Drive,
7:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
• Monday, Sept. 22 – 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Opening Ceremony at Annette Strauss
• Tuesday, Sept. 23
10 p.m. to midnight: Miss Gay Softball
World Series Pageant at JR.’s Bar & Grill
• Wednesday, Sept. 24 8 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
Silent Auction and talent show benefiting
Legacy Counseling Centerat S4/Rose
• Thursday, Sept. 25
7 p.m.–10 p.m.: Hall of Fame Dinner and
2014 Induction Ceremony at Belo Mansion
• Friday, Sept. 26 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m.:
Double elimination for all divisions
• Saturday, Sept. 27 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Championship Saturday 7 p.m.–midnight
Championship Celebration Block Party and
Closing Ceremony on Cedar Springs Road
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 19, 2014.