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Baseball - 15. July 2009.

International relations might hamper Bandits, Venezuela series

Elgin, Ill. – An interesting twist of politics between the United States and the Venezuelan governments is on the verge of derailing the Venezuelan National Team from playing the Chicago Bandits in Elgin this week.

The July 15 – 19 series has been a staple of the Bandits schedule since their inception in 2005, with an international series occurring every season in late June or early July.

Since April, representatives from the Venezuelan National Team have tried countless times to meet with members of the U.S.

Embassy to get the visas required for entry into the United States for the July series.

“We’re very disappointed that this kink has been tossed in our schedule, especially so late in the process,” said Bandits’

President Bill Sokolis. “We’ve been playing [Venezuela] the past five years without a single problem and it’s pretty ridiculous that a women’s softball team is being blocked from coming and playing.” 

The Chicago Bandits, not wanting to lose the opportunity to play international competition, tried to assist the Venezuelans by sending formal letters and phone calls in support of the national team.

After hearing the news of the possible kink in the schedule, Bandits coaches and front office members spent the weekend searching for women’s major’s teams to fill in the possible gaps. The Venezuelan series counts as an exhibition series in terms of National Pro Fastpitch standings, but has been an exciting series each season.

Promotions for the upcoming series are still scheduled to go on, regardless of the opponent. Wednesday, July 15 will be the Christmas in July Toy Drive and Dog Days. Thursday will be a canned food drive with all donations going to the Centro de Informacion in Elgin, Ill. Along with fireworks on Friday, the Bandits will be having Taylor Hooten Foundation Night.

Saturday night will be the All American Girls Night, featuring members of the original All American Girls Pro Baseball League. The Bandits will be turning back the clock, and transforming Judson University into a World War II era baseball field for the night.

Sunday will feature Olympic Day where the Bandits will host members of the Chicago 2016 Olympic committee, an Olympic wrestler from Mexico and a U.S. Sitting Volleyball Paralympian.

“Right now we’re calling around and trying to line up some majors teams, just in case,” added Sokolis. “Unfortunately it may come down to that. If we do play majors teams, each day will be double headers starting at 5 p.m. everyone with tickets to the regularly scheduled game will then get two-for- one. We’re also considering allowing the July tickets to be used for free entry to an August home game.”

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