On his Saturday off between two shows at The Bomb Factory this weekend, Jack White will play in the Sandlot War, a baseball game at Reverchon Park that’s free and open to the public. White’s team, the Warstic Woodmen, will take on the Ticket Timbers, which comprises mostly on-air personalities from radio station The Ticket.
White made the announcement a few weeks ago during an interview with the afternoon show The Hardline. The idea for a game sounded spontaneous, but things had been in the works before the interview. Hardline producer Danny Balis says the suggestion was “100 percent contrived.”
“I listened to it again, and it sounded so telegraphed,” he says. “Which is kind of funny, because people often accuse us of scripting our show, and nothing could be farther from the truth, but this was predetermined, like wrestling.”
Although the game is free to the public, donations are encouraged. The money raised will go to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, which is next to the park.
White is the co-owner of the baseball bat company Warstic, based out of Deep Ellum, along with former Texas Ranger Ian Kinsler and native Texan Ben Jenkins. With White playing a venue that’s not too far from the Warstic building, which doubles as a retail space and a manufacturing shop, this baseball game makes plenty of sense.
White has not announced who will be on his team, but several Ticket hosts have been announced for the Ticket Timbers. Personalities from The Musers, BaD Radio and The Hardline will be on the field. Brothers Cash and Mike Sirois will join Mike Rhyner, Corby Davidson, Ty Walker, David Mino, Balis, Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp, as well as former Hardline board op Michael “Grubes” Gruber.
For the Ticket Timbers, there are no plans for practicing ahead of time.
“As far as I know, the plan is going to be show up and just kinda use our natural talents,” McDowell says. “We talk about baseball a lot, so I’m sure it’s going to be very easy to play.”
The last time many of the Ticket Timbers played baseball was the Ticket Great Game in the summer of 2010.
“We played college baseball women, and I struck out and got hit by a pitch,” Balis says. “I'm pretty terrible at this game.”
Gruber played baseball in high school when he was a student at Jesuit, but it’s been a while.
“I just want to survive,” Gruber says. “It's been eight years since I last played any sort of competitive baseball. I'm not sure how many catcher's squats my stubby legs have in them now.”
Walker has played slow-pitch softball for a while, but he hasn’t played baseball since the 2010 Great Game. He’s up for the challenge, though.
“While I'd like to see a close game, part of me thinks the Warstic guys believe they're gonna blow us out,” he says. “I'd like to prove them wrong.”
McDowell has coached softball for years in addition to playing baseball.
“I’m very versatile,” he deadpans. “I’m probably the most athletic guy at the Ticket.”
The players say they’re not scared.
“I believe we would expect to win,” McDowell says. “That’s kind of the way we face everything, whether it comes to radio or whatever it is.”
McDowell thinks about what the hardcore Ticket fans, known as the P1’s, will want to see.
“I don’t think anyone wants to see Jack White win,” McDowell says. “Now, if we were in some kind of musical competition, I would think he would be favored. But this is a sports competition, and we are sports guys.”
The mental game is strong with the Timbers.
“When I think of Jack White rocking, it’s a beautiful thing,” Mike Sirois says. “When I think of Jack White and baseball, all I picture is that meme when he was at that Cubs game a few years ago. That person I am not afraid of.”
Kemp just hopes no one gets hurt. Well, no one famous.
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"And if they do, that I am not responsible for their injury," Kemp says. "I do not have the money to get myself good representation in a civil suit against any of these people."
Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt, but if White’s team loses, it could change how White’s second show goes.
“We want Sunday’s show to be all slow ballads and all the sad songs that he has,” Sirois says. “So hopefully, if we put a good crushing on him and his team, that will be the case.”
The Sandlot War will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at Reverchon Park.