Tony Wendeln, a CPA in Piqua with Murray Wells Wendeln & Robinson, attended the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Fantasy Camp in Goodyear, Arizona at the Reds spring training facilities in mid-January.
Fantasy Camp is a week-long baseball camp for men and women over 30 years of age, with the average age of about 50. Participants this year ranged from 30 to 80 years of age.
Participants are issued full Red’s uniforms for the week of games, made to fit and adorned by their name and favorite number. After a workout on Sunday morning, the coaches (former Reds players) draft the 144 “campers” into 12 teams of 12 each.
The first six games are played simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, then two games per day follow on Monday through Thursday with the top two teams playing in the championship game on Thursday evening. On Friday, each team plays three innings against the former pros at the Reds Spring Training stadium.
The coaches for Wendeln’s team were Ron Oester and John Reidling. Other former players included Doug Flynn, Tom Browning, Jim Maloney, Herm Winningham, Joe Oliver, Tommy Helms, Tom Hume, Rawly Eastwick, Austin Kearns, Ted Power, Jack Billingham, Todd Benzinger, Aaron Harang, Danny Graves, Billy Hatcher and others.
Participants came from all over the country to the camp, but Tony was the only camper from the tri-county area.
“This was a life-long dream which became a bucket-list item as I grew older,” Wendeln said. “The unexpected best part of the week was the comradery that developed among teammates. I made new friends that will last the rest of my life.
“I played baseball at Fort Loramie High School, played baseball in the Western Ohio League and softball for a number of years after that but it had been about 35 years since that part of my life. I am so glad I did it and recommend it to anyone thinking about it.”
The baseball fantasy camp is held annually and is administered by the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.