Kings’ Ferro defers dream

April 11, 2012

Joe Ferro may never have the opportunity to play professional baseball, but his love for the game will never change.

Wisconsin State League

Joe Ferro may never have the opportunity to play professional baseball, but his love for the game will never change.

The former Carthage standout and Kenosha Kings’ shortstop signed a contract with the independent league Lake County Fielders last September with the expectation of making his professional debut this summer.

Those plans have changed.

The troubled, Zion, Ill.-based team announced Monday it will not participate in the upcoming season, unable to meet a number of league standards including the lack of a permanent stadium and adequate seating. The Fielders’ financial problems were well-documented throughout last season, resulting in a complete roster overhaul and a long list of creditors and disgruntled employees.

The Fielders were eventually dropped from their North American League schedule — one in which they opened the season with a 32-game road trip and played in the same division as Calgary (Alberta), Edmonton (Alberta), Chico (Calif.) and Maui (Hawaii) — and finished against the semi-pro Kenosha Kings.

Ferro batted over .500 for the Kings in the 17-game exhibition series against the Fielders and earned a professional contract, fulfilling what he then described as “A dream come true.”

“The (Fielders) general manager contacted me a couple weeks ago and said they postponed the season,” Ferro said. “It’s tough. I really think the community would get behind a team if the circumstances were right. It’s always been about baseball to me, never the political or money side. I just love baseball.”

Ferro said he recently turned down a tryout invitation for the independent Atlantic League. The 31-year old will remain with the Kenosha Kings while the Fielders contemplate their future.

“I know my contract is still good with (the Fielders),” Ferro said. “They asked if I wanted to be a player-manager. The big thing about playing independent baseball is getting your foot in the door, but my roots are here. I feel like we play the same level of baseball here in Kenosha.”

The Romeoville, Ill., native completed his collegiate career at Carthage in 2009 after spending seven years in the U.S. Navy. Ferro is in his third season as the Christian Life baseball coach and is employed as a hitting instructor at Bat Speed Baseball Academy in Gurnee, Ill.

“It’s baseball 24 hours a day,” Ferro said. “That’s all I do. I’m blessed. I’m truly blessed.”

Story by Jeffrey Zampanti of the Kenosha News

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL