The Westside’s team

The Westside of Cincinnati saw a new breed of superstar's take the field this summer in the Westside Cigs.

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Ryan Custer '16

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The Westside's team

In the summer of 2015, one team would change the way the Westside of Cincinnati looked at itself. This team was so infamous that it became a household name, and everyone in the streets of Price Hill were in discussion about it. This band of brothers would change the sport of baseball not only in the Greater Cincinnati area, but for the entire world. This team is the Westside Cigarettes.

Westside Cigs Team Photograph
Westside Cigs Team Photograph

Known mostly by their call name, the “Cigs” took the diamond at the end of May, but the process began months before that. No one truly knows when the discussion first came of creating the team, but in the late stages of March 2015 a group chat was formed and the dreams of eternal glory started forming.
The initial roster was large, so large that tryouts had to be held. These weren’t your grandma’s tryouts, however. These tryouts would physically and mentally break individuals. Although tryouts were closed to the public, media caught glimpses of the anarchy that went on inside.
Included in the shenanigans,  Sam Telles was seen crying.

“Yeah, that never happened. I never tried out for your stupid team,” Sam said.

Although Telles denies this, multiple sources claim otherwise. Tryouts came and went, and it was time for the first pitch to be thrown.
On May 19th, the Cigs took the field against the Destroyers (Note: If you actually name your summer league team the Destroyers, you lose no matter the score) Still trying to get through the off season hangover, the Cigs got off to a rough start. The pitching was abysmal, giving up five runs in four innings, and having no relief from the bullpen.

“It was a bad first game,” relief pitcher Adam Martini said. “We looked awful out there, and that loss hurt a lot.”

Although the Cigs dropped the first game, they came back in game two with a vengeance.

Joey Dowd warmups
Joey “No Chin” Dowd looking athletic.

The Cigs turned to ace Danny Lutz to start almost every other game of the season. Playing baseball for Elder his first two years, Dan had experience on the mound.

“I couldn’t wait to come back and pitch again. It’s like I’m a different person out there, man,” Danny said. With a gem performance every time by Lutz, the Cigs had a clear advantage.
The Cigs second and third games defined what the team was all about. The Hitmen quickly became the Cigs rival, and the tension on the field mounted as the guys faced a double header. The face of the Hitmen can’t be named due to Purple Quill Privacy Policies, but his man-bun and rec-specs were hated immediately by the team.

The day began great for the boys, pelting man-bun for eight runs. Man-bun was pulled from the game after getting wrecked, and had a temper tantrum that should have been aired on SC Not Top Ten. Things were going great until the seventh, where baserunner Ryan Custer was hit with line drive, creating one of the scarier scenes at a sporting event.

Ryan Custer broken nose
Custer after being hit. That’s not how a nose is supposed to look ladies and gentlemen.

With Custer’s nose broken, blood filled the dirt as the ambulance was called and prayers were sent to all baseball Gods. Women fainted at the sight of Ryan’s because his face was so terrifying, but Custer took it like a champ.

“(It was) One of the scariest things that has happened to me,” Custer said. “I knew I had to leave the team, but I will always be proud of the experience.”

Ryan retired from the team shortly after leaving the hospital, and was forced to wear a Rip Hamilton mask. Custer was named the first member of the Cigs Hall of Fame when the season ended.
The rest of the season was filled with dingers, strikeouts, and brawls as the Cigs represented the Westside well going .500 for the year. When playoff time came around, the Cigs were banned due to their “overly rowdy attitude on the diamond” from the league commissioner.

Lawsuits were in place to sue the knotball league, but the lawyers fell through and the players had to deal with the disappointment of missing the playoffs.
Members of the team were disappointed, but realized the greater good they gave for representing the Westside. With the offseason here, most of the players are struggling dealing with no baseball.

“I sometimes wear my jersey around in the house,” Michael Townsley said. “It brings me so many memories, I wish I could go out for one more game and smack a homer” he went on to say. Like Townsley, the other members wear the jerseys around town, trying to relieve the glory days.
As for the future of the franchise, it remains unclear with the team all being seniors moving away for college. One day, the Cigs will retake the diamond, but for now, the Westside Cigarettes are stuck as a dormant franchise that will live in the Westside’s memory forever.