Last night gave me a rare opportunity to speak to a group of people with so much in common. Bruce Alger, the General Manager of the New Market Rebels, asked me if I would be one of the guest speakers at the teams 2008 Preseason Dinner.The only sad part was Bruce asked me to try and limit my talk to 10-12 minutes.
It is rare I can talk baseball, let alone my love for Valley Baseball and limit it to 10-12 minutes but I promised Bruce I would give it my best shot.My wife Linda and I sat at a reserved table with John Leonard,Rebel intern Katie Getz and a very friendly family of four(Gisriel). Mr. Austin Gisriel was there to speak as well and he was joined by his wife and daughter along with her boyfriend.
Austin is writing a lenghty article on the Valley League for Virginia Living and was a treat to get to trade stories with. Mr. Leonard, the keeper of the World's Finest Blog (All Things Valley League) is always enjoyable company as we share a true love for the game and the league.
The remainder of the gathering caught a break when our table spent the entire 7-8 dinner hour talking back and forth as if we were life long friends! Austin took the stage around 8:10 and shared a wonderful story about how his path has led him to New Market time and time again. I can't wait to read his article or John's recap of the evening for that matter. With no school to teach tomorrow I am sure John will be typing away on his site to tell all of the events of the evening.
I spent almost half of my time talking about the love and respect I have for Mr. Alger and his efforts to give so much of his time to promote the game that both him and I love so much. The balance of the time was spent talking about Around The Valley in 60 Days and the back ground on the idea. Bruce is all that is right with Valley League Baseball and I consider it an honor to share the floor with him on such a neat occasion.
The highlight of the night came when another friend of the promotion took the podium. League President Dave Biery presented an award that almost created the UN-thinkable. At the last owners meeting Bruce has presented the idea of naming the league Manager of the Year award in honor of Maynard "Mo" Weber.
Wrangler Manager Mike BoCock said it best last year on the night we celebrated Mo's
84th Birthday when he said "Mo is what makes the Valley League the Valley League."
Mo and I could both talk until no one would be left to listen but tonight was a little different. Mo was so moved by the honor that for the first time in my 3 years of knowing him, struggled for words to describe how moved he was by the award!
After Austin and I were done speaking and Bruce tied up some loose ends of business,Mo regained his composure and was back to being the Mo we all love so much.
The special event was held at the Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in New Market.The Grandstand Managers Club of New Market (16Th season supporting the Rebels) did a fantastic job hosting the event and a great time was had by all fortunate enough to attend!