The drive up to Winchester tonight was nothing short of amazing. The skies simply opened up when I was between Front Royal & Middleton. I tried to snap off a couple of shots of how hard it was raining but I don't know if it will do it justice. I was expecting to see Noah & The animals pass me on the 6 mile stretch of I-66!
Generals Sign Guy Mike was already at the park when I got there and the delay in the first inning lasted 1 hour and 27 minutes. The crowd started out at 278 (not bad for a game not on the original schedule) but only the true blue fans made it all the way to the end. I didn't write down the exact time of the end of the game but I climbed into my car @ 12:22 a.m..
The end of the game was worth the wait and I want to tell you all about it but right now I am still delivering papers because I had to go straight to work. I will tell you all the cool details and I have another round of Winchester stories to boot. I do know they had to give up on Fauquier @ Harrisonburg for the second time in a few days due to the weather. Back after a bit.....
So many thoughts that it is tough to pick out a starting point.
1. I met two die hard General fans last night that are just now I stamp away from making the WALL OF FAME!- The nice ladies are Tabatha Lunsford & Beverly Henderson. I was able to visit with them for a few minutes and grab some pictures of both that will make it up later today.
Not only did these two Waynesboro fans make it up to Winchester last night but they sat through the 87 minute delay and stayed at the park for 5+ hours. They plan on making the trip from Waynesboro over to Haymarket for the game tomorrow (Tuesday) and then head back to Waynesboro with quite a story to tell.
2. I was able to cross paths with Mike again as he plans on taking in four of the parks this week as he fills up his card. We have been at Staunton, Luray, Waynesboro and now Winchester on the same nights and I think our paths will cross during the day Tuesday as he makes the Waynesboro to Haymarket loop. Of the 11 trips for Generals fans the one to Haymarket is the toughie. 9 miles over to I-81, 75 miles up I-81, 40 over on I-66 and 3 to the park (127 each way or right about Luray to Covington). Godspeed to all of the Generals faithful making the trip for the Senators game.
3. Twenty four straight nights and not a single transportation issue until last night. It was a different type of car trouble- the type that is connected to foul balls and parking lots. I was fortunate to avoid any major issues by a matter of inches but I do have a green spot (Royals color of the seams) on the car now. In order to protect the innocent- I will not mention which car I was driving to the game!
4. I was able to visit with Todd Thompson for a part of the game and this was an enjoyable conversation for me. Todd was at the game with his two daughters and their two boyfriends so we didn't visit until after they were gone but we were able to compare notes for about 30 minutes. Todd was doing his best to help me get caught up on the history of Royals baseball and started out by letting me know that he was the main man in Winchester from 1996 until the end of the 2004 season. I think there was enough info passed back and forth that it will make for a feature in the next stretch of spotlight conversations.
5. Jim Phillips was present and accounted for throughout the entire evening- still smiling even after the game went past Midnight. Jim (Vice President/ General Manager) keeps on top of a number of things during the course of a Royals home game, including keeping an eye on official score keeper Bobby McGrath III. Jim held that job for the better part of 2 decades and I imagine he has some baseball stories to tell.
6. The Press Row part of the Press Box- There were six people on the right side of the press box last night. Lets start out with the duo that handles the web cast and 610 AM radio broadcast for the Royals. Bob Jones and Mark Sawyer were more than happy to smile for the camera and visit for a bit. This pair really sound like they were meant to call a baseball game together and were still going strong at the end. Then there was this man with this HUGE camera, how big was it?
Anyway, I wasn't able to get his name but I was assuming he was there to take some photos for the Winchester Star. The fourth and fifth people there were reporters from the Winchester Star and the Northern Virginia Daily. At this point I would normally put the links in for their stories but with the game ending 1 hour past dead line I am not sure when they will appear.
It is better to be safe than sorry..... http://www.winchesterstar.com/ & http://www.nvdaily.com/ . I just checked on the Star side and there is no post as of 5:22 AM but you never know. The Daily normally posts around 10:00 AM the next morning. I was feeling their pain of being up against deadline from having to face that for a couple of VBL seasons.
The sixth and final TV/News/Radio personality was there to broadcast the game for ESPN-1240 The Boss out of Waynesboro. Chip Krable had the night off but his baseball season partner in crime did a great job of filling in for him. Sean Youngberg did a great job with the tough task of being the play by play man and providing your own color commentary. The energy this young man has is fun to be around.
7. The other end of the press box was holding its normal form with Bobby and Vince keeping everything loose but at the same time- keeping the train on track There is a great deal of action that takes place on a given night and this box runs as smooth as any in the league.
8. This is the part where I would normally start to tell you a little bit about the action but I want to do something different. The Royals add another nice touch and instead of telling you about it I want to send you there. Scoot over to were the Winchester Royals are listed to the right on this page should take you to their home page and it will recap the action for you. Give it a try..I think this is way cool for them to do and I need to find out if this is home and away or just home.... I will be back later on this morning...