Stop #7 on the Around The Valley in 60 Days tour was last Friday night in New Market. I have always said that in my opinion the Wrangler- Rebels contests were my favorite in the league. I really believe that this is a match-up where the rivalry is bigger for the fans of the teams than the players themselves.
There are some similarities between New Market baseball and UNC basketball. The Tar Heels have to face a biggest rival more often than all other ACC teams. They are the biggest game of the season for Duke, North Carolina State and Wake Forrest. But it doesn't stop there for the Heels- after Va Tech, the biggest game on the UVA schedule is UNC as is the case for South Carolina (after Clemson).
New Market has the natural in county rival (Woodstock), the neighbors from across the mountain (Luray), the friends from the south (17 miles to H'Burg) and I'm not sure that Winchester and the Rebels don't do a bit of sizing each other up. It was the easiest pick of the games for us to go to and share in the magic that is Wranglers-Rebels.
Ten Reasons the Night was so special:
#10.- Rebel Park- Anyone who hasn't had the chance/privilege to catch a game at the park really should find the time. It you can't find the time, try to borrow some time from yourself!
It goes past the rolling hills that become mountains past the outfield wall- there is something special in the air.
#9.- Broadcasting from the Crows Nest- The tower where my love with the Valley League all started a few years back. Tony Mowat and Dallas Alkire are two people that are very dear to me and that I will never forget. Also getting to spend time calling games with Jay Hefner and Charlie Dodge last year and with Charlie some last Friday-something special for me as a fan and wanna be broadcaster.
#8.- Bill Turner in that same Crows Nest- Wrangler majority owner Bill Turner came up the "90 feet" last season after I extended an invite to him. It was great to visit with him and I wanted to thank my partners for not minding there being two people with ties to Luray in the tower at the same time. Friday night Bill made to stops in the Crows Nest and both were great visits. Dave Barr and I had to try and hold him down when it was time to sing take me out to the ball game during the 7TH inning stretch. Thanks to Bill and thanks to the guys for their making the room.
#7. Dave Barr and his family- Dave has been a big part of the atmosphere for me at Rebel park from the beginning. We joke with Dave and call him "Head of Security" and we simply call his wife "a really hard worker". Stop by the souvenir stand and say hello to Mrs.Barr and look up to the Crows Nest during the 7TH inning stretch to see his daughter try and protect our singing. All of us will be quick to admit she is the only one with a voice.
#6.- Bill Turner, Mo Weber and me- I take a fair amount of ribbing when it comes to having loyalty to both sides of the Mountain Rivalry. The level of noise is equal from both sides but this year I had company. Bill opened his newest car dealership/lot across from Rebel Park and long time Rebel asst. coach Mo is back living on the Luray side of the gap. We do business on both sides of the mountain and it helps me try and hide behind others to dodge at least some of the shots directed at me.
#5.- Melissa Dodge and her passport- Mrs. Charlie as I like to call her came up to the Nest to visit and she showed me her passport looking half filled. This was a priceless moment for me as it has been with others show me their cards. This YOUNG lady is not only a Rebel fan she has an incredible knowledge of the game itself. You will find her at most games and she will tell you that she is the one with the cow bell.
#4.- John Galle & Susan Thompson- Shenandoah Valley Herald- Susan put a really special picture/artical in the newspaper this week that included a shot of our dog Diamond. John also brought over some more free copies of the paper and their sign. We renamed the Crows Nest for 1 night- we called it the Shenandoah Valley- Herald Crow's Nest. Thanks again for all the support.
#3.- Tacy Hawkins (National Anthem)- I met Tacy the same night I met Dallas & Tony and was quick to notice not only can she sing beautifully, she is a beautiful individual. She is there every night and gets the night stated off on a great note by honoring our country with her amazing voice.
#2.- Diane Buckley (L) and Lynne Alger (NM)- These two ladies are simply remarkable and when I have the chance to write my short story about the Women of the Valley League there will be plenty of notes about and from these two ladies. When you are at their parks please take a second to notice their non stop effort to make the night more enjoyable for everyone.
#1/- Mr. Bruce Alger- Enough said my friend!