Monday, June 9, 2008

News and notes from Haymarket, Virginia

Good Morning,

I am going to try and give a quick recap for those who might be joining us for the first time. My family and I are trying to help shine a spotlight on the Valley Baseball League and all of the amazing people that are behind the scenes. Last night we went to Haymarket (stop #9 of 11) and had a great time meeting folks from both visiting Luray and the home standing Haymarket Senators.

My youngest daughter, Rebecca, spends the evening taking as many photos as possible and then she comes back and posts them on the site. She finished last night and then I go to work on my end. We try to pick out 10 topics that made the night special for us from both the visitors and the home fans. One other goal we have is to try and take a picture of each one of the volunteers that give up so much of their time to help out the owners. Please make sure you get to look at those (under the listing- Hey, Hey what, Haymarket).

Let's get busy-

#10.- Wrangler skipper Mike Bocock is as fun of a baseball personality as we have in the Valley and last night he allowed Rebecca to ride on the Wrangler team bus to and from Haymarket. This gives us/her an opportunity to take some photos we would not get elsewhere plus make a connection with some of the players. You will notice that there are a number of shots from the trip that made the editors cut and are included in the photo section. Thanks again skipper!

#9.- The beauty that is the park the Senators play their home games in. From the time you take exit 40 off I-66 until you park the car and work your way into the stadium there are things you will notice. The high school (Battlefield) is a great setting and there is plenty of open spaces for the younger ones to roam around the park as well. The setting is very user friendly and it goes a long way in making the trip a need-to-see. You will also notice a few shots of the park that really stick out.

#8.- Making the journey up from Luray with Mr.Pat Kelly to watch his son Clay in his first game as a Wrangler. Pat and Clay made the drive in from Austin, Texas right after the Dallas Baptist University run ended in the NCAA tourney.We caught up with each other Saturday night in Harrisonburg and when I get to finish the Turks visit (#8) you will get to hear that neat story. Pat was able to tell me about all of the other places Clay had played over the years (his fourth year traveling) and we were able to tell him stories about just how cool we think the league here is.

Clay batted lead off in his first game and his night included 1 single, 1 HBP, 1 walk and 1 fly out (plus one stolen base). Final line 1-2 (.500) on base % (.750) and one proud parent there to take it all in. We stopped on the way back and visited the "Bing" for the final two innings of the Winchester road win over the Cards. Pat is only in town for a quick visit and I wanted him to get to spend 30 minutes soaking up the Bing.

#7.- Haymarket ( 4-3) has made great strides on both of the 2 big levels in their journey. The Senators were the visiting team Saturday night in Harrisonburg (4-1 win) and they returned home to defeat Luray 10-1 last night. The new ownership group (Count me as a fan of what I call the Fab 4) and their baseball brain trust have been able to build a team that will be able to compete in the VBL night in and night out! While I pay less attention to a teams W's & L's and more about how they run their clubs, it is always more fun when you support your home team and they get to win some games.

The second level of improvement is the one that I have noticed and wanted to take the time to applaud. The group includes two couples (Bernie Schaffler and his wife Robin / Scott Newell and his wife Jayme) and I think they will get to where they are trying to take their organization. Last night was a great example of how much time and effort the groups, both owners and their volunteers, put into making one night work for the fans. It was fun to watch all four of them do everything they could to make the evening enjoyable for the fans. Scott was doing the webcast so he had to stay in one spot but the other three made sure that everyone there (helpers and fans) know they were appreciated! Go Team!

#6.- The short visit at the Bing gave me a chance to say hello once again to a handful of special people in a short period of time. The Winchester group was there to support the visitors and I was able to speak with Jim Shipp, Todd Thompson and company for a minute. When I found out that Todd had not been back to the site since I wrote about him I informed him if he didn't do it soon and I would figure out how to take it all back. A quick wave to Greg Brill, hello to his wife and a visit with Donna Settle who was wearing a spiffy Cardinals jersey top.

A glance across the park led me over to the Neal family. Mom and Dad were there to watch son Parker and I was able to make Mom smile (my favorite thing to do- make nice people smile!). One final hello and big hand shake went to Kip Ritenour and I let him know that I owe him one for his great article last week. One more hello was said to a special lady I met the other night thru Linda Keen that I hope to do a story with soon. I don't want to list her name in case I get to do that story!

HALF WAY DOWN THE LIST -
We still have stories coming about Haymarket Joe, a special family, a kind word, Catfish Lewies and a pair of new friends......

I have to go and get some work done (3 more stores to collect) but I promise to be back and finish the list before we head out to Staunton!

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