My daughter is working on the pictures from last night and they should be up soon. We had a great time down at Kate Collins Field last night and I wanted to share a few of the reasons why...
10. The Staunton News-Leader- Not only did the News Leader send their ace reporter to the game last night (Al Samuels), they were giving away logo bags that included a free copy of their Sunday newspaper. That would be cool enough but then I opened the Sports section and looked at page 2. The entire page was the Waynesboro Generals and their home schedule!
When you take in to consideration that the entire idea behind Around The Valley is to promote the Valley League, I will always try to be the first one to applaud the efforts of somebody knocking one out of the park!
Two nice ladies were there to greet the fans and pass out the tote bags and they did a wonderful job as well. I don't know if the credit goes to the marketing department or Hubert in the Sports department (maybe a bit of both) but WAY TO GO!
9. Nat and his staff in the Generals concession stand- We arrived down at the school right at %5:00 p.m. and Nat was already hard at work. While he was busy trying to get set-up for the home opener he was great to get to chat with. Nat and his brother and a handful of helpers do a great job keeping the fans at the park fed and they do so with a smile.
8.Chip Krable and Sean Youngberg (ESPN-1240 The Boss)- Chip is one of the reasons I became to involved in the Valley League. He broadcasts the Generals games for both the Internet and the local ESPN radio station in town. We bumped into each other here and there before the Championship series last year and then the two of us called the Luray-Waynesboro finals side by side. I was doing the Wrangler broadcast with Seth and anyone who has ever been in the Luray press box knows just how close we would of all been sitting to each other.
We hit it off immediately and started calling high school football games together down in Augusta County. We worked together all the way thru the Buffalo Gap State Championship run and covered R.E Lee, Stuarts Draft and the rest of the schools in the county. Chip had been as busy as I have since then so it was the first time we had seen each other in a while but we were right back at it. Sean is interning with Chip this summer and was kind enough to offer his seat for half an inning and we talked Valley Baseball and the promotion! You can listen to these guys all year long on the radio and the Generals home games on the Internet thru Doug at Future Media.
7. A gathering of Hoos fans at the park- I will talk further about them as we go down the list but I couldn't help but notice the number of people that we spent time with that are die hard UVA fans. Chris Graham, Al Samuels, our host for the evening-leader of the Super Fans-Mike, my family (including the actual student) and many others were proud to be representing the Cavs.
There was a collective moan when Brian announced UVA was down 4-0 in their NCAA game.
6. Visiting with our wing man/person/lady Teresa Wease. Teresa had survived her home opener the night before back in Harrisonburg and it was great to get to visit with her again. You would not of believed all of the hurdles and hoops that have been in her path to get her season kicked off but she survived and then some.
When I list the people who have really helped in moving our process along the way Teresa is right there at the top of the list. She was able to get us time with both the DNR and Mike Schikman as well as post all stories about the promotion on her teams website. She is also quick to mention our team pages that my daughter Rebecca created in an attempt to give traveling fans ideas on other things to do in the towns in the league. Thanks for it all Mrs. Wease!
5. The Harrisonburg travel team of Turk fans! We had talked in the car on the way down (65 miles each way for those counting at home) about this would be a great test on how things were going so far. Because it was opening night for the first two stops we offered to take care of the stamping duties at both parks on the night of our visit. H'Burg was at home last night (dodging thunder storms/ rain drops) and I knew some of their faithful would make the trip down to Waynesboro.
I told the family that we would see passports with stamps already on them tonight and it would be exciting to see how many. The passport spots you the "V" in Valley League so if a fan of the Turks went to the home opener and then came down to Kate Collins they would have 3 of the 12 stamps needed. The thought of fans being 25% thru after only 24+ hours was way cool and we counted at least 14 last night!
As they arrived we were able to visit with a number of them and really enjoyed getting to chat with them and I am looking forward to seeing them at Memorial Stadium in a few days.
AND NOW THE FINAL FOUR!!!
4. The Waynesboro Support staff- I had visited with Jim Critzer (Generals owner) earlier in the week after one of his Little Giants (Please check out a day at the office with Jim Critzer) and was both excited and nervous about heading down to Waynesboro Sunday. The nerves were calmed quickly when Jim gave me a chance to sit down and meet his "team" of staff. I have always started with the staffs and volunteers of the teams as a BIG part of my excitement with the League. The hours that these folks put in behind the scenes is crazy and this group is no different. Shirley (has been with Jim for years at his office), Adam (Jim's son) and Brian (PA man) were a HUGE,HUGE help and each one did it with a smile on their face!
I could not ask for a group of people that before last night hadn't even met me, to be any more supportive or make me feel anymore at home! The one person at each park that really makes or breaks the visit each night with the PA announcer and while Roger (Woodstock) and I have a history the effort from Brian was a pleasant surprise!
3. Jim Critzer- Owner of the Waynesboro Generals and Head Coach of the Waynesboro Little Giants... I have already typed more words that most would want to read so I will minimize the space here but as I told my family on the way down last night- At the end of the day Jim is just a baseball fan. Whether it is his high school team or his ball club-it is all about a bat, a ball and a glove!
Jim was a great host and we are even stopping back through on Wednesday as we make the trek down to Covington to try to work with Jim & Adam on some Generals stuff. I wish I could make the trip down to Abbington on Tuesday with the team as the Little Giants try to make the Class AA Final Four. I know that Al is going to be there so I can read his story at www.newsleader.com and I encourage fans that want to hear about last nights game to do the same.
We are 2/11 of the way into the adventure and we head to Fauquier County tonight to watch the Gators play the Wranglers. Both Stu and Jim have been great host to me and my family and I look forward to visiting the other nine clubs and telling people all about it.Jim stopped at one point and gave my daughters Generals shirts to wear and let them know he is expecting to see them wear them down the road. A great night with a great guy!
2. Chris and Crystal Graham- Chris and his lovely wife came down to the park to see the promotion is process and both were a treat to visit with. They are the owners/publishers and staff of the Augusta Free Press/ The Sports Dominion/ The New Dominion. You can visit their site at www.augustafreepress.com to learn more about their efforts to keep people informed about all the happenings around the Valley and the World.
Chris had done a story and a phone interview with me earlier (that was greatly appreciated)
and is now working on a feature story for their magazine (The New Dominion). We had a great time visiting and Chris took the time to speak to everyone I asked him to. He might of been willing to do so to escape having to talk to me! I joked later that it took me 11 minutes to answer his first question. I can only talk about two things, sports and newspapers but man can I talk about those two things! They were both great to visit with and Chris is stopping back by on June 11Th when our "tour" hits Staunton to close out the run. Thanks a million- Mr. & Mrs. Graham.
1.Mike (Generals Sign Guy) and the host of Generals Super Fans!- Both John Leonard (All Things Valley League) and I list Mike as the number one supporter of both of our sites and last night I had a chance to visit with Mike,Paul,Paul,Benji, Brian,Chuck, Jay and Chrissy. I spent most of my time speaking with Mike but I enjoyed watching and listening to the chants and all of the ways this group supports their local team!
Mike has posted already today to the note I would update later and he does a great job talking about last night and how much his group enjoys what they do. Please take a look at the comments to get a better idea but Mike and the group make Waynesboro Generals baseball a fun place to spend an evening AROUND THE VALLEY!