Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Afternoon in the Valley- Day #22 & Counting/ The UN-defeated Skipper


The winning skipper and the happy fans !
Greetings from Luray....

It is hard to believe that we are starting week #4 tonight. It really does seem like yesterday when we started this adventure over in Woodstock back on 5/31/08. I have been able to go 21 for 21 on getting to a game and on all but one occasion, the game was played. I must admit I have been rained on a couple of times and by the way our puppy (Diamond) is shaking right now my guess is we will be getting rain again later today. She doesn't shake unless there is bad weather in the area.
Haymarket will be making its first trip down to Bulldog Field later today. The Senators spanked the Wranglers by a 10-1 score when the two teams played up at Battlefield High School.The Sens coming to town is cool because that means Haymarket Joe will be at the ball park and everyone should get to be around Joe for at least one night. The game will also give me a chance to visit with Bernie & Company (The Fab 4), the new owners of the team. The chance to visit with the owners and staff is so much easier when their teams are on the road.
Last night I touched on a pair of conversations that took place on Friday night and I wanted to share part of one of them now. I have known Bill Turner for 3 or 4 years now and I don't think I have ever seen the majority owner of the Luray nine anymore stoked/geeked/excited (pick your own term) than he was last night after the Wranglers win over Front Royal.
I mentioned that Linda and Rebecca had to head back to Luray a little early to make their slotted time to walk with the group from Curves in the Relay For Life. This left me in search of a ride back down US-340 South and Bill offered a seat on the team bus. We had the 30 minute ride back down to Bulldog Field to discuss the events of the evening and here are some of the notes from the talk. I will do my best to use exact quotes from Bill but I was riding on a curvy highway in the dark.....
10 Questions for Skipper for a Night Bill Turner:

1.Where would you rank this experience in all of your years around the game of baseball?
Bill- This would be at the top of the list. I have been around the VBL for a number of years
and had a number of rolls but wearing the uniform and managing the team for game was something I will never forget.

2.How did the experience compare with what you thought it would be like?

Bill- I can honestly say that it is 100 times harder than I imagine. You really have no idea
how much goes into managing a game.

3. Have you had a chance to discuss the victory with Mike or does his cell phone work out
on the lake (It was a fishing trip, right?)?

Bill- I hope to be able to call him when we get back to Luray and give him an update on the game.The cell phone service is hit and miss between Front Royal and Luray.

Side Note- There is a 2 mile pocket just North of Bentonville where the cell phone kicks back in and right on cue, Bill's cell phone rings and it is Mike. The two exchange quick stories and Bill gets an update from Omaha- LSU is tied 3-3 in the 8TH against UNC. Luray has a player coming from LSU once they are either eliminated or crowned champs. UNC would later win the game on a 9TH inning Grand Slam.

4.What part of the job was harder than you thought it would be?

Bill- There is not a second that you can't be thinking about the game. The entire time you are
trying to play what if- you are having to think one or two batters ahead the whole 9 innings.

5. Now that you have a "W" under your belt, do you have any plans to manage again?

Bill- No, I am pretty sure I will retire at 1-0. I have to at least be tied for the highest winning percentage in the history of the league!

6. How much advice did Mike give you before the trip up to Front Royal?

Bill- We talked about a few things about righties and lefties and match-up situations but other
than that he pretty much left it in our hands. Randy Smith and Jimmy Hamilton are both very knowledgeable baseball coaches and the three of us were ready to manage the game.

7. Are you sure that you won't be tempted to let Mike go "fishing" again so that you can join Bob Wease as an owner/manager?

Bill- I will say that I have a new found respect for what it takes Bob to do this every night of the season. But no, I will tell Mike that is why I pay you the Big Bucks!

8. Describe the emotions of the eighth and ninth innings when the game went back and forth..

Bill- That was a big stolen base by Clay Kelly to help give us the lead but they (Cards) answered right back with a tying run. We answered back with a big rally in the top of the ninth but it still got interesting after that.

9. Take me through the long fly ball off the bat of Casey Albanese to end the game...

The first thing I saw was Josh (2ND baseman-Wright) bouncing up and down. I wasn't sure if
the park would hold it or not but once Austin Markel settled underneath it I was able to breathe again. I can't tell tell you how tight I was when that ball was in the air.

10. This one wasn't as much as a question as a recap- 20 years or so ago, a tradition was created for the winner of the Super Bowl- two or three of the players from the winning team would pour a bucket of Gatorade over their coaches head. Jordan Yost and Travis Smink were more than happy to oblige, giving Skipper Bill Turner a shower he will never forget!

WAY TO GO BILL !

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