Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spending a Saturday Night with a special Lady and the some kind folks!

We tried to match stories and pictures up from the games as they happened and we were running pretty close but with the LHS State Championship Trip last Friday I fell behind. We always made sure that Rebecca posted the pictures as soon as she could and I kept writing away in hopes of keeping up.

The Winchester visit started the slow down because of the warmth of the feeling we left the park with (no-not the heat) after hanging out with Brian and company. The next two stops came at places where Mr. (Bruce Alger) and Mrs. (Teresa Wease) Around The Valley in 60 Days run their ball clubs. I knew going into the promotion that Bruce was special but the efforts from Teresa really have been amazing. Now lets jump forward to it being Sunday night and our trip to Haymarket. I judge myself and our efforts on a pretty tough scale and Haymarket was the one team that I felt I had been a big supporter of but I came up short in my efforts to really be able to make a difference for the team up there.

There wasn't any one reason for my feeling that way, I just felt that maybe I should of tried harder to rope in some press or get the word out. That is the reason I jumped the order and went straight to work on telling their story after our visit to their park. As I was finishing my two part interview last night with Chris Graham we were talking about the different ways the promotion would be judged. I told him that on a scale of 1 to 10, my personal experience from doing this would be a 17.

I've met so many people that I wouldn't have met otherwise and been welcomed into each park and stop a long the way. But that is another story I will write before to long. Haymarket remained the team/town/community I felt that I haven't been able to help out enough and I won't stop trying until I do! There was no other reason to skip past the two biggest supporters of ATV-60 Days and jump to Haymarket besides my own desire to make a push to show support for the Fab-4 and Haymarket Joe.

Now with that said- let me start talking/writing about that special Lady and her UN-believable cast of characters that support her efforts. I will be hard pressed to try and limit the stories or keep it to 10 but here goes...

THE TOP 10 REASONS GOING TO HARRISONBURG WAS SO COOL:

#10.- I know everyone is really excited about the upgrade of Memorial Stadium that is about to take place but I am actually a fan of the stadium right now. I call it the Wrigley Field of the Valley. I know that with JMU involved with the project that the new version will be first rate but I love catching a game at the current park. The way that the park captures the ways of a day gone by are special and I hope that if you have never been there you can visit this year.

#9.- The Wall of Fame- The one thing that the stadium does with the structure is it gives the Turks the ability to show the tradition that is the Turks. Once you walk in the front gate (where you will be met with a smile) just look over to your right and you will see the players that stopped in H'Burg on the way to the "Show". The park itself is a walking/talking memorial at so many different levels and I hope the extreme make-over face job coming doesn't change that part of it.

#8. Getting to visit with Haymarket Joe and meeting his lovely wife. Joe had called in to the radio show that John Leonard and I did with Mike Schikman and people that meet me think I am passionate about the game and the league should get to know this man. As I said before we will turn our focus from our tour to the other folks that are working on theirs and Joe will be one of those stories.

#7.- Teresa was already in full throttle when we arrived at the park @ 6:30 p.m.. One of the events planned for the night was hosting a little league team and she was in the middle of the circle trying to make sure everything and everybody was having a good time. She had some of her ball club there with her and there were smiles abound. The team was from McG'ville (sorry, I couldn't spell it the year I lived there) (McGaheysville) and it is always great to see the younger ones getting to have that type of excitement at the park.

#6.- Getting to meet Matt Wease and the passion that is with-in. Teresa had told me about her son and his projects that includes making the Turks baseball cards. Each year we looks for ways to improve the cards and I can't wait to see the latest version. I am pretty sure this is his third season of making the cards and when you take into consideration his high school graduation is coming up in a few days, that is pretty impressive. At one point of the night Matt, Haymarket Joe and myself were visiting and the amount of Valley passion in one place- sorta scary...

#5. The yet to be named group/family of Turks fans!- Our paths crossed in Waynesboro, Winchester, Staunton and H'Burg. This group will be the subject of a ATV-60 feature as soon as we can cross paths again. Always smiling and always supporting the Turks- make sure you check out Rebecca's photos from Staunton for some fun looks. Great effort from these kind folks every night and I am looking forward to visiting down the road again and again.

#4.- Teresa and Rebecca (1st pitch)... One of the amazing things about watching Teresa work is she seldom looks like she misses a beat. She is always very busy but very controlled in being busy. Last Saturday night she took the time (when she already had a little league team involved in the pre-game) to take my daughter out to the mound and let her throw out the first pitch. Brian had done this during our visit to Winchester and Teresa noticed how much it meant to her and I must say it meant just as much the second time!

#3.- I always try to notice the faces of the people around on a trip to the park and last Saturday night was no different. Bernie (Haymarket) was there to support his club and New Market skipper Nolan Neiman was there to watch his little brother play for the Senators. Later that evening I was able to meet our ballplayer (Host family in Luray) Clay Kelly and his father Pat. They drove up from Texas and stopped on their way thru H'Burg and watched the last two innings of the contest with us before we headed back to Luray. I joked with my wife that I sure hoped Luray won their game that night because Clay might of been available to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth had they not stopped to see us. Luray did win so I survived the scare!

#2- Kurt Dudley (PA) & Dave Norman (radio)- I had met Dave the night we were in Waynesboro and the two of us talked for a couple of innings. I knew from the visit that Dave was not only a baseball announcer but a true-blue baseball fan. He made me smile the second I walked in Saturday night when he noticed the jersey I was wearing. Dave had already been subjected to me talk about my baseball hero (Greg Maddux) and that I wear one of his jerseys to the park almost every night out. That night I was wearing the jersey the Braves created when it became cool to have a third/alternate jersey. Dave looked at the jersey and was able to tell me the season they first wore them!

Now the part of that story that impressed me went beyond that he knew about the year of the jersey but that (A) he searched me when he saw me come into the park and (2) he remembered thew things we talked about that night. Dave is incredibly knowledgeable but just as impressive is he is a good listener as well. The way he handles the broadcast booth and the level of respect he has for the game is WAY COOL. I have to mention that Dave is not the only one that shines in the Turks booth. Kurt handles all the PA work and was a treat to work with for the night. Next time you are at the Stadium and here the announcements, look up and give Kurt a smile or a wave.

#1.- The amount of love & respect I have for Teresa Wease and all that she does for her team, her players and her community!She is off the charts when it comes to caring about what she does and when the time comes I will share the Top 10 reasons this special lady is so special!

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