Saturday, July 26, 2008

10 Really Cool things that happened on Day #56 @ Winchester

With 11 hours of fun and to complete games to choose from it might be hard to narrow the list down to 10 but I will give it a try. Just a reminder- we still have a Gamer from Generals Sign Guy Mike to post as well as our pictures and three more from a new friend of ours! That is a great place to start:

10. Our new friend is Winchester web master Ken Hockin. I knew of Ken's great work before today but I had never had the privilege of meeting Ken or his wife before today. One of the things that Ken does so great (besides the Royals entire Web Page) is he is so quick on posting a run down on what his Royals did that night.
The number of times that Ken has had info posted sooner than it is available than anywhere else is too many to count. Ken also gets credit for talking Betty Phillips into coming out on to the field to take a bow in front of the home crowd for being the first Royals fan to complete their passport.
We are not done yet- Ken brought Betty a special gift to give to her out on the mound. He had taken a new Winchester team photo the night before and he had a copy ready to give to her as well. One more- Ken just sent me three pics he took of the ceremony that Rebecca will post here before too long! Way to go Mr. Ken....

9.Winchester Royals owner Mr. Jim Shipp- Not only did Mr. Shipp take the time to complete his passport but when it came time for Betty to leave the ticket booth just before first pitch- Jim just jumped in and took her place. I have spent the better part of four days/evenings inside the fence of Jim's park and each time he has done nothing but make me feel right at home! Thank you for all of your support along the trail.

8.Hanging out with Royals Broadcasters Bob Jones and Mark Sawyer- I did not know before yesterday that Mark and I share the same profession. Anyone that has spent a day in the Newspaper Circulation business knows that we are in it for the Glamour! Bob and Mark are two guys that just sound like they were meant to talk to each other and it plays great whether it is on the web thru Doug at Future Media or on the air of Sports Talk 610.
I spent a couple of innings visiting with these guys on the air and then for a moment or two after the game. Way cool to spend time with other folks that take pride in what they do and love doing it.

7. Teresa Wease and her Turk fans--- The final number of Loopsters that call Memorial Stadium home is 18 and quite a few of them needed Winchester for their last stamp. Easy enough to do when the game is scheduled for 7:30 PM on Wednesday-not so much when it is during a work day at 2:00 PM and 75+ miles from home. This group has no quit in them as 20 some folks including the young ones made the trip and then stayed until the end before heading back to H'Burg. I can't wait to hang out with them again Saturday night.

6. Royals skipper John Lowery Jr.- I mentioned that Ken gets the credit for getting Betty to the field but it was the skipper that took over from there. In just seconds of being around John and his charm, Betty went from I have no interest in throwing the baseball to firing it about 50 feet to whom?- John of course. Great to see Mr. Lowery in action!

5. Spending time with the Precise family- Mrs. Precise had spoken to me as I was leaving Memorial Stadium back on Monday and Karen was so kind in thanking me for the site and the effort that goes into it. It wasn't until I arrived at Bridgeforth Stadium that I realized that both Karen and Mr. Precise (Mike) were at the game as was Michael's girl friend Jordan Hobson. I was able to pick-up real quick that Mike had been around the game for quite a while and it is still neat to me to listen to a baseball Dad cheer on his sons team.
I was able to get some neat pics of the family during the game and then another with their son after the contest. The proud parents received a bonus from their son when Michael connected for a 3-run home run in the sixth inning!

4. Chating with Mickey Wiswall (Boston College) after he went deep in 3 straight at-bats to lead his team to a come from behind 5-3 win. As hard as it may to believe, Mickey was even more impressive during on brief visit then he was during the game. We spoke for a few minutes after the Royals played down at New Market last week and I let him know that I was the fan that he nearly sent to the E.R down in Covington at the All-Star game.
We shared a laugh or two and I went home with a broken bat and Mickey signed that very ball and I told him about the dent it put into the Slushee Wagon I was standing next to. That was my one and only autograph request for the season- its just not everyday that you flirt with a cat scan! The bat and ball were a neat gift for Rebecca as a reward for all of her hard work.
I am the first one to get to him and during the 3 or 4 minutes we talked, I simply did not sense 1 ounce of Rock Star in this young man. In this day and age of I want to talk about Me, it was very refreshing to listen to Mickey walk me through the pitch selection of the final at-bat and then reflect back on previous experiences. Kudos to Mom & Dad back at home for having such a well grounded son.

3. Visiting with Royals pitching coach Steve Kozak. We only talked for a couple of minutes but Steve noticed the Maddux jersey of the day I was wearing. The white version from his partial season with the L.A Dodgers. We were passing in the press box and Steve started talking Maddux with me and to get to talk about your hero who is a pitcher with a well educated pitching coach.... Steve- you made my day! Best of luck to you the rest of the summer and even more so when you head back to Shepard!

2. Brian Burke... Wait a minute... Brian was out of town and I didn't even get to see him yesterday. I guess that means he made a lasting impression on me the first few times I made it up to the big city. I can take a second and combine a Brian moment with a Mr.Shipp moment here. The last time I was up in Winchester Brian was out of town (is this a trend)- Just kidding Brian... I was telling Mr.Shipp how much I enjoyed visiting with Brian and wondered if he could share a thought with me on Mr.Burke.
A few innings later I received this note back from Jim: I was waiting for the right time to use it and this is it...

1. "The Winchester Royals organization depends on volunteer efforts from a number of people, one of whom is Brian Burke- Director of Game Day Operations. Brian is responsible for tasks ranging from raising the flag to organizing birthday parties to escorting visiting celebrities onto the field to throw a ceremonial first pitch. Brian is a stockholder in the Winchester Royals, Inc. and a member of the board of directors. He has been active for a number of years, and has served as an assistant coach in the past.
Without enthusiastic volunteer participation from folks like Brian Burke, the Winchester Royals could not function."

Jim Shipp
President

Enough said. I can only hope that I run across more people like the folks up in Winchester down the road. I don't know if my endless journey that is ATV-60 will lead me back to the Royals park but if it does, I know I will feel welcome!

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