How important is Melissa Dodge to the folks here at ATV-60 ? Well let me tell you...
Greg Maddux (Our Hero) is pitching right now for the San Diego Padres against the Cincinnati Reds in a 12:35 PM start. The Great American Ball Park in Cinci is the sight and whenever Greg pitches in the Eastern Time Zone I check out the possibility of going to see him pitch in person.
I was fortunate enough to watch Maddux pitch earlier this season up in Phili and I liked my chances to getting to Cinci and back in time to catch the game and still end up at Rebel Park for the ceremony. Melissa, her husband Charlie and son Noah are set to throw out their first pitch tonight around 7:30 PM.
Plane ticket in hand to fly out of Dulles on Delta flight #1660 to Atlanta and then #1700 on into Northern Kentucky, I headed north up US-340 at 3:00 AM. The only concern I had was what if the direct flight back from Cinci was delayed (scheduled to arrive back at 4:49 PM) or traffic was an issue trying to get to Rebel Park...
The weather report for Cinci looked promising (70 degrees and sunny) where the weather report for Wednesday night in New Market looked down right scary. Didn't make it to Rileyville before I turned around while calling Delta and trying to make other arraignments. I simply could not take the chance of not getting back there in time for the big moment!
Quick note- Bottom of the 2ND inning and Maddux has a 1-0 lead compliments of a lead off Home Run by Jody Gerut. Lets hope!
Life is about relationships for me and it always will be. Sports is just a way to meet people who might share the same passions as you. The 2 years that I wrote for the Northern Virginia Daily was a perfect case in point. The things I will remember the most are not the contests but the coaches, the fans and the athletes. Jeff Burner, Roger Wilkins, Suzanne Mathias and Jeff Walters to name a few of the people that I was fortunate to spend some time around. Larry and Judith Smoot and their daughter Kaitlin, Mr. & Mrs. Carroll and their son Ryan right here in Luray are just a few more. It has always been about people for me- not so much about Wins & Losses.
1:24PM- Still up 1-0 in the top of the 4TH !
That brings us back to the Dodge family and tonight in New Market. Charlie Dodge has spent the better part of his adult life trying to help students/ athletes become better people in and out of the arena. Melissa is another person, who like my older brother Wayne, fights the good fight where it comes to educating our youth. I can only imagine that Melissa teaches with the same passion that she has for her Rebels and Redskins. I have learned from years of listening to Wayne speak about his profession that anyone that teaches for a living isn't chasing fortune or fame.
VBL UPDATE- Harrisonburg @ Winchester will not be played tonight.. Possible make-up date will be Friday afternoon..
Maddux and Padres tied up 1-1 in the 6TH inning... 1 run/5 hits thru 5 innings
Rebecca will post the story that Melissa has written here in just a bit and I will continue to do my Anti-Rain dance while watching MLB-TV, lets play baseball tonight! When Rebecca was asking G-S-G Mike about things that made his loop Around The Valley more special, he was quick to add Melissa to his list of neat people and things that makes the VBL stand out. With any luck we will be over at Rebel Park here in just 5 hours.
Winchester Royal alum Kevin Kouzmanoff just went yard to straight away center field with a runner on to give Maddux a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 6TH inning! Way to go Kouz!
Bottom of 6TH- Maddux picks off Brandon Phillips at second base but during the run down the Padres drop the ball allowing Phillips to reach third base. Adam Dunn reaches on a RBI infield single to score the UN-earned run and Bud Black takes Maddux out with a 3-2 lead. Greg's line for the day- 5.1 innings, 7 hits, 4 strike outs, 1 earned run but still responsible for Dunn on 1ST base. Let's go to the Padres bullpen and see how long they can go without blowing the save?
ONE PITCH-ONE PITCH- Are you kidding me?- Clay Meredith threw one pitch and Juan Eccarnacoin blasts a 2-Run Home Run to give the Reds a 4-3 lead. That will make it 14 straight starts without a win (9- no decisions, 5 Losses) for my hero. His string of double figure wins(21 seasons) in a season will most certainly come to an end but when the day is over he is still my guy. 7TH blown save for the pen-not for the team, just for Maddux.
He will be charged with the run Dunn scored so it will read 5.1/2 earned runs/75 pitches-50 strikes...
We will do it again in 5 Days...
OK- 1 more laughable stat- The Friars pen just gave up a Grand Slam to Adam Dunn (29TH) allowing the Reds to take a 9-3 lead.. 6 earned runs in 1 & 1/3 innings... (ERA-near 40.0)