Wednesday, August 20, 2008

2008 Recap #6 : The History of the New Market Rebels

After writing the post about the VBL and the original 6 I went out in search of some history on my own and I found some on the New Market Rebels home site. One of my more interesting conversations during the season came on the night we had the first of two ceremonies down in Waynesboro. Generals skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt brought up the topic of respecting the roots of the VBL and I would be one of the first to admit I have not dug deep into the past of the VBL.

After learning that the league was at only 6 teams as recent as 2000, I turned my attention to the 6 clubs that were in place pre-expansion. I want to share some of what I found out about through this season with Bruce Alger and then the Web site. I was deep into helping out a Rebel Park for my third season when I finally got around to asking Bruce if I was correct in my thinking that the town of New Market owned the Rebels?

The conversation quickly became a modern version of Who's on First as Bruce tried to walk me through the way the team is run. I was amazed at the story and how it sounded a bit like the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. At first I assumed that Bruce owned the club and I came to this based on how much pride that Bruce showed/had every day that there was baseball at Rebel Park.

So, if Bruce didn't own the club and the town didn't own the club than who does own the club?

To find the answer you have to go back to 1947, roughly six decades ago. That is when the club was chartered as a not-for-profit community owned team as has remained such for over 60 years. The gate keepers have changed over the years but the team has remained the same. The current group of Bruce & Lynne Alger, Jim Weissenborn, Jay Hafner and Dave Beaver continue in a long line of leaders from within the community to be responsible for the well being of the towns beloved Rebels.

The story doesn't stop with the handful of above mentioned folks. The Shenandoah Valley Grandstand Managers Club was founded in 1993. I had the privilege to speak to this group at their kick-off banquet along with Austin back before the season started and it made the story start to make sense. The mission of the group is to provide support for all things relating to the Rebels. The current membership is around 125 people that are there with Bruce & Company every step of the way in trying to make every night at Rebel Park a memorable one for all the fans.

My first season helping out with the web casts for the Rebels was a banner year for New Market during the regular season. While the past two seasons haven't been quite as successful on the field they have remained so in the stands. The 2008 Rebels finished with a mark of 16-28 under new skipper Nolan Neiman with a large number (11) of the losses being of the 1 run variety. Both Dale Brannon and Kevin Dietrich returned for their third and final seasons with the Rebels as did the Legend of the Valley- Mo Weber.

My games with the Rebels in 2008:

1.Opening night @ Woodstock - Win 10-7
2.June 4TH- @ Covington- Loss 6-5 in 11 innings
3.June 5TH- @ Front Royal - Win 2-0
4.June 6TH- Home* ATV-60 Tour Stop - Loss 4-3 to Luray (Web-Cast)
5.June 14TH- Home - Washed out vs. H-Burg

6.June 16TH- Home- Loss to Harrisonburg 6-5 (Web)
7.June 18TH- Home- Win 5-0 over Front Royal (Web)
8.June 19TH- @ Luray- Loss 6-5
9.June24TH- Home - Loss to Staunton 8-2 (Web)
10.June 29TH- Home- Win 6-5 over Covington (Web)

11.July 1ST- Home - Win 9-1 over Luray (Web)
12.July 3RD-Home- Loss 4-1 to Waynesboro (Web)
13.July 6TH- ATV-60/Rebels bus ride down to Covington (All-Star Game)
14.July 13TH- Home vs. Winchester - Washed Out
15.July 14TH- Home - Win 6-2 over Winchester (Web)

16.July 16TH- @ Front Royal - Loss 12-5
17.July 18TH- @ Luray - Loss 5-4
18.July 23RD- vs. Front Royal - Washed Out
19.July 25TH-Home vs. Covington win 9-3 (Web)
20.July 26TH- @ Harrisonburg - Win 3-1

20 Nights - 9 Web Casts - 3 Rain Outs - 1 Fun Bus - 3W-4L on road / 5-4-3 at Rebel Park
8-8-3 overall mark....

Highlights- Mo's Birthday Cake/Party, Any night in the Crows Nest and listening to Tacey Hawkins sing the National Anthem before each home game. The energy of Melissa Dodge and the passion of Jay Hafner...

ATV-60 Loopsters (5) - Bruce, Kay Helsey and the Dodge Family (Noah, Melissa & Charlie)
Great coverage from John Galle of the Shenandoah Valley Herald...

Half way thru the team recaps with Waynesboro, Winchester, Fauquier, Front Roayl, Staunton & Luray still to come...

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