I started out my thoughts on Waynesboro by comparing a game at Kate Collins to a family gathering. Along the same lines I would say that a night at Gypsy Hill Park reminds me of my time watching a ton of Class A minor league baseball. We spent 10 years out in the Greater Seattle area and during this time many a night was spent in the minor league parks around the state. From Spokane to Yakima to Everett, watching minor league baseball is a treat if you are in a ball park where the focus is on mixing fun and baseball.
Enter my first trip down to the "Park" when I was stopping by to drop off the 2008 Passports. I met with Kay and Boyd that afternoon and Steve Cox was in the park as well. The season hadn't even started yet and this amazing lady was already multi-tasking in a way that made me smile. When I was out in Seattle and Portland for those years I was managing for the New York Times. Our building were open for 90 minutes each night and during that time I had to be able to conduct business with 40+ people. It was during this time that I learned the art of multi-tasking.
I consider myself pretty skilled at this, well I did until that day I spent a hour or so with Mrs. Snyder. Kay jumped from one issue to the next without missing a step and it involved a number of people and a number of issues. I left there thinking if she works this hard at 1:00 PM before the season starts what will game night be like? I found out the answer to that question during my first stop at Gypsy Hill...
I have tried to describe the situation down in Staunton to a number of folks before they made their first trip down to the stadium. You have to see 1,000+ people sitting within 30 feet of the fence all around the ball park to appreciate it. Kay & Boyd, with a great deal of help from Steve Cox and their entire staff really have created an environment that resembles a Class A minor league ball park.
The amount of fan give-a-ways each night and the variety of food to choose from are just a few of the touches that make it stick out. The huge paved parking lot and the ample seating for the visiting team make it fan friendly for everyone that makes the trip to the park. On top of everything that sticks out about the Braves there are two notes I have to add myself...
1. Kay doesn't rest on the teams laurels for one second. The amount of time, effort and energy that this lady puts into her ball team is amazing. Sometimes I think Staunton fights the perception that she UN-locks the gate and folks from the Greater Augusta County area just drive through the park and throws out bags of money. The good fortune that the Braves have right now comes from a great deal of elbow grease...
2. Boyd has the perfect understanding of the spirit of the VBL. Yes- I am going to call it perfect because we agree on it. In between the lines the clubs should fight the good fight to win the contest being played that night but outside of the lines the clubs should be watching out for each other...
My paths crossed the Braves a few times during their 2008 season:
1. June 9TH- ATV-60 Tour Stop - Home - Win 3-1 over Harrisonburg
2.June 10TH- ATV-60 Tour Stop-Away - Loss 6-3 @ Luray
3.June 22ND- Home - Loss 2-1 vs. Luray
4.June 24TH- Away - Win 8-2 @ New Market
5.June 28TH- Away (DH) @ Fauquier - Losses 10-2 & 4-2 (Kenny & Ellen Grant finish)
6.July 5TH - Home - Ceremony for the Grants - Loss 11-5 to Luray
7.July 17TH-Away - Loss 19-5 @ Luray
8.July 23RD- Away-Loss 8-4 @ Waynesboro
9.August 1ST- Playoffs - Away Loss 6-3
10. August 2ND- Playoffs - Home - Loss 6-5
4 trips to Staunton - 1-3
6/7 road games- 1-6
Overall 2-9... I didn't help out much here...
Make sure you head down to catch a Braves game in 2009!