The summer is about to draw to a close and I continue to search for the perfect formula behind a VBL team. The nights I work in the box at Luray I spend most of my time discussing life and baseball with Mr. Seth McGuffin. Seth is the track coach over at Eastern Mennonite University and has been with Bill Turner and the Wranglers for a number of years and I am finishing my second year sharing our work space.
Seth has experienced a great deal in life and the two of us often talk about the ideal situations for VBL baseball. We are going to branch out next year and expand the VBL to 14 teams and he will have a team at EMU (insert name here) and I will have mine, say Massanutten, yeah that's the ticket- The Massanutten Mountaineers and we try and make every home game like a trip to Disney! Just need a few donations, do Seth and I- maybe $150,000 each to get through the first couple of seasons.
Everyone affiliated with the VBL is qualified to be an armchair quarterback and the two of us are no different but life is simpler when you are spending someone else's money. I read from a script each night with a fair amount of ad-libbing and I try and study everything I talk about. I wanted to go to Busch Gardens and ride EVERY ride. If you are going to ask the folks to look out to the outfield wall and support the sponsors who have their banners hanging-been able to do that (Sponsor) for a second season...
We thank our host families most every night in the program and celebrate them once a season and say "We couldn't do it without you"... Don't know how true that is until you have lived it and we have in 2007 with Wayne Dowling and 2008 with Clay Kelly.
We thank the folks that give of their time to take/sell tickets, make or sell food, clean-up or in our case work the press box. I know know that some parks are set-up differently but I am proud to say that in both New Market and Luray my efforts are all in a volunteer manner, Except the six figures they pay that Tony Mowat guy...
I study the script, I listen to Bruce Alger, Brian at Kate Collins and my good friend Roger Wilkins over at Woodstock to see who they are thanking for their help. At Luray we have this little line that we read late in the game that says-"Thanks to____________ for feeding the team after tonight's game. If ever you could expand on just 1 line, I know that each team does the feeding of the team in a different manner. New Market has a nice pavilion that they are expanding to feed the team after the game and different folks bring the food. Luray does it's best to have a meal prepared for the team after every home game.
That is where the adventure takes us tonight. We will be hosting the post game meal after the Wranglers host the Braves in round two opener at Bulldog Field. Before tonight that one line was a line and you knew it was important but it takes getting involved in it to really appreciate the time, energy and effort that a person, family or organization puts into one night.
You have to start with the basics-
How many will be attending? Best guess is to plan for somewhere in the area of 40
When will the meal take place?-
This becomes a real life version of Who's on First.
There is where it gets interesting because it goes something like this.
The game starts at 7:30 unless it rains.
What if it rains? Well we wait around until it stops and then we play.
How long is a game? Well the game is 9 innings unless it is tied. If it is tied, we will play until someone wins.
How long after the possibly rained delayed, extra inning affair will the team be ready to eat?
Did I mention that 9 innings could take 2 hours or it could take 3 and 1/2 hours...
Are you avoiding the last question?
Each coach has a team meeting with his players after the game and then they have certain chores they have to perform to get the field back ready for play...
What about the grounds crew, don't they handle the part of getting the field ready?
You haven't been paying attention, have you? The players are the Grounds Crew...
Now you are just making my head hurt- just sum it up and get it over with...
Make enough food for 40+ people and have the flexibility to have it ready somewhere between 10:00 PM and Midnight and then adjust to the fact whether or not they won the game that night!
God Bless all the folks that have prepared a Meal for one of the 11 VBL baseball teams this season!