Home Park : Casey Field
2008 Record- 27W 24L (Runner Up)
First Season in VBL : 8TH (2001)
Championships : 2005
Ownership Group- Dizzy Garten, Gary Whitehead, Jason Helmintoller, Mark Pifer
I wanted to take a look at the 12 VBL clubs from our experiences this summer. I figured a good place to start was with the Covington Lumberjacks. The Jacks are coming off a runner-up finish in the 2008 VBL season after finishing sixth overall.
Our adventure took us down to Covington on five separate occasions and our paths crossed a total of 14 times over the season. During the owners meeting the Lumberjacks rotated through so while I knew each of them I didn't know any of them all that well. That changed over the 14 nights that we were in the same ball park...
Trip 1- Down to Covington (Tuesday May 27TH)- Head down to give Dizzy his box of passports and was able to spend a few minutes with the principal owner at the Car Dealership he works at. First impressions go a long way and this young man seemed very personable. I would be able to find out just how much so 8 days later.
Trip 2-Day 5 of the 11 straight visits to parks took us down to Casey Field for a battle between New Market and the host Lumberjacks. As it turns out we watched the only game that was played that night in the VBL due to the weather. Rain washed out the other 4 contests but other than the tornado warnings we were in good shape. I joke about the two things that you worry about when you go down to Covington- Rain outs & Extra Innings.
We stayed dry but we did play 11 innings of baseball with Covington pulling the game out in the bottom of the 11TH by a score of 6-5. I met Mr. & Mrs. Jim Birmingham that made the trip down from Pine Hill,N.J to see their son pitch for the Rebels. I was also fortunate enough to get to spend some quality time with Dizzy and B00 B00 (Gary). Their hospitality to myself and Rebecca was as good as we received all season and Casey Field reminded me so much of watching a baseball game in Mayberry. The coolest thing there was the "Best Seat in the House" promotion that a local furniture helps out with.
We thanked everyone for all of their kindness and as we headed out we let them know that we would be back for the All-Star game if not sooner.
Trip #3- Saturday July 5TH- On the eve of the All-Star game, Linda and my brother Wayne joined me and the puppy in watching the twin bill between Fauquier and Covington. They had some of the All-Star game prep work done already and when I asked how ready were they?- "As ready as we are going to get", was the reply. Skipper Andy Challot had his team ready as they swept a double header from the Gators by scores of 6-4 & 10-5
Trip #4- Sunday July 6TH- We made the trip down on the ATV-60/ Bruce Alger fun bus and while we didn't have the number of fans I had hoped for, we made up for the quantity with quality. The weather was a factor the entire day but it only delayed the process once and that was during the pre-game ceremonies. The day was full of visiting and picture taking for the site.
The Jacks owners did a great job of putting their local flavor on the event which included a live band playing out in Center field. The take home gift of the day for the players and officials was a cool looking silver money clip. Buck Harman had a hand in the hats and t-shirts that were made available to the fans. The weather might of kept a few folks from coming to the park but it didn't keep the Jacks from doing a superb job of hosting the event which ended in a 5-5 tie.
Trip #5- Monday August 4TH- We made it back down to Casey Field for game 2 of the VBL finals between Luray and the Lumberjacks. Luray would eventually win the game by a final score of 10-5 but once again we were made to feel right at home down there. The secret to enjoying the trip to Covington is very simple- Don't be in a Hurry getting there and once you arrive just sit back and relax. If you haven't made the trip down I-64 yet, Covington is a must see...
On the Road with the Jacks:
June 11TH- Lost 7-2 @ Luray
June 13TH-Won 5-3 @Woodstock
June 29TH-Lost 5-4 @ New Market
July 8TH -Lost 9-2 @ Waynesboro
July 9TH -Lost 16-1@ Luray
July 13TH -Long rain out sitting in Harrisonburg
July 25TH -Lost 9-3 @ New Market
August 3RD- Loss Game #1 of VBL Finals 3-0 @ Luray
August 5TH- Loss Game #3 of VBL Finals 4-0 @ Luray (Road record 1-7-1)
This group of local business men that own the Lumberjacks are quite a group but I must say that my lasting memory of the Jacks for 2008 will be the amount of class shown by Mark during and after the Game 3 loss at Luray. I have always said it is easy to look good when you win but it is a bit tougher to do when the outcome isn't the one you were hoping for. Mark made me proud to be affiliated with his club and the VBL all season but that night in particular...
Thanks for welcoming us into your park all season long and Congrats on finishing with the runner-up trophy.