Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kudos to Cards,Bandits,Turks,Rebels & Senators

The latest round of web page hits show that five of the clubs have added links or stories about Around The Valley to their team web pages. A special thanks go out to Donna (Front Royal), Bruce (New Market), Stu (Woodstock), Teresa (H'Burg) and the team effort coming out of Haymarket!
Thanks so much for taking the time and effort. I encourage all Valley fans to check out their teams web site!

Time to say THANKS for the support !

The list of people who have helped pave the way in getting the idea of Around The
Valley in 60 Days is growing so I felt it was time to stop and update the list!

My Daughters-Sabrena and Rebecca for their hours of work on the design and lay-out side of things. This is finals time at UVA so Rebecca has taken a break from updating
the Web Pages but will be back at it soon!

Dan Simpson- Washington Post Circulation Manager- Dan leads the team at the Post that
is responsible for the majority of work I do at Crystal Clear Delivery.

Mike Petre & Chuck McGill- The two most recent Sports Editors from the Northern Virginia Daily that gave me the opportunity to cover the league the past two seasons.

Randy Arrington- Editor of Page News and Courier and responsible for Shenandoah Valley Herald as well. Randy was there from the beginning when the idea was little more than scribbled on a napkin. His Sports editors Bill Meade (Page) and John Galle (Shenandoah) have both been great to work with and John will be out there opening night at Woodstock.

John Leonard- All Things Valley League- A true diamond in the rough! John puts so much time and effort into all of his work that it makes you wonder when he sleeps. I
am looking forward to spending the summer working with John!

Chris Graham- Augusta Free Press / Sports Dominion- Chris took time out of his busy
schedule to spend it with me and I believe he will be out there at some point during our tour.

Mike Barber- Daily News Record- Mike is a baseball junkie and I enjoyed getting to visit with him and look forward to doing it again during our stop in H'Burg.Assist
goes to Teresa of the Turks!

Bruce Alger, Dallas Alkire and Tony Mowat- The Rebels broadcasting crew adobted me early during that first season and have treated me like family ever since.

Mike Phillips- Circulation Manager at the Northern Virginia Daily... Mike is a hard working guy that been there in the past and should be there opening night as well.

John LLoyd- Circulation- USA Today- John has always provided us with plenty of goodies to give away at our events.

Bill Turner of BTI- Owner of the Wranglers for sharing the cost of the Daytimers at the kick-off event and allowing me the opportunity to speak with his board of directors to inform them of the idea.

Dave Biery- President of the Valley League- Dave presented me with the forum to discuss the idea with the league's 11 owners.

Chili's and Major League Baseball- For their sponsorship of the Valley league.

I hope to add Mike Schikman to the list soon as John Leonard and I are trying to nail
down plans to visit with him on his radio program. Again assist goes to Teresa..

My wife for her support and Greg Maddux for being my Baseball hero!

There is still plenty of room on the Bandwagon......

Thanks to All !!!!

Taking the Bus with dedicated driver Bruce Alger

One of the news stories coming out of New Market at the dinner was that the Rebels had just aquired a team bus for the 2008 season and Bruce and company took it out for a joy ride earlier in the week! There was nothing on the police blotter about the incident so all is well. One of the hot topics heading into the summer is which way the rising gasoline prices will effect Valley attendance.

Some of the people in the mix think the glass is half full and others half empty.Yes things will get pricey but some families will look for events closer to home versus traveling out of state for vacations. When the trip to Covington came up and the costs that come with it I made a deal with Bruce.

If he would make the bus available and drive it (little hat-optional), I would ride in the front seat and cover the cost of the gas for a trip to the All-Star game.

Bruce shook on it so I think we have a deal so the fans that want to load up for the journey to Covington should contact Mr.Alger!

Stu Richardson and the Woodstock River Bandits

Bruce Alger and the New Market Rebels weren't the only Valley League team busy in
Shenandoah County this week. Mr. Stu Richardson and his hard working staff took to the links at Shenvalee Resort for their 5th annual River Bandits Tournament. We sponsored a hole at the event and showed up this past Sunday morning to offer support if needed to Stu and company. Stu has been great to work with and has dedicated his front page of the River Bandit Web site to our efforts so anything I can do to help his efforts will get done.

My golf clubs never left the trunk as all 60 players took to the course for a day of fun and I was priviliged to meet both Mrs. Richardson and local legend Mr.Jerry Walters! I asked the senior Walters, now your Jeff's Dad right?

Stu and Jerry ran the event like they run their organization- first rate! Check out their web site for tourney results. Wrangler skipper Mike Bocock and his son were among the golfers helping pave the way to a successful day for all!

Keep up the great work fellas!

Spending an evening with a CLASS ACT !

Last night gave me a rare opportunity to speak to a group of people with so much in common. Bruce Alger, the General Manager of the New Market Rebels, asked me if I would be one of the guest speakers at the teams 2008 Preseason Dinner.The only sad part was Bruce asked me to try and limit my talk to 10-12 minutes.

It is rare I can talk baseball, let alone my love for Valley Baseball and limit it to 10-12 minutes but I promised Bruce I would give it my best shot.My wife Linda and I sat at a reserved table with John Leonard,Rebel intern Katie Getz and a very friendly family of four(Gisriel). Mr. Austin Gisriel was there to speak as well and he was joined by his wife and daughter along with her boyfriend.

Austin is writing a lenghty article on the Valley League for Virginia Living and was a treat to get to trade stories with. Mr. Leonard, the keeper of the World's Finest Blog (All Things Valley League) is always enjoyable company as we share a true love for the game and the league.

The remainder of the gathering caught a break when our table spent the entire 7-8 dinner hour talking back and forth as if we were life long friends! Austin took the stage around 8:10 and shared a wonderful story about how his path has led him to New Market time and time again. I can't wait to read his article or John's recap of the evening for that matter. With no school to teach tomorrow I am sure John will be typing away on his site to tell all of the events of the evening.

I spent almost half of my time talking about the love and respect I have for Mr. Alger and his efforts to give so much of his time to promote the game that both him and I love so much. The balance of the time was spent talking about Around The Valley in 60 Days and the back ground on the idea. Bruce is all that is right with Valley League Baseball and I consider it an honor to share the floor with him on such a neat occasion.

The highlight of the night came when another friend of the promotion took the podium. League President Dave Biery presented an award that almost created the UN-thinkable. At the last owners meeting Bruce has presented the idea of naming the league Manager of the Year award in honor of Maynard "Mo" Weber.

Wrangler Manager Mike BoCock said it best last year on the night we celebrated Mo's
84th Birthday when he said "Mo is what makes the Valley League the Valley League."
Mo and I could both talk until no one would be left to listen but tonight was a little different. Mo was so moved by the honor that for the first time in my 3 years of knowing him, struggled for words to describe how moved he was by the award!

After Austin and I were done speaking and Bruce tied up some loose ends of business,Mo regained his composure and was back to being the Mo we all love so much.

The special event was held at the Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in New Market.The Grandstand Managers Club of New Market (16Th season supporting the Rebels) did a fantastic job hosting the event and a great time was had by all fortunate enough to attend!

Greg Maddux and an exciting trip to Phili!

During my conversation with Mike Barber of the DNR I mentioned that how big of a Greg Maddux fan I am (349 wins and counting).After mentioning that I make the trip to see him pitch anytime he is on the East Coast, the subject of the new stadium in Phili came up. Maddux was due to pitch the series opener against the Phils on Tuesday April 29th and I was planning on making the trip north.

Mike mentioned to me that Citizens Bank Park was a keeper and that I would enjoy the park as well as the game. The old Vet was all that was wrong with the parks of the 70's and 80's and the new one was a treat to see a game in. While Maddux came out in the 7th inning down 2-1 and didn't get #350, Mike was on the money with his description of the beauty of the park!If you are looking for a day trip to see your favorite National League team (assuming you will see the Nats new digs too, make the trip to the city of Brotherly Love.

The quest to become the ninth pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball resumes this Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. when Maddux takes the hill in South Florida against the surprising Marlins... Good Luck Mr. Maddux !

Mr. Mike Barber of Daily News Record (Harrisonburg)

Things are beginning to pick up steam with Around The Valley in 60 Days and Wednesday April 23rd offered an opportunity to visit with a fountain of baseball knowledge, Mr. Mike Barber.

Thanks to some help from Teresa Wease of the home town Harrisonburg Turks, Mike contacted me to ask some back ground questions. On the sports staff of the Daily News Record,Barber has spent a lifetime following the greatest game ever played!

We spent a little over 30 minutes talking about a wide range of topics including where the idea of Around The Valley originated.I couldn't of asked someone to be any more pleasant than Mike was during our conversation and I look forward to speaking with him on our trip down to Harrisonburg!

Mrs.Wease followed up by posting the article from the April 24th edition of the DNR
on her team web site and her efforts to support "our project" have been first rate from the beginning.

The baseball trail for Mr.Barber included a stay in the offices of MLB and anyone
that has the time to talk with a baseball fan like him should jump at the chance!!!