Saturday, August 16, 2008

Almost Home- Live from Hotlanta... Maddux vs. Moyer- A pitching duel for the ages

45 Year Old Jamie Moyer and 42 Year Old Greg Maddux turned back the clocks last night at Petco Park with Moyer and the Phils getting the better of the home team by a final score of 1-0.

There wasn't a pitch that registered 85 the entire 7 innings that both veterans tossed before giving way to the bullpens. Maddux went back to the mound at the start of the 8TH inning where Moyer was due to lead off but the lefty was lifted for a pinch hitter. Once the PH was announced skipper Bud Black went out and took the ball from Maddux as well.

Maddux finished his night with 85 pitches and 59 went for strikes as he went after win #354 for the first time. The next "W" Maddux picks up will move him into a tie with Roger Clemens but that will have to wait for another five days...

I was able to take more pics than I will know what to do with and will write about the trip/game once the trip ends and we make it back to the Shenandoah Valley...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greetings from Sunny San Diego...Every 5TH/Sometimes 6TH day...How about NM's Brad Ziegler

I love the old commercial with the guy from the Hair Club where he says I am not just the owner but I am a member too. I mention as often as possible that I check out things John Leonard posts at his site . I use all of the info that appears on the screen and that was never more true than last night...

Back on August 9TH, John posted a story about a young man that had pitched for New Market back in 2000. Brad Ziegler was a Rebel before my time in the Shenandoah Valley so I was UN-aware of his ties to the VBL until I read John's story on his amazing start with the Oakland A's.

Now fast forward to last night here on the West Coast. Our Padres game was a day game so there was plenty of time to watch all of the highlights on ESPN over and over again. You could see the Chi-Sox go yard four straight times on ESPN-News and then there was the diving catch as the lone highlight from our game.

Then they show two clips from the Rays @ A's game up in Oakland. They show a pitch being lined for a RBI base hit by Oakland of Ziegler and the second clip was a Home Run by Carlos Pena to win the game for the Rays in the top of the 12TH inning. They tell you there is more to come on Ziegler and boy they weren't kidding. I must admit that if I had not read the story from John I would of kept flipping channels but I wanted to learn more...

Ziegler gave up an earned run and it warranted a tease on ESPN! Brad had just tied the major league mark for relievers by pitching his 39TH consecutive shut out inning on Thursday by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Ziegler matched the all-time relief record set by Clevland's Al Benton in 1949.You have to go all the way back to Grover Clevland Alexander*** (This just in- he was pretty good!) in 1911 for the overall rookie record of 41 innings.

John had already told us that Ziegler's work had earned him the MLB record for scoreless innings to START a career and he was just getting warmed up. Now that he has allowed 1 run in the majors his ERA jumped from 0.00 all the way to 0.22. I think it is a sign that you have got game when ESPN does a tease because you allowed a single run!

That is the beauty of the work that John does with his site. The Ziegler story is just another one buried in the Sports section for me if I am unaware of his ties to both the VBL and the New Market Rebels...Thanks for keeping me informed!

*** Alexander sits in the #3 spot in the History of MLB with 373 victories... Good Company to be in for the 28 year old rookie!

Circuit Riders - Page News and Courier story

In it's latest edition, the Page News and Courier ran a story entitled "Circuit Riders" about the Around the Valley in 60 Days promotion, as I've mentioned. I know that some of this site's readers aren't able to get the PNC so here are a few pictures of the story. They're not quite clear enough to read but if you want us to buy and save you a copy, let us know! Only $0.50!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

2007 NL Cy Young Winner Jake Peavy looks to be 100% back to form: Padres 3, Brewers 2

By: Scoop Carter
ATV-60 Correspondent

SAN DIEGO- The beginning of the end started for the 2008 Padres when the decision to not re-sign Mike Cameron or Milton Bradley to help the offense. The team instead banked on Jim Edmonds to pick up the offensive slack but he was never healthy before leaving town. The second thing that happened to the Friars was an arm injury to staff Ace and last seasons Cy Young winner Jake Peavy.

Peavy has returned to the rotation and this afternoon the righty quickly became locked into a pitchers duel with the Brewers Ben Sheets. The two starters made quick work of the opposing batters in the first six innings, allowing a TOTAL of three hits between them. Peavy (9-8) fanned 8 Brewers over the seven innings he worked but did allow one run to score in his final inning of work. Milwaukee collected their third and fourth hit of the afternoon with the RBI going to the above mentioned Cameron.

In the past Cameron collecting RBI's during a Peavy start would be a good thing but not anymore. Peavy walked off the mound after 116 pitches of dominating baseball where he allowed 4 singles and 1 earned run. The Friars offense had been limited even more by Sheets as having C.C Sabathia in his rotation seems to agree with the former staff ace. Milwaukee entered the contest having captured the first two games of the series as part of their recent 8 game winning streak.

Sheets (11-6) had limited the home team to just 4 base runners through 6 innings on 1 hit, 2 walks and one error. Sheets was now pitching with a 1-0 lead but one of our favorite Valley Baseball League Alum was due to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

Kevin Kouzmanoff (Winchester 2002/ Nevada) led off the frame with a solid single and he would come around to score as the Padres offense followed his lead. Chase Headley sent a double down the right field line to give San Diego the tying and lead runs in scoring position. Tadahito Iguchi chased Kouz home with a single to left center that took Headley to third base.

Laynce Nix (2008 Brewers debut) made a full extension diving grab on a soft liner hit to left center by pinch hitter Brian Myrow but Headley raced home to give San Diego a 2-1 lead. Peavy was scheduled to hit next and skipper Bud Black was looking for some insurance. Peavy left for the day and Blacks strategy worked as his team plated a third run in the inning when Jody Gerut drove in Iguchi with a RBI single.

The added run would later prove to be much needed as Cameron crushed a home run to left field in the ninth inning off All-Time Saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman settled down to retire the Brewers in the ninth to record his 26TH save on the season. Cameron finished the contest 2 of 4 with 2 RBI's and 1 run scored off Peavy and Hoffman. The decesion not to re-sign Cameron was a costly one but at least for this afternoon, it didn't cost the Friars a much needed "W".

WP- Peavy (9-8)
LP-Sheets (11-6)
SV-Hoffman (26)

NOTES- It would appear that Kouz has made himself a home in San Diego after coming over from the American League. The fans come to life every time the third baseman comes to the plate or anytime his name is mentioned. It has to be cool to here 30,000+ belt out your name as KOOOOOOOOOZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

Greg's older brother Mike Maddux was working with Sheets during his entire pre-game routine. Mike is finishing his fifth season as the Brewers pitching coach after a 15 year career in the Bigs. Mike started 48 games and came in from the pen on 424 occasions during his playing days with Phili, LA (2), San Diego, NY Mets, Pittsburg, Boston, Seattle, Montreal and finally Houston.

Mike went straight into coaching following his retirement in 2000 with the Astros. He went to Double A Round Rock before the end of the 2000 campaign and remained there until joining the Brewers.

1984 Chicago Cubs Draft Pics- Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer

We have to go back to 1984 Cubs Draft Room (1/4 century ago) to talk about the pitching match-up for Philadelphia @ San Diego Friday night... It would appear that someone had done their homework... The Cubs General Manager that season was Dallas Green. Green had two first round picks that year and selected Drew Hall and Damon Berryhill (4TH overall)

The second round pick for the Cubs was a young pitcher from ValleyHigh School in Las Vegas, Nevada that most scouts stumbled across when looking at his older brother Mike. Greg Maddux was drafted in the second round and he managed to make his MLB debut on my birthday in 1986. I was turning 23 that day and I noticed this 20 year old rookie pitching for the Cubs. The story just developed from there. Older brother Mike is still wearing a big league uniform as well- as the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The sixth round draft pick that day for the Cubs was a pitcher from St.Joseph's named Jamie Moyer. Yes, that Jamie Moyer. Moyer was 3+ years older than Maddux after his college days as a Hawk. The crafty left hander is still going strong (10-7 3.81 ERA) and has managed to compile a career mark of 240-185. Moyer has done this while being the only pitcher left in the Bigs that makes Maddux look like a power pitcher. Moyer is approaching his 46TH birthday and the fact that he still gets big league hitters out is simply NUTS!

While Greg started out as Mike's little brother, Jamie married into fame. Mrs. Moyer is the daughter of Notre Dame/ESPN's Digger Phelps. I was watching Moyer pitch for years when both of us were in Seattle and you couldn't pull for a nicer person. These two will take 593 MLB wins and 87 years of age and it is a safe bet 87 will be the highest number in play tomorrow night at Petco....

Both veterans are listed as 6'0 185 pounds...

It really should be a Game for the Ages!

Every 5TH Day with Greg Maddux : From A Different Point of View (Live)

Greetings From San Diego:

When I last watched Greg Maddux pitch (Last Saturday Night) it was at home on this very computer with the help of Maddux captured his third straight win after going 14 straight starts (5-L,9-ND) without one. His latest win put him on the door step of some more baseball history.

The total is now 353 wins and the next name on the All-Time wins is Roger Clemens at 354. The Rocket (#8 overall) is the final pitcher in Greg's era to be listed above him in MLB victories.
Warren Spahn (Spahn and(Johnny) Sain and pray for rain) is the only other pitcher left on the list that pitched during my lifetime. Spahn pitched until he was 47 back in 1967 and that is when he recorded win #363. I was four years old at the time that Spahn hung up his spikes so my knowledge of his career comes from reading about it. I do know that Spahn won 20 or more games in 13 different seasons!

Clemens on the other hand- I was fortunate enough to meet Roger outside old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore when he was still with the Red Sox's and both of us where a great deal younger. The numbers that Clemens put together over 20+ seasons have been pretty amazing despite the recent legal and moral issues that have surfaced. The list of pitchers that could be considered the best of their/my generation are incredibly limited. Clemens power vs. Maddux ability to locate is a classic contest of contrasting styles.

The tote board is still in Clemens favor at 354-353 as the 7 blown saves on Maddux's behalf this season has turned his pursuit of Kid Nichols (361) into a wait until next year. The Phillies are coming to town Friday night to open a series at Petco Park and when they do, Maddux (6W-8L-11 No Decisions) will take his first run at win #354! I am fortunate enough to be in a position to get to watch the event from behind the Padres dugout.

I don't know if my baseball hero will be successful in his first attempt at catching Mr. Clemens but I know that he will have his day in the sun before too long. Speaking of days in the sun- Kevin Kouzmanoff (Winchester Royals) will be on the field today when Jake Peavy throws today(12:35 PM) for the Friars against the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers. Kouz is one of my favorite VBL alum and I am looking forward to watching him play the next two days.

We brought the camera so that we can take plenty of pics of both San Diego and Petco Park over the next 48 hours. We will get to see both a Day game and a Night game at the ball yard plus a little of one of my favorite cities in the US...

Spahn was from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and that should sound familiar to VBL/Wrangler fans as it is the home of Drew Rucinski (Ohio State). Rucinski was one of the pitching stars of the 2008 VBL champs...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ATV-60 Team Recaps: Harrisonburg Turks (Turks Nation)

Harrisonburg Turks
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Stadium- Memorial Stadium
Owners- Bob & Teresa Wease
2008 Record 19-25 regular season / 1-2 Post Season (Tie 5TH in playoffs)
Highlight- (1)The Turks were the only VBL team to defeat the Luray Wranglers in the post season . (2) Captured the coffee mugs award for most Loopsters

The Turks Nation played a huge role in our Summer long 2008 Around The Valley in 60 Days promotion! Let's start out with the 18 Turkloopsters that finished the trek and then you have to mix in Mrs. Teresa Wease. I don't know if it would be possible to have one lady that I didn't know coming into this project, have such a remarkable effect on the outcome.
Not only did the Turks capture the team Spirit competition but every time that I needed to hear some kind words at the end of a long day, Mrs. Turks was always there to cheer our effort forward. There was just one area that I let the Turks nation down. When I went through my team notes to prepare for this story I noticed a bad trend...
I visited Memorial Stadium on six nights that involved seven games and then I was with them on the road a total of 11 nights. 18 of their 47 games were played with me in the park but my Turks won/lost/rain record left a little to be desired.
The home games:

6/7- Turks lost to Haymarket 4-1
6/25-Turks lost to Luray 4-0
7/7- Turks couldn't play Fauquier due to rain
7/13- Turks couldn't play Covington due to long rain delay
7/21- Turks split a double header against Fauquier- Win 4-3/ Loss 2-6
7/26- Turks lost to New Market 3-1

With me in the park @ Memorial- 1win / 4 losses / 2 rain outs

On the road was even scarier for the Turks when I was around:

6/1- Lost 16-4 @ Waynesboro
6/5-Lost 8-1 @ Winchester
6/9-Lost3-1 @ Staunton
6/12- Lost 5-3 @ Luray
6/14- Another Rain Out @ New Market
6/16-WIN 6-5 @ New Market
7/10-Lost 6-1 @ Luray
7/19-Lost 4-1 @ Haymarket
7/25-Lost 5-3 @ Winchester
7/29-WIN 7-2 @ Luray (Playoffs)
7/31-Lost 4-3 @ Luray (Playoffs)

Road record with me in the crowd 2-8-1
Overall mark at games I attended 3-12-3

The Turks were 17-15 when I wasn't there to jinx their efforts.... But seriously, the way my family was treated each and every time by Bob & Teresa and their fans made the summer so much more memorable....

I don't know yet where the Turks will be playing in 2009 but I know that their die-hard fans will be there to cheer them on all season long....

Thanks for everything that was done by the Turks Nation on behalf of Around The Valley in 60 Days!

Greetings from Salt Lake City!

Hi there, hello there, and how do you do? We're sitting here in the beautiful Salt Lake City International Airport on our way to San Diego (named after Saint Didacus of Alcalá, meaning "Saint James" in English).

I took the liberty (I've become accustomed to having the camera with me at all times, now... it'll be a tough habit to break at school, I'm sure) of snapping off a few photos on the plane ride here. Some of them aren't my best but I hope they help you appreciate just a bit of the beauty it took this flight to help me realize.

A picture from my seat on the airplane. Yeah, the 'rents sat me in scene aisle 40. Thanks, guys!

A picture of Dulles' mobile lounge. That lovely piece of machinery got us to B74 in no time!

I miss the money shot of her doing a little dance just a few seconds before. I'm sorry, my photographic senses tingled just a tad too late.

Ahh suburbia. It's beautiful even from above, isn't it?

I have this thing for cloud formations. I think they're sweet! They make me feel like I could climb and jump on them - like my own mid-air moon bounce.

Some scenery. Looks just a bit scary with the cloud shadows on it, doesn't it?

I got the distinct impression that I was looking at the spinal chord of nature here...

Aha, signs of humanity! Those little toothpick looking things are glorified windmills.

Check out the meanders on that river! Makes me think it should spell "Zoom" like on those Mazda commercials.

Not "the" lake, but it's close cousin and still beautiful with the sun reflecting off of it!

Just the edge of the lake and some of the nearby (very small compared to those coming up in photos, but still majestic) mountains.

So pretty!

A good shot across the lake. You just can't capture in a photo the beauty and general hugeness of it!

How would you like to drive across that, in the middle of one of the most fruitful ecosystems in the world - I read a book in high school about how this area is one of the biggest bird and animal refuges in the world.

Is it me or do these mountains just seem to come out of nowhere? This is just 1 minute in the air past the lake!

Almost looks like a painting, doesn't it?
The way the mountains melt away so quickly into cities...

My favorite shot of the whole ride. Beautiful!

Page News & Courier: Story hits the streets on 8/13/08

I am not sure if it will be one of the stories that makes it on line or not but the feature that Bill Meade just finished on Around The Valley in 60 Days came out in this weeks paper.

Bill managed to talk with Sheli Rush and her family as well as Buck & Jacob Smith in addition to the Buckley family here in Luray. We will check later to see if it makes the on line cut and if it does not we will find a way to post the story from our side...

Thanks to each of the Loopsters that contributed to the story and to Bill for writing it...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Team Recaps : ATV-60 Notes: Covington Lumberjacks

Covington Lumberjacks
Home Park : Casey Field
Covington, Virginia
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.

Monday, August 11, 2008

For the Last Time: Your Luray Wranglers

After many, many technical difficulties on this one, I can finally present this video to you! This is the last time the 2008 Luray Wranglers were announced - right after the third game against Covington to secure the title. Enjoy!

When is it time to stop writing about the VBL ? I'm not smart enough to figure that one out...

Having serious fun with John Leonard and a All Things Valley League reader by the name of Doug. The post season awards have been handed out and as it is with any set of awards- Fun to debate! The biggest thing for me though is that it keeps the VBL in sight and that is/was the main purpose for Around The Valley in 60 Days.

The VBL is an amazing league, full of talented players, skilled managers and dedicated fans but it lacks in getting the word out. I check each day to see how many people are still checking in at our site and then I get caught up on everything that John has posted over at . The area newspapers shut down the coverage of the VBL and each of the 12 (Yes-Lexington) clubs are in their 2 weeks shut down mode as they scatter to various points of the country to try and catch their breath.

The off-season has become so small that it has turned into a battery recharging time versus a serious break in the action. The other night down in Staunton, Boyd Snyder (Braves Owner) asked Rebecca if she was ready for the season to be over? He went on to tell her that if she answered no, then she hadn't been working hard enough. I honestly don't know what happens next as far as we are concerned but I can say that the NEED to spread the word about the VBL is as great now as it has ever been.

There are so many options for the college players to look at with new leagues that pop-up all over the country. I don't think we can be arrogant enough to believe that all we have to do is show-up and the best players from all over the country will beg to play in our parks. Folks like Bruce Alger in New Market, Bill Turner in Luray and Stu Richardson in Woodstock all know the amount of work that has to be put in for their teams and their towns to be a success in 2009 but someone has to be watching out for the VBL itself...

We will continue to search out all that is good within the VBL and do our best to continue to share the info with the folks still reading. At the same time, we remind all of those with ties to the VBL that they are welcome to share their stories with us as well.

As Tom B. of Motel 6 radio/TV fame would say- "We'll leave the light on for you!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our 1ST look at 1 Completed Jacket...

Sabrena was in town for her 23RD Birthday so we asked Daniel to finish the first jacket. Sabrena will be taking mine and we wanted to be able to show one of them off. The view from the front displays to zipper and the matching logos.
This one shows her hands in the pockets
This one shows you the hoodie
The ATV-60 Logo on the back...

Daniel says: Wash in Cold Only and do not put in Dryer...
He looks kinda scary...
Her Birthday surprise...
Think it made her smile...
Vanna White pose...Can I buy a Vowel?
Daniel has them all and will be hard at work all week long!

If the VBL was yours for a day or two- What would you do?

I wanted to have some fun with a little participation if there are folks still out there. It is an age old question that many an athlete or fan has been asked- If you were in charge of the VBL for a day:

What changes would you make (Remember you are limited to how much money something can cost)

I will toss out a couple of my own first-

1. Separate out the MVP award from the pitching. The only cost would be for one more plaque at seasons end.
2. Cut a deal with the Northern Virginia Daily & the Staunton News-Leader where one of the two newspapers would step up and cover the Championship Series even if none of the six combined teams they cover are playing. We can't afford to have ANY games being played in the Lineweaver Cup not be available on line...

Please send your thoughts in by post or e-mail....