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Showing posts from August 17, 2008

Season Recap #12- The Luray Wranglers : This could take a while...

It is going to be difficult to separate out my own thoughts about this one and the actual team itself but I will give it a try. As we know the Wranglers capped off a 37-15 season by claiming their second Jim Lineweaver Cup with a 3-0 sweep over Covington . The Wranglers played 52 games between May 31ST and August 5TH with two of the games being played on the same night over in Fauquier . A total of 52 games in 51 nights plus an exhibition game vs. Vienna so we will call it 53/52 with 29 games taking place at Bulldog Field. I missed the first 3 home games due to the Around The Valley tour stops but managed to handle the PA duties for the following 26 home games including all 7 VBL playoff games. On the road I managed to go 12 up and 12 down as many a night I was over at New Market working the web when the Wranglers were away from home. 38 nights during a 67 night season I watched the Wranglers take on the remainder of the VBL and there are too, too many stories to try an

Season Recap #11 - The Fauquier Gators: A man on a mission

That man is Cecil Campbell and I admire his efforts and determination to make sure he keeps the dream alive. The year was 2000 and Cecil teamed up with two other gentleman, Steve Athey and Sam Johnson to form the Warrenton Fauquier Community Baseball. The group suffered a very personal loss with the UN -timely passing of Steve Athey a few years ago. Cecil joined forces with the Athey family in their efforts to continue to give back to the town and community they live in. The Fauquier Gators are just the most visible part of their efforts to help the youth of Warrenton and Fauquier County prepare for the future. Education through Sports is the message of the day for the group and they don't veer from the path. The club started play in the Clark Griffith League before making the move to the VBL back prior to the 2007 campaign. I must admit that I didn't know the story until I started looking closer at the Gators Web Site. I had a chance to visit with Cecil again earlie

2008 Recap #10: Front Royal Cardinals - A season of transition

The folks in Haymarket were not the only group to be completing their first full season running a club in the VBL . The 2008 season was the first full year at the helm for Donna Settle, Greg Brill and Company up at the Bing. The new ownership group took over towards the end of the 2007 campaign and then went to work on the 2008 campaign. Any conversation about Front Royal MUST begin with the facilities as Bing Crosby Stadium truly is a state of the art facility. The recent make over of the "Bing" was an incredible success for both the town of Front Royal and the folks of Warren County. A must see for a VBL fan that enjoys a different look. The day we picked up Wayne Dowling from the airport least season we stopped at the Bing on the way back to Luray to show him the place. I was quick to mention that not all of them are like this... Skipper Bob Brotherton was back for another season running the club on the field. Bob is always a great conversation and thi

2008 Recap #9- The Staunton Braves - Kay, Boyd & Steve hard at work...

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

2008 Recap # 8 - The Waynesboro Generals- Take your shoes off and stay a while

On the diamond the Waynesboro Generals continued to find a great deal of success in the Summer of 2008. For the third year running Jim Critzer's ball club finished the regular season with a pennant and the team had a number of players named to the All-League team. Skipper Lawrence "Big Picture" Nesselrodt captured another Manager of the Year Award but this time it was named the "Mo Weber" Award as a fitting tribute to the Legend of the Valley. The playoffs didn't go the way the Generals had hoped but I don't think it will take away from the season of fun the group had down at Kate Collins Field. *** I hear that today is a pretty big day for the Skipper! Congrats on that... The atmosphere down at Kate Collins is like no other in the VBL . In search of a catch phrase or a word to sum it up I came up with "Relaxed". I don't know if this was by design or if it just turned out that way but I would compare going to a Generals game to

The 2008 Summer baseball season has come and gone so now we can ask how good was the #4 team in the country? Bill Turner and his Luray Wranglers

It is time to examine just how big of a deal it is for the town of Luray and the VBL to have the Wranglers finish the final Perfect Game Crosschecker Poll ( PGCrosschecker ) listed as the #4 team in the country. For the average fan of the VBL they recognize that Luray defeated the Covington Lumberjacks 3-0 in the finals to capture the Jim Lineweaver Cup for the second time in three years but the 2008 success goes well beyond that for Bill Turner's club. The Wranglers and the VBL are part of a group known as the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball ( NACSB ). There are 8 leagues that compete under this banner each summer and I am going to take a second and list each league and the current numbers of teams in them... NACSB : Valley Baseball League - 12 teams Cape Cod Baseball League - 10 teams Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League - 11 teams Central Illinois Collegiate League- 6 teams Atlantic Collegiate League - 8 teams Southern Collegiate Baseball League- 7 teams

2008 Recap #7 - The Winchester Royals- Got Crowns?

A question/ topic of conversation that came up on a regular basis this summer was in relationship to the various parks and ownership groups. Each time I traveled to a VBL park this season I went in searching for things I would bring to my own park if I had a team. This is what I remember most about the Winchester Royals for 2008. The summer was full of on the field highlights with Mickey Wiswall and Tyler Townsend but I tend to leave the on the field fun to those that can only share gamers with their readers. I want to talk about what makes going to a ball game a treat. I joke a great deal about Winchester (23,585) being the big city and that is only because the population equals that of Warrenton , Luray , New Market, Covington and Woodstock combined. But that is the beauty of watching a baseball game at Bridgeforth Field on a summer night. The entire organization, from Jim Shipp on down is locked in to making folks feel right at home when you come to the park. Yes, Winchester

PG Crosschecker Final #'s are in... Luray ends summer as #4 and Waynesboro as #20 ! Congrats to Wranglers & Generals

I just went over to take a look at the final PGCrosschecker and the Luray Wranglers dropped from 3RD to 4TH in the final poll and Waynesboro moved up from #22 to #20. Having two teams finish in the top 20 in the country goes a long way in giving the 2008 VBL season some nationwide credibility. The poll lists a couple of key facts about the club and this weeks players were Travis Smink ( VMI ) and Alex Wimmers (Ohio State) for Luray while Adam Liberatore (Tenn Tech) and Brandon Sizemore (C of C) make the list for Waynesboro . The other team of note from the poll is the Vienna Senators of the Clark Griffith League. The Sens came down to Luray as the #1 seed in the country back in July when the faced both Waynesboro and Luray in a split double header. Vienna finished #16 after ending the year at 41-14 following their 22-1 start. The Sens went 19-13 over the back half of their schedule not counting the UN- official twin bill defeats at the hands of Luray (12-4) and Waynesbo

2008 Recap #6 : The History of the New Market Rebels

After writing the post about the VBL and the original 6 I went out in search of some history on my own and I found some on the New Market Rebels home site. One of my more interesting conversations during the season came on the night we had the first of two ceremonies down in Waynesboro . Generals skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt brought up the topic of respecting the roots of the VBL and I would be one of the first to admit I have not dug deep into the past of the VBL . After learning that the league was at only 6 teams as recent as 2000, I turned my attention to the 6 clubs that were in place pre - expansion . I want to share some of what I found out about through this season with Bruce Alger and then the Web site. I was deep into helping out a Rebel Park for my third season when I finally got around to asking Bruce if I was correct in my thinking that the town of New Market owned the Rebels? The conversation quickly became a modern version of Who's on First as Bruce tried to wa

Just like the NHL- The VBL has an original 6...In search of History...

The past decade has seen the VBL grow from 6 teams all the way up to 12 teams so it made me think about the phrase they use in the NHL about the 6 original hockey teams. Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs , Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black hawks and the New York Rangers. Now lets take a look at the VBL original 6. The Front Royal Cardinals, New Market Rebels, Harrisonburg Turks, Winchester Royals, Staunton Braves and the Waynesboro Generals. I read that the VBL began play back in 1923 so there has to be 85+ years of history waiting to be told. On September 1ST over in H-Burg they will begin dismantling Memorial Stadium and with it will go years of VBL history. The last time I was at a game at the Stadium, Kurt led an exercise from the PA stand to find the fan that was there that night that could go the furthest back in history. I am in search of someone out there who can take us back in history and give us stories about the Good Ole Days of th

Team Recap #5- Now Introducing the Rockbridge Rapids!

This will be season recap #5 in a series of 12 and today we take a quick look inside the newest member of the VBL - the Rockbridge Rapids. The red-letter date for the organization came on Friday July 11TH by way of a celebration kick-off down at Washington & Lee in Lexington. Rockbridge joining the VBL completes an impressive decade in which the league doubled in size, going from 6 teams back in 2000 to 12 teams in 2009. The VBL added Luray and Covington for the 2001 season and then Woodstock teamed up with Loudon County (Now Haymarket ) back in 2004 to push the total to double figures. When Fauquier moved over from the Clark Griffith League back in 2007 it was then the hopes of adding a 12TH team in the Lexington area. The night I sat in the VBL Owners meeting for the first time back in September of 2007 I listened to Mr. Jim Crothers make the announcement that the hopes of Rockbridge playing during 2008 was past the point of no return. The lights that n

2008 Recap #4: The Woodstock River Bandits- A fun place to be!

The W's & L's (16-28) don't come close to reflecting the effort that goes into Stu Richardson's team up in Woodstock. Stu works as hard as anyone in the Valley Baseball League while drawing from the second smallest market. Woodstock lists a population of 4,229 and ranks above only New Market in size. If victories were awarded by effort of the field and in the front office then the River Bandits would be competing for the Lineweaver Cup each season. Mr. & Mrs. Richardson are surrounded by quality people at every turn, from the Walters family to Roger & Mickey up in the press box. Craig Orndorff handles the Web Casts as well as anyone in the league and the staff makes you feel right at home from the front gate. These were just some of the reasons that we chose to kick-off our Around The Valley in 60 Days campaign right there in Central Shenandoah County. Woodstock entered the season with high expectations after pushing eventual 2007 Champion Waynesboro t

Dodgers looking for starting pitching with Penny on the shelf- Trade for Greg Maddux...

Greg Maddux will be re-joining a team for the second time in his amazing career when Los Angles announces they have added to their starting rotation for the stretch run. The Dodgers and Padres were close to making this deal back on July 31ST but San Diego wasn't excited about the prospect they were being offered in return. Maddux has a no-trade clause in his contract but had agreed to move to either of the 3 teams near his home in Las Vegas (LA/Anaheim or Arizona). Back in 2006 Maddux joined the Dodgers for the stretch run and helped the team capture the NL Wild Card spot. The following year Maddux signed with San Diego and has pitched with the Padres for the past 1 & 3/4 seasons. A quick look at the upcoming Dodgers schedule gives me hope of catching another Maddux start here in the near future... 19TH-20TH-21ST Dodger Stadium vs. Colo Rockies 22ND-23RD-24TH-25TH @ Phili 26TH-27TH-28TH @ Washington Nationals His normal start date would be the 20TH but it will depen

Getting 2 Comments on Maddux in San Diego will keep me writing a bit longer...

When we got off the plane in Salt Lake City on the way out to San Diego I struck up a conversation with a Delta employee from Southern California. The topic of our trip out to the West Coast was we were on are way to see my baseball hero- Greg Maddux pitch against the Phillies . The nice man was in his 60's and he was quick to tell me that it was time for me to get a new hero because my guy was so soft that he could hit him now! I smiled and remembered that Mom told me to respect my elders. He wouldn't have any part of my talking about his three straight wins or the seven blown saves. "Doesn't matter- I could hit what he throws". Bring in Ryan Howard and the Phils who are competing for the NL East crown with the Mets . Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Company couldn't do what Mr. Delta claimed he could. My guy tosses a five hit game into the eighth inning and still loses by a score of 1-0! After the game Maddux does what? Dog his team's offense or t

Needing to see some baseball? RCBL Championship resumes on Tuesday night at Clover Hill

Are you needing one more trip to the baseball diamond? Good News for you if you do... The RCBL 2008 season was dominated by the teams from Clover Hill (Bucks) and Stuarts Draft (D-Backs). Both teams finished the summer with records of 25-3 (% of .893) and now both teams have made it to the finals. The format is best 4 out of 7 and the Bucks managed to take both games 1 & 2. Clover Hill opened with a 6-2 victory on Saturday night and then followed it up with a 9-4 victory on Sunday night. The series has a night off on Monday but they will be back playing baseball at Clover Hill on Tuesday night at 7:30 PM. *** Stuarts Draft won game #3 by a score of 10-6 and now head home with the hopes of tying up the series at 2-2...

Luray Wranglers remain #3 in the Country in new PG-Crosschecker Poll from 8/12/08

The most recent poll is not the final one yet as there is still baseball being played in Wichita , Kansas (NBC World Series) and the finals of the Cape Cod. The top 3 spots remain the same with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots (32-12) at the top. Youse's Maryland Oriloes (49-7) of the Cal Ripken Sr. League are still listed as #2 and then the VBL Champion Luray Wranglers (37-15) came in at #3. Waynesboro remains ranked in the expanded poll (Doubles from 16 to 32 at seasons end) with the Generals falling from #18 down to #22. The top of the list might change as the NBC & The Cape crown champs but I believe it is great for the entire VBL to have a team once again flirt with the top of the polls...

More Tidbits from Haymarket- Notes from H-Joe

Haymarket Joe checked in this morning after reading the notes I posted about the 2008 Senators and he was kind enough so send in some add- ons ... 1.Ryan Fecteau was officially named Manager just before the season ended and Ryan is already hard at work for the 2009 squad. 2. H-Joe was quick to point out the number of hard working folks that were behind the scenes all season. He mentioned Angie Plesce and all the work she put into the her role as Coordinator of the 2008 Feed The Senators campaign. I hope you will take the time to scroll down and read the original story and also understand if there is anyone out there with notes or thoughts about the 2008 Senators- we welcome all to send something in...

Greg Maddux & The San Diego Padres vs. Phili (Photos)

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Petco Park The View from the Trolley/Train Is it time to go in ? Greg & His Two Sons Greg and young Mr. Hoffman Shagging fly balls during BP Part of the fan section they call "The Beach" More BP CF- Jody Gerut KOOZ's BP ball rolling to a stop Classic Moment as the two sons head off the field Greg heading to the Pen to loosen up 22 years of following him- 1ST time in a home park of his Time to get the arm ready Yes- from about five feet away More Pen work 42-year old righty still has it What a neat day at the park... Hope there is a 2009 to come 45-year old Moyer says he is coming back-Hope Greg does too The Friar getting the crowd ready! Time to get the party started! On the Mound From right behind the Padres dugout 45-Year Old Jamie Moyer still has it going on Maddux & Kouz Check out the smile on that face. Off to a Good Start But so was Moyer... These two vets traded zeros for the first six innings 000000 000000 Sorta making look easy... I get to bat t