09/08/2008 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Teresa Wease, Operations Manager Harrisonburg Turks Organization Harrisonburg Turk fans, friends and family I hope that each of you have been keeping up with the 2008 Valley League season through the eyes of two of our area’s special baseball enthusiasts, Mr. Jerry Carter and Mr. John Leonard. Jerry is the creator and sponsor of the 2008 Around the Valley League in 60 Days promotion. His idea was to encourage fans to follow their team to the eleven VBL stadiums, in hopes that fans would meet and make new friends, and experience the uniqueness and special events of each team’s ballpark. On his website; www.aroundthevalleyin60days.blogspot.com he posted his own personal experiences and pictures, as well as also including fans that wrote in and shared theirs. If you clicked on each team’s page Jerry listed some of that localities special restaurants and sites to visit in that locality. Many fans took advantage of going to the games early and followed some of Jerry’s recommendations. Jerry and his family; wife Linda, daughters Sabrina and Rebecca, and sons; Andy, Brad and Chris, have personally created and funded the whole promotion. It’s been a family project with everyone sharing their talents to help make it a success. Sabrina designed the amazing ATVL in 60 Days logo. She and Rebecca built the website and did the VBL team’s logo work. Rebecca has posted pictures and videos nightly. Jerry has written game summary articles, and personal game experiences at each field. Jerry and his family have a paper delivery business, Crystal Clear Delivery that requires them to actually work late night hours after returning home from ball games. It’s been a family effort. Rebecca has helped driving to and from games and home when Dad has had blood-shot and blurry eyes from lack of sleep or so that he can write his blog while on the road. The boys have been a huge help to Dad by helping deliver papers in the wee hours. Linda has filled in wherever needed and been the glue to keep the family going. Jerry’s promotion has been invaluable and drawn tremendous attention to the Valley Baseball League and given it a lot more visibility in media venues than it’s ever received before. He has had numerous radio interviews, a television interview, and countless newspaper articles and web page articles written about the ATVL promotion. ATVL in 60 Days created an excitement in the air about traveling to a different ballpark and cheering on your home team. Fans have shared their pictures of friends they met and fun in the stands. The Turks even shared a fan’s big 50 birthday party at an away game. New friendships have been made throughout the league. A new appreciation has been learned for each teams’ special ballpark atmosphere and own personal stamp that they’ve put on their games. As fans from each team completed their journey to all eleven of the ballparks around the league, their home team celebrated their accomplishment in their own special way. One night the New Market Rebels had four fans honored by having each of them lining up across from four Rebel players. They each went down the line and they threw out an opening pitch and received their personal autographed baseball from a Rebel player. The Harrisonburg Turks had eighteen fans that all finished the circuit at the same time at the end of the season. One of the Turks special events at home games are to recognize little league teams as their special guest “Field of Dream Team”. So it seemed appropriate that their eighteen ATVL Loopsters were honored as the special “Field of Dream Team”. Each loopsters’ name was announced and they ran through a tunnel of Turk players receiving high-fives and emerged onto the field, lining up on the first base line to receive a “goodie bag” from Team Mom, me, Teresa Wease. I had received permission from Jerry and his daughter to slightly alter their ATVL logo and add Harrisonburg Turks to an awesome t-shirt made especially for the Turk Loopsters. Now not only will these eighteen fans share their new found friendships and memories from their nights at the ballparks together but they’ll also be recognized by their special t-shirt. Jerry and his family will also be recognizing all fifty of the ATVL Loopsters by having special windbreaker jackets made for the group. I personally know that this wasn’t in the original promotion plan or in the financial budget but due to miscommunication and evolving circumstances, Jerry decided to finish up the promotion with the same “first class integrity” that he started it. This decision didn’t come without a huge sacrifice … the Carter Family voted and unanimously agreed to use some of Rebecca’s college fund money for this year to cover the unexpected expense of the jackets. As one of those ATVL Loopsters, I know that I will wear my jacket with the greatest pride knowing the price that was paid. Another perk for the ATVL Loopsters is that they will either be interviewed or invited to share their stories and fondest memories of the 2008 VBL season on Jerry’s ATVL in 60 Days web site blog. The grand finale of Jerry’s promotion came at the opening night of the VBL Championship Series at Luray against the Wranglers and the Covington Lumberjacks. Rebecca Carter and Dave Biery, the Commissioner of the VBL took the field carrying a can full of fifty ping pong balls inside, one for each ATV-60 Loopsters that finished the 2008 Tour. The eleven VBL teams agreed to provide ten VBL passes for free admission to all twelve VBL ballparks during the 2009 season. The ceremony was fun for all and here is the list of the 10 Loopster winners that will be receive their 2009 VBL season pass. Congratulations to each of these loyal VBL fans! 1. Greta Klosinski – Harrisonburg 2. Julie Hagaman – Winchester 3. Jenny Fierro – Harrisonburg 4. Melissa Dodge – New Market 5. Cathy Crider – Harrisonburg 6. Kenny Grant – Staunton 7. Joe Cashwell – Haymarket 8. Sean Youngberg – Waynesboro 9. Tabitha Lunsford – Waynesboro 10. Colton Molidor – Harrisonburg The Harrisonburg Turks join the rest of the Valley Baseball League to extend a huge thank you to Jerry Carter and his family for a very memorable summer experience. Moving on to our second amazing Valley League baseball enthusiast, John Leonard is the creator of the blog site, www.allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com. John is an English teacher at a local private high school. He’s also a huge fan and student of the game of baseball and to our credit, the Valley Baseball League. John has provided us with a very informative coverage of VBL past alumni playing in the minors and major leagues for several years now. You can tune in to Johns’ site on any given day throughout the year and read about a VBL player. Once the VBL team rosters are posted he covers the players’ school season. John uses a wide variety of resources to gather his information and comprise his website. I’m sure that he would be the first to give credit to all of those other sites and sources for their thorough job of coverage. John then gives us his own detailed, personal thoughts and picks about players and team performances for the current season. I make a point of routinely checking John’s site year round to read up on our past, present, and future VBL players. I don’t have the time to search all of the sites that John gathers his information from so I certainly appreciate his valuable time that he spends doing it for the rest of us to enjoy. John’s site has also been featured through the media and given valuable coverage for the Valley League as well. If you have enjoyed either or both of these web sites I encourage you to contact Jerry and John and express your appreciation to them. You might even have a story to share with them from your own experiences at the games this summer. I know that both of these gentlemen enjoy hearing from their readers. The Turks and the Valley Baseball League owes a huge debt of gratitude to both of these amazing baseball enthusiasts and all of their extremely generous efforts to help promote our summer baseball league.