02/20/2009 – Daily News Record
VBL To Get TV Time In Game Against Ripken League Written By Mike Barber DNR Sports Desk HARRISONBURG – The best players in the Valley Baseball League will get a bonus this summer: a TV appearance. VBL officials announced Thursday that they plan to send an all-star team to Waldorf, Md., on July 15 to play all-stars from the Cal Ripken Sr. League in a game to be televised on MASN. "I think it’s going to be a great thing for the league," Harrisonburg Turks owner Bob Wease said. "It’s going to give us a lot of exposure and get our names out. And the guys will like playing on TV." Valley League executive vice president Todd Thompson said the contract between the leagues has an option to renew for a second year "if everything goes well." Best of all for the VBL is the price-tag. MASN is charging about $38,000 to televise the game, Spencer said, and Thompson said the Baltimore-based Ripken League will foot the entire bill. The cost, they said, will be offset by any sponsorship deals the leagues arrange. Ripken officials contacted the VBL about holding the event, and Spencer said the five-year-old league is eager to get the exposure and credibility competing with the more-established Valley League can provide. "The more we can do, anything we can do, to enhance our credibility is very important," Spencer said. "Even though we have a pretty good league, we’re still considered probably a third-tier collegiate league." The Valley – which draws players from throughout the nation – is considered just a step below the elite Cape Cod League. Thompson said the Valley League will still hold its own all-star game on Sunday, July 19, in Woodstock. VBL all-stars are traditionally selected by managers, but Thompson said the 12-team Valley has not yet decided how to pick the 28 players to send to Waldorf to face the Ripken League. "Realistically, it would be great if there could be at least one representative from each team, but I don’t know if it will work out that way," Thompson said. If the game is a success, Spencer said, he’d like to see it become an annual event. Spencer said he expects a sellout at RegencyFurniture Stadium, the 4,200-seat home of the minor-league Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. It appears unlikely that the all-star game will be held in the Valley anytime soon. Thompson said that while he’d like to see the game played closer to the Valley in future years, it might have to stay in Maryland to have it televised by MASN. "One would wish, but my guess is probably not," Thompson said when asked if the game would rotate between Maryland and Virginia. "They’ve got studio and equipment up there." Said Spencer: "The thing that interests the Valley the most is being on television, so we have to have it up somewhere up in Maryland for MASN." Spencer, a 67-year-old Baltimore native, is no stranger to the Valley League. The former University of Virginia star – he was an All-ACC pitcher in 1962 – played in the Valley after his junior season. The Valley League season starts June 5.