Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Put Me In, Coach...

Another salute to proper punctuation: "Put me in, Coach" as opposed to "Put me in Coach"...the former would get you entered in a game, the latter would get you seated on a plane.

But all baseball fans recognize the familiar refrain of John Fogerty's "Centerfield," a classic homage to the love of the game. Things change, but there's always something about the game that inspires us, "The one constant throughout the years," as James Earl Jones calls baseball in his epic speech from "Field of Dreams."

The 2010 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship began yesterday...that's a mouthful of words for one simple principle: baseball games that matter--a lot.

The first game between VMI and UNC Asheville played as scheduled, despite getting some mid-game showers, and despite a seemingly random glitch that kept some--but not all--streaming viewers from seeing the first few innings. That tech issue had me hopping with troubleshooting, not to mention hopping mad, but all was resolved in a fair amount of time. Meanwhile, the game itself rolled on, a well-fought contest with the Keydets coming out on top 7-4. For VMI, that means at least two more games in the season...for Asheville, it's all over: opening day is single-elimination play.

For the nightcap between Winthrop and Gardner-Webb, I got to put on the headset and take the play-by-play call for the Big South Network. Although I have done literally hundreds of baseball games, the majority on radio, but many on TV as well, it had actually been a while since I had the mic for baseball. In the past few months, I've been tapped to voice softball, swimming, track, and basketball, but no baseball this season, so I was looking forward to the opportunity to dust off some of the old ballgame patter.

I gotta say, it was fun--I've always enjoyed doing that. Every game follows a different script, so you never know what you're going to get. In this case, we got a game with some drama, as Winthrop got on the board and increased its lead slowly from one, to two, to four, before GWU even scored at all. The Runnin' Bulldogs made the most of the late innings, climbing within one and getting good hitters up in the ninth with a shot at changing the outcome. But Winthrop held off the charge 4-3, and the tournament-hosting Eagles punched a ticket to stay alive in their own ballpark for at least two more days. Gardner-Webb? Like Asheville, done.

The Wednesday lineup, about to begin as I post this SHOUT (not from the ballpark for now, but from an edit session for our Hall of Fame Banquet--I'm getting to the park later today): 11am - Coastal Carolina vs. VMI; 3pm - Liberty vs. Winthrop; 7pm - Radford vs. High Point. And again, all games can be found on the Big South Network at Enjoy! SHOUT (and Mark B.) -- out.

No comments: