This is the week that we affectionately call “The Blur” around the office.
While Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends certainly constitute our largest papers of the year, “The Blur” takes place every year as the Senior League Softball World Series comes to town. We cover every game for our special Series publication, “Homeplate,” and the hours put on the field and in production at the office blow away those spent on those big holiday issues.
By the time we went to press the other day, our photographers, reporters and art department were looking like they just got through the steeplechase event at the Olympics, and I was looking like a 40-something-year-old bald guy with an expanding belly and ...
But I digress.
I love World Series week. Yes, there is a lot of work to put out the extra publication during a summer week when we are already about maxed out with work to take care of, but it’s all worth it. I love sitting out at the ballpark for six hours a day covering games, and I always look forward to seeing Bruce Layton and Martin Donovan as they get the chance to see the results of all their hard work throughout the year, even though both men look to be in need of about a six-month vacation after the final out is recorded.
Regardless, the Series is all about the games, and the girls who play them. Again, I have been blown away by the play on the field this year, as well as the sportsmanship shown by the athletes. It’s been a joy the past several years to cover the games at the Series, and I have held on to every program and notebook I’ve used since Roxana first began hosting the games.
Now, about those notebooks ...
I have a tendency to write stuff down in my notebooks that has nothing to do whatsoever with what I am actually covering. This goes back to middle school with me, when I would write out potential batting orders for the Baltimore Orioles in my history notebook, and through college — when I would write down potential batting orders for the Orioles in my notebooks.
As I was putting together some stories the other night, I was reading some of the things I had scribbled in my notebook and was feeling pretty good that maybe I’m maturing. There were no fantasy batting lineups for the Orioles this time, just a few observations I made in the margins of my book. Obviously, some of my thoughts are not suitable for print (or any other medium of communication), but a few stood out to me.
• The defensive play has been very good this year. There have been a few instances of teams unraveling in the field, but the outfielders have been making some spectacular catches and throws, and nearly every team has a very good catcher behind the plate.
• Apparently, I like eating hot dogs at the park. There was nothing written in the notebooks about them specifically, but there are quite a few mustard stains. That speaks well for the hot dogs, and poorly for my overall diet.
• I haven’t seen as many homeruns this year as I had in previous World Series games, but I have seen a lot of really good baserunning. Girls are flying from first to third on singles, which has not been easy with the quality throws coming in from the outfield.
• I have always gotten a kick out of how people wear golf clothes when they go to watch golf tournaments — like they are going to be “discovered” outside a portable toilet and asked to play the back nine at the Masters. I keep waiting for the day I look next to me and one of the team mothers is wearing eye black and cleats.
• EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) and Team Canada get a little more competitive every year. Each team just needs a little more depth, particularly in pitching, to become real threats. Rest assured, they are improving, and both teams this year are filled with competitive girls. They’re not just happy to be here. They want to win. Soon, they will be making noise.
• The crowds have been pretty good this year, but I still have a hard time trying to figure out why I don’t see more local faces up there. Get out this weekend and check it out. It’s a blast.