The Love of the Game

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I know it’s not big-time baseball. I know it’s not even minor league baseball.  Heck, it’s actually just a bunch of guys who get together two, three, sometimes four times a week to play the game of baseball.

The Blue Mountain League has been around now for 73 years (finally, something older than I am). And it has lasted this long because of the love of the game.  No one has loved it more than O. R. Pacchioli as a player, a president of the league and the primary sponsor of the Martins Creek franchise.  He has been part of the league since its beginning.

The rosters are made up of teenagers and forty-year olds. Most players normally put in a full days’ work either before or after the game.  Some work to 5:00 and then rush to the various fields to play a 6:00 game.  Some run home and shower and then work the third shift.  Most have families and children and they are able somehow to balance their vocational life, their love for the family and the love of baseball.

When I was playing Legion baseball and then college baseball, I wondered where I should go to improve my pitching in the summer. My college coaches never hesitated when they suggested the Blue Mountain League.  They said you will face players who are on their way up in the game and players who are on their way down from professional baseball.  They were right.  There was no better training ground.

Sure enough, many of the batters I faced had been to the major leagues and because of a veteran catcher, I was taught how to pitch to them. You didn’t just throw the ball, you learned how to work the plate, work the count, and mix your pitches. It was like a post-grad class on pitching.

I will never forget facing pitcher Craig Anderson, who had just been released from the Mets. I was undefeated; he was undefeated and I was somehow able to outduel him for the win in a 2-1 matchup.  This Moravian College pitcher had just gotten a win against a former New York Met.  As far as sports competition was concerned, it couldn’t get much better than that.

The league was a little over 20 years old when I played. Not much had changed from its inception back then and not much has changed since.  The rosters still consist of the top high school prospects and plenty of wily veterans.  You not only play against the best in the area; you learn by playing with the best.  I found out early that veterans have no qualms about telling you HOW to play the game.  And when they say it, you know it has history, knowledge, and tradition behind it.  So, you listened and you learned.

My connection with the League is now on the TV side. RCN TV has now been doing Blue Mountain League baseball for over 10 years. The games are highly competitive; the managers and players are extremely cooperative.  There are 11 teams and over 200 players, coaches, and managers involved this season.  They will play 30 games and crown their 73rd champion in August.

Check out their outstanding website :

http://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/default.asp?u=Thebluemountainleague&s=baseball&t=c

Better yet, check out the Blue Mountain League Game of the Week on RCN TV Tuesday nights at 9:30.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Are the Phillies for real? It appears they might be, sitting in second place behind the Atlanta Braves and fresh off a 3-1 series against the Nationals. However, the ESPN pundits don’t think so. They rank the Phils as the 14th best team in the majors right now. They do not have much respect for the NL East either. The Braves are ranked #10 and the Nationals are #12.
  2. Analytics has taken over baseball. Technology now determines line-ups, pitching changes, defensive alignments, etc. As an old-school former player, I do find it interesting how some of the baseball truisms are now changing dramatically. I find the game a little more interesting now by comparison. You just don’t know what a manager will do these days.
  3. Will you watch the new edition of the XFL?. The WWE’s Vince McMahon is going to bet $500 million that you will. The XFL is scheduled to return in 2020.
  4. Saquon Barkley bought a home for his family in Whitehall. He used his endorsement money from Nike, Pepsi, and Panini America. It has been reported that he wants to set aside his football earnings for his future and live off his endorsements. Smart!!

Enjoy a safe and happy 4th! Our next Blue Mountain League Game of the Week will be on July 10 when the Orioles host the Bulls. Both teams are hovering around first place with the Giants.

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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