- February 1, 2023
During a recent shopping trip, a conversation with an acquaintance turned towards the Webb Weekly. â€śI read your column, but why donâ€™t you write more about national sports stories?â€ť I was asked. The rationale for the general content of our weekly visits harkens back to the very beginning of the Webb Weekly when Jim Webb
During a recent shopping trip, a conversation with an acquaintance turned towards the Webb Weekly. â€śI read your column, but why donâ€™t you write more about national sports stories?â€ť I was asked.
The rationale for the general content of our weekly visits harkens back to the very beginning of the Webb Weekly when Jim Webb Sr. invited me to join the publication. As he was explaining his vision, he put very few parameters on my involvement except to request that he wanted his paper to feature local people and events. I can remember him saying, â€śYou can write about anything youâ€™d like that you think local sports fans might be interested in.â€ť
That doesnâ€™t preclude stories of national interest, and on many occasions this column will reflect on those issues, keeping in mind how those stories may reflect on the local scene. Access to national stories by media sources greatly outnumber local events, and in the eyes of many publications like Webb Weekly, local events can provide stories not otherwise covered.
One of the vivid memories I recall about the interest in local sports news harkens back to my student days and my attempts to find summer employment. Having a keen interest in sports and broadcasting, I applied for a part-time job covering sports for the old WLYC radio station in downtown Williamsport. I was interviewed by well-known and veteran broadcaster Vince Campana who asked many questions testing my sports knowledge. I answered them all with flying colors until it came to one final ill-fated question.
I can still recall Campana asking the question, â€śWho won the Williamsport Country Club golf tournament?â€ť I had no clue and confessed I didnâ€™t know.
That was important to Campana who dismissed my attempt to gain employment by simply stating, â€śIf you donâ€™t know who won this local tournament, I canâ€™t hire you for this job.â€ť Turn out the lights; the partyâ€™s over!
Lesson learned. By the way, congratulations to Zach Prowant and Kyle Deisher who added their second Williamsport County Club Invitational championship July 22. Kudos also go out to Green Superintendent Paul Krout and his staff that worked diligently to enable the 89th annual event to dodge the deluge handed out by Mother Nature.
As the calendar flips all too quickly to August, Williamsport will soon be the dateline for national and international sports news with the arrival of the Little League World Series, and the second annual MLB Little League Classic to be played at Bowman Field August 19 between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets. Local interest in the game will be heightened by the appearance of former Crosscutters players dotting the Phillies roster.
Earlier this summer, as part of the Crosscutters 20th anniversary celebration, the team handed out t-shirts commemorating former Crosscutters players who later appeared on Major League Baseball rosters. In those 20 years, 89 players traveled the road to the Big Leagues. As of late July, eight former Crosscutters were on the Phillies active 25-man team with a total of 19 players on the teamâ€™s 40-man roster.
Highlighting the group is Rhys Hoskins, a 2018 MLB All-Star Game Home Run Contest participate, who played with the Cutters in 2014. Other Phillie’s notables include catcher Andrew Knapp (2013), and infielders Maikel Franco (2011) and Cesar Hernandez (2010). In the long history of Minor League Baseball in Williamsport, there have been 580 players whoâ€™ve made their way to the Major Leagues.
While wins have not been frequent for this yearâ€™s Crosscutters squad, attendance at the upgraded ballpark is running slightly ahead of last yearâ€™s pace. Through July 22, the average home game attendance stood at 2,123. To this observer, the seating renovations and the new party decks give the ballpark a much cozier feel, making crowds of 2,000 seem like more than the same number before the changes were made. No doubt, it is what the Crosscutters management had in mind all along.
Nationally, Major League Baseball has instituted a number of new rules pertaining to Pace of Play. Most notably, at the MLB level, is the restriction of six visits to the pitcherâ€™s mound during a nine-inning game. Such visits are recorded on the scoreboards in Major League parks. What may not be noticeable to Crosscutters fans is the one rule change that has been implemented at the Class A level for the 2018 season.
At all levels of Minor League Baseball, extra-inning games now begin with a runner placed on second base to begin each half inning. That runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the scheduled leadoff batter for that inning. For baseball scoring purposes that runner is deemed to have reached base via an error, although no error is charged to any defensive player, and the pitcher is not charged with an earned run should that pre-determined second base runner score.
That rule recently backfired on the Crosscutters as the runner placed at second base in the bottom of the tenth inning was picked off base; an instant reminder of national rules affecting local play.