Weekend Blog, 26 June to July 1 – Canada Day

July 1, 2008

Monkton, ON

Weekend Blog, 26 June to July 1 – Canada Day
A lot of fastball played over the weekend and reports and results still trickling in.
The biggest story of the weekend (from this perch) would be the 6th Annual Monkton World Fastball Invitational. Also of great interest of course was the ISF Junior Men's World Fastpitch Championships in Whitehorse, YK, where our good friends Jim Flanagan and Kyle Smith of www.ballparkradio.com brought us a full menu of ball webcasts over the last four days of the week long tourney.
My focus over the weekend was the Monkton tournament, where I once again had the pleasure of reporting on-site. It’s hard to admit that you have a favorite when every tourney that invites you treats you so well, but Monkton is special. With only one diamond and one game on at a time, it’s a lot easier to report what is happening. Generally I do as many inning by inning updates as I can during a game using my blackberry, posting to NEWS-2   and after each game I retreat to the Monkton Arena where I have access to a wireless network where I can do a full game report to NEWS-1
Monkton has great score keepers who provide me with a game summary sheet right after each game and that is what I work from to update NEWS-1     Most of the reports end up on one page for fans to look at, the Monkton 2008  link. This year the combination of both the news links and the main link, turned out to be of great benefit not only to the fans following the games from a distance but also to the many local fans who were wondering what the weather was doing and what the revised schedule was. This was the first year that the Monkton tournament was affected to any degree by rain, and affected it was, but at the end of the (final) day, we were almost right on schedule. With a combination of good contingency planning by the committee, cooperation from Mitchell and their diamond, the teams, and the weatherman, we got the games in. I mentioned during my reports many times over the weekend that the Grounds Crew in Monkton did an exceptional job. I want to repeat and emphasize that fact. Many of us take the grounds crew for granted and we have all seen good ones turn a soggy diamond into a playable field and heaped our praises on them, but you had to be there to see these people in action. Over and over again, in spite of torrential downpours, the Monkton crew whipped the field into shape. Clearly this is an exceptional field in Monkton, it takes a lot of rain to make it wet, but when it gets soaked, the Super Grounds Crew jumps into action with brooms, rakes, shovels and bags and bags of “magic dust”. I do not know the commercial name of the product but they used truck loads of it this past weekend. I understand the product is actually for use in cleaning/drying floors, but in Monkton it saved the day drying the infield. On Sunday they were all out of it and the crew was on the phone calling everyone they knew to get more of it. I saw a small community in action with neighbor calling neighbor to find the magic dust and someone with the keys to get it out of the plant and over to Monkton.
The Grounds Crew is only one example of the excellence involved in those who make this great tournament the annual success it has become. Everyone knows Brian Baillie, the hard working Chairman of this tournament, but he will be the first to tell you he is backed up by a strong year long committee that works alongside him and a larger volunteer work force that kicks into action before the annual tournament and throughout the 4 day weekend of the tournament. They are an exceptional group of hard working individuals. And what a friendly group of people they are. No matter if you are from the GTA, or far off places like Erie, PA, or even far off California, they treat you like your are one of their own. They seem to remember you from the last year, or years.  I am not sure if I was the only one without any identification at all but got a friendly “wave on” as I drove into the parking lot each morning. When I asked if I need an ID bracelet or something, I was told, “are you kidding, everyone in Monkton knows why you are here!”. As noted by Brian Baillie before the tournament, “ Mr. Kevin Quipp as our President. Kevin is a long-time resident, avid player and fan of the game and is as passionate about the success of this event as we are to have him as our leader. I would also like to thank Tammy Machan, another lifetime resident, fastball player/fan and long-time member of our Committee who is a pillar of this event and comes thru time and time again whenever needed.” And I know what Brian was talking about when he made that statement, both Kevin Quipp and Tammy Machan were right there on top of things all weekend long. My personal thanks to both of them along with many many other people who went out of their way to make my job easier and to make me feel at home.
My personal thanks to the many people who walked up to me over the four days and thanked me for what we do. I will not comment on the number but it was a personal high that touched me deeply. Most did not give their names, they just shook my hand and thanked me. Also, to my good friend Dave in hospital in Toronto, I wish you well and hope we see you in a ball park soon and in Monkton next year. You were missed.
The tournament has a reputation for providing top level competition each year and this year was no exception. Congratulations to all the teams who participated and in particular to the champions, the Saskatoon Aspen Interiors who put on a display of great fastball that will be talked about for the next year at least. They fought back and kept fighting back and were finally into the championship and they persisted and won it all. It will be interesting to see what impact their outstanding performance will have on the ISC Ranking Committee for the upcoming final rankings before the World Tournament starting August 10 in Kimberly, Wisconsin. www.iscfastpitch.com
In addition to their excellence in putting great fastball talent on the field each year, Monkton wrap their tournament in a tidy package that includes everything from live music in the arena, to karaoke in the beer tent, to an awesome Beef BBQ Saturday night to an outstanding five hour long Fireman’s Brunch on Sunday morning. And they provide all the trimmings of good food and country style hospitality that is second to none all weekend. Yes, it’s easy to like this place. From the time you turn the corner in Waterloo and head through Mennonite country, you know you’re in a special place. My weekend is made even more comfortable through my home away from home, the Country Inn in Listowell. They have a great wireless connection in addition to offering very comfortable suites. Will not mention the noisy neighbors on Thursday evening from the blue fraternity.
Monkton is an exceptionally good fastball tournament that is a pleasure to attend. I highly recommend all fastball fans consider it for next year.

My thanks to our good friends Jim Flanagan and Kyle Smith for the outstanding job they did at the ISF Junior Men's World Fastpitch Championships in Whitehorse, YK. It was nice to be able to listen in to some of the games they did live on www.ballparkradio.com

Other tournaments this week where we got some results:

Albaugh Inc. Invitational Results

Scarborough Wins in Elmvale

Other Results – June

Other Results – trickling in in July

Walsh - Allentown coming soon

Coming Up soon
 hopefully we will see full schedule AND results for each upcoming tournament  

Notice to all ISC Teams going to the World Tournament


2008 Season Plans for www.alsfastball.com
We plan to be in:
Kitchener May 30 – June 1 – Legends of Fastball
Niagara-on-the-Lake - June 6-8 - Snapper Shootout
Midland - June 13-15 - Explorer Tournament
Monkton – June 26-29 – World Fastball Invitational
Kimberly - August 10-16 – 2008 ISC World Tournament

Al's Fastball News
*Email: fastball(at)pmihrm.com

NEWS-2: http://fastpitchwest.com/alsfastball