CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - America is without baseball, completely, for pretty much the first time since the sport was invented.
Nobody can play a real game.
Not the Major Leagues.
Not kids in the neighborhood.
The entire Valley Baseball League season was canceled, but the stories of the game are alive and online.
Ryan Fecteau: “I think we had about four guys who made it to the Major Leagues, in those two years.”
Graham Knight: “Whoa, whoa, Joe, I got to jump in here. Did I hear this right? Riley Cooper? Former Eagles receiver? We got to stop right there, man.”
Graham Knight is on the Winchester Royals’ Board of Directors, as well as the Executive Director of Isomer Media, and he’s helping produce a series of podcasts on the Valley Baseball League.
“There’s so much that’s happened in the league," says Knight, "and I don’t think the average person knows that Major League players are coming from our backyards, and going on to play in the pro’s.”
The podcasts can focus on former VBL stars like Daniel Murphy, Brett Gardner, or Mo Vaughn, or current Virginia Tech assistant and former Haymarket head coach Ryan Fecteau (FECK-toe) talking about the time he coached future NFL player Riley Cooper.
Fecteau: “It was a short-lived thing. We had him for two weeks, basically. Really talented kid, he just ended up going with football.”
UVA Baseball head coach Brian O’Connor has been a guest, discussing his playing days with the Harrisonburg Turks.
O’Connor: “It’s nice to know somebody remembers you. Hopefully it was for good things, and not bad things.”
For his part, Graham Knight was a late convert to the game.
“I hated baseball,” says Knight. "I hated it, I really did, until I discovered the Valley Baseball League.”
But now he finds himself trying to keep the community going, and using social media to combat social distancing.
Knight says, “That’s a big loss, the loss of community, but I think that’s what we’re trying to bridge. The nice thing about what we’re doing here is, it’s a two-way conversation. In the olden days, broadcast only went one way. Now with social media, it goes both ways. We’re just trying to keep the sport alive, and give people something to look forward to each night.”