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Earning a letter in watching spring sports

April 20, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

Working nights, sometimes it's tough for me to tell the difference between day and night let alone winter and spring.If it weren't for my wife JoAnn looking for me to mow the lawn or my stepdaughter Brianna asking me to pump her bike tires, I'd figure I should still be wearing my Herald-Mail issued parka.

Not really.

But when the weather turned for the better last week, I devised the ABCs for enjoying spring sports. They are:

A is for Adenhart. Nick Adenhart is a name you are going to hear a lot of for at least the next two months - and with any luck, for the next 15 years. The Williamsport senior is one of the hottest amateur baseball players in the country and will be drafted within the first seven picks of the amateur baseball draft on June 7. That doesn't happen often in this area.

B is for bobblehead. Come July, you too can have local weatherman Lou Scally nodding at your every word if you are one of the 1,000 proud fans who head to Municipal Stadium to see the Suns play. Hey Lou, will I win the lottery? It beats a magic 8-ball.

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C is for Conococheague. Conococheague Little League is celebrating its 50th year of existence, as is Federal Little League. Conococheague will be hosting the Maryland State Tournament this summer.

D is for draft day. As mentioned, Adenhart will be a hot commodity when the major leagues replenish their farm systems. Other local names that have a chance to pop up in the draft are David Miner of South Hagerstown, Irv Sleighter of Chambersburg, Matt Yurish of Hedgesville and South Hagerstown and Hagerstown Community College graduate P.J. Hiser, now playing at Pitt.

E is for earful. When you watch most games, that's what most coaches and umpires seem to get most. It's funny to hear how many "fans" seem to know so much more but don't have the courage to prove it in one of those two thankless positions.

F is for fields of dreams. With the weather turning favorable, do yourself a favor and drive past the campus of any of the local high schools. It's an amazing sight to see all the young people participating in athletics. It was an example of how empowering athletics can be in the school setting.

G is for Giants. As many know, the Hagerstown Suns are affiliated with San Francisco. Unfortunately, the old "It isn't baseball if it isn't the Orioles" thought process will probably prevent alleged baseball fans with tunnel vision from seeing what could be a pretty good team.

H is for hot dogs and hamburgers. With so many high school and youth games, the average family will probably be dining on hand-held concession cuisine for 105 of the next 120 evenings.

I is for imagination. It is always a lot of fun to watch young players sit at Little League or Suns games while they try to act like one of their favorite players making a big play. Without imagination, there wouldn't be dreams. And without dreams, there would never be goals.

J is for judge. Get out while you can and catch Adenhart. Judge for yourself if he isn't pure talent.

K is for Adenhart's possible middle initial. Go to a Williamsport home baseball game and just watch them mount on the left field fence. It looks like someone is stuttering (KKKKKKKKKKKKK).

L is for Little League. It started again and it makes for hectic times for the sports department, yet the beginning of the youth season signifies just what spring is all about - starting fresh.

M is for manual scoreboard. The troublesome electronic scoring device at Municipal Stadium, which was rumored to be installed by Thomas Edison himself, is gone and had been replaced by modest two-man model. The positive? Fans get the information. The negative? There goes a lot of great jokes.

N is for net minders. Lacrosse is a regional sport, but is getting to be big time in the area again. But would someone tell me why anyone would want to be a goalie?

O is for overload, meaning the number of phone calls the sports department gets during this time of year. Everyone seems to misconstrue the role of the paper in the youth sports process. It doesn't give self-esteem nor an inside track to college scholarships. We just reports the facts that we receive.

P is for pyrotechnics. The Suns will be having 13 fireworks displays this season. Hagerstown loves to watch things go boom, and here's its chance, a baker's dozen times over.

Q is for quality. One of the pet peeves of all spring sports is a universal lack of quality when it comes to instruction and organization. Here's hoping all kids can learn, have fun and improve over the course of the season with the help of competent coaching.

R is for radar guns. Other than Dual Highway, the only place that the speed devices are popping up faster than tulips is at any game that Adenhart pitches. Every team wants to know just how fast the right-hander can throw his fastball.

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