Seven Days of Baseball and Attractions Highlight Trip

I doubt if anyone has ever heard of an association between baseball, curling and a bird cage (a giant one).

Well it happened, and it involved a total of 53 individuals, the majority of whom were from the Upper Ohio Valley.

The makeup of the group of baseball enthusiasts on a Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel multi-city trip spent seven days on the road in order to see seven baseball games and several attractions along the way.

The trip came about some six months ago when Bill Bryson, Uniglobe’s owner, learned that he would be able to obtain tickets to a College World Series game in Omaha, Nebraska.

For those residing in the Ohio Valley, a trip to Nebraska is not easy especially if you are driving. So Bryson put together a package that included the college game, three Major League Baseball stops and one Triple-A baseball contest, along with four attractions.

If you are traveling and have tickets for certain baseball dates, one thing you hope doesn’t happen is rain, which can cause rainouts.

We did encounter rain and instead of having to miss a game or two, we were able to add two games to our roster.

In fact, a rainout of a game the night before we departed enabled us to see two games in Indianapolis where the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A team was taking on Pawtucket, the Boston Red Sox farm team. Instead of one nine-inning game, we witnessed two seven-inning games. Indianapolis won the first game 5-3, and lost 8-0 in the nightcap.

Six of the starters for Indianapolis, including one of the pitchers, had all been with the Pirates earlier in the year.

It was off to Minneapolis for game No. 2, in a contest pitting the Boston Red Sox against the Minnesota Twins. The Sox won the game, 2-0.

We had to make one additional stop in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Vikings stadium. The main attraction is a viking ship outside the building.

The next day was somewhat different, in that we were involved in curling. None of our group, 32 of whom participated, knew anything about this game, however after a brief introduction we took to the ice for nearly two hours pushing the stone up and down the court.

In case you also don’t know about this game, it is team sport played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice.

Its nickname is ”The Roaring Game,” which originated from the rumbling sound of 44 pounds of granite when traveling across the ice.

One of the world’s oldest team sports, curling originated in the 16th century in Scotland where games were played during winter on frozen ponds.

A key part of the preparation of the playing surface is the spraying of water droplets onto the ice, which forms pebbles on freezing. The pebbled ice surface resembles an orange peel, and stone moves on top of the pebbled ice. As the stone moves over the pebbles, any rotation of the stone causes it to curl to the inside or outside. The amount of curl can change during a game as the pebble wears, and the ice maker must monitor this and be prepared to scrape and re-pebble the surface prior to each game.

Also, playing a part in the game is that of a broom or brush, which can speed up the stone. Shoes, sliders and grippers also play a part, especially in getting the stone underway.

Following our curling we arrived in Omaha, and the next day we were ready for a couple attractions, the first being Boys Town, where in 1917 Father Edward Flanagan’s dream to save children and heal families first became a reality.

Today, the Village of Boys Town is home to its national headquarters and family-style residential program.

As one of the largest nonprofit child and family care organizations in the country, Boys Town also provides compassionate treatment through services that touch the live of more than 2 million people nationwide every year.

Our visit there included a motorcoach tour of buildings and a visit to a building containing items dealing with the village’s history.

We were scheduled to attend a College World Series game that night, but instead because of a rainout the night before, there was a game in the afternoon. Bryson was able to contact his Omaha source and he was able to provide us with tickets for the afternoon game.

We watched the afternoon game with Vanderbilt defeating Mississippi State, 6-3, and some 20 minutes later we were back in our seats for the Texas State-Florida State game that Texas Tech won, 4-1.

Day 5 started out at the Negro League Museum in Kansas City. It was pointed out that it is not a Hall of Fame, but instead a shrine to the history of African-American baseball.

The Major League game that night was between the Twins and the host Kansas City Royals, with Kansas City pulling out a 4-1 win.

From Kansas City our next stop was St. Louis. It rained all the way from Kansas City to St. Louis, and even after we got there. However, by game time the rain ceased and the game started on time. It was a sellout as Albert Pujols, the Cardinals longtime standout, was making his first appearance in St. Louis in eight years, as a member of the Anaheim Angels. The Cardinals would defeat the visiting Angels.

We were off-and-running the next morning for home, but not before a stop in Casey, which is pronounced as KZ, Illinois.

Casey is a small community that about eight years ago decided to attempt to attract tourists.

Remember I mentioned earlier about baseball and a bird cage? Well, this is where the bird cage enters the picture.

Before I get into the attractions in Casey, the visitor’s guide notes that the village had been a prosperous ”city” in the 1980s and 1990s but became a virtual ghost town in the early 2000s after the loss of numerous factories.

Resident Jim Bolin came up with an idea to try to increase economic development for the city through tourism, and thus he created ”Big Things in a Small Town.”

His first attraction was the World’s Largest Wind Chime, which is 54 feet tall. It was introduced in 2011. It was noted in the brochure that since 2011 there had been increases in the number of visitors, and that it didn’t hurt that in 2017 the town received national recognition on three different national television shows.

Among the ”big things” on display along the town’s two main streets and in store windows are the largest pitch fork, largest golf tee, largest rocking chair, largest mail box, largest knitting needles and largest crochet hook.

Other ”big” attractions include a wooden token, toy airplane, a yardstick, a key, an ear of corn, a pencil, barbering pole, a bird cage, a minion, a spinning top, a twizzle spoon and others.

You might be wondering how many driving miles were covered on this last trip. If you guessed 2,556 you were right. My estimate was 2,577 which was only 21 miles over the actual figure. By the way, Cathy Jones was also 21 off the mark with a guess of 2,535.

A construction update was given to Marshall County Board of Education members by Mike Price at Tuesday’s board meeting.

– Cameron Elementary — Upgrading of both the security system, and the HVAC.

– Moundsville Middle — Installation of air conditioning in the gymnasium, something that the building has never had. A project that was completed recently was that of upgrading the school’s security.

– Sand Hill Elementary — Upgrading of the playground area. A year ago a second modular building was installed and because of this the playground area was in need of an upgrade.

– Monarch Stadium — Construction of a combined restroom and concession stand is underway and will be completed in time for this year’s first football game, at the north end of the stadium. Also, an elevator for the pressbox is scheduled to installed in the next few days. In addition, seating on the east side of the stadium will begin soon. Also, plans are to pave the Court Avenue side of the stadium which will become a walkway and will also be large enough for a school bus are in the works.

The county board of education also named Erin Cuffaro as director of special programs to replace Shelby Haines who had been sworn-in as superintendent earlier in the meeting. Cuffaro this past school year was principal at Central Elementary.

Among other matters undertaken at this past Tuesday’s board meeting were:

Renewal of preventive maintenance contracts with Baker Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc., for Cameron Elementary, Central Elementary, Center McMechen Elementary, Washington Lands Elementary, Sand Hill Elementary, Sherrard Middle School and the county Board of Education building. Haines was authorized to purchase for the 2019-20 school year, necessary instructional materials, textbooks, furniture and equipment, janitorial supplies and equipment, administrative supplies and equipment and transportation supplies and equipment.

A continuation of a lease between Ralph and Lu Ann Lemmons and the MCBOE for use of property for Cameron High School football practice was approved.

Also approved were community center leases for fiscal year 2020. The structures were formerly used as rural school buildings. The board approved on second and final reading of Marshall County Schools By-laws and Policies something that has not been addressed for a number of years.

Several Marshall County Health Department Clinics and Programs for July will be starting Monday. Among these are:

– Immunization Clinic on July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.Call 304-845-7840 for appointment. All regular childhood and back-to-school immunizations, including childhood seasonal flu vaccinations.

– PPD (TB) Testing Clinic on July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m, The PPD Clinic will offer skin testing for exposure to TB. Appointments are not necessary.

– STD & HIV Testing Clinic. Free and confidential testing available on a regular basis. Call for an appointment and ask for a nurse.

– Seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinics on Mondays from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Seasonal flu shots are being offered for anyone six months of age and older. Off-site flu clinics for businesses and organizations are available by appointment.

– Pregnancy Testing Clinic any weekday mornings except for July 18 which is Family Planning Day. Testing is at 8:30 a.m.

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