23 Jun Eli’s Crusaders, Transitions Titans Among Teams with Younger, Revamped Lineups
Several teams in the 5th Annual Vermont Summer Classic have revamped themselves, relegating older seasoned vets to supporting roles and more seasoning, while younger players get a chance to push their teams to the next level.
Well, that’s what the youngsters (aged 10 to 30) will tell you. Raw data culled from heaps of scorebooks suggest a different story; that maybe the more senior members still swing a heavy bat and can peg a runner out from deep in center field.
Eli Ashley, captain of Eli’s Crusaders, thinks it’s just part of the natural evolution of the game. “Younger, 15-year old legs will beat out two knee replacements on an infield dribbler every time. But you know, they’re also funnier on the bench. ”
Grady Cram, captain of last year’s champion Grady’s Gang sees it similarly. “Guys like my dad and Mr. Davis, my gosh. To listen to them, you’d think they were only a few hits away from being enshrined in Cooperstown. Then they get out on the field in a key spot in the game, and one pulls a hamstring, another needs water. As we got deeper into the playoffs, they volunteered as bench coaches. But they’re hilarious cheerleaders, and it really gets us pumped.”
Mike Webb of the Transition Titans actualy went so far as to trade a senior member, and send another one to a far away event during the Classic weekend. “Mike Paul was good at hoops, but he had this trick knee that gave out every time he batted. We traded him for a guy who’s going to double as our mascot and second baseman. The other situation was tough, because Sean Fitzgerald really wanted to play and thought he was awesome. And he started the team! But the truth is, he couldn’t hit, couldn’t get down the base path and was constantly harping on maintaining balance and centering our weight and all this other stuff, we couldn’t concentrate. We convinced his son to ask Sean to go to a soccer tournament in West Virginia with him during the tournament. It cost us a month’s worth of creamies at the local ice cream shop, but I think we’ve got a real shot at the title now.”
Let’s see how the Vermont Summer Classic unfolds. Will it be dominated by young players in their prime, or will the forty-plus field of players shine?