WOW! What a season we have had in 2016! Yes, and of course what an ending we have had! We have a new regular season Champion in the Hopkinsville Hoppers and we have a new Post Season Playoff Champion, “Mother Nature”! This season saw many records fall, friendships made, a former big leaguer manage and had a son of a Hall of Famer play for the Hoppers. The Hall of Famer even threw batting practice one day to the team. What an experience for those young men! Our league is strong and doing well.
I want to thank all of the team owners and each of their players and coaches for not giving up and fighting until the final rain drop! We just ran out of time due to Mother Nature and commitments made by many that the final game would be no later than July 31. With the rainouts tonight and the forecast for tomorrow, I made the decision to end the playoffs for this season. It has certainly been a challenging season with record amounts of rain throughout the league. Most teams were able to get in a full 42 game schedule and some were not. However, the games that were not played did not factor into the final standings.
I want to thank all of the workers behind the scene. The scorekeepers, PA announcers, radio announcers, concession stand workers, grounds crew, ticket takers, ushers/Peaches, video personnel, bat boys/girls, statisticians, host families and all others that make it possible to provide quality baseball to our local region and to the nation via the internet.
I want to thank all of the umpires. They did a tremendous job this year in making each game go smoothly and without any serious incidents. I think the league made a great decision in playing by NCAA rules this year instead of MLB rules that we have played by for years. This allowed the umpires and players to know what was expected of them since they were the same rules that they called and played by during the spring college season.
A big thanks goes out to all of the fans, sponsors and advertisers. Without each of you, we would not be able to have an Ohio Valley League! Whether your team was winning or losing, you were always there to give your full support.
How could I close without thanking all of the coaches across the nation that sent us their players for us to assist in developing them into better players and young men. Also, thank you to mom, dad and family members! For some, it is the first time that their son/relative has been away from them in the summer and they are sending them hundreds of miles away to an unfamiliar town to play baseball. It also gave them a new place to vacation and get some fine Southern Hospitality!
Finally, I would like to thank our two new teams in the league this year, the Paducah Chiefs and the Muhlenberg County Stallions. They were great additions to our league and brought in a new group of fans and exposure to the nation for our league. I know that they are already planning for a great 2017 season. Their owners and teams did a fantastic job in their first season.
I want to leave you with one last comment. Please remember that baseball is just a game and we owe it to all of you and the players to provide the best possible environment to participate in and to build lasting memories for a life time.
Respectfully yours for better baseball,
Cubb R. Stokes, President
Ohio Valley Summer Wooden Bat League