Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why You Play The Game

Today at 3:00 PM, the Blacksburg campus of Virginia Tech will be transported from grief and tragedy to bask in the warmth of professional sport. A continuing battle to bounce back from extraordinary loss will receive a tiny, yet meaningful push from a group of millionaires and superstars. A squad of baseball players hoping to help torn families and friends remember life can be good again.

From the Star Ledger story:

[Virginia Tech baseball manager Peter] Hughes said English Field "bursts at the seams" to fit 3,500 people, but they've managed to distribute 5,500 tickets for this game. Of those, 2,500 were set aside for school employees, victims' families and rescue workers who were on campus the day of the shooting. The other 3,000 were sold to the public, and those who got them will crowd into temporary bleachers and a newly refurbished left-field berm, which has been transformed from a sloping grass hill into tiered, stadium-style seating.

And for those who can't get in, the game will be simulcast on big-screen TVs in the school's football stadium.

"The whole town will be shut down," Hughes said. "They did not shut down the school, but a lot of professors are smart enough not to have class. We have 27,000 students, and there are 60,000 in the community, and everybody wants to go to the game."

So do the Yankees. They're bringing their star players -- Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi ... everybody in the starting lineup but Hideki Matsui, who continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. Major-league players are notorious for complaining about inconveniences or disruptions to their routine, but there hasn't been any of that around Legends Field.

For one day, that grief will mix with fun, and a one-in-a-lifetime chance for the hokies and their fans to get an up-close look at the New York Yankees.


No comments: