On a beautiful Friday summer night, an estimated 1,500-2,000 supporters from the community joined together to watch a baseball game. It was a great atmosphere of community spirit; businesses, schools, community organizations and churches, all coming together to show their support of the team. With employees having family members, friends and relatives associated with the team, Draper was a natural to be one of the businesses involved, supplying the 10’6” x 14’ StageScreen that was secured behind home plate giving everyone a great view of the game. Thanks go to Jim Hoodlebrink (Rental Product Manager), Chad Tabor (Regional Sales Manager, TX) and Todd Garner (Regional Sales Manager), for arranging the screen.
While the Indiana weather finally cooperated with a beautiful summer day, it did cause a few problems. The cloudless sky kept the fans from seeing the video on the screen for the first few innings, but we patiently sat and listened, like a family gathered around an old-time radio broadcast, as the announcers called the game. The fans continued to gather in the outfield as the sun set (too slowly), eventually revealing the video of our team. Anticipation grew as the pitching duel turned into a game of strategy and fundamentals as the New Castle team used bunts, steals and a few well placed hits to create a rally, and tension grew as the closing pitches brought victory. On the last out, the crowd rose to their feet, cheers drowning out the lights and siren of the local fire truck parked in the outfield. I’ve been to several big league baseball games, but sitting in the outfield watching 11-12-year old players hundreds of miles away is the most fun I’ve had in a ball park.
After the celebration ended, the lights came on, the crowd happily wandered away, pitching in on cleaning up. As we dismantled the projection equipment, several Draper employees, including Sandra Whitehead (Inside Sales, TX) and John Hartsock (IT, Bill of Materials), appeared out of the crowd, lending a hand in dismantling the StageScreen in just a few minutes. It seemed a shame that the evening had to end so quickly.
In the movie ‘Field of Dreams’, Shoeless Joe Jackson asks Ray Kinsella “Is this Heaven?” to which Ray answers, “It’s Iowa.” Well, it obviously wasn’t Iowa. And, it wasn’t heaven; but for a little Indiana town on a beautiful summer’s night, it was awfully darn close.
The next game will air on ESPN tonight (August 20th) at 8 pm. Join us in watching our small town heroes as they play for the Great Lakes Region in the Little League World Series!
Below are a few photos of the event we wanted to share.