Revisiting “Ball Four”

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Greetings From The Booth!

It’s hard to believe but this week, some area students went back to school. For you “children of the 60’s” like me, let that sink in. Had we been forced to go back to school in early August, there would have been a revolt. For me, the back-to-school signpost was always the Jerry Lewis Telethon on Labor Day weekend. When Jerry and Ed McMahon unveiled the final totals, and Lewis broke into “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” we knew the Summer vacation was over. The butterflies in my stomach were as big as 747’s. August 9th?!? I’m not even sure the Little League World Series is over yet.

Speaking of school, it seems we hear a lot these days about how the United States is falling behind on the education front. While there is cause for concern, I was delighted to see the great results from the Handley Library Summer reading program. It’s great to know that students are still reading, even in the Summer months. Seeing this positive news took me back to the Summer vacations of my youth, when my mom would take us to the Martinsburg Public Library every Monday (first, there was a stop at a local donut shop right next door–chocolate with white icing). We had to pick out 3 books, read them that week, and get 3 new ones the following Monday.

I gravitated toward sports books, usually sports biographies or works of fiction. The bios were usually tales about heroic feats and clean living, with the athletes reminding us kids to get plenty of sleep, practice hard, and take our vitamins.

Then came Ball Four. Written in 1970 by major league pitcher Jim Bouton, Ball Four chronicles his 1969 season with the expansion Seattle Pilots. It’s considered baseball’s first “tell all” expose. Unlike sports books before, Ball Four gave fans a detailed look at what happens in a major league clubhouse, in hotels, bars, on the field, and the bullpen. And MLB didn’t like it one bit. What goes on in the locker room is supposed to stay in the locker room.  Ball Four humanized our heroes and made them real, and for his efforts, Bouton, who passed away in 2019, was basically shunned by baseball, calling himself a “social leper.”

Because of it’s mention of drug use, drinking binges, and sexual exploits, Ball Four was a book I read at night with a flashlight, and hoped my mom didn’t sample. For me, it marked the end of innocence where sports was concerned. Despite then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn’s comment that Ball Four was “detrimental to baseball,” it never diminished my love for the game. Truth be told, it probably made me love baseball even more.

This Summer, I revisited my worn copy of Ball Four, and though it is mild by today’s standards, it is still a great read, and this time I didn’t need the flashlight.

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO STUDENTS!


News Maker Todd Jones on Warren County

Gazebo Gatherings continue in Front Royal this Thursday night Aug. 11 with local artist Ryan Jewel performing.

We have a few more gatherings occurring before summer’s end as well.

We spoke to Warren County’s Director of Technology Todd Jones in our latest news maker.

News makers are brought to you by Warren County Together We are Community.

Todd tells us about those performances and more in historic downtown Front Royal.

He also tells us about an upcoming event at Belle Grove Plantation as well.

Todd also gives some insight on the Warren County School Budget as well.

Click here for Todd’s interview.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

President Biden signs Warner backed act on Semiconductors

The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Virginia Senator Mark Warner issued a statement on President Biden signing his CHIPS act.

Warner stated by email that the CHIPS and Science Act will lower costs for families, strengthen the nations security and create manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Nearly everything that has an on switch contains a chip of this type.

Only 12 percent of these types of chips are produced in the United States.

The newly signed  Warner backed act will include $52 billion in funding to manufacture chips here in America.

Warner adds that this will help America compete against countries like China for the technology or the future.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Front Royal terminates the Town Manager’s contract

After a closed meeting of the Front Royal Town Council last night Aug. 8 a vote was taken to terminate the contract of Town Manager Steven Hicks.

Immediately following the 4 to 3 vote in favor of the termination Hicks stood announced his resignation from the position and walked out of the room.

Hicks was followed closely by Councilman Joseph McFadden who also resigned.

Assistant Town Manager Kathleen Leidich was appointed interim Town Manager until a permanent Town Manager is appointed.

Following that portion of the Town Council meeting a motion from Mayor Chris Holloway was carried 5 to 1 to terminated the contract of Interim Town Attorney James E. Cornwell Jr..

That termination leaves Assistant Attorney George Sonnet as interim Town Attorney.

The council continued their regular work session after the votes a link to the Town Council meeting video is here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here. 

VSP ask for the public’s help in investigation of an accident

An email from Virginia State Police (VSP) is asking for the public’s help in an investigation.

The investigation involves a Fauquier County accident that involved a pedestrian stuck in a hit and run Sat. Aug. 6.

A 21 year old Bealeton Virginia man was walking on Route 29 north near the intersection of Route 28 when he was struck by a vehicle who stopped immediately after the incident.

A second vehicle then struck the Bealeton man again but continued without stopping.

That vehicle is described as a possible white SUV or truck of unknown mark and model.

The Bealeton man suffered life threatening injuries and was transported to INOVA Hospital.

No other injuries were reported in the incident but VSP are asking the public for assistance in the investigation.

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident or with any information is asked to contact VSP Senior Trooper D. Mabie at 540-347-6200 or at

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.