The people who really love baseball and the National Baseball Congress got their fix this weekend.
Just one thing, they say: Lose the 5:30 a.m. trash blowers.
The annual Baseball ’Round the Clock — 17 baseball games in 56 hours — wrapped up Sunday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium as the 78th annual National Baseball Congress World Series moves into its final week.
With a boost of energy from a Saturday cool front, and energized some more by a weekend of tight, low-scoring baseball, there weren’t many frowns from the participants, inside the ballpark or outside in the tournament’s annual Tent City.
Except, that is, for those pesky early-morning trash blowers.
“I hadn’t thought of anything being exceptionally hard,” said Leroy Wolf of Leon, wrapping up his first go at NBC marathon baseball. “Yesterday morning ended at 4:30, and then we have to be back in there at 8.
“And at 5:30 they come out with the blowers blowing all the trash and leaves and debris off of everywhere,” Wolf said, wincing at the memory, “so that made for a short night.”
Not short enough to dissuade any of the approximately 200 people who signed up, NBC officials said Sunday afternoon. Very few filtered out, and those who did likely regretted it as a cool front and rain turned the oven-like ballpark into a comfortable home Saturday night.
“They’re getting smart on us,” said Micah Jackman, one of the NBC officials administering the event. “Most of these guys are veterans. They do it year in and year out, and they know all our tricks. We try to mix it up on them every year, and a couple of them told us to make it harder for them. We tried to do that this year, but obviously, it’s not hard enough for them.”
The participant field was equal parts young and old, and equal parts happy with the experience.
“It’s been fun, but it’s been pretty tiring,” said Aaron Seiler of Wichita, who was in charge of a group of young ballplayers. “Especially the first night here it was 4:30 when we got out and we had to get up for the 8 game that next morning.”
No mention, though, of the trash blowers.
Seiler’s young charges didn’t care about the noise or the late hours.
“It’s awesome,” said Ethan Richardson. “You’re with friends and you get to drink Five Hour energy and stay up late and just have fun.”
And learn a little bit about the game, too.
“Talking to the (Santa Barbara) Foresters on Friday down by the bullpen, seeing their perspective on the game, on their colleges, on the tournament,” said Preston Seiler. “We got into baseball pretty good.”
Wolf said he values getting into baseball pretty good, too.
“There’s been a lot of great baseball, no clunkers,” he said. “And you get to sit and visit with baseball people, and as a rule, they’re mostly pretty good, you know?”
Friday’s weather was daunting, the all-nighters admitted. But they got a boost from the cooler weather Saturday and Sunday.
“It was pretty hot the first part of the weekend until the front came through,” Wolf said. “I give them a lot of credit at the stadium, though. Those ice water jugs have been out there nonstop and as fast as the people can drink they refill them. They’ve done a nice job taking care of us.”
Wolf said he’s behind the Kansas teams, but firmly behind his El Dorado Broncos.
“The Broncos are going to win the tournament,” he said.