When Rockbridge dropped out of the Valley League after the 2013 season, I had a very brief email conversation with Commissioner Don Lemish. This is approximately how it went:
ATVL: So what are the plans to replace Rockbridge?
Don Lemish: I’ll give you one guess.
Don Lemish: You got it!
So it came as no surprise when brilliant reader Jeff Burton sent a link to ATVL’s Facebook page that announced that what we thought and hoped would happen is indeed happening.
Charlottesville is returning to the Valley League!
Last in the league in 1974, Charlottesville will field a Valley League team in 2015. This is good news, of course, for several reasons. First of all, the league is stronger with an even number of teams. This season, since there are 11 teams, one team must be off each day. Secondly, Charlottesville’s population is about 45,000, which is just a little bit less than Harrisonburg. I think that C-ville would be easily be able to support summer baseball. The third reason is something I hope will happen. The University of Virginia’s coach, Brian O’Connor, who played in the Valley back when he was in college, is on board with the venture. UVA has been one of the flagship college programs over the past number of years, and maybe, with Coach O’Connor in support of the team, more of UVA’s top prospects might stay and play a season or two in the VBL. UVA had nine players selected in the 2014 draft, but not a single one of them played in the Valley League. A fourth reason is that the city of Charlottesville is more central to the league. It’s preferable to add a central team to adding one that would be very far north or south.
Another bonus is that the General Manager of the new club is none other than Joe Koshansky, who played for Staunton in 2002 and 2003, and in the major leagues with the Colorado Rockies in 2007 and 2008. Joe also played at UVA, so he will be able to bridge both worlds, it seems.
A couple issues of logistics yet. First, the team will play at Charlottesville High School. Second, the team does not have a name yet, but the organization plans on holding a naming contest later this summer. Third, since C-Ville will be the 12th team in 2015, the league will go back to a divisional format. Woodstock, Aldie, Winchester, Charles Town, Front Royal, and Strasburg will play in the North, while C-Ville, Harrisonburg, New Market, Covington, Waynesboro, and Staunton will play in the South Division.
Welcome to the Valley League, Charlottesville!