As T.S. Elliot might say, April is the cruelest month, but the Eagles — snow or no snow — are back. For five years, we’ve been covering the exploits of the East High baseball team as they’ve taken junkets to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New York and won championships right here at home in Rochester.
We’ve often focused on the guys and gals who run the show in the Press Box. This year we have a new man in town, Daniel Uebbing, who punched the buttons for East’s two opening wins against Finney and Douglass. I had the chance to catch up with Dan at the Douglass game. Alert and engaged, Dan has quickly mastered the niceties of the scoreboard keeper — even as he frets that its lights could dim at any point:
Hi, I am Dan Uebbing and it is a thrill and an honor to run the scoreboard from the Press Box for the East Eagles Varsity baseball team! I currently teach English as a New Language for the Lower School at East. I studied English literature and creative writing at St. John Fisher and Brockport and education at the University of Rochester. In my free time I love to read, write, and watch baseball, namely the East Eagles and the New York Mets! I also love thinking about philosophy and spiraling word play. But of course, most of the time in the Press Box, I am laser-focused on the second-by-second action of the game. It does get a little chilly, with the frosty lingering grip of the ole Nor’easter refusing to yield to springs subdued awakening, but having served in Germany in the Army, I am not stranger to enduring the elements while staying vigilant. My only concern is the scoreboard. As of yet, it has not been able to hold a charge and its lights will inevitably teeter out after only a couple of innings but the powers that be are already all over that issue and I am sure the epic scoreboard will be beaming forth without fail for the season going forward. Balls and strikes, outs and innings, some funky and classic rock music to pump you up, all comprise my gamely duties from the press box! Lately my finger has been getting worn out punching in runs for the Eagles, I must say. Anyway, I am having a blast so far. The one thing I might like or coveteth, is a coveted microphone, so I can flash my broadcasting skills in announcing the Eagle sluggers. Perhaps only the Bard of Baseball can provide me with my wish. Go Eagles! (And Mets, too. 9 and 1 – what a truly historic start! (Though I am sure the East eagles can top it.
The varsity game was pretty lopsided, giving me the chance to check out the JV.
Coaches Tom Street and Dan Travis were running a spirited practice as the JV prepared for its opener. As Tom explained, the JV is mainly for 9th and 10th graders, with some 8th graders, yearning to make the varsity squad. As Dan said, the players learn and refine their skills as they move up the Eagle ladder. The JV squad uses the same signs and practices the same situational plays as the varsity. Tom and Dan were drilling the group on base running, both how to hold runners on and how to take the extra base.
I could tell the kids were well coached when I offhandedly asked who was the best player. The boys said they were a team and so there was no best player. So I asked who is the goofiest guy on the team. Quickly, they said Isaiah, the first baseman.
When I told Isaiah what his teammates said, he was all on board. He was actually being modest about his goofiness as his upbeat and infectious attitude motivates the team.
After the game, I ran into Matt who umpired the varsity game. An army veteran, Matt is pursuing umpiring after his military retirement. I could tell Matt loves umpiring just by looking at his trunk filled with all the accoutrements of his trade. Matt said that with all the equipment he wore, he was probably the warmest guy on this cold and blustery afternoon. April is the cruelest month.