Folks back home were ready to watch Legion team online
By Steve Huffman
Wayne Kennerly said he and a handful of others considered leasing a private jet to fly to Fargo, N.D., to watch Post 342 open play Friday night in the American Legion World Series.
Expenses nixed the idea.
“We tried to get a jet,” Kennerly said. “But when we found out it’d be $44,000, we said, ‘We’ll just watch it here.’ ”
“Here” was the Harold B. Jarrett Post 342 American Legion hut on Lincolnton Road where about 60 people gathered Friday to watch the game. The game was to be shown on a big television from an online feed at the front of the meeting hall.
But as of about 9:30 p.m. Friday, the game’s scheduled start time, the likelihood of anyone watching the game (either in Salisbury or Fargo) seemed slim. All the television at Post 342 showed was an American Legion logo and words advising viewers that the game was under a rain and thunderstorm delay.
Shortly after 10 p.m., the decision came that the game would be postponed until today, though the time of play wasn’t decided.
Legion members and others didn’t know the game was a washout earlier in the evening as they gathered to watch. Gene Auten, a Post 342 member, said only six tables had initially been set up to accommodate viewers.
As fans continued to pour in, that number of tables increased to about 20.
“And they’re still coming in,” Auten noted.
Mark Cauble, Post 342’s current commander, said a parent of one of the Legion team members was the first to ask if anything would be taking place at the hut as the team traveled to Fargo.
“I said, ‘Yeah, we’ll do something,’ ” Cauble replied.
Will Pleasants, another past commander, said he advertised on Facebook ó a social networking site ó the fact that the game would be airing at the Legion hut. News of the grand event was also posted in the Salisbury Post.
Pleasants was responsible for seeing that the Internet feed was visible on the television there at Post 342. He paused Friday to take a gander at the crowd that gathered.
“We’re ecstatic,” Pleasants said.
Ted Cline and his wife, Carolyn, were among those who gathered to watch the game. Cline said the couple traveled to all but about five of the team’s games this year.
He said he didn’t know the names of a lot of the people gathered Friday, but recognized their faces from earlier games.
“It’s the same people as go to the games all the time,” Cline said as he studied the crowd.
Most of those in attendance were a friendly bunch. When someone referred to Chris Cranford as “Mr. Cranford,” a woman sitting in the crowd quickly interjected.
“That’s not Mr. Cranford,” she said. “That’s Old Man Chris.”
Cranford chuckled. His son, D.C., played right field for the Legion team for three years before graduating from East Rowan High School a year ago.
“I’m kind of irked that I’m not out there right now,” Cranford said of the fact he didn’t travel to Fargo. “I went to Sumter (S.C., the site of regional play) and it was exciting, I’m telling you.”
Also in attendance Friday was Colton Laws, a rising eighth-grader at Southeast Middle School. Colton’s brother, Cody, is a pitcher for the Legion team.
Colton said his mother, Lisa, traveled with a group that drove 22 hours to reach Fargo.
“I could have gone, but it was going to be tight in the car, so I just stayed with my grandparents,” Colton said.
Watching television wasn’t the only thing those in attendance did Friday. Hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks were also on sale, with proceeds going to benefit projects sponsored by Post 342.
Members said Post 342 will be open and the game shown any time the Legion team is playing in this weekend’s World Series.