ASHLAND – The Platte Valley Patriot baseball team is off to an undefeated start through 11 games this season, at the least through the eyes of 68-year broadcaster Mark Adel.
Adel, a longtime public address announcer for the Patriots and for the Ashland-Greenwood Junior and Senior Legion baseball teams, like all the rest of the sports fans across the globe is longing for the return of baseball.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts made the decision to close schools across the state through May 31, essentially ending the high school baseball season for 65 teams.
“I just felt so bad for the kids, especially for all the seniors. I know they were looking forward to having a really good year,” Adel stated.
Starting with a home game against Crete on March 19, Adel has been broadcasting simulated games on ashlandayba.org and will continue to do so until the high school season culminates with the state tournament May 16 to 21 in Lincoln.
Adel has scorebooks dating back to the early 2000s and is using last season’s books as well as enlisting the help of MaxPreps to come up with line ups to aid in his broadcasts.
It goes without saying that Adel is a baseball fan and he got the idea of broadcasting the games from watching classic New York Yankee games rebroadcast on television.
“The Yankees never lose on those classic broadcasts,” laughed Adel.
He thought he would be able to do the same for the Patriots this spring.
Adel isn’t rebroadcasting results from last season’s games, instead, he is coming up with a simulated outcome for each of the team’s scheduled games and is airing them on the actual dates they were supposed to be played.
For instance the Patriots played Omaha Bryan at home on March 21 in 32 degree temperatures.
“The fans in attendance that night didn’t have any problem with social distancing,” quipped Adel.
The games have been a big hit among players, parents and fans of Patriot baseball.
“That’s why I do it. It’s very unfortunate the way things have turned out this spring for the guys and if listening to one of my broadcasts brings them joy then
it’s all worth it,” Adel said.
While the rest of the high school season has been cancelled, Adel is hopeful that the legion teams will return to the field sometime in June.
“I am hopeful. I think we will get an opportunity to play some legion games. I base that a lot on what our governor has said. I think he wants people to get back into their normal routine – in a safe manner,” said Adel.
Until then he will be spending most of his time outside on his acreage a couple miles southwest of Ashland.
Adel has fruit trees, maintains a flower garden for his wife and has already started his work on his 10,000 square foot garden.
Recent snow and rain only slowed him down temporarily.
“Next week looks really nice and I will be able to get back outside and work,” Adel said.
Baseball fans can listen to Adel’s Patriot broadcasts on ashlandayba.org.