There won’t be any green and gold jerseys on the diamond when the 2018 Corner Brook senior baseball final opens at Jubilee Field.
The best-of-seven final, slated to get underway tonight 7 p.m. at Jubilee Field, will feature the defending champion West Side Monarchs in black and gold and the Veitch Wellness Aces in red and grey.
The Veitch Ultramar Hawks, a seasoned team of guys who have dozens of championships will be missing from the final showdown for the first time in 28 years.
Frank Humber is one of the Hawks who has never watched a senior baseball final from the sidelines and he’s been a member of the pitching staff since 1991.
He’s feeling out of sorts knowing he won’t be preparing for the series opener like he did in the past when he sort of had an inkling that he would get the ball as the starting pitcher for the Hawks in the opening game of a big series.
There won’t be any pre-game rituals. There won’t be any butterflies in the belly.
Humber is just going to be a fan and watch the action, although it’s not a place he wanted to be at this time of the year.
The Hawks bowed out to the Aces in four games in a best-of-seven semifinal series with a couple of pretty entertaining games, but Humber was ready to admit that the change of scenery has a lot to do with his team being pretty old when compared to the youthful rosters they face on a nightly basis.
Humber took to the mound for the Hawks in the semifinal series opener against Michael Tavenor for the Aces.
At the end of the day, he said, athleticism is important in baseball and he saw examples of that in the series against the Aces. He said there were plays on defence that some of his guys might have made 10 years ago and he might have made a better pitch 10 years ago in a certain situation than he did in the opener.
He also saw Tavenor facing some sticky situations in the opener that required him to bear down on hitters and he was effective in doing so because he had an extra gear to take his game to because of his youthfulness.
“Michael still has the velocity and the speed that when he really needs to strike out a couple of batter he can reach back and let it go, and he can be pretty dominant,” he said. “The point I’m at in my career I was in the same kind of situation and I’m just looking for a ground ball or a fly ball out (because) I don’t have the capacity to get a strikeout when I need a strikeout.”
Humber is respected for being a gamer when he competes, but he’s also one of the most popular players around the league because of his great sense of humour.
That humour came to light when Humber was asked who he was rooting for in the final.
“I’m not cheering. I don’t like either one of them,” he said with a hearty chuckle.