No Live Coverage This Year

No tournament coverage this year

Website will remain online but no daily scores or articles

By Brian Varmecky

No Tournament Coverage This Year

I am sad to report that we will not be providing coverage of this year's AAABA tournament. As many of you know, this website is independently operated and we have only two people to attend games, take photographs, conduct interviews, write articles, compile statistics, and of course update the website. This year has been too busy with too many changes and I do not have the time available to donate to the site. I may still post some news here or there and will update the archives at the conclusion of the tournament, but we will not be providing live scores or game day articles and photographs as in the past.

I intend to keep this website online for the foreseeable future. I have way too much time invested into it to take it offline. I am still a fan of the tournament and I want to continue being a positive addition to it and to the community of Johnstown. So, the old game results, photographs, and articles will all remain online for as long as I can financially justify it. That also leaves the option available for live coverage of future tournaments, if that becomes a possibility once again.

A Brief Look Back

My impetus for starting this website was when I noticed back in 2006 that the Tribune Democrat’s table of franchise wins and losses did not add up (literally). So, I set about researching past tournaments and spent hundreds of hours at local libraries compiling game results. After several years, I had as much information as I could muster and posted it online to share with fellow AAABA enthusiasts.

I realized that the tournament had little online presence, which was embarrassing considering the tradition of the tournament and the importance of the internet nowadays. Since the association seemed to be in no rush to get online, I decided to provide my own coverage. My goal was always to improve the experience of fans, coaches, players, and parents whether at the tournament and at home by providing real time updates, original content, and as much information as possible. After posting scores, I moved on to photography. After that I ventured into conducting interviews and forming personal relationships with managers and representatives. Then I expanded to pre-tournament articles highlighting each team as well as coverage of the regional tournaments.

Eventually I recruited my younger sister, Amy, to help with the site. She compiled statistics for me from the daily paper (since the association does not distribute statistics to the media) and later began to update our live GameDay page with real time scores we compiled from texts, phone calls, and social media. Meanwhile, I would be driving around to as many fields as possible to take photos, keep score, report back to Amy, and conduct post-game interviews, when possible. I’d get home around 4 o'clock, upload photos, write articles, and update the website, before heading back downtown for the evening game. After that, it would often take until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning to write more articles, update the standings and schedules, and upload more photos. Then I was awake again the next morning at 8 o'clock to make it to the fields for the 10 o'clock games. It was exhausting but also quite a bit of fun.

I had bigger dreams for this site that will likely go unfulfilled: live streaming video of the games, merchandising ventures, a daily radio show or podcast during tournament week, live coverage of the bracket drawing, year-in-review video. There is still a lot out there that can be done for the tournament if someone has the time and energy to devote to it.

Closing Remarks

I admit that I enjoyed the prestige (if you will) of becoming a recognizable part of the AAABA tradition. It was rewarding to be able to talk with managers from around the country in preparation for the tournament, because I got to report on news that no one else was covering and because it showed the teams (especially the uninitiated) just how serious our town is about supporting the tournament. I thank not only the managers for their unwavering support, but also the AAABA officers and Johnstown Oldtimers for their assistance through the years. Being a reporter requires some pestering, so I am sure I was an occasional nuisance, but most people I worked with were happy to have someone getting all the information out to the public. I also thank (but do not list for fear of missing someone) all of the people who have in some way contributed to this website, whether by reporting scores, taking photographs, writing articles, or just by telling their friends about it.

Let me add recognition for Tyler Scheuermann and Rex Morgart, both of whom started their own AAABA websites around the same time as me. Rex is a big fan of the tournament history and alumni and he developed a website that reflects this passion. He has posted a lot of unique memorabilia and information from the tournament’s past. His collection of alumni trading cards on display at Suppes Ford are a staple of the tournament. Tyler took the initiative to relaunch the AAABA’s official website in 2008 and put in overtime to maintain the site while also managing the New Orleans team’s affairs. Tyler has since increased his role with the New Orleans franchise and no longer operates the association’s official website.

The AAABA hired a professional, third-party company to design and manage their new official website last year (a link is available on my home page). As far as I understand, they will be providing news, scores, and schedules for the tournament this year and into the future.

Last year, this site had nearly 100,000 page views during the tournament week. I am grateful to all the players, coaches, and fans who have expressed their appreciation for the website. It has also been nice to hear from some of the tournament alumni who found the site and were able to remember the fun times they had in Johnstown whether years or decades ago. I hope that our efforts these past eight years have succeeded in improving your experience of the tournament and hopefully we’ll get the chance to do it again in the future.

Site Information

AAABATournament.com is an independent website dedicated to covering the All-American Amateur Baseball Association national wood bat tournament held each year in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is not affiliated with the All-American Amateur Baseball Association or Johnstown Old Timers. All articles and photographs on this site are property of AAABATournament.com unless otherwise noted.