The Mid-Ohio Valley.
I've been hearing and using that term all my life.
But I'm not sure where it begins or where it ends.
Or even what its various counties and cities have in common.
For two communities located approximately 15 miles apart, Marietta and Parkersburg are extremely different.
Just look at our high school athletic teams. Instead of competing against one another in one regionwide league, we have schools that are members of the Little Kanawha Conference, Tri Valley Conference, Pioneer Valley Conference, East Central Ohio League, Mountain State Athletic Conference, Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and Two Rivers Athletic Conference.
What I am getting at?
We need something to bring us all together.
Something we all can get behind.
That something is the recent proposal to bring a minor league baseball team to the area.
The first of three public meetings to gauge interest in the idea will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the Belpre City Council chambers.
What are the advantages of having a baseball team?
First and most importantly, it will unite us. When it comes to high school sports, area residents naturally are loyal to their alma mater and the school located where they live. With 26 high schools in the coverage area of our newspaper, our loyalties are divided 26 ways.
A baseball team would give us a common cause. It would be our team. It would be Parkersburg's team, Belpre's team, Marietta's team, Ravenswood's team and the team of every little community and rural area in the, er, Mid-Ohio Valley.
Why baseball? First, it is played during the summer months when youths are out of school. It also provides an affordable, downright cheap and fun way to spend a night.
While this project has my whole-hearted endorsement, my only concern is that we do this right, and that is going to require a considerable commitment, including the construction of a facility worthy of serving as the home ballpark.
While Bennett Stump Field at the Parkersburg City Park is a fine high school facility, that's all it is. It lacks many amenities, such as dressing facilities. Plus, by being located in the City Park the sale of alcohol is prohibited there. While I'm not in favor of getting tanked at sporting events, the sale of alcohol is a huge source of revenue for athletic franchises and almost a necessary evil for financial survival.
Once we identify that this area wants a baseball team, we need to determine the best location to serve as the team's home and we need for that home to be a first-class facility. As Cousin Eddie says, "Don't you get cheap on me.''
The Mid-Ohio Valley is being targeted by the Frontier League, a stable, long-term league that seems like a perfect match.
Let's hope those with ideas about locating a team in the Mid-Ohio Valley will attend Tuesday's meeting and voice their support and their ideas. Those who do so will certainly feel like this is our team.