Take me out to 17 ballgames

STORY BY Laura Roddy

Every August, diehard fans converge on Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for Baseball Round the Clock, and Brian Turner is lucky enough to help manage the spectacle.

The challenge is to watch 17 games in 56 hours as part of the National Baseball Congress World Series. Participants catch some Z's when they can, sometimes out in their cars in the parking lot and sometimes just out in the stands. They have only 10 minutes to check in with NBC officials when notification is given during each game.

Turner, group sales manager for both the Wichita Wingnuts and the NBC World Series, has been in charge of the Baseball Round the Clock promotion since 2009. That year, he took over the reins with only two weeks notice. "I went from not knowing anything about it to running it," Turner said. "It"s always a lot of work, but it's more fun now."

Turner grew up in Emporia and was a junior college pitcher, so he knows baseball. But he hadn't heard of the NBC World Series and Baseball Round the Clock until he began an internship with the Wichita Wingnuts organization. The National Baseball Congress consists of 15 amateur and semi-professional baseball leagues, and its World Series has taken place annually in Wichita since 1935.

Turner has enjoyed meeting some of the fans who have been attending Baseball ‘Round the Clock for more than 20 years. Some who first brought their children now are bringing along grandchildren to watch the boys of summer in action.

Last year, Turner said, about 360 people participated in the challenge. About 130 completed the challenge, which earned them an "I Survived"t-shirt, a pass to the second week of the NBC tournament and raffle entries for bigger prizes.

As for the teams that draw the berth for the late-night games, it may be more of a mixed bag. Turner said some players don't like to play at that time, but others have a lot of fun with it. During a 2 a.m. rain delay once, players were on the field dancing. "It adds a lot of atmosphere to it," Turner said.

Turner offered some advice for completing the Baseball Round the Clock challenge. "It's always great to do it in a group because that way you can rotate your sleep schedule," he said.

Be warned: The critical point is generally the late Saturday night/early Sunday morning game. Many participants sleep through the check-in and are eliminated from the challenge. That means no "I Survived"shirt and no glory for them at least until the next year.

Baseball Around the Clock

Aug. 3-5

Cost: $15 in advance or $20 on Aug. 5. Registration form required.

Participants have 10 minutes to check in once notice has been given during each of the 17 games. They can leave the stadium with their ticket stubs but will be disqualified if they miss a check-in.

Game schedule (subject to change):

Friday, Aug. 3: 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., 12:30 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 4: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., 12:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 5: 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

The National Baseball Congress World Series runs July 28 Aug. 11.

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