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By Megan Phelps
Former UCLA baseball player, Billy Craig, is a proud father of six kids. Two of which are currently playing this season with the RCBL. One of Billy’s sons, Ben Craig, had originally planned to join the RCBL earlier this season and transition into a travel league. His goal was to come out and play about 3-4 weeks before the high schoolers started playing, transition to travel ball, and finish the season out with the RCBL. Due to the new COVID schedule, their times collided and he had been unable to participate until recently. Ben signed with the Elkton Blue Sox where his brother, Will, has been playing since the start of the 2019 season.
After moving from Richmond, Billy wanted his family to stay local and not have to worry about traveling for baseball. The RCBL was the perfect solution for his son Will. A week before Will was about to start the 2018 season, he suffered a dirt bike injury. They thought that would only delay his start with the county league, but he accumulated a blood clot that made him sit out for that season. Luckily, Will was able to resume his plans and return for the 2019 season. His dad said, he thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, playing with his teammates, and was excited to return this year.
A challenge for many players was not having regular season baseball. Will plays for Spotswood High School and was ready to start pitching. Unfortunately, the season was canceled, and he had to, “shut things down” for a few months. Billy says, “What makes this year special is that everyone has been sitting for so long. As a fan, and a dad, getting to continue to come out here and watch them is a huge blessing.” This season has been more competitive and exciting for fans. Due to the roster expansion and players coming from different leagues and D1 schools, Billy says his son Will has not gotten much playing time. He is hopeful his son will get the chance to prove himself to the older guys as the season progresses.
Billy reflects on his time at UCLA and gave some advice for playing competitive baseball. His first piece of advice is to always work hard and to go all out on the field. His second piece of advice is, above all else, have fun. Lastly, he says to respect coaches, umpires, and authority figures. Billy continues and says that the players have grown up in that environment and he believes that behavior will stick with them in life.
Billy has noticed that more people have come out to the games this season. He has brought plenty of fans himself, saying he has many friends and family who have come out to watch the games. He says, “This is one of the best things that is happening in the valley right now, and we are so thankful that they were committed to making this happen.” He has been excited about the new guys coming in and learning about where they have played, and where they are playing now. He continues with saying that the RCBL is a special community with rich history where guys of all different age groups get the opportunity to learn and play.
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