BP WS opening

Ten NAIA baseball teams from all around the United States typically gather at Harris Field at Lewis-Clark State College for the weeklong World Series event, sponsored by Avista. This is the opening ceremony from the 2011 Series. This year was supposed to be the 64th edition of the event, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it was canceled. Recently, the NAIA extended the contract for Lewiston to conduct the Series by one year, pushing the deal out to 2025.

Once the coronavirus pandemic began, I started worrying, as all good editors do. The biggest question in the back of my mind was: What kinds of content are we going to have to fill the Sports section with?

One by one, every single sport started to fade away. With each passing day in early March, it became apparent the world of sports as we knew it was coming to a standstill. I was constantly asked in the newsroom how would we fill the section each day with stories that had some kind of meaning.

It became apparent we were going to have to go in a different direction. Instead of covering live events, we were going to have to turn our attention to feature material, and even finding ways to re-generate old stories and turn them into fresh ideas.

Once we heard the Avista NAIA World Series was going to be canceled this year, my mind went into overdrive. One of my first thoughts was what would the community think if we did some kind of flashback to the tournaments of the past, stories about those great Lewis-Clark State College baseball teams that we all remember. The first team to win it all in 1984? The numerous personalities. The reason why so many people and college teams feel Lewiston is the place to be for one week during the month of May.

So, Mr. Wise Guy, how are you going to pull this off?

Well, I think we have come up with a plan that will quench that thirst for baseball that this community desires while taking a walk down memory lane and revisit those great teams, not only from LCSC, but throughout the long and storied history of the World Series.

With that, I welcome you to our coverage of this year’s World Series. Yeah, there will be no live games to cover at Harris Field. No parade of athletes. No pomp and circumstance, no special section celebrating each team who has made the field and no eight-page daily sections that will chronicle each contest that took place the previous day.

But during the next 10 editions (what, you say, the Series doesn’t typically go that long), what we will do is take a look back at some of the historic LCSC teams that did, and even a couple that didn’t, win the title. We’ll also focus on some of the most exciting games, in chronological order and in the non-LCSC class, of each round of the tournament. For example, in Friday’s edition, we will take a look at the first-round game in 1964 that saw Wartburg pitted against West Liberty State. Who cares, right? Well, for one, it was one of the longest games in Series history. For another, there might be a familiar name or two that those of you who are baseball fans might remember from a long career in Major League Baseball.

We’ll also count down the greatest comebacks in the LCSC Series history, put together by baseball history expert Denny Grubb. He’s sure to captivate audiences with his flair for numbers and his ability to make the game come alive, and almost like you might remember it. We’ll also have some nuggets and interesting tidbits throughout the run that we hope will keep you coming back for more.

We will have a social media presence too. As an example, we will be throwing out a trivia question each day on our Twitter feed, @LewTrib_Sports, and our Facebook page, TribSports, with the answer the next day. Some days it will be multiple choice, other days it will require you to think long and hard.

While it’s not the same (and we get it never will be the same), we consider this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step back into the time machine and relive some of the greatest moments in the history of the NAIA World Series. We might not hit upon everything that encompasses the deep and rich history not only of LCSC baseball but of the Series, but I hope you enjoy this lookback and have as much fun with it as it is for us to produce.

With that, I say those words I think we’ve all been longing to hear throughout this spring, “Let’s Play Ball!”

Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, dwalden@lmtribune.com, or on Twitter at @waldo9939.

Recommended for you