Veterans Cup

It might be an early season game, but it is not just an ordinary game.

When the American Legion baseball teams from Rock Island Post 200 and Moline Post 246 meet, there just seems to a little more on the line. And when those two teams have a trophy on the line, things get even a little more exciting.

That will be case on Tuesday when Post 200 and Post 246 square off in the Bridges Catering Veterans Cup Challenge at Rock Island's historic Douglas Park.

"When Kevin (Corrigan, the leader of the Friends of Douglas Park) came up with this, I thought it was an excellent idea," Moline coach Jim Zacharewicz said. "Any time we can bring meaning to the game and visibility to legion baseball, that is great. We really look forward to this one.

"I think the history of this rivalry and stuff that has gone on between these two teams gets lost on the current players. Rock Island versus Moline gives the game a little more meaning. Having that intensity and vibe in the park should be great for the crowd."

Rock Island coach TJ Hoffman is also excited to be a part of this rivalry in his second season as Post 200 head coach. He enjoys the competition and what the game means in the grand scheme of things.

"This is a great showcase of legion baseball," Hoffman said. "I sure hope a huge crowd shows up to see this game. This is a chance to show what legion baseball is all about and show how good baseball is here. You don't have to travel to Chicago or somewhere else to play good baseball.

"It also is a great fundraiser for Douglas Park. This has become our home park for the most part and there is a lot of history at Douglas."

Both coaches have seen enough games to know that the players on both sides have a little more jump in their step when it is Moline vs. Rock Island.

"It is kind of a postseason atmosphere," Zacharewicz said.

Added Hoffman, "We always see this as a big game and the guys do get fired up. There just feels like there is a little more on the line that brings out the best."

Zacharewicz also enjoys the chance to bring up to his team the veterans who attend the game and their impact on legion baseball.

"We try to talk to them as much as possible about those wonderful people," he said. "We spend a little time when we go out of town for tournaments to sit down with the guys and remind them of the traditions of legion baseball and the importance of the flag and the veterans."



Jeff is a sports reporter for Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com.

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