Tuesday, June 7, 2016

6/5/16 Cop Field



One driving into the city from the East Bay could see the line of delineation formed in the fog/sun in San Francisco.  I hoped for the best, but the closer I got to Balboa Park, the more it seemed we were cursed to play in the DMZ.  So it was sunny for the first few innings, and gradually, it became colder, windier, and foggier (as seen in the photos above).

I had Lil Satch with me again, loaded with snacks, cold weather gear, and baseball equipment, and in between at-bats, we practiced hitting in the backstop down the left field line.  I also benefited from him napping on the drive in.

Carter started for the homers and Satch for the visitors, and the game was a fairly low scoring affair at the beginning.  We scored 3 runs in one inning, the homers scored one run in another, and that was it for the beginning. 

Having been thrown one pitch to swing at in 9 pitches, I took a walk in the fourth inning with two outs and Tony on third, and then employing a rather underhanded old dodge (AOY 2016!), I took off early from first to draw the throw and hopefully stay alive long enough for Tony to cross home.  It worked, Carter ran straight at me, threw it to the second baseman, who never looked in Tony's direction as he dashed home.  I was tagged, but the run counted and we were up 4-1.

I ended up throwing 5 innings, and felt good, McGrath was calling a good game and had some great blocks behind the dish.  I will also say that we had Aiden playing for real, and he did his father proud, as well as being a decent fellow to play with Lil Satch (who said that was his favorite part of the game) while I was on the mound in the 4th.

Around about that time, I realized that the young, robust and determined center fielder in the A's uniform, who had robbed myself and James of extra base hits was, in fact John Carey.  Truly he is a man among men now, and those who have followed this blog will remember that it seemed like only yesterday that he was tailing his dad in an oversize uniform, and getting at bats in between innings.  The word is that he is playing for his college team now, and is home for the summer.  Great news, if you aren't the guy that tattooed a laser shot to center field that gets miraculously caught.  John scored the first run for his team, in true MBC fashion, single, stolen base, throwing error, fielding error.*

*After the ball got past third base, I ran to field it and throw it home, unbeknownst to me, McGrath had the same idea, and I threw towards the body I saw near home plate.  That, of course, was the batter, home plate having been abandoned.  I am not sure if that counts as an additional throwing error or not....

Around the middle innings, the homers caught fire, and scored two runs and were threatening more when we were able to get out of the jam.  Carter  hit a triple to left and it was only due to excellent defense that we maintained the lead.

Mitch took over pitching for us, and threw two good innings, and then Tim took the ninth inning.  Those who can count will realize that we only played 8 innings, yes, we skipped the 7th, as the weather was turning fast, and we were in danger of losing more players, two of which had left in the 5th.

John took over pitching for the homers, and definitely led the day in K's, however it came at a cost.  His lively arm was wild, and Adam spent a lot of time getting hit, or chasing balls to the backstop.  Adam's zeal for the game was quickly eradicated.   I got on through a dropped third strike and a near collision at first with Elvin, which luckily resulted only in a glancing blow, but still, I eventually came around to score on a hit by Tim, an inning which sealed the fate of the homers.

The runs piled up, and the homers made nary a whisper in the ninth, the final score being 8-3.

Highlights:

* Thanks to everyone who came out, it seems that attendance has dipped a bit in the last few months, so we may need to start recruiting a little

* Mitch worked a full day and then came out and played, that is the love of the game right there

* Elvin may have mastered fielding with his right hand, but when it comes to throwing left handed from the outfield, he missed the cut off man by about 70 feet.

* Gaspar made an outstanding sliding catch in right field

* Tim and Tony combined for an awesome double play, with Tony making a great play on the conversion at second

* Adam showed his old colors that earned him the Bad Sportsmanship trophy, by walking away from the batters box after hitting a ground ball

* Aiden lined a ball straight back to me, if instinct hadn't taken over, I would have dropped it and forced him to run it out.  Great hit though!

* It was great to have Mitch in the outfield again, too often he has been relegated to other positions lately

* Richie managed to tune himself up at first with a knee and elbow injury, that hopefully was not too serious

* I felt really bad about the elbow in Elvin's ribs, but there was no way I was going to miss him completely, and if I ran into him with my body, he may have been killed.  The elbow was more of a bumper to keep the rest of me from colliding with him.  Cold comfort, but better than the alternative, given that I outweigh Elvin by about 150 lbs.

* Elon swung at a 3-0 knuckleball and popped out.  That might have been my proudest moment of the day

* Bob claimed he was gonna kick the shit out of me, if I hit his kid.  Tall order, given how full of shit I am.

* Lil Satch and I played 2nd base for the latter part of the game, and it worked out well, not only did we get to play next to Tony (his favorite) but he liked the warm-up grounders he got to take, courtesy of Nick Smith.

* Get well soon Greg!

S. Paige


Friday, June 3, 2016

5/25/16 MBC vs. SQ All Stars

Thanks to McGrath and Phelps for giving me the recap, I really wanted to be at this game, but various obligations kept me away.  I am glad that Phelps was able to step into the starting role and do so well.

Traffic clogged up the base paths from the get go and even with the fear of Officer Wood blocking home plate, the Mission players were eager to go. But upon arrival the gatekeeper was not wearing an Ushanka but rather a smile. Officer Rico was suave and polite in the process of letting us in, making jokes as she went through our IDs and searched our things.
 
Paired with the fast pace of our liaison Andrew, we were on the field faster than expected. The crowd was ready and two lefties squared off and never relinquished the mound. The MBC scored first but SQ immediately came back and the game was tied.
 
SQ took the lead in the bottom of the second and it stayed that way for 6 innings. SQ All-Stars got 2 more in the 7th right before lock-up time called the game. Beers and burgers were had by all. 
 
FINAL SCORE 4-1, SQ All Stars

Highlights: 

* Mitch leadoff double, Phelps bunt single and Mitch scores on an RBI single by Duane.
* This would be our only run.
* Phelps got picked off at 2nd (again)
* McGrath had a double
* Phelps started his first game on the inside and pitched 7 IP, 4Ks, 4 Runs, 1 BB.
* 2nd batter of the game for SQ crushed a homer over the barbed wire.
* Don chased down a ball and barrel rolled onto the concrete… survived unscathed.
* Powell made a slick sliding stop at SS and made a sweet throw.
* Mitch made a nice catch in center and rifled back to an outstretched Duane to double up the runner at first. The ump called him safe but hundreds of “Oohs” let out due to the obvious fact that he was out:
Don: Can we appeal the call?  
Ump: Are you asking me to appeal it?  
Don: Yeah  
Ump: Then he's out.
 
* Greg leapt out of squat faster than Johnny Badass and made a diving catch on a foul ball behind him that was only 10 feet high
* The game ended with the bases loaded and a hard hit ball to center off the bat of Mitch.
* One fan caught back-to-back foul balls.
* Maybe one of the best umpires behind the dish we’ve ever had. 
* We learned origin stories for Sonny and Randy’s nicknames.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5/29/16 Big Rec

Another nice day, if the wind wasn't blowing.  Seriously, gusts all day, some of which blew pop flies all over the place.

It was Don's birthday, and he had a fan base out there.  There was the promise of pizza, beer, and cupcakes, but nothing had materialized by the time me and lil Satch (LS) had to go.  Hopefully it happened.  We started a little late because the traffic and parking was terrible, thanks to Duane for sending out a warning email, though he didn't make it himself, so not sure what that meant.

Sonny started for the homers, and I think he threw a complete game, way to go!  The visitors had some pop but just couldn't string together much of a offense.  Carter was on the bump for the visitors, and threw well, having his little one and wife in the stands as well.

The game went along fairly quickly,  we were 10-10 by the time everyone got settled, and had some nice plays at first, for the homers.  We threw the ball around a lot as the visitors. 

I came in for the 6th and 7th and felt good, I was worried with LS getting bored and tired that I was gonna need to be efficient.  And Lo and behold, I tied the major league record for minimum pitches in an inning with 3.   Carter, who was catching by that time was in full support of the last batter getting a picture perfect fastball down the middle, cuz that is what you gotta do!  Luckily, the pop up that ensued was not one of the ones that was dropped ( I dropped one the inning before).

The hardest hit balls of the day seemed to get caught, which is just the way it goes.  Me and LS had to depart after the 7th, with the score at 5-2.  I have not heard the final outcome, but I imagine that it was around that.

Highlights:

* Nick Smith was called out once at first on a bang bang play, and then when it happened again later, he was called safe, due to the unfair nature of the play (and cuz he was safe....)

* JT came out, and hit a scorching line drive that was caught.  He also made a crucial out in right

* John McGrath caught, did well, hit the ball, almost had a close play at the plate

* Lattig did the best with a lackluster bunch of throws from the infield, and made some great picks

* Terrible hops turned into great hops  a lot that day

* Elvin had a great RBI knock

* Randy also had some good defense

* Bob did some catching, had a nice wallop

* Mitch, who we are worried has work-related scheduling issues on Sundays now, was out, and not playing outfield, but still making Mitch catches

* I hit the highest pop fly that dropped clean for a single, due to the wind, and the left fielder playing me at 415ft.

* Odd day with no Tony, Greg, Adam, Sean, etc.

* LS is coming around in his hitting, got some plate time, and wants me to remember to bring more food and a larger sunshade next time.

S. Paige




Monday, May 16, 2016

5/15/16 Big Rec GGP





 


A spring day in May is a fine thing, and even better when there is aplenty of parking.  In our yearly recruitment drive, we played in GGP on Bay to Breakers day, and netted some fresh volunteers.  I think the heat must have knocked the drunks out early, I didn't see the usual assortment of staggering giraffes and body paint that I have in years past.

We started with 13, with Satch and Greg going head to head.  And that is how we finished, a complete game for both hurlers, which is how it should be.  The field and the mound were both in great shape, which made pitching a lot easier. A late McGrath made us 7 on 7, a legitimate game. And much later, after recruiting, Dennis showed up and we had 17.

We gained a Dutch recruit who played right field for a half an inning and took a hurried at-bat, in which he grounded to second but didn't bother to run, and then suddenly left, due to his girlfriend waiting for him.  The decision to invalidate his ground ball as an out was contested, unofficially, as we felt he had made an impact in the defensive game, gathering in a ball hit by Nick that would have been extra bases had the Dutchman not been there.  But whatever....

The visitors scored first, then we answered back to knot it at 1-1.  It was to be a see-saw battle the whole game, which made it exciting.  I will say that the lethargy shown by the Dutchman was infectious in his team, the visitors in particular had not interest in running out ground balls.  That lack of hustle may have made the difference in the game.

I noticed a man and woman in sporty togs that watched at least an whole inning of the game so I sauntered up and asked them if they were interested in playing? They both agreed and we had 8 on 8, which made the situation a lot more relaxed.  Brian and Michelle had actually run the B2B that morning, and showed a lot of spirit in playing eh whole game with us.  Michelle was on base twice and scored a run, and didn't strike out.  Brian, not so much, although he did also score a run and made a perfect throw to the plate from left to gun down Jon McGrath.  We were lucky to have them.

Going into the late innings, Powell was interested in throwing and I declared the 7th my last inning, and then had a good inning and asked for one more inning.  Chris, out of the goodness of his heart, acquiesced and suggested that I could also pitch the 9th if I wanted to.  I couldn't argue with his logic that he would have the opportunity to throw next week, while it might be a month before I was back out.  A sad, but true commentary.

We were tied at 7-7 going into the bottom of the 8th, and then James got on, and scored the go ahead run coming all the way around.  In the top of the ninth, the visitors roared mightily, until they got into the batters box, and then, they went down in order.  Tony hit what could have been extra bases but Dennis was there and made the catch for the game.

Highlights:

* It was almost too nice of a day

* Thanks to Bob, Adam and John for doing the catching on a day when the weather was hot

* We had a series of foul balls to left, some of which I am not sure were actually foul

* There was quite a few untouched pop ups that go as singles in the books, but were not pretty to watch ( I had one)

* Elvin continues to improve as a lefty, and had a great timely hit

* I don't think I hit anyone, and the only pitches that were getting away from me were knuckleballs that anyone could avoid

* Chris made some crucial plays at SS, and stopped a few more from getting to the outfield

* Once again, perfect strikes to anyone other than Richie in the box

* Tony gained the love and attention of three kids in the stands, giving him advice throughout his at bat and subsequent base-running.  Given the adulation that he was garnering, I found myself feeling like the villain in a wrestling match.

* Adam made a number of great stops at catcher, which at Big Rec can be a substantial difference in the game

* We had a chance to get out of an inning with the SQ out (right fielder to 1st base), but some of us were yelling one, and others were yelling home, and the right fielder said it all sounded like home

* Matt also made some great plays at SS, and was a constant threat at the plate

* Greg did a great job on the bump, the game could have very easily gone the other way

* Adam came through with a big RBI at bat that almost broke me

* Tony knew the knuckle was coming and was still flummoxed.

* Thank you to everyone who came out to play, it would have sucked for my once a month game to be a batting practice on a beautiful day

P.S.

It came to our attention that John Nero recently moved to Chicago, without so much as a warning, much less a goodbye.  After ~16 years playing with the MBC, we thought we at least warranted a social nicety or even a polite "go fuck ourselves."

Apparently not.  Hopefully we have not seen the last of him, and we wish him the best.  Someone else is going to have to bring the vegetarian-only grill for the 4th of July BBQ.

For those who wish to remind themselves, here is the player profile on John from 2009. 

http://missionbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/10/player-13-john-nero.html


Thursday, May 5, 2016

4/30/16 San Quentin All-Stars vs MBC- Game 1

I wish I could have been there, sounds like it was a well-played affair.  thanks to Abe Zuckerman for the write up.  Too bad we couldn't keep the winning streak alive into the 2016 season....

Game was preceded by the teams lining up on the first and third base paths, a four man color guard marching onto the field, an inmate signing the national anthem (quite well) and the warden throwing out the first pitch (high and outside).
Sean pitched all 9, held the SQ All Stars to 2 runs in the (2nd?), which we matched in the (5th?) to even the score.  The game remained tied until the bottom of the 8th when the SQ All Stars plated 3 runs after a couple errors, a couple hits and couple a stolen bases.  
We didn't score in the top of the 9th and it was all over, 5-3 them.

Notable plays: 
* Sean picked a man off third by throwing over to Tim who proceeded to chase the runner almost all the way home before applying the tag.
* Sean picked another runner off first via the rundown, getting assistance from Powell (at short) and Dwayne at first. 
* Matt, playing second, tried to gun down a runner that was sneaking home from third.  Matt threw a strike to home where Greg successfully blocked the plate and applied the tag and the runner was called .... safe, for some reason.
* Matt went 2 for something in his debut, crushing the ball both times.
* Mitch, who requested to hit at the bottom of the order because he was "rusty" hit a strong single in his first at bat, only to be picked off immediately even though he was standing like 2 feet from the bag.
* The SQ All Star left fielder made a running, jumping catch on a ball that was crushed by ????
* I made a diving catch coming in on a pop-fly hit to shallow right field that Jimmy, playing second, never saw.
* Elan smoked some balls and pulled his groin.  He then continued to hit even though he couldn't run at all.

* Of Special Note:  The SQ All Stars gave Greg a major league official game ball signed by the entire SQ team in appreciation for his services over the years.  Seems that the players in SQ feel the same way about Greg as we do.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5/1/16 Cop Field

I don't know what happened at the the games other than two pictures from the catcher's POV and a two sentence description with accompanying pitchers list that I got from AOY Sidawi.

Home won 13 to 12. Coney island James hit one to the moon for a triple and mars for a hr.

Home team pitchers- Carter/new Nate/Sonny
Visitor team pitchers- Greg/Matt/ Greg again/Tony




Through the "miracle" of technology, the final run of the game was captured by Abe, in slo-mo and with corresponding ethereal acid guitar.  Abe's hazy memory on the game is as follows: 

My recollection is that the homers were down 12-7 going into the bottom of the 9th facing Tony on the mound, and the homers crushed a series of hits, scoring 5 runs on 1 out, followed by my brother Max hitting the sac fly that scored Randy (I think I have his name right), sliding underneath John's tag at home.  It was a close play that was seriously contested for a second until people were shown the iPhone replay.

Replay is real.


Monday, April 25, 2016

4/17/16 Cop Field

It was a beautiful day out, very little traffic, and as usual, crappy parking all around the field.  Seriously, ever since they re-did Balboa Park, it has been harder and harder to park.  The teams faced off, Satch throwing for the homers and Carter for the visitors.  Carter however, lasted one inning and then gave the ball over to Greg.  We never heard why.

I had a much better first inning than last time, which felt good.  And in general, the arm felt fine.  Except when I was pitching to Lattig, and then I couldn't throw a strike to save my life.  The same with Carter, who only was there for one or two at bats.  Both of them chose to take their walks after 7 or 8 balls in a row.  No explanation, other than lack of use and concentration and skill, that I can come up with.

We had a good group, a couple of new guys that both seemed to have some good skills, and a returning crop of new talent as well, including a few younger recruits. Gaspar was also out for the first time in a while, and made an amazing catch in right field, the first of many of his defensive gems of the day.

The game went along in a bit of a teeter-totter, 1-0, 2-1, 4-1, 5-4, that kind of thing.  I bowed out after 6 innings and gave the ball up.  Then we realized that the other team had lost a player, making it a lopsided, 9 on 7 game, so I volunteered to switch teams, since I had done all the damage I was going to.  I left the homers in a 5-4 deficit.

We had a number of people who had to leave early, so we skipped the 7th inning and moved to the 8th.  Low and behold, the team I left suddenly came alive and started hitting all over the place.  The team I joined went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th.

So I got to lose twice in one game.  That's something.

Final- Homers- 8-6?

Highlights

* Gaspar's catch in right was the play of the game

* Elon's catch on his own team in left was a close second

* Thanks to Greg, John and Carter for the catching

* One of the new guys had an amazing arm

* In jest, I cocked an elbow out on a first pitch and it actually hit me.  It must have been chest high, but Greg was indignant and insisted that Carter call it a strike, to teach me a lesson about fucking around, I guess.  I hit the next pitch about 410 feet to left-center and had a stand-up triple.

* Greg said he didn't mind the hit, but he took exception to the triple, since I had to exert effort and actually try, he took umbrage with that display of spirit.

* Chris Powell made a great catch off of the mound

* Abe accomplished something, but was not lauded for it.

* Bob had three real solid drives, one on a pitch he had to go down to get

* Powell's defensive rehab is continuing to improve (see above) though he made another error on a routine play at SS.  We think he may be the victim of the whammy or even a malicious curse.  Its the only logical explanation for his errors....

* Parking really sucks at Balboa.


Monday, April 4, 2016

4/10/16 Cop Field

 Photo credit: AOY 2015 Lattig  


 It's been a long damn time since I got a chance to play, sorry for all the missed weeks and absence of updating on the blog.  What can you do; life has a way of getting messy sometimes.  Sunday's game highlighted that for sure.

We had 18, we had a nice sunny day, we had a nice mixture of the old and the new.  The breakdown of the teams seemed to lean heavy on our side, to the point that we considered a swap before the first pitch.  Boy, did we look like assholes for feeling superior.

I felt really good warming up, the fastball was there after a two month rest, and we faced off against Sonny, going for the homers.  He had his usual repertoire of downward breaking stuff, and we didn't fare too well in our first licks.  The bottom of the first proved to be one of the ugliest innings I have ever been a part of.  I think they sent 12 to the plate, scored 7 runs.  What was consistent for the entire game as that we got the first out, no problem, and then could not seal the deal to save our lives.  I want to point out that I felt I was making good pitches and the homers were taking me to the woodshed for gappers and line drives.  Mixed in with that was about 6-7 errors...in one inning.... misplayed pop-ups, groundballs through the wickets, you name it, we did it.

The inning was a wake up call, of the 'ice water to the face' variety, and we decided we could at least try to maintain some dignity.  We scored two runs.  Gave two back to the homers.  9-2 going into the third inning is some heavy shit.

The momentum shifts were schizophrenic, and we were turned away from two huge innings by good defense, and/or lackluster hitting.  A particularly disappointing backbreaker was James' bases loaded long fly ball that the left fielder scrambled for and then tracked down to end the inning.  We had scored 4 more by that point and had threatened to catch up.  No joy.

I fulfilled my contractual obligations to throw 5 innings and handed the ball over Greg.  Two months off is good for the arm, but not the rest of the body.  Baseball uses some very specific muscles, and they all felt like broken clock springs on me.  Sometimes a change in pitching can be a big difference.  Sorta worked.  Greg held them to 5 runs over the next four innings, though he was perplexed as I was with the hitting prowess that the homers showed.  Truly they deserved to win the game.

We kept battling, Elon came in to pitch for the homers and we worked our way to a 10-9 game.  Exciting, but short lived.  More runs were scored, and try though we did, we were unable to catch up with the homers and our last at bat, with runners in scoring position ended with a foul out to the first baseman.  Cue sad trombone.

Final Score- 14-12

Highlights:

* I set a Hall of Shame record, I was on base 4 or 5 times and failed to score every time

* Chris Powell probably wants all memories of this game erased, he struck out and made his season's worth of errors, luckily he was in like minded company on our team

*Elvin had a strong day at the plate, and survived being hit twice

* Our team managed to hit three guys, but each of them twice.

* We were robbed on more than one occasion by good defense

* Greg gets the honesty award for running on a spinning ball in front of the plate.  Some of us might have claimed it hit our foot or something

* All the hitters on the homers looked good

* John Nero came through for us, first he argued a fair/foul call on a ground ball down the line, and when he was brought back, he got a clean hit to right center

* Bob went for a bouncing ball with his glove and caught his shoe instead, the ball just kept on rolling

* Kyle, James' friend, playing for only the second time looked a little shaky in the field, but managed to get good wood on the ball a couple of times

* Bob had to hustle to score on a foul ball out to left.  That was how bad we were at getting timely hits

* After watching 7 balls in a row, I also watched a 3rd strike, right. down. the. middle.

* Jimmy played a solid backstop all game

* Abe proved his hitting prowess once again

* Frustration: Throwing a perfect strike, if Richie wasn't at the plate.

* I managed to avoid a collision with Duane at first, I was pretty happy about that.

* A couple of new guys (that I know of) were making plays, and getting hits

* We did manage to catch and track down Elon in a pickle for a much needed third out

*  We also had a second or third effort play to get a runner at second, after another hit

Hats off to the homers, they played with a lot more heart and talent than we did.





Monday, January 25, 2016

1/24/16 West Sunset

What a day for a ball game, after all that rain and weather, we were treated to 58 degrees and sunny.  Thanks to Greg and others (seen in the photo, courtesy of Duane) for tending to the field before the game to get it ready.




We ended up with 17, which is great for a Sunday in competition with that lame game involving behemoths and a pig skin ball.

Greg started for the homers and Carter, who has been on new baby duty for the past few months, for the visitors.  I had brought out lil Satch again, and this time we were all happy.  West Sunset has a warm up mound with a nice plate that he can practice hitting at, which is great.  He and I played right field for the first few innings, and then he went in to the bench so he could hang out with his friend Tony.

The teams were remarkably balanced, most obvious in that we both had great SS, Rich and Chris Powell.  And throughout the game, they both made essential plays, both with the bat and the glove.

The visitors may have set a record for the most pop-ups in the infield for the game, as we tried to adjust to Greg's just enough-inside pitch strategy.  On the other hand, the homers exploded for three runs early in the game and looked to be on a steam roll towards victory.  It was 3-0 for the first few frames, then we got one on a sac fly, and our bats slowly came alive.

By the 5th inning, Greg had given way to Sonny, who was featuring a new, Marichal, crane-like delivery.  We were able to see past the trickery and resumed our attack.  We tied the game at 3-3 in the 6th and then took the lead going into the bottom of the 7th, 6-3.

The troublesome 9th almost proved to be a reverse of fortune.  Satch was riding high on 6 innings of no-run pitching, and then had to face down Abe, Rich, James, and the rest of the bats in the heart of the order.   Confidence was high and I joked to Bob about hanging one to see if Rich could put it out.  Maybe I should just shut my stupid face and pitch.... In any case, Abe got on, stole second, and came around to score, with Rich sky rocketing a shot to center that Carter never got to.  Our lead began to slip away.

Luckily we got a crucial second out on a close play at first, though it was widely argued that the runner had beaten the throw.  With runners in scoring position, lil' Satch's friend Tony came to the plate, and slapped the first pitch on the ground to first base, Duane picked it up and that was the game.

Final: 6-5

Highlights:

* Rich and Chris, line drives, runs scored, and long throws all day

* Tim, Bob, John did a great job of keeping the ball dry, as much as possible

* Great unassisted double play at second by Duane to get us out of a jam

* Long running, tumbling grab in left by John Mcg to get the third out in the 8th

* I re-institute my request for a fence or cones.  I tattooed a hanging curve to left and all I got was a double. And no, my lack of speed is not the problem....

* Greg critiqued his own bunt as he ran down the baseline

* Duane made some great stretches and plays at first base

* Other Nick made a great play at third






Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1/10/16 Big Rec

Lil' Satch and I went into the city to play, late as usual, and when we got there it was the third inning and the homers were up 2-0. Phelps was pitching for the homers and Sonny for the visitors.  We got in another inning and a half and then the Parks Department shut us down saying that the field was closed and we had to vacate. 

Boooo!  The field was in perfect condition, other than a little soupy around the plate.  But maybe they are protecting their investment.  Word to the wise, from here on out, on post-rainy days, don't play at Big Rec, lets take it to some obscure field where no one cares.

Can't list any highlights, they all happened before we got there.  It was nice to get out in the fresh air.  Lil' Satch loved the shutdown cuz then he had the whole diamond to himself to hit wiffle balls and run the bases.  So, it kind of worked out.

S. Paige


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

1/3/16 Big Rec




First game of the new year, always a pleasure.  As we seem to be in the beginnings of our fabled El Nino winter, we were a little worried that it might rain but Bob sent out a email that soothed the fears of a wash out.  And it did the trick, as we had 22 players come out, and not only was it dry, it was a beautiful day!  Slight chill in the air, but no wind, and the field was in perfect condition after a serious rehab from Parks and Rec.

Sean, resplendent in a red cotton ensemble took the mound for the homers.  He threw well, as he always does, but was unable to stop the visitors from scoring the first run of the year, on a sacrifice fly.  And then another. And another.  All told. he threw 7 innings, and gave up 3 runs, which is great for the MBC.  He struck out at least 3 or more, and was a consistent spray hitter through the game. Abe took over for him in the 8th, which I think was the first time I have faced him, and gave up one run.

Satch went for the visitors, determined to start the year off on the right note.  And to that end, I guess I was successful, though I don't think I struck out a single batter.  But the fastball was pretty locked in, and the change-up and curve were getting swings and my defense was playing stellar ball.  I cruised through 6 innings and didn't give up a run.  In the spirit of taking my turn to sit out, sharing, not being as asshole, and the fact that I went bowling the night before, I handed the ball off to Tony and then Sonny to take the game home.

Tony went one inning and gave up one run.  Sonny went 2 innings and gave up two runs.  While the homers made it a battle to the end, with the winning run on base, ultimately the game was decided with a 4-3 victory for the visitors.

An interesting postscript, I felt like it had been a while since I was on a team that won, and thanks to this blog I can satisfy that query.  Other than the last SQ game, I have to go back to the July 12 game to find a time when I was on the winning team.  So we can safely say that the latter part of 2015 was a real drought in the win column for ol' Satch.  Good thing no one pays attention to stuff like that.

Highlights:

* Thanks to everyone who made it out, the first game of the new year is always one of my favorites, along with every other game of the year.

* Sean gets best dressed.

*  John Nero was a man possessed, rapping out hits like he was 21 again

* Dennis made an appearance, and seems to have stolen one of McGrath's kids bats for game use....

* Lattig wore pants for the first time in a long while, and then slid home on a pass ball.  Timing is everything

* Abe and his brother came out, and Abe made a great play in left in addition to his pitching

* Tim's strike zone was a little hinky at the start of the game, and we had to say something.  He responded well.

* Bob made a Mitch-ian play in center field, which was followed by James also making a long running catch

* I hit two doubles and was stranded both times.

*  James was yelling from center field to hit the cutoff with a runner in scoring position.  Then a ball comes to him and he throws a laser to the cutoff man, who is standing about 7 feet from the catcher.  Luckily, there was enough time to get the ball that extra distance for the out at the plate, but I think James should be excused from ever having to throw to the cutoff man again.

* In a nail biting finale, man on first with two outs in the 9th, routine ground ball to SS, to 2nd base, dropped ball.  The MBC style.

* I hit Bob in the ass on the first pitch of his at bat and it wasn't even intentional.

* Thanks to Tim, Greg and Don for catching

* Sonny made a nice second effort play to get Sean in a rundown, after he overran second base.

Hope that 2016 is another great year for the Mission Baseball Club.

Don't look back, something may be gaining on ya.

S. Paige


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Slow-Mo and Instant Replay

Here it is, in glorius 240fps, some of the action on Sunday.

The contested call starts at 7:12, and Abe has provided commentary, zoom, and replay.  The call should have stood as it was, which is out.  But shit, it's the 9th inning, every underdog deserves a second chance.


Headline- San Francisco
Mission Baseball goes 21st Century: adopts Instant Replay, hires legal team, and starts reviewing corporate sponsorship options.







Thanks to Abe Zuckerman for the footage, and his company Zuckerman Film, Inc, a subsidiary of Zuckerman Media Conglomerate,and may not be recast without expressed written consent.  Videos are displayed here without prejudice to all rights and remedies, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2015

11/29/15 Cop Field





Wow, what a great day for a game.  I figured to be freezing my ass off the whole time, but instead we got sun and plenty of it.  We also managed to have an exciting game, though it was not close for much of the contest.

Sonny started for the homers and was pretty lights out after the first inning.  We scored 3 runs in the top of the first and thought we were on our way to a rout.  Sonny was cool, calm and collected the whole game and didn't do much other than get us to hit balls right to his defense, which is always a winning recipe.  He wasn't overpowering, and he didn't throw many breaking balls, but it was the most effective pitching I have seen in a while.

Satch started for the visitors and ended for the visitors.  I haven't been able to throw long in a while, and it sure felt good.  So there I was, cruising through the innings, until the homers came to bat for the second time, and then suddenly, they got wise and I got vulnerable.  Our 3-1 lead turned into 4-3 deficit in the blink of an eye (and the crack of the bat and the flub of the glove).  They scored 2 more in the later innings, with Chris Powell doing what he does best, hit and score.

The score stood 6-3 for the bulk of the game.

At first I think we didn't realize how morose we had gotten, we had a good team and strong bats, and just kept coming up with nothing.  The homers were a lot of speed and they took every opportunity to steal bases, or get the advantage on a slow play.  They also laced balls down the line to both sides, and dinked in hits between defenders.  And ultimately, that was the difference.

Tony gave us a rousing pep talk that consisted of "What the Fuck, can we stop hitting like shit?"  That seemed to do the trick, along with Sonny giving way to Daniel (who is leaving for Portland soon) for the 9th inning. We scrapped a run, stole a base, and then scored another, and had the tying run on 2nd base.  Too little too late, as they say, and down we went with a final of 6-5.

A truly strange incident was captured by Abe as he was filming an at-bat to check out his phone's slo-mo technology.  A close play at 1st -that no one had a really good look at- was captured by the phone, and the first ever MBC Instant Reply was viewed and the call reversed (somewhere in the Costa Rican jungle, Greg Snyder feels a piercing dagger penetrate his heart). 

I will post the video once Abe sends it to me, along with some more pictures.

Highlights:

* The homers played better than us, and they deserved to win.

* Josh (in the midst of a frustrating defensive day) managed to turn a 6-3 double play

* John McGrath came up with one of the biggest hits of the game, down the right field line

* We were out of position it seemed, for every ground ball.  We played up the middle, they pulled, etc.

* Everything was working, struck out about 6 or 7, had some 1-2-3 innings, just laid a couple of fat pitches in at the wrong time.

* Bob, playing center field, had to chase balls to both alleys, after which he yelled something to the effect that we should heed the warning that "... Mike Trout isn't playing out here..."

* This was a game that exemplified why I try to live by the Chris Powell rule: allow for the fact that he will score but try not to let anyone else do so.

* We got out of a bases loaded jam at one point that gave us a sliver of hope

* Got my first and possibly second legitimate hit with the Carter bat.

* Don and I finally got a good pitching rhythm going

* The homers refused to nibble on some very close pitches

* Sonny also came up with a crucial hit, in addition to his masterful pitching

* Richie laid down a great bunt, and made some nice plays at 3rd

* We did manage to successfully get an out at the plate on a '1 out, infielders in' situation.

* Bob had the big hit to score the 2nd run and put himself in scoring position as the tying run.

* James moved on to a new, lighter bat from the War Hammer I had loaned him.  He broke the new bat.

* Thanks to John, Bob, Don for doing the catching

S. Paige

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11/8/15 Cop Field

Rain, we need it, but never on Sundays.






Luckily, the short morning sprinkle just wet the ground enough to keep the dust down on what was otherwise perfect autumn baseball weather.  I sent out a worried email to the group to ignore the rain forecasts, since I don't get as many chances to play these days, but my fears were allayed when we had 19 players for the day.

Sonny started for the homers, and had a rough first inning, which some placed the blame on the fact that he wasn't wearing a cap while pitching.  The baseball gods are a fickle bunch.  He lasted four innings, and the visitors hit him up for about 7 runs, which definitely were not all earned.  Our team had a case of the dropsies, most surprisingly from Adam, our stalwart first baseman.  True, a lot of the throws were less than perfect, but sometimes you get used to someone always being able to pick the bad throw, and when they don't, well, it stands out.  He certainly wasn't alone in his nightmares though, to paraphrase Duran Duran (the band, not the Barbarella character).

Sean started for the visitors, and he ended for the visitors.  That's right, Ol' Floppy Pockets is making quite a name for himself as the consummate CG man. And why not?  He pitched well, mixing it up, and getting out of the few jams we managed to create.  He held our team to an anemic 5 runs, on a day that we should have been knocking down the walls.

The first inning was a mess for both teams, and it was 3-3 going into the second, but then the visitors scored three more runs, and we, well, didn't.  And that was the rest of the game.  Satch entered in the 5th and managed to give up two more runs.  The time off helped to have a fastball, but the changeup was not working for some reason.  The slider and knuckleball on the other hand, were just fine.

The game was over before 4pm, and while we might have played an extra, the dark and the cold was starting to seep into the day, so we called it quits with a final of 9-5.

Highlights:

* Mitch showed up late, and somehow was given to the visitors, which I don't think was quite fair.  As usual, Mitch did it with the glove and the bat.  And took a wicked pitch on the elbow.

* Tony and Greg were on opposite teams for the first time in a long while.

* I threw a superb knuckler to Don, and Tony barked from the on-deck circle to throw one of those to him.  So I did, right down the middle, on the first pitch of the at bat, and Tony bunted.  It rolled all the way back to me, and I threw him out by 10 steps.  Apparently he forgot his request.

* I may or may not have had my first hit with the new Carter bat.  Mitch admitted he took the worst route to the ball that he could, including two complete spins, but I like to call it a double.

* John Mcgrath hit the ball very hard, and also bought new catchers gear for the team, which he strapped on and dug in for the latter part of the game.  He admitted a liking for calling curves and change-ups in fastball counts, so I knew we were gonna be fine together.

* I threw a breaking ball to Josh that spun him around and on to the ground for strike three.  His revenge was quick.

* I had a really bad day on the basepaths, even for me.  With one out, I was on third, and a ball was softly hit to the SS.  If I had broke at the crack of the bat, I probably would have made it, but I was worried that Sean, being Spiderman and all, would leap out, snare it and I would be dead in the water.  Once it was past him though, I realized that the team was going to be supremely disappointed if I didn't score with one out in a close game.  So I took off, Josh fielded it, and threw to Duane, who managed to catch the off line throw and spin to tag me before I touched home (maybe...).  I think if I had just stopped, instead of sliding, he may have waved right past me, and I could have scored, but either way, I suck.

* The other Nick made several key outs at third and left field, he was our shining defensive player.

* Tried for a SQ out in right field, and only managed to hurt Adam's finger

* Chris Powell was disappointed in all of us, I think.

* Abe bunted twice in a row, for base hits, angering us all.  Then he got eaten up at third, and all was right with the world.

* Thanks to Tim, Duane, John and Don for doing the catching

* Bon Voyage to Greg, our captain as he leaves for his jungle paradise for the next month, joined in part by Tony, who is taking a load of baseball gear to the people of Costa Rica.

* Interesting side note, the game at the other field, included a guy who hit a ball to the warm up mound on our field.  I mapped it.  Pretty amazing.   Take a look.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10/11/15 Cop Field

Nothing better than back to back Sunday ball playing.

Mrs. Paige has been very generous is allowing me to make up for some lost time with the team, and I am loving every moment.  The game on Saturday featured the best weather that we never actually experienced.  Seriously, about 6 blocks to the east, it was sunny and hot and clear.  At the field, it was foggy and humid, and slightly windy.  Weird weather.

I started for the visitors again and Carter started for the homers.  We were quickly into another hotly contested affair, and the score was close for the first couple of frames.  This week however, the defense, that looked really good on paper, failed to live up to its potential.  In one inning, I think there might have been 4 errors.  I know it grew more incredible each time the ball clanged off a glove.

Misplays aside, the game wasn't a blow out, I bowed out after 6 and Sean came into pitch the rest.  He did well, but made the mistake of leaving one in the wheelhouse for Mitch, who got all of it and matched with his speed, made it good for a two run home run that was our death knell.  Carter gave way to Storm and then Daniel, but the damage had been done already and the visitors were never able to mount an effective comeback.

Final score- 7-4

Highlights:

* Our defensive woes aside, we turned a sweet double play and almost turned another

* In what has become tradition, Lattig and Adam traded great plays at first

* Tony had a rough day, bad hops and miscalculated grounders and he hit the hell out of a ball only to see it go directly to the right fielder

* Milo and Theo helped organize the gear, then were distracted by electronic gadgetry and the skate park.

* I struck out twice, and popped out to 2nd. Obviously I need to come out more

* Some more nice catches in foul ground

* In the ill-fated inning, we were given a charity out by virtue of a infield fly rule, and yes, the ball was dropped

S. Paige

Thursday, October 8, 2015

10/4/15 Cop Field

It was glorious to be back on the diamond.  The last month has been pretty brutal, to the point that Sunday's didn't even register that I was missing baseball.  But all that is in the past and there I was. With the Giants final game on the radio on the drive in, I left with high hopes, since they led 3-0 going into the 8th.  I was spared the final until after I had my own baseball fix.

We had a lighter crowd than usual, and recruited four players that were out to enjoy themselves after a earlier league game.  I never got their names proper, but I think it was Danny, Timmy, Sammy and Donny....or something.  More players showed up after we started and by the end of the 2nd inning, it was 11 per side.

I threw 6 innings, gave up some runs in the first, on a crushed ball, a bad bounce, a misplayed fly and a few choice singles.  It felt like a lot more than 2 runs, but that was all it amounted to.  Our own hitting, against Sean, was about the same, and we forayed through the middle innings locked in a struggle at 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-3.

I am proud to say that I provided the much needed go ahead run on a first ball swinging double, that if I wasn't so out of shape and generally slow, would have made it to third.  But I still scored, so who the hell cares....here is a general idea of where it went, so you can get an idea of why I need to play more often to fine tune my running game....



I handed the ball over to Greg for the 7th, with the score 4-3, to take my turn on the bench, cuz that is what you are supposed to do when you have 11 guys (Sean and Tim, I am looking in your direction).

Well, long story short, the homers scored to tie up the game, and then they scored again to take the lead.  One of the new guys came in and threw an inning, not bad.  I don't know why it felt like a blow out, while we were playing, but it was actually a really good game.

We tried our best, but our best wasn't good enough, and the homers won 5-4.

Highlights:

* Several great catches in the outfield, mostly by Mitch, who was relegated to right field most of the time, since the new guys were oblivious.

* Elvin got a early Christmas present from Ed on a 3rd strike call

* Visitors made a great relay to get a runner at the plate

* I don't think I would have near it, but I didn't even try for a foul ball at third, and I am sorry for it

* Nero was the subject of a series of close/contested calls, all of which went against him.  I think it was getting to him.  But that ball was foul.

* James had a crushing hit to left that took a first bounce that was about 15 feet in the air. Drought conditions.

* Both teams made some nice plays in foul territory.

* Lattig played a great 1st base and was hitting in his usual frustrating style

* Sean hit a inside the park home run, the first bounce was wicked, the new guy never had a chance.

* Game went real quick, several innings were 8-10 pitches only

* The cops came to ask us if our SUV was the one parked in the red zone.  The cop actually said "We know you guys, and we like you, so we wanted to make sure that it wasn't your car, before we ticketed it."  Wow.  The MBC is respected by the Man.  Does that go for or against our credibility?

See you out there soon.

S. Paige