Monday, October 19, 2020

10/18/20 Sunny Day



Good lord it was a hot one.  The switch in time to 1pm to better accommodate the blindedness of the outfielders was not a rousing success.  But every little bit helps I guess.  The good news was we had 19 1/2 players out, the 0.5 being the return of Lil' Josh Gibson, my younger slugger.  If we counted his runs, the homers walked away with the game, which he kept reminding us of.  He was all in, all game: there to hit dingers, slide hard into 3rd and home, smother foul balls down the line, and remind Tony of the dangers of cigarette smoking.

The game starters were Aiden and Tony, respectively, and Aiden continued his dominance of the club.  Amazing what a fast ball and a decent breaking ball will do to a bunch of senior citizens.  Tony pitched well, but we did not help him too much in the defense department, my own flailing in left field being the most egregious.  Adam put a decent bat on the ball and I thought I was all lined up on that thing, and it just defied the laws of gravity and stayed up in the air, over my head before I could realize what was going on.  

Sonny came in for Tony, Aiden stayed in to punish up some more and then hit his limit, bowing out with the score 5-1.  I came in after Sonny, did one inning, then Mike N, and James rounded it out.  Aiden gave way to Dave, Chris L., Elon, and Abe.  It was a Baskin Robbins of pitching days for sure.

Somewhere along the way we started scoring runs, and by the time we reached the 8th inning we had built ourselves a 7-5 lead!  No one more surprised than us, and Greg came through with the late inning RBI that we always seem to miss.  But the 9th proved to be complicated, and Nick W. hit on to center right into the sun, past Mike and rolled to the wall.  Nick was for sure to get an in the parker, until he crashed and burned coming around 3rd.  I've been there, and it ain't fun.  So we still had a chance, but short lived, he was driven in, and the game was tied.  Extra innings, back and forth, to the 11th, and the visitors finally scored that crucial go ahead.  Josh and me had to hit the road, so didn't see the coup d' grace but the writing was on the wall.  

A great game! Probably final score of 8-7.

Highlights:

* Homers would have been very much back in the game, but 8 of the last 10 balls we hit were to Aiden at SS, who gobbled them up left and right, taking hits away.

* Marcella, I believe, had her first hit and run scored and almost nabbed a runner on the right field SQ play.

* Visitors turned at least one double play

* Elon robbed me of a double in center, on a semi diving, into the sun play

* James made several great catches in center, to keep the score close

* I actually managed to catch the next 3 balls that were hit to me, 75% is a passing grade.

* There were a lot of great plays made from SS and 3rd: Tony, Mike, Aiden, John, Abe

* The jury is still out on how Don keeps his Fuck Um Bucky shirt so vibrant?

*Greg's single down the line gave me hope

* We had a respirator and boat shoe-clad Bob as a second baseman for the last frames, almost back to playing form

* See you's in Grass Valley.

S. Paige

---------------------------------------------------------------

James' Field Report:

Welcome to another episode of This Week in Mission Baseball! 

What a roller coaster of a game! The home team -- my crew -- was down 5-1 around the midpoint of the game. We rallied to tie it at 5, Aaron said the ol' "Feel that momentum shift?", we took a 7-5 lead into the 9th, and then... Yikes, again! Let's give out some awards and see what happened. 

SWING OF THE WEEK: I'm giving this to Nick. Let's set the scene: Two outs, top of the ninth, down two, runner on first. I was cruising, getting guys on easy grounders. It looked like an easy save. I threw a really hard fastball, and Nick blasted it to deep center. The dreaded conditions of centerfield paralyzed the defense, and the infinite roll on the rock-hard dirt commenced. One run scores and it is clear that Nick will very easily score the tying run because we will need a five-man relay chain to get this ball to the infield. It's still rolling back there. Nick approaches third and slows down! What? After like a minute of his team screaming at him, he restarts for home. He trips and falls. The crowd is going bananas! Get up! Run! The ball is being relayed from the other field dirt, and we're bobbling it. Nick crawls around a little bit and retreats to third. His team is outraged! So much yelling, laughing, head drooping (on my team)... Bonkers. He could have easily crawled home on all four, backwards, and still made it easy. Luckily, Dave came up next and got an infield single because the throw to first was not in time (Aaugh!). 

Tie game on two runs in the top of the f'n ninth with two outs. In the top of the eleventh the visitors struck for two more due to the dreaded, paralyzing center field effect. It is no joke. But our unraveling all began with that blast from Nick, perhaps the longest ball I have ever seen him hit. Congratulations. It was memorable! 

Honorable mentions: Aaron stayed hot, but was finally retired after a 9 for 9 streak over three games, I believe. 

PITCHES OF THE WEEK: Let's give this to Elan and Abe for late inning relief work. They managed to cool off the home team in the late, crucial innings to allow their comeback. We were hitting the ball hard on both of them, but their gloves were working! 

GLOVES OF THE WEEK: Tons of gloves to give out this week. Primary winners: Mike N. and Aidan. Mike made so many put-outs at third early in the game on hard grounders, it was ridiculous. Every throw over to first was money. Plus, he threw out Dave a home on a grounder to third. In the later innings, it was Aidan for the visitors. In the late innings, the kid showed so much range at short and a strong throwing arm, it was also ridiculous. I blasted one up the middle that I was sure was a hit, and he glided over and made it look easy. I even sensed a little arrogance in how long he was holding the ball on some of his throws over to first. He did not look like he was in a hurry at all, and was delivering lasers over to first like nothing. Elan and Abe owe him for vacuuming up everything. 

Honorable mentions: Elan made a falling catch to rob Aaron of a double to deep left center, Abe made a spectacular sprinting catch of a shallow bloop to left, and you know what? I'm giving myself honorable mention for my play in center field in this game. Yeah, that's right! Due to playing CF so often, I have mostly overcome the massive learning curve of the sun, speedy grass, and slope of Portrero's pastures. I made a few blinding catches that had me seeing spots for the rest of the inning, and I even robbed Dave on a deep drive to left center onto the other field dirt. It ain't easy, folks, and your certainly in for a baptism by fire the first time you stroll out to play CF at Portrero.  

 

AAUGH!

- Home team takes a 7-5 lead into the 9th, loses 9-7 in the 11th. Aaugh!  

WORD OF THE WEEK: Roll. As in the infinite roll of the ball if it gets passed an outfielder. Of the visitors' 9 runs, I think 6 of them can be attributed to this effect. Elan's basic single to right became an RBI triple and then he scored (2), Nick's blast to CF might have been catchable, but the infinite roll was an RBI triple and he later scored (2), and then Aidan's base hit to center in the 11th also got by and infinitely rolled. RBI and an inside the parker (2). This was absolutely our downfall. Aaugh!  

Enjoy!

  

10/11/20 Game of Baseball

 Running behind, here is the recap from last week.  Our own Brooklyn Biologist James Madden with the highlights:

Welcome to another episode of This Week in Mission Baseball. This was a relatively well-played game, and close at about 6-6, until the top o' the ninth... Yikes. Let's give out some awards, and introduce a new feature this week in honor of good ol' Charlie Brown!


Swing(s) of the Week: I'm giving this to Matt and Gabe for their surprising opposite field power. Just as the center and left fielders were preparing for power pulls to those parts of the outfield, these two pushed a few to the gap in right center (with power!) for some extra base hits. Well done. Honorable mentions to Tony for his timely hitting and line drive placement early in the game, and Mike N. continues attacking the left-center gap. 

Pitches of the Week: Phelps! Where have you been? He started for the visiting team and showed remarkable control and pitch placement. His fastball had some zip and he blew it by a few hitters. After months off, he comes back and had a nice start. Honorable mention to Elan (1 scoreless) and Aiden (same to end the game). 

Glove(s) of the Week: These go to Chris P. and Sean. Chris (birthday boy) made another patented, over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field to end an inning. Sean made a diving, smothering catch off the mound to force a rundown between third and home. More on that in a second... Honorable mentions: Anna made a nice scoop at first, and the other Chris dove for a line drive in left field that was in the glove until his body made impact with the turf. It popped out to everyone's shock and disappointment, but the effort was excellent.


NEW FEATURE: AAUGH!
Do you remember reading Charlie Brown? I definitely do, and I use his signature out-loud exclamation ("AAUGH!") with my students when they do something... well, Charlie Brown-esque. With all due respect to all Mission Baseball players, let's have fun with some AAUGH moments:
- Sun blinds James in CF on an otherwise easy pop fly; Elan gets on first and later comes around to score
- Sean dives off mound, smothers a hard-hit ball, and traps Matt dead in a run down. Catchers throw to third base to nail the vulnerable runner... simply dropped.
- The entire top of the ninth inning. Holy cow! (We may need a Holy Cow segment to honor Phil Rizzuto. Hmm...) Anyway, ground ball single to left field happened about 7 times this inning. The visitors batted around, scored 8, and pretty much put the game out of reach. It was brutal to watch from the dugout (sitting my second time), but their hits just kept coming. Poor Nate.  

Word of the Week: Comedy. No, not our game! Check out my Beach Clean Up Comedy videos while you're on my channel. Shameless plug! I recommend Episode 17 to start. If you like my subtle baseball commentary, then you may like my angry, anti-corporate rants as I find their shyte all over the beach.   

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Another Game in the City

 We ended up with 23 players, which was great.  The air was clear-ish which was great.  The game was a high-scoring affair, which was great.  Baseball.  Great.

Sonny started for the homers, and looks to be back in form, including a ramped up fastball at times.  Aiden started for the visitors, and had a ramped up fastball which was expected. This was my first time seeing him pitch more than an inning, and it was great to watch.  The fastball has ride, the curve ball can be a strike, or it can appear to be and then dive out of the zone after the batter commits.  All he needs is a good eephus pitch to round it out.  But that comes with age.  Through the first half of the game, those two battled, though Sony got the short end of the stick on defense at times.  One inning in particular had lost balls in the sun, a ball that deflected off third base, and a few dying quails that were just unfair.

By the middle of the game, it was 10-0.  In reality, it was about 14-0, but at some point we wanted to keep the game within reason and 10 was a nice round number.  Yes the game was lopsided.  But the last inning of Aiden's performance, the homers finally got to him, and dinged him for 3 runs.  

The big story of the day though, was a gentleman's bet between Aiden and his dad as to the outcome of McG's hitting for the day off of his progeny.  Let's just say, Aiden is $5 richer today.  He slammed the door shut on John's last at bat with a strikeout.  John had mentioned he was first ball swinging on the first at bat because  he knew what he was in for if he fell behind in the count.  Hopefully Aiden puts that money to good use.

In came Chris for the homers and Satch for the visitors.  I was feeling alright, and with a lead like that, there was no reason to try and strike everyone out.  I think I gave up another 3 runs,  which I was great with.  Chris also held the runs to a minimum, as did HR who came in after him.  But the lead proved insurmountable, and the final score, as the wind picked up, and the sun went down was a soft 11-6.

Highlights (some stolen from James):

* Aiden's pitching was lights out, and he knew when to stop (or at least how to listen to his father, both things that historically have been tough for MBC players....)

* James and Greg combined for a inning ending thriller at the plate to nab Mike N ( you got to slide!!!!) who ended up being out and bumping Greg in the schnoz which then started bleeding pretty good.  The mask made the bleed seem worse than it was.  Greg established it was not broken, and enthralled us with tales of broken noses past after the game.  Luckily a mom in the area had some baby wipes, and he cleaned up pretty quickly.  Maybe we should invest in a packet?

* A clean and pretty double play from the homers 5-4-3 double play (Nate-Mike-Anna), 

* Matt at third made a diving stab to end an inning on a hot, low line drive that was absolutely smoked!

* There were quite a few big hits of the game, aided by the sun and the fast outfield. James, Matt, Sean, Elan, Mike N., Gaspar come to mind

* Subthread: Gaspar pulled the ball, twice!  PING!

* Speaking of the sun, invest in sunglasses for the outfield, it is brutal out there and sooner or later someone is going to take one in the head

* I was daydreaming in left field, looking at the bay, when Ana smoked one down the line.  I heard the crack and only by sheer dumb luck found the ball in the first place I looked.  I made another play in left on a ball that was over any normal person's head, but I managed to haul it in.  The only one I am proud of was a weird lined gork to the left side of the infield that I leaped at from the mound and brought in.  Too bad James didn't get footage of that, people would probably enjoy seeing a beluga whale acrobatically catch a baseball.

* Pitching I did alright, the one K was Dave in a tight spot, elevated and found an extra 5 mph for the fastball.  Greg called the pitch, so most of the credit goes to him

* Chris P made the quintessential over- the- shoulder play that we have come to expect from him.  The difference was that he was pitching at the time, and there was no reason he should be expected to make that play.  But he did, and it was amazing.

* Ana whacked a single off of me in 2-2 count that was very impressive, she's locked in.

* The baserunning improved this week

* I managed somehow to have a 5-5 game, with 3 singles and 2 doubles.  The big drive would have been over the fence if I had pulled it, but I put into the left center pocket that has been my sweet spot for the last month.  It measured out at 327 feet (yeah, I google mapped it).  It felt good and it had the look.  Only one of the singles was an ugly flop of a swing that fell behind first base, and came on an inning that Sonny couldn't get the last 2 outs.

* Bob came out and showed us his battle scar, and assured us that we are all in big trouble once he is able to swing a bat.

* Here's the swing footage (thanks to James, the Brooklyn Biologist)



Monday, September 21, 2020

9/21/20- A New Field

After being callously booted from one field, we found another to play.  This was the first full game that I was a part of, and it wasn't just me-- 25 players came out!  One of the joys of a large game is that when you sit, and everyone should be sitting, you get to catch up with people, have a reasonable conversation, etc.  The 7 on 7 game there is often no time to get a drink of water, much less find out how the family is doing.

Greg had started for the visitors and Sonny, arm rehabbed, went for the homers.  By the time I got there in the 3rd inning, the score was already 5-4, and the runs were plentiful throughout the game.  The fence was calling to the hitters, and there is a contest on for the first to achieve an honest home run.  I know I was swinging harder than usual.  

At some point it was decided that we should actually track the runs on the backstop since they were coming in so often, and since JT wasn't there...

Sonny threw one too many and struggled in his last inning, and then in came HR to finish.  Greg bowed out to Tony, then Chris L., then Satch for the 2-inning close.  We had rung up the score in that time, and by the 9th inning it was 13-10.  The visitors managed to load the bases, but were turned away from glory by a great play from Elon at first to snag a ground ball and make the final out.

The game went on as the sun was still high in the sky, but I had to get home so I do not know how the extras went.

Highlights:

* Richie came out, and made a fantastic running catch in center

* Chris P almost made the longest, farthest from SS position over the shoulder catch.

* New guy made that fatal baserunning error of not knowing how many outs there were with a fly ball hit.

* I was on base all 3 times, two hits, and one thanks to a throwing error.  I tried a deke on a ground ball to first and then realized I was going to be thrown out at 2nd.  I managed to beat the throw but my inertia carried me right past the bag.

* Ana came up with a huge hit in the late innings

* Sonny managed to hit me in the arm, which then deflected down and bounced up under Mitch's protective "gear."  Mitch needed a minute.

* The new field has a serious roll factor.  There were at least 2 triples and Dave had an in the parker!

* That being said, I hit a ball that would have been a standup double at least, if I wasn't me.  It became a single and a long turn.

* I froze Arson on a tight 2-strike curve ball.  Only good one I threw all day

* Jon McGrath slid into 3rd at least twice, the hole in the pants grows larger

* People were hitting the cutoff man, this new move towards improved defense is shocking.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Baseball 8/30/20

Cold, windy, foggy.  Classic summer game.  

The one thing that was different was that we had a glut of players, whereas a normal year we would be barely scraping by, due to summer travel, etc.  However, when you can't go anywhere, or do anything, baseball proves a good alternative...

This game proved to be historic in the lore of the MBC, as there were no runs scored throughout the entire 9 inning game, something that none of us could remember.  Amazingly, with 11-12 hitters on each team, barely anyone even reached scoring position throughout the game.  The reason: defense.  

Both teams proved to have stellar defense through the entire game.  Catches were made when they needed to be made, and ground balls were picked up and the smart outs made.  I can remember at least 4 chances where there could have been a desire to rush and try and go for a double play, but in each instance the lead out was made and that was it.  It is amazing how much of a difference it makes.

The field itself was a player in the game too, mostly in the constant wind that battered down every well-struck fly ball, and the infield grass that slowed every hard hit ground ball to a slow trickle.  In the end, that proved to be the difference in the game, hard hit balls were easy outs, slow choppers were instant hits.

Pitching was the other aspect of the game, and I have to take a moment to tip my cap.  Yes, against my better judgement--and probably medical advice if we had a medical professional around-- I threw a complete game.  Yes, including  2 extra innings.  I don't know the last time that I tossed 11 innings, maybe I haven't.  I think I had 3-4 Ks over the course of the game, so I owe a big thank you to my defense for keeping a lid on the game.

Nick W. started for the homers and pitched just as well, stymieing our chances.  James made it to third base in the first inning and that was the last time we had a runner that close to scoring.  Mitch took over in the latter innings, and then HR.  I just kept choogling along, since we had too many players, I tried to pull myself in the 5th but my team thought I should keep going.  I tried again in the 6th and the 7th, but each time I was convinced to try one more, as long as I felt ok.  Well, these days feeling ok is relative but I wasn't in any uncommon discomfort.  I made a statement that I would keep pitching until we at least scored a run.  That didn't work out, but at some point, I felt that it was my game to win or lose, and as the regular game ended and extras begun, I was happy to have gotten that far and I wanted to see it to the end.  There was a proposal to start the 12th with runners on 2nd, to hurry along the end, if required.  I was about 85% changeups by the 10th, but they kept working, so I kept throwing them,

The final inning was far from textbook.  It started with a solid shot from Chris L, one of the few line drives of the day, that wasn't caught.  Anna followed up with a slow roller into no-mans land for a infield single.  The next batter put one in the infield, and as the play unfolded at first, Chris made a mad dash for home in an attempt to win the game.  Lattig picked the ball at first and made a on target throw to John McG at the plate to get Chris! 

First crisis avoided, but now there was one out and a runner on third.  I heard the death knell sound, but I chose to think of it as a comforting release, rather than a loss.  HR stepped up and promptly smacked another worm burner up the middle that sealed the fate, Anna crossed the plate, and the game was done.

Final score 1-0, Homers.

Highlights:

* An amazing game by all, thanks for coming out!

* Defensive cap tips to everyone, standouts including Tony, Anna, Greg, Mike L, Adam, Chris P., Mitch, John McG, and a new guy who's name I didn't catch.

* The play at home in particular was a favorite, since we a. so rarely have a realistic opportunity, b. actually make the play.

* We made a point of jokingly telling Mike N. that any fly ball between 2nd and 3rd is Chris P's ball, it's in his contract.  Chris promptly dropped the next pop fly.  Oops.

* Many players resplendent in thier new MBC shirts, with the old logos.  Thanks to Mike Lynch for a great print job, and Sonny for organizing the fundraiser.

* Somewhere in the last part of the game, Dave made an almost-catch on a foul ball in right field, that turned out to be ok.  But I know he was worried he had porked the game.

* James didn't snag anyone at 1st from the outfield, but on one attempt he overran the ball and fumbled it in his hurry to get it and throw it.  Perhaps it isn't an every opportunity kind of play.  I know all of us slower runners would appreciate the reprieve.

* Mitch made a snag on a screaming line drive that may have been the difference in the game.

* Tim made a couple of crucial plays at 2nd to get an out, and once had a great chance at 2.  It was a close play with a sliding runner and he still made a quality throw to 1st.

* The wind at times sent pop flies over 2nd, all the way over to the 3rd base foul line.

* 2 coyotes kept watch over the game from right.

* HR struck me out with a high, hard one.  According to recent reports, I should be grateful it wasn't in my neck.

* James' at bats over the course of the game lost us about 8 baseballs.  Our permit budget has been transferred to new ball purchases.

* Third base was moved mid-game to more correctly align with the plate, and then about 6 balls were all hit in that region, with arguments about whether they would have been fair by the old placement standards

* The band came out, sounded great, and played a bluesy-woosey Take Me Out To the Ballgame.

* Bob came out in his civvies, with a giant protective cast on his left hand, seems he got in a fight with a saw blade.  First reports indicate minimal long-term damage done, so lets hope for the best.  Get well soon you old so-and-so.

* Also heard that Sonny may have thrown one too many, and is rehabbing his arm

* Thanks again to everyone for a great game.



Baseball 8/23/20

 Here is the swing analysis for another Sunday of baseball:




Tuesday, August 11, 2020

8/9/20 Baseball

 I don't have any of the particulars, but I know that there is footage and commentary once again from the Brooklyn Biologist.


Sean hit a home run, in which he trotted and then slid just a head of the throw.  Smooooooth.





8/3/20 A Game

This was a game.

Not to brag, but Sean and I combined for a 9 inning shut out, and scattered about 7 hits. He got 3 Ks, I got 1.

That was good.

Sonny threw for the other team very admirably and neither team scored run for the first 4 frames.  In the latter part of the game, Mike N, and Dave also pitched well, and if not for the one inning, it might still be going.  This was a tight game, with little shift.

Highlights:

* Chris P. made a nice pop up play

* James played the eternal defense, and also filmed some instructional video

* Mitch also seemed to be all the places that I needed him to be, to catch the ball.

* It was an old vs. the new guard game: Translated, Bob and Tony got to be on the same team,

* Anna made two great plays, and one of them was a running catch that robbed me of what might have been a double, which in my terms, is like a normal person running to 7th base...

* The wind was again a concern

* The wind once again was up and blowing the entire time

* There is movement to ban the throw out the runner at 1st from the outfield play.  Once in a while is alright, but it is happening a lot, to the same slow people, which makes it feel wrong somehow.  The feeling of a clean hit to right center suddenly turns into being thrown out by 30 feet.  It is up for debate.

* Our jazz band showed up late, swelled in size, and we couldn't hear them for most of the day.  But they did play Take me Out to the Ball game at the middle 7th, so basically, they are family

* There was again a debate on outs vs. dropped on the transfer. Let's keep those balls in the hands. 

*We played extra innings but the only thing that happened was that we scored another run,

Here is a video of each batter's first at bat, with commentary.






Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Proof of Life

"Found" footage of baseball in America. 

Spills, chills, double plays, pop-outs (so many pop-outs), strikeouts, new nicknames for Tony (T-Bone?), Bob being thrown out by 50 feet, and an answer to the question, do all pitchers drag their toes (apparently yes).










Monday, July 20, 2020

7/20/20 A wishful game

If we were going play a game, I think this is how I would like it to go down. 

First, it would be a good showing of good people.  There would be 16 players, to give everyone another at bat, and a more action in defense.  I would start for the homers, and Sonny would start for the visitors, and we would both pitch really well, deep into the game.  At least 6 innings, and I would like to strike out maybe, 3 people, including Tim to finish my day on a wicked change-up that he waved at.  I would be especially happy with that because Tim would have had 3 hits off of me already.

Sonny would be just as good, though not quite as sharp, and we would have scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning, and then hold the visitors off from scoring for a few innings more.  Then the visitors would score one and it would be a good tight game, back and forth with multiple double plays and derring-do with catches made in the outfield and runners on third.

It would be especially sweet if Mitch was filling in defense for the homers and make an amazing running catch and a bullet throw to home to keep the runner there and preserve the lead. 

I figure after 6 innings, I would have been done, and Powell would want to come in and pitch.  Same would go for Sonny, and Mike N. and HR would probably want a chance to hurl the ball.  I think it would be exciting if somewhere in there the visitors would tie the game and we would suddenly have a real nail biter.  Who knows, maybe even some controversy like Mitch hitting a triple but it rolling into the soccer game in left and being declared a dead ball, ground rule double.  And then Sonny would have to come back to third and they wouldn't get that go ahead run they needed.

Maybe even extra innings, with Dave coming in and throwing like Bob Gibson. 

Since it's my game to imagine, I would hope that my team would win in the bottom of the 10th on a line drive to right from Adam, to put the game away, since he is a good guy.

Highlights I would have liked to have seen:

* Great catches from Anna in left and right field as well as 2 hits

* A bang bang double play

* A successful covering 1st play by me, to see if I could still beat the runner.

* Mitch's long run catch and Ichiro-like throw

* Adam making some scoops at 1st

* Mike N throwing a nasty knuckle curve

* Bob calling two horrendous strikes against me

* Gaspar beating the shift

* Bob going up to hit a fastball at his eye line.

* Everyone who successfully caught a pop fly in the wind.

* Tony opting to go home to preserve the lead, and Gaspar with the tag

* Dave's big bat, and dominance on the mound

* The new guy who had a rough day at the plate, but played well and kept it cool

* Controversy on a play at 2nd, was the ball ever in control, or was it a transfer drop?

* Gaspar with a beautiful bunt

* Sometimes Bob doesn't get HBP, but maybe I do

Something that I have always dreamed about would be if we had our own band that played olde tyme jazz standards while we had our game and took requests.  That would be the perfect finishing touch to a great game. 




Friday, July 17, 2020

Protect the Environment, you Fucking Fuck.



If you have been reading this blog,, you have been consistently exposed to references and citations of James...Coney Island James...New Yawk James...etc. Well, he isn't just a character I made up to make this team more diverse and exciting, he is an actual person, a hell of a ballplayer, and an all around good guy.


James showed up more than a few years ago, he stood out with his ropey, scarecrow frame, lack of a ball cap, or ball cap backwards (or a knit cap, what, you think it looks funny, well fuuuuuuuuck yu), and skill set.

 He runs—fast. He hits—a ton. He throws—like a fucking cannon. He dives for balls, he catches everything, he stands at the plate and takes hacks like he is trying to hit the ball from Mermaid Ave. to Bay Parkway. And he often does. He is hard to strike out, unless you see that he is itching to clobber the ball, and then you can get away with slow stuff. Unless he decides to bunt, which he does quite often, and then you have to slag your doughy, arthritic carcass off the mound, and field the ball, and make a great throw, and then most times he still beats it out. And he can pitch though I have not seen it much lately. He makes windmills jealous with his windup.

He also made one of the ballsiest plays I have seen at SQ in recent times, going full-out into a concrete table in pursuit of a fly ball. I thought he was dead when I watched it happen. But up he sprung, somehow playing despite having run full-bore into, and over, a table in prison.


James is part of that elite group of players that are not allowed to bunch up too much on one team. Powell, Mitch, Sean, Urano, and James on the same team. What are you, fucking dumb?


In addition to being a dynamite ball player, James is also a really decent human being. He has Master's degrees in biological sciences, and spent several years in Americorps and the Peace Corps working to make the world a better and more connected place. He spent several years in Ecuador, so he hablas espanol as well, which makes him a hit with the Clemente leaguers that play in the game before us. I threw up in the jungle for a few days, and held a girl's hand in Ecuador once. 1992, in Esmeraldas. I worked at it all night, got up the courage watching Back to the Future in Spanish in the resort rec room, held that hand for 5 minutes of bliss, and then it got broken up by her mom who was wildly searching the grounds for her and was accompanied by a resort guard with a double-barreled shotgun. James probably has better memories.


A ways back I used to see him on the N-Judah most mornings, but he never seemed to see me, even when I smiled or waved. For those that know me, I am—politely speaking—hard to miss. When I asked him about it, he told me that in the morning he just likes to by himself, enjoy that time, and not bother making small talk. I respect that level of honesty, more than he probably knows. But that is James. He once offered to break a game delay stalemate on a weird permit confrontation at our reserved field one Sunday by offering, "Do you want me to just talk to them, 'cuz I'm from New York, so you know, I don't give a fuck."


During our current pandemic he has taken to filming himself cataloging the plastic waste that he collects to clean up our local beaches. Which I have to say is an admirable way to occupy one's time during our whatever-this- fucking-reality-is. If you are interested, his handle is the Brooklyn Biologist. The funny thing is that you can tell he is censoring himself in the videos, which is wise, but if you know the man, you know what he wants to say at certain moments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqHd8cBMatI


My wife works to protect the SF Bay, and she was very happy to hear that at least one of us was doing something useful for ocean conservancy. All you surfers, pick up some garbage next time you are out. ya lazy barneys.


Full Disclosure: James borrowed my old War Hammer bat and then left in at a water fountain in GGP. And he felt really bad about it and he paid for a replica to be made. I mention this because it was a bummer. But the vibe of James and his love of the game lead me to believe that I can't be that mad at its loss because it will always make me happy that someone wanted to use that hogleg bad enough to borrow it.


But it's a sliver of a heartbreak.


So that is James. If you play with us, you hope he is on your team. The best part is, no matter what, he is always on the Earth's team. And it needs it.


Cap tip.




Friday, July 10, 2020

I dreamed of a 4th of July Game...

Anyone who regularly follows this blog--all 7.4 of you--knows that we play a double header every 4th of July and have a delicious BBQ lunch in the middle.  With the world going to hell in hand basket this year, well, this year we couldn't do it.  Which was a real shame.  The strangest thing happened though.  I had a very vivid dream that we did, and I would like to share it with you all.  My dream.  That I had.  That was not real.

For some reason we were at St Mary's, not our first choice of fields, but it seemed right.  Even in dreams, the MBC is an intelligent and respectful group, so we all had face masks on, kept a reasonable distance from each other, sterilized hands regularly, and didn't share equipment.

It was a slow start, as it always seems to be, but by the end of it we had 16 players.  There was a woman playing with us, which was different, though when I asked Greg--in my dream-- he said that she played quite a few times and her name was Anna.  She was really good, and made some great digs at first and led off for the homers.

Sonny started for the visitors, and I started for the homers, it being my dream where I get to do what I want.  Amazingly, no one scored for the the first 3 innings or so, aided by some great defensive work on both sides.  And we had an all-time center fielder in the form of James, who was bedecked in PPE, to protect himself and his growing family.  In my dream I wished him congratulations and told him it was the best and the worst thing that can ever happen to you.  I am sort of an asshole in my dreams too.

The homers finally got on the board after a few misplayed balls, and the bases loaded we had a fielders choice and a timely hit to break the seal.  We kept it that way for an inning, and then the visitors also came through with their own collection of hits and errors.  We answered right back, in my dream Mitch hit a scorcher to left center that was the big hit of the game.

I was keeping the pitch count low, in my dreams I am still a conscientious pitcher, but by the 6th inning my shoulder was twinging after one fastball too many and I thought better to step aside then risk a stupid injury.  In my dream.  Mitch came in and shut the door for two innings like a boss.  Sonny bowed out and Nick W. came in to mop up.  The runs that were on the board stayed the same, and we ended the game with a tight 3-1 victory for the 4th of July single header.

Dream Highlights:

* It was a very realistic dream, which made me happy.

* There were several double play opportunities, and I think that each team successfully turned at least one.

* James, in a true future-AOY fashion kept firing the ball from center field to throw people out at first, and he got Greg on one.  Greg thought it a bit poor that the mid-50's game-legged catcher was being singled out, especially after a nice line drive up the middle.  As a fat mid-40's game legged pitcher, I agree, and also was almost thrown out by James

* The first inning I got three batters in a row to pop up to Mitch at SS.  I wish I could do that in real life.

* Even if only in a dream, it was great to see Tony again, and he played 2nd the whole game, which I thought was strange, but weird things happen in dreams.

* Elon was out again, and still being tied up in knots with the slow ball.  If he ever connects with one of those big swings it is going to disappear into the sky.  Maybe in his dreams.

* There were great plays at 1st for both sides, a lot of them of the bang-bang variety.

* The wind blew a bit, just like it does in real life at St Mary's.

* Since the dream was so lifelike, we also had a new guy out who looked like he could hit a ton, but also had trouble with the change-up.

* This would have been the time to change the AOY and present the award to a new person.  But since this was my dream, and not real, we didn't.  With the controversy of last year still fresh in everyone's minds, and Don's general demeanor, he went ahead and gave himself a 3-peat and a pat on the back.  So much winning!  In my dream, I remember that I found this old baseball picture and gave it to him.  I couldn't take a picture of it, since it wasn't real, so I made a drawing of it instead.  I am a pretty good artist.

Happy 4th everyone.  I hope we can make it out of this mess someday and find a way to get back to what life used to resemble.  I hasten to add that does not mean back to "normal".  Hopefully we can all say that we have gained more focus on the really important things in life--family and friends, physical contact, human rights, human dignity, fact-based health practices-- and that as one country and one world, we can move forward with a lot more compassion, respect, justice and and love for all.

Hopefully that part isn't just a dream.















Monday, April 27, 2020

Shelter in Place Day #41

Hey all,

Sorry I have not been able to write much, one would think this would be a perfect time for musings and quips about baseball, life, etc.  Unfortunately, the etc. has taken a lot of time to do recently.  I hope this entry finds you all healthy and well, secure in your domiciles, oiling your gloves, re-taping your bats, practicing your slides down the hallway (one of the benefits of living in SF, slippery hardwood floors are perfect!)

I spoke with Greg this weekend, he is good, still working.  He let me know that there was some rumblings about attempts to have some kind of "wildcat" game on a local field.  While I respect the love from which this idea was sprung, I think we need to all be adults for a little longer.  It pains me to say, especially if the weather continues to be this beautiful, but the longer we go without the game now, the more likely we will have a functioning game in the future. 

Plus, we don't want our game to gets its first real press coverage as a bunch of 40-50 year olds yelling BAIL! while scrambling around as the cops descend.

So what to do?  If you have kids, you don't have time to answer those sort of questions, you have been trying to figure out which of the many platforms that the teacher emailed to you is the one that has the Phonics homework on it....

For the rest of you, I hear it has been a challenge to stay engaged while not being able to play baseball.  In Don's case, he has resorted to playing with himself in GGP.  Sad.

I have had a couple of "spirited" Zoom conversations with some friends, and one of our topics was baseball cards, and the relentless common cards that we have many boxes of.  So as a little apertif to your day, here are few of my old favorites.

1. This really takes the cake of What the Fuck is going on in baseball in the 80s?
Glenn Hubbard Snake Card Bobblehead Giveaway

2. There are guys that don't look like ball players, and then there is Kent Tekulve.

Baseball Card Database - Kent Tekulve 1984



3. This one grabs and doesn't let go....

Paul Walker


4. This one is cliche at this point, but still gotta include it

Billy Ripken


5. The White Sox are gonna be great, they got [insert name here] and he mashes!




6. I love the Sevarb baseball team!

1989 Upper Deck Dale Murphy PSA 10 #357 Reverse Negative


7. You sir, are no Barry Bonds

1987 Donruss Opening Day Barry Bonds Johnny Ray Error - PSA 9 Mint - Centered


8. " I would like the Al Leiter please.  No, not that one, the other one."



9. You are cool, but you ain't 1975 Oscar Gamble cool.




10. No shit.  This guy opened the LRP Sports Kingdom in my hometown, Placerville, CA in about 1987.  He was the go-to for all the little league belts and socks.  It was a real mish-mash of stacked cardboard boxes full of baseball pants and soccer jerseys, and other random sports gear.  He had all his cards on display....



11. This seems like a good place to end...

Friday, April 3, 2020

COVID Blues

Well, if there is some sort of higher power, he/she/it has had the MBC's back for a little while now.  Every Sunday since our world got turned fucked up-side down, it has been forecast to rain, rained, or been too wet to play....-ish. Maybe we could have squeaked a soaker game in, but mostly it's been a typical spring.

Not much we can say other than I know we all wish that the world was healthy again so that we might enjoy our little game.  But the greater good needs to take precedence still for a bit.

If you have a backyard, find a family member to play a game of catch.  Or find a deserted park.  We have a pretty serious backyard wiffle game going here in the 'burbs. 

Hope this finds you and your families all healthy and well.  Stay close, wash your hands, and thank a front liner whenever you can.

Don't look back,

Satch

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2/16/20 Camp Swampy

 

This post is late, and as such, I don't know how much interest there is going to be. 

I can say that there was enough players, which is always a nice place to start.  I think we were 10 on 11, Greg disappeared at one point early on in the game, and no one knew what happened.  He reappeared an hour later, carrying a demo hammer and a sledge....

Lil-Lil Satch joined me, and had a great time, including 6 homeruns, which he insisted be counted towards the game totals, and played a multitude of positions.  Everyone was great about keeping him in the game, asking him how many outs there were, etc.
 

Probably the biggest news of the game, was that Sean went 5-5.  Have not seen a batting display like that in a while.  New guy Matt(?) also put the muscle on the ball, and hit one of the longer balls I have seen in a while.

Pitching-wise, I know we had a lot of arms out there, Sean started, I think.  Aiden came out, and he threw an inning as well.  My claim to fame with my only inning pitched was that I induced Matt to hit into a double play.

The game before us took a while to end, which seems to be happening a lot at Balboa these days, and all the players stuck around afterwards to party.  At one point I counted five different radios playing throughout the groups.

We had to leave before the end of the game, so I don't know how it ended, but I know that we had a great time.  I think the score was in the 11-7 range, but adding in the Lil's HRs, that was more like 17-7....


The mightiest wallop of the day

Monday, February 10, 2020

2/9/2020 Cop Field




Well, we were shorthanded and nearly got blown off the diamond for most of the game, but still a good time.  The wind was no joke, I thought last week was windy but this was crazy.  The entire game, any ball that got up into the air was not assured to be caught by any means.

A deep fly ball that started out to the right of Tony in left was caught by Sean in mid left-center field.  Adam threw a ball back to me from 1st that moved about 4 feet.  Greg had a bead on a pop foul that just kept moving farther and farther away from him.  Sean made a throw from left that should have easily made it to home, and the wind pushed it right into the ground, before it hit the infield.  The change-up and knuckle ball were great pitches to throw in the wind, the fastball not so much.  I had to step off the mound a few times to wait for a gust to pass, and keep from being blown sideways in mid-pitch.

We had 15 at our highest, which was doable, but far from ideal.  I started for the homers, and Sonny for the visitors.  The game was close for a while, I held the visitors to a run an inning for the first half, and we scraped together enough to bring the game to a 2-2 tie, thanks to Mitch.

All was well, and then we had a real barn burner of a whoopsy inning and next thing I knew, it was 8-2 and it seemed as though I had been pitching for a very long time.  Seriously, we had no outs and bases loaded for most of the inning, and yet, I think there were 2 balls that were hit out of the infield.  The pop ups alone killed us, and we provided the rest with bad luck, trying to get outs at the wrong bases or trying for two, and in-between dinks.

Here is a visual representation of where most of the hits landed or were picked up in the inning.  We had at least 3 ground balls that didn't result in an out, as well as pop ups in the infield that were not caught.  An infield fly rule helped us greatly, when that pop up was also dropped.  James, poor guy, really teed off on one but Sean was able to track it down, and then he did it again a few innings later.


So, 8-2 going into the 5th inning.  Then after the 6th, the visitors lost a player and then another, so we had to get creative.  My day was effectively done anyway, so I volunteered to be all-time defense, and Adam was traded to the visitors.

Those two moves seemed to help my team offensively, and they ended up scoring a bunch of runs, in the next two innings, and going into the 8th inning it was tied up at 8-8!  The powers that be decided that was a good time to end the game, since we had 2 more people that had to leave.

Highlights:

* Mitch played 1st base for us in the beginning, and made two great outfield-style catches and an awesome dig out.

* After a game of force out potential with nothing to show for it, I finally got to a ball hit about 10 feet up the third baseline and threw it home to force Bob.

* Greg, McGrath, Chris, Bob did a great job on a tough day to be catching

* James got robbed, by a combination of strong wind and Sean

* Sean also gets the game ball for his deceptiveness, racing in from center field to pick off Mike N. who was caught unaware.  It was awesome.  And from the pitchers point of view, takes the guesswork out of the 2nd base pick off.

* So many dinks and pops.

* After getting the force at home, Bob asked if I even knew that the bases were loaded when I started that play.  I did, I also knew that they had been loaded for quite some time.

* A foul ball came very close to hitting a guy pissing in the bushes off the third baseline, who did not hear our shouts of warning.  That would have been both amazing and tragic.

* Greg had the unfortunate mantle of hitting into 2 double plays.

* Sonny hit the ball well, and in key moments in the game.

* McG hit the ball real square, but it had a slowed first hop that doomed it.

* I think Mike N had about 4 hits off of me

* Bob-HBP +1, a ankle shot on a change-up, Mike N +1, right in the meaty hip

* Gaspar had a very Gasparian hit to left field, threading the infield defense

* Sean's triple to right was the hit we had been waiting for all game, and lucky he had me running after it

* Thanks to all that braved the wind to come out and play.



Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tip of the Cap: The 2019 San Quentin A's







We were among the 38 wins that were compiled by this team over the last year.  They played great defense, they had timely hitting, solid pitching, and the best home field advantage a team could ask for.  

In all seriousness, the Mission Baseball Club is always happy to play (and lose) against this team, few people know that a few years ago the CDC officially became the CDRC.  That stands for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

And sports as a rehabilitative strategy is a great way to teach leadership, sportsmanship, humility, team-building, learning to lose, personal growth, empathy, and pride in one's self.

Read more here, really impressive!

https://sanquentinnews.com/san-quentin-athletics-38-2/


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

1/5/20 Cop Field







The Alpha game of 2020!  Hooray! 

Glad I was able to get out there, and I brought along the little little one, whose interest in baseball has swelled exponentially in the last year.  He did a great job, fielded second base behind Greg for a few innings, and by his count had 3 doubles and 2 HRs.  More on that later.

We also had a plethora of players which was nice for a change.  I had to defer pitching since I was on daddy duty and didn't want to leave him stranded on the bench, learning all sorts of new curse words for 9 innings. 

Sean started for the homers, and HR for the visitors.  Let me say that Sean was dealing, the benefit of having had 6 weeks off with the weather lately.  At least 4-5 Ks in the first 3 innings.  His changeup was absolutely nasty as well.  HR held strong for two innings and then handed the ball to Mitch, who had been traded for me, when it was discovered that our team didn't have anyone else that could pitch, the assumption being that I was going to eat as many innings as I could (a reasonable assumption, normally).  Mitch settled in and threw good ball. 

Sean continued his dominance, and the score was 5-0 through the 4th.  After 6, he called it quits, and suddenly the visitors took the game in hand, thanks to one very long, drawn out inning.  My little guy started the rally with another double, and chose to stay on the base and be a base runner.  He came around to score on Mitch's lead off triple, and I heard tell that the visitors were happy to count the run.  Chris Powell had come in as the new pitcher, and could not buy a break.  That being said, the visiotrs also hit ball after ball into places where there simply was no way to field.  Gaps, tweeners, no-mans lands, they had them all. 

When the dust cleared, they had gone ahead 8-5.  It was suddenly a game, though not much of one.  We homers really didn't mount any comeback, and the rest of the game felt fast-tracked, and over before we knew what was going on.  Sean went to find a puppy to kick, and the rest of us went home....

Highlights 

* First game of the year, and I got to play, and we had 22 players in total!

* Sean's pitching performance was awesome and tragic

* Mitch might get the MVP for the bat, the arm, and the dynamite play off the mound to get a ground ball I hit

* Urano hit a really nice double

* The outfield yielded 0 bounces for any ball hit out there, just splats

* I didn't strike out, and even got a hit, though it was a footrace between JT in right, and me down the first base line to see who could be slower.

* Bob's outfit was tight and bright

* We came out of the gates so good, and then lost it all in the second half of the game

* John O and his son are looking to be regulars, which is great to have some young blood again.  they also brought out a hitting cage and tee that my little one used extensively

* Greg was fresh back from a surfing vacation in paradise

* It was great to see the old crew well-represented: Gaspar, John McG, Powell, Tony, Greg, JT, Bob, Mike L, Adam, Mitch, Tim P, Sean P, Ed

* Happy New Year!  Hope this one is a good one for you and the MBC!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MBC in the Show

Amazing as it seems, this photo is not a fake, the Mission Baseball Club was officially represented at Oracle/PacBell/ATT/ Wille Mays/ The Giants Ballyard. 

Part of a fantasy camp thing, JT, Bob, and New Dan all took part in the 3-day event! 

Pretty exciting stuff.  Glad that they all repped the MBC with their skills.



Monday, November 18, 2019

11/17/19 GGP

Dear God, what a day! 

I know that we are all screwed in the long run with climate change, but to have a day in November in SF, where it is 75 degrees and playing baseball.  Hard to refuse.  It was also my birthday game, one of two weekends of the year when I get a hall pass to play, no questions asked.  I even made it there before the first pitch, so that was something.

We ended up with 17 players, which was also nice.  I started for the visitors, and Lattig for the homers. 

I will get the big news out of the way early.  I Madduxed the hell out of that game. 

9 innings, complete game, probably about 75 pitches.  I think I struck out 3, walked 3. 

Having not thrown in about 8 weeks, I was happy to get 3 innings, and then tried to give up the bump to one of the other pitchers on the team, but they all wanted me to stick with it.  I was helped immensely by a stellar defense.  I think we had two errors the entire game.  Usually it's a good game when we limit it to 2 errors per inning.

Around about the 2nd inning, I started feeling the vibe, and my team did too.  The warm weather, the easy plays, the general looseness.  I was not throwing anywhere near 100%, but the hitters were either failing to square up, or my team was playing in the right spots.  Batting practice fastballs can be great, if people are popping them up. 

The other thing that really helped was every inning, other than the 9th, we got the first batter out.  That makes such a big difference.

Lattig on the other hand, couldn't buy a break for the first few innings, we dinked the hell out of him, and the score stood 8-0 after the first few frames.  The homers were sneaky though, they started building a come back, one run per inning, until it was 8-4 going down the final stretch.  There were back to back doubles at one point, and Mitch was a thorn in my side the entire game, to the point that limiting him to a single was considered a successful at-bat.

Nate had come in for the homers, and all our scoring dried up.  He was dealing, and we were flailing.  The defense stayed strong, however.  With the continued support of my team, all feeling the vibe by this point, we squashed a rally in the 9th, and the game was ours.  We played an extra inning, Sean dealing for us, and since it was only about 3:30 by that time. 

Highlights:

* Nothing better as a pitcher than a defense you can count on

* Our game saw some smoked line drives, Don, Matt, Tony, Urano, Sean, Mitch, James in particular, I recall.

* Adam pulled a few throws out of the deep dirt at first to save us

* Tony made an amazing grab on a ball at 3rd, we didn't get the runner, but the play was enough

* Tim was also hitting the ball hard, each time better than the last

* We had a couple of near collisions at first base that were a little scary

* Speaking of, one actual collision in left field, youngun' Matt raced out from SS to get a fly ball, Bob raced in.  Matt called for it, Bob sort of slowed down, and then they collided.  Bob took the brunt of it, but seemed fine.  We calculated that there were 400+lbs involved in that mishap, so lucky that all were ok.  Sean was racing in from center, but managed to avoid the calamity.

* Lattig requested a double play, to get out of a long inning, and I promptly hit into one.

* Matt charged a ball at SS, picked it and fired it to Adam, who almost had his glove knocked off with the force.  Maybe from 17 feet away, we don't need to throw it quite so hard

* RBI Ed never had a chance for an RBI.  But he did start the double play.

* I struck out James twice on the exact same upstairs fastball.  His timing may be off, since he has not been able to come out much lately either.  Probably the only way I was able to do it.

* Nate had the unenviable play of the "too high pop up" in the infield, and as he slowly backtracked, hit the unevenness of the mound, and lost it.

* Thanks again to everyone that came out, it was a great one!

S. Paige