Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Player Profile #18 - Greg "Doc" Magrane




I thought I would start the next session of player profiles off with a golden oldie (which isn't a old age joke, but maybe should be).  Greg "Doc" Magrane has been around the MBC for quite some time.  And he has always anchored the veteran end of the spectrum with aplomb, with his current age approaching 70?  To me, every hard scrabble baseball team needs someone nicknamed Doc, and we are lucky to have ours.

Doc was an original SF bum, starting sooner than anyone, I think, and we all smile at the thought of him footloose and fancy-free, cruising the Mission back in the 70's.  Since then, he has earned a Ph.D, got married, had two great kids and worked at UCSF in cancer research.  Doc retired a few years ago and now follows the sun down to Venezuela where his wife has built their retirement haven.  Not a bad life.  We have threatened to put together a barnstorming team and play our way through the country some day.  And we should.

Between back and hip ailments, Doc stopped playing baseball about five years ago, but he still comes out and umpires when he can.  The game always has a bit more shine to it when Doc shows up, makes us feel official.  Still, it is a strange thing to have an umpire after so many years of the catcher's calls.  Doc does a good job, and he is humble enough to let the catcher overrule him if they feel strongly enough about it.  MBC is still baseball by democracy.

Doc's son, Oliver, used to come out whenever he did and he was a decent player, even when he was 10?  Oliver was faster than any of us, of course, and it was a pleasure to watch him grow up from a young quiet kid, to a young quiet man.  Seriously, quietest kid ever.  Except when it's 2 am apparently.  Doc was good enough to rent a room to my buddy Rob for a few years, and Rob said on more than one occasion, Oliver would start practicing trumpet in the middle of the night.  Oliver stopped coming out to play when he got to be a teenager, but I would still see him occasionally at music festivals, wrapped in a serape, with a massive afro of screwy black hair adorned with bits of feather.  Kids these days....I bet he can still catch a ball though.

For an older guy, Doc was a hard out, he always made contact, and put the ball just over the infielders head.  Plus, you couldn't brush him back cuz then you would just look like a bully picking on some old guy....
Something that you might not know is that Doc plays the gut bucket, a skill he picked up in his native state of Indiana.  When we used to have band practice in his living room, Doc would roll out the gut bucket and play along, good times.
Doc, we miss you when you go, and we are always happy to see you return!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/21/14- West Sunset

Felt like forever since I had played.  And my own rusty feelings aside, when 3:00 rolled around and we still only had 10 people, I started to get really nervous that my one free pass was going to be taken up by ...*gulp*.... batting practice.  Luckily, a few more souls appeared out of the fog and we had a game, enlightened by the umpiring appearance of Doc from his South American abode, back for few weeks.

Greg started for the homers, and since Greg is playing with a injured knee, there is no catching, but only pitching for him these days.  Which is both a testament to his fortitude and the overall spirit of the MBC.  We all play hurt, its just a matter of whether the injuries out-weigh the ability.  So unless you can't walk or see, you have no excuses....

Satch started for the visitors, and felt lively as usual since I get to rehab my arm for four weeks after every game.  We both were hampered a bit by Doc's "strike zone" but got through with enough strikes to make the game interesting.  I struck out looking on my first at bat, on a perfectly placed inside fastball, in the one location I knew I couldn't get to.  Not auspicious.  But my team picked me up and we scored a few in the first.

We kept the game within reason for the first few innings, and the homers roared back to score a few.  By the middle innings, it was close and by the end of the sixth when I departed from the bump, the homers had taken the lead, to the tune of 8-6.  They were assisted by some tough grounders, a number of well-placed singles, interspersed with about 5 doubles.

Greg had mentioned before that he was in danger of losing a fourth consecutive MBC game, so I guess I was heartened by the fact that I had put him in a good position to break that cycle.  Brian Phelps came in for one inning of work, followed by another Brian, resplendent in a early 70's Joe Rudi A's jersey. 

Greg kept pumping for the homers and finished us off with little effort, for a 11-6 complete game win.  Enjoy that stay-cation, Greg!

Highlights:

* The homers were a lot more focused on the game than we.

* For only having 15, the teams were both stocked with power.

* Adam definitely gets the MVP, he smoked the ball all day, had about 5 RBI's and was not fooled once.

* Jay, who was the one respondent to my email plea, showed up in the second, and was more than a little off-kilter.  Somewhere between too much tequila and/or not enough Seroquel is how I would affectionately describe it.  He managed to get some hits and was 100% in caught pop fly balls, but his bizarre warm-up batting routine and base-running left some of us a bit rankled.  In his defense, when he showed up he warned me, in response to my email plea, that I needed to "be careful what [ I ] wished for...."  Point taken.  Hope you are doing alright, Mr. Cellini.

* I had a slider as the one pitch that worked for me all day.  I managed to strike out Greg with it, who was too frozen to realize that it had been the third strike.

* Brian Phelps had the ugliest first hit of recent memory, he jumped backwards, then half chopped with the bat, to poke it over third base.

* Elvin played well, came through with some big at-bats, and appears to juicing, or wearing tighter t-shirts

* I took a page from Tony's playbook and started yelling cautioning base-coach instructions to the other team's runners from the mound

* Loren was inquiring about the parameters of getting a AOY 2015 nomination.  I said the first thing is you got to show up regularly.  Nice to see some interest.

* Brian Phelps made 2 spectacular catches in center, one to rob his best friend of an extra base hit....nice work asshole.

* Far too much talk about football in the dugout.

* Bob showed off the range at SS.  He also reported that he was hit four times in one at bat last week.  Pretty amazing.

* Thanks to Bob, Gaspar, Adam and Duane for catching.

* Gaspar had a quintessential gaspar hit to left, no way to really defend it.

* I would describe the weather as the coldest, hot muggy day I have seen in SF in quite a while.

Much needed rain this week, sunny on the weekend.  Quit watching sports and start playing sports.

S. Paige

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

4th of July Doubleheader Pics

Thanks again to Jay Cellini, resident shutterbug for these shots from our glorious doubleheader.  Sorry it took so long to post, but, well, you know....life.









































Monday, August 25, 2014

8/24/14 Balboa Cop Field

What a beautiful day.  I know I say that a lot, but seriously, it was borderline perfect weather at the ballyard.  We were a little worried when there were only 12 people including a DL'd Greg dropping off the equipment, but then, our ranks swelled and we ended up with 20!

Noah started for the homers, fresh from his sojurn to RI, but he didn't seem to have practiced his pitching while he was there.  The visitors touched him for two runs in the first, then we tacked on a few more runs, and I guess he must not have been feeling it cuz by the 3rd he had given the duties over to Mitch who took it the rest of the way. 

Satch started for the visitors, and it felt good, even had some extra zip on his fastball to help off set the change up.  That being said, the homers kind of lit me up when they were hitting, they answered back to tie the game in the first to make it 2-2 and seemed to be on the verge of several big innings that fizzled out.  After 7 strong, I handed the game over to Sean and then Tony for the finish, both of whom did admirable jobs.  Sean is leaving the MBC for a few months to tour with some rock and rollers, Good Luck!

The defense on both teams was not bad, other than a few of the usual muffs and drops.  The game was quick and we were having so much fun that we played an extra inning.  The homers loaded the bags and were on the verge of breaking out only to be turned away after a great pitch and a bang-bang double play.

Not much else to report, the final was 8-5 visitors.

Highlights:

* Good turnout and a fun game

* Thanks to Bob, Mike, Adam and Noah for taking the catching duties

* Gaspar gave me a true Gasparian at bat, fouled off at least 6 balls.

* Tony and I fouled out in successive order

* Powell turned a double play with the bases full to end the game!

* My last at bat, Tony and I were determined not to go down so easy.  For my part I hit a ball about 380 feet and into the glove of Sean, who was covering left field and playing me at 370.

* Mitch sent a low line drive to center field that was snared by a diving Phelps.  Mitch got Mitched (except of course, that Mitch would never have to dive, he would instinctively know where the ball would be hit....)!

* Sean's friend Miles came out and made several good plays in the field and had at least one hit

* Ball went right through my wickets on a comebacker.  Powell picked it up for the out. Nice.

* New Guy Ryan played well and also broke his first bat.  Hazards of the game.

* Don is a scary batter to face, I had a lot of confidence in my stuff and everything that was close he was right on it.  Had to downshift to junkballs

* Both teams seemed to overthrow first a lot

* Powell also made the correct choice in electing to go to third on a ground ball to get the lead runner.  I know that is what you are supposed to do, but in the MBC that is sometimes a frightening proposition.

* Adam missed a play at first, I haven't seen that in a long time

* Thank you to Nick for taking the gear and allowing us to play an extra one

* I think I may have not allowed a hit to Lattig?  Or maybe just wishful thinking.

*  Mitch hit a big league triple

* Double steal, me and Sean.  Becoming quite the thief....

* There were also a lot of infield hits, not by me though, I grounded out twice to third and both times I barely got it out of 2nd gear...but I didn't want to blow out the legs early, ya know?

* Thanks again to everyone who came out, it was a great game!

S. Paige

PS
Sorry if I have left out any memorable plays.  Feel free to remind me and I will add in




Monday, August 11, 2014

8/10/14 Balboa Cop Field


This week's write up courtesy of Mike Gaspar, thank you Mike!  Seven Double plays, that is definitely a MBC record!

It was a surprisingly sunny day at balboa park.  The field was in peak summer shape.  Meaning, alternating dry, bare patches and swampy patches in the outfield.  Hit a dry patch and you got an easy double, hit a swampy patch and you might get thrown out at first.  Players started slowly assembling and it looked like me might not get to the magic number of fourteen.  

When low and behold, like a scene out of Field of Dreams, William Rockwell appeared.
Will's back in town to see his brother Carter get hitched (congrats dude!) and as luck would have it, play an s.q. game.  After a round of hugs and handshakes and a little infield practice,  we were ready to start.

Mike Lattig took the bump for the home team and as he would for most of the day had a tidy first inning.  As for the visitors, Chris Powell got the starting duty.  And after a solid hit by Tim, some shoddy defense and a weak ground ball by yours truly, the score was 1-0 homers.

The big story line (besides the return of Will) was the amount of double plays turned.  In a typical mbc game you might have one or even two but on this day there were seven.  Now a couple of these were a result of some questionable base running,  but most were due to good infield defense.

Both pitchers settled into a good rhythm and because of the aforementioned double plays the game was low scoring and played at a quick pace.  The visitors tied it up.  And then the homers tacked on a couple.  And in the bottom of eighth it was 3-1.  That's when the homers put up a crooked number.  At this point Greg then Tony had taken over for Chris.  The big hit of inning came off the bat of Mike Lattig.  A double that plated two runs.  

With the score 6-1 at that point, Sonny came in and got the 'save'.

Highlights:

-playing with Will " Straight outta Brooklyn" Rockwell.
-seven double plays!
-J.T. had some nice line drives right at Mitch.  Then one finally fell.
- John McG.  had a hit from the left side.
- Mike L.  pitched one of his better games.  Mixing his pitches well.
- We all got like seven at bats.
- A nine inning game in under three hours.  (mlb take note)

Monday, August 4, 2014

8/3/14 Balboa Cop Field

Two in a row, I could hardly believe my luck.

Of course, I also know that I have commitments the next five weekends in a row, so I guess you take the gifts that you are offered.  The weather was somewhere between muggy, foggy, windy and neutral.  Don't ask what that means, but that was what it was.

Sean started for the visitors and Mitch on the bump for the homers.  It was a good match up, both teams seemed capable.  But the visitors had a case of the dropsies that was much worse than usual.  We could not believe our good luck as we saw balls squirt out of the gloves again and again.  No kidding, errors were averaging two to three per play rather than per inning.  The game stayed within range, and was tied after the first few frames.

Satch made a controversial call to go for the out on a ground ball to SS, with a runner going home.  Ordinarily, this is a no brainer MBC play, but with Powell at SS we probably had a good chance of getting him and stopping the run.  While the argument that early in the game is to try for those sorts of outs, I have seen it go sideways too often.  That being said, I tried hard the next inning to make it up by taking second on a passed ball and third with a great jump, but was stranded.  Might be the first time I have stolen a legitimate base off of Sean. 

It turned out not to be a big deal, as our deluge of runs began and by the end of the 7th, the score was all of a sudden a lopsided 8-3.  Satch came in to throw after Mitch did 6 strong, and I felt good, mixing it up.  There was a grand canyon in front of the mound, so I switched from far right to left, rubber wise which was new.

I can only assume that the homers won, I had to leave the game early, as I got word that Lil' Satch took sick and threw up all over the couch, and I felt bad not being there to help out the missus. 

Thanks to AOY Phelps for the denouement of the game.

Top 9: With a 5 run lead, Powell came in for the emergency relief appearance and walked the bases loaded. Sean hit one off the end of the bat right at me at second and I thought it had more mustard than it did. I didn’t charge it and he beat it out. Rule 42.3.4 - No lefties in the infield besides 1st base. Then Greg (?) hit a blooper over 2nd base that I nearly caught but heard footsteps and hesitated at the last second. Tice, the tying run at 3rd base and Chris got the strikeout (i forgot who was up). Game over.

A good game all around, thanks to everyone who showed up.

Highlights:

* Powell and Mcgrath were both hitting line drives

* Ed and Greg did a great job behind the dish, blocking errant pitches

* John Nero had a great catch in left field

* Duane was the hard luck winner of the game, got hit in the back with a pitch, was thrown out at first and again at third on very close plays

* Paul managed to catch a few while working around his son Malcolm (who is five.)

* Struck out Tim on a nasty breaking ball

* Lattig in pants!

* Maybe I am behind the times, but I love the nickname R.B.Ed, very apropos.

* Infield fly rule was enforced correctly

* Tony had a legit triple, as did Sean I think.

* Lattig had a good day at first, Adam had a day of watching throws sail over his head

* I told Greg he was getting the fastball, and he grounded out to SS, I bet he will think of that for a few days

* Mitch threw a great game

* The Piano Leg threw a wood splinter on to the field of play.  Nothing a little more tar won't fix

* The pop fly was deadly in the first few innings.  Then the wind died down.

S. Paige

Monday, July 28, 2014

Out of the Archives- 17 Reasons Roberto Clemente league team

One of few great things about social media, is every once in a while, a circumstance of meeting a person and following up on-line can yield a gem like this.  This is the team we have all heard about, the prototype of the Mission Baseball Club, some may call it the 17 reasons team, others may just refer to it as the "original" MBC.

See who you can spot, who is still smiling, who is trying to look like a tortured punk poet, and who for the first time that I can remember, is wearing a stirrups and socks combo....

07/27/14 Balboa Cop Field

What a great day, as long as you weren't driving or a Giants fan. 

Before we start, a special congratulations to Dani Leone and Jen Ralston, two of our MBC stalwarts, who took the big leap this weekend.  Yes, the chicken farmer is officially off the country market, having fallen in love with a wonderful lady and as far as I can tell, they are creating a agricultural paradise in Petaluma.  The wedding was a great event, live music was present from start to finish, good beer, tables of cookies, chicken and waffles were all excellent, and my first experience with a wedding ceremony done in country song format ( Given the number of weddings I have and in the future, will, attend as guest and employee, I wish this format was a lot more popular....).  From all of the MBC, Wishing you all the good fortune and happiness!

The drive back from the north bay, in a panic, trying to get through the Sunday traffic and close enough to a Bart station to get to the game on time was not great, given the number of things going on in the city this part weekend, but it all worked out.  Thanks to John McGrath for picking the cop field, conveniently located next to a station.  We had 17 all told, and the game was a tight affair for most of the time.  Phelps started for the visitors and Satch for the homers.  In the bottom of the first we strung together several hits and scored three runs.  We were real confident, until the top of the second when we gave it all back.  But it was nice while it lasted.  The score stayed like that for a few innings then, we scored a run, then they answered and it was tied for a bit longer. Phelps did not have the usual zip on his pitches and bowed out after 2 innings.  Noah came in a pitched for a while, then Mitch for a few, then Daniel in the 9th.  Satch went the distance, natch, as the only sure thing I know is that each game only guarantees that the next will most likely be further off.

Our Waterloo came around the seventh, we had managed to get two outs, but the visitors were threatening to break it wide open.  Satch had lived by the change up and knuckleball all day, and with the wind and humidity it was all working.  A fisted liner to the middle of the infield looked scary, but then I saw Rojas moving, nay, gliding to the ball and I relaxed.  Smack it hit the glove, then, well, it dropped out.  Sad to say that was the play of the game.  The visitors took advantage and moved a few more across the plate. 

By the 9th, it was 9-5, and we were trying to make a last stand.  Daniel was throwing, and having trouble getting the ball across the dish.  After a legit hitting start, we had the bases loaded, and Tony ended up taking a walk to bring in the first run.  Satch up next went through 3 counts and then took a walk to make it 9-7.  Alas, with 2 outs, Tice flied out and the game was over. 

Highlights:

* It was a great game, defense was pretty strong on both sides

* The changing weather and wind had a great effect on the knuckleball, I loved that Greg was calling it three four times in a row.  Finally!

* I hit Bob twice, both on pitches that a blind man could have gotten out of the way of

* New guy Rafael was a defensive and offensive talent the whole game, robbing me of an easy extra base hit with a full 360 turn in center before gloving the ball

* We had guys dead to rights on pitch outs twice, couldn't seal the deal.

* Always reasuring to hear the racking of shotguns when you are trying to concentrate

* Tice made some nice plays in right field, including a San Quentin special

* Phelps tagged Nick hard in the helmet when he had to come off first.  Luckily it was mostly brim, and Nick was already grumpy

* Tony had a great day other than that one play, couple of hits, couple of heads up plays with runners on.  We all know its the one bad play that stays with you afterwards, not the 9 you did right.

* Thanks to Greg for catching and playing with a bad back, even if he did catch the final out of the game

* Mitch had another great game at SS, all kinds of range, and a couple of hits on top of the pitching

* Other than the long fly out I hit, I at least managed a line drive double down the line that made me feel like I can still hit

* There might have been some chicanery with regards to a fair/foul ball on a few down the right field line

* Ed and Rafael both hustled to back up first, way too much trying there.

* Visitors almost had two double plays in a row

* Tony may have been picked off at first to end the game, but no one really knows (quiet down Phelps.)

* Noah was the only one for most of the game that hit the knuckleball well, one was at his shoulders, the other at his eyes.

* The theme of the day for our team was "Is this really happening?"

* We decided that Sonny's impromptu jazzy fedora hat choice in the 7th inning was our downfall, but at least we went out looking classy.

Thanks to everyone for playing, and congratulations to all the Dodgers fans for a SF sweep.  It is still July, thankfully, so hopefully the Giants can shake the the injury and bad luck bug long enough to make this a pennant race.

S. Paige

Monday, July 21, 2014

7/19/14 MBC vs. SQ Giants


















Mission made a valiant effort vs the San Quentin Giants but ended up losing 9-6, which is a victory in many ways. We had 2 new fish (Sonny and Miles), 2 inmates on our side and Sean on the bump. Carter led the scoring off with a 2-run blast over the barbed wire in left. SQ took the lead at 3-2 and worked it up to 5-2. Some late runs by SQ got them to 9-3. We held strong an rallied to 9-6.
 
 
Highlights:
• Sonny and Miles joined the SQ club. 
• Miles got hosed when the ump called a hit a foul ball off his foot. But lined one up the middle a few pitches later. Then Dewey tried his hardest to pick off Miles.
• Sean was called Sandy Koufax (last game Phelps was referred to as Jamie Moyer). I love the chatter.
• Jimmy made a sick diving stab at 3rd. 
• Mike had an RBI hit to the right side and played a great 1B
• Sonny’s nerves were visible but managed to play a good game
• Brian had an adventure in center but only one ball escaped his grasp which landed next to the tables in center. 
• Brian also ended an inning on a double-play throwing out an over zealous baserunner trying to advance to third on a flyout. 
• Sean hustled down the line to beat out a possible inning ending double play, which scored a run.
• Greg was a wall behind the dish and had a good oppo field RBI hit
• Carter’s bomb was the talk of the after game. Interviewed for the newsletter which will read “SQ Giants beat Mission 9-6. Carter hit a bomb!”
• Carter had a dream the night before the game of Jimmy hitting bombs in batting practice, but it was he who was on cloud nine after the game.
• Carter also got hit in the head (everything ok) and then they tried to pick him off. The nerves.
• Beers and burgers were had by some after the game. The sweet taste of defeat.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The AOY Oath for Ed Sidawi







Do you take this oath voluntarily, or are we going to need to get rough?

Do you promise to abandon all standards of sportsmanship and civilized behavior on the baseball diamond?

Do you promise to underestimate your injuries and overestimate your talents?

Do you promise to throw out JT at first on what would otherwise be base hits to right field?

Do you promise to ring your own son up on a questionable third strike?

Do you promise to heckle at every opportunity despite peer pressure?

Do you promise to enforce the unwritten rules of baseball?

Do you promise to raise your sons in the way of the AOY?

Do you promise to greet your fellow AOYs with:  Hello, Asshole.

Are you an Asshole?