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.
• 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?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7/6/14- GGP- Annual MBC Fourth of July Doubleheader

Another glorious game-BBQ-game is in the record books.

I can say with all honesty that this year's doubleheader was fun from start to finish, just the right mixture of  good people, competitive play, great food, camaraderie, beer, weather and fans.  The families came out, the tourists stayed and watched, we never got hassled by the park officials for multiple violations of the City park code, all in all, a great day.  We averaged about 14 per side, so the rule was every player sit three innings of nine for each team.  We were also graced with the presence of Johnny Bartlett, who played last week as a warm up and then really played for the homers in the first game.  He looks great, approved of the official playlist and really made the day (no wagon this year though...).  He requested all knuckleballs which I was happy to oblige.

Game 1

Satch squared off against that young upstart Rockwell, who has been the talk of the club since deserting us to play for a league and then returning.  Sometimes you have to let them fall so they know how to get back up again.  From what I understand, Carter learned the realities of the league game, specifically always having to drive to places like Novato, dealing with overly aggressive and competitive players, and in general, sucking all the fun out of the old game.

Luckily, the shine is off of Carter somewhat, and our team was able to at least hold up their heads as he didn't dominate us per the usual.  But he still pitched well, even if he pitched into the 8th inning, in clear violation of the unwritten rules we had all agreed to....Satch felt good, always nice to get out to a game, and the fastball felt good, the change up looked slow, and the knuckleball looked devastating.  About the third frame, I think I threw 90% knucklers, which is always fun.

The score stayed low and tied for the majority of the game.  Both teams squashed rallies with thanks to some good defensive work.  John Carey hit a towering shot to right that was sure to be an in-the-parker, but a great four man relay caught him at the plate.  An inning later, the visitors suffered the same fate as Rojas attempted to score from second on a line drive up the middle and was gunned down, ripping his fancy MBC flannel uniform in the process.  The visitors hit it to Tim and the homers seemed to hit it to JT no matter where they were playing.

Going into the 9th, the score was 3-3, Satch had given way to Daniel after the 5th, who threw strikes for the most part, then to Dustin for a change and then gave way to John McGrath, who started out wild-wild-wild but eventually settled down enough to strike out the first batter, but anyhoo, the homers had men on, and with a monsterous shot to the gap in right center, Don won the game.

Final- 4-3

Everyone trotted in and were greeted by the delicious smoke of four BBQ's


The AOY 2014 recipient was presented to Ed Sidawi, Esq., via the past AOY's including Will Rockwell via Skype technology.  I will reprint the oath of the AOY once I can get it from Bob.  There was also the addition of a beautiful scepter for the knighting ceremony and a silk kimono worn by AOY Carey (what?).

The 2014 Deserter trophy stayed in the Rockwell clan, and was presented to Will, with brother Carter standing by.  If Will has any sense he will seek out the Brooklyn game ASAP.

Game 2

We swapped home for visitor, but kept the teams pretty much the same, other than Phelps who was traded for some reason.  For the first time in a long while, that I have seen, Lattig started on the bump.  He was his usual crafty self, somewhat evident of the Leone process, by way of a frustrating pitch that looks so good, but that one can never hit well.  Greg started for the homers and did well, but the defense was not as good as it was the first game.  We see sawed for a few innings, the game was another low scoring affair.  Don flashed the leather several times in the outfield including robbing Satch of what would have been a stand up triple, or at least a really lazy double. 

Greg did the right thing and bowed out for Sonny, who was making his pitching debut ( I think) and while he got a 1-2-3 inning it was not a particularly efficient one.  However, after that, he settled down, found his rhythm and was great.  Lattig gave way to Phelps (with a pitching aid of glass stuck in his hand) and then John Carey.  Tony came in for the late innings for the homers and did a great job.

The homers were down 3-4 going into 8th, but we had Mitch on our side, who had scored two of our three runs already, and with a towering shot to the deep yard, he had a triple and things were looking up.  Tony followed up with a clean hit and a RBI to tie the game, then took second and third.  Satch strode to the plate with his bat-shaped 2x4 and after a low strike and a waving flail at a curve ball, spread out, choked up and lined one over the first basemen's head for the go ahead run.  So after tying the game, and scoring the go ahead run, Tony took the mound for the 9th, and closed it out.  We honored him with the Style trophy for his custom uniform and high level of play on the day.



* Thank you to every one who came out to play and watch.  Special thanks to all the significant others who put up with us as well as Stella and Rosie, Oliver Smith, Liam, Aiden and sister*, Thomas and Charlie, Wesley, Leo, Helen and Bo, and any other kids and pets whose names I didn't get.

* Jay brought out his fancy camera and tripod, and let us all play photog, hopefully some good shots

* What a difference a Mitch makes.

* James from Coney Island gets the long ball award for a couple of foul balls and a fair ball that all hit the other diamond

* Greg drove from Tahoe that morning, caught, pitched, caught.  Glad I am not his legs.

* The pulled pork, burgers and Brandon Natural Beef ™ steaks were top notch, natch.

* From what I hear, the homemade veggie burgers were also exquisite this year

* Bob hit a towering shot to left field that made it to the other field.  Only one problem, it may have been foul.  Ed maybe didn't see it clearly, but called it fair.  Dustin at third argued there was no way that it was fair.  Bob got the hit and maybe got away with something....

* Don might get the MVP for his winning RBI in the first game and defensive magic in the second

* Tony Rojas also is a strong candidate for the same reasons, however, his slide loses him some points....

* I missed a lot of the game play cuz Lil' Satch had to go pee roughly every 1.1 innings.  Ahh, fatherhood.

*  We had quite a few in and out catches in the outfield

* Mcgrath's kids lost their minds when he took the hill

* Jay won the air guitar award for the day. Glad the music was inspiring.

* I stole second on John when he neglected to remember to go to the stretch.  His frustration was payment enough

* Elvin hit a filthy knuckleball

* Johnny got his first hit, first RBI since his return to the game of the Elysian fields.

* I had two consecutive line drive singles with men in scoring position that yielded 0 runs.  The first runner was held at third after James threw a laser to home and the second runner was thrown out at the plate.  Lucky I got that last RBI.

* I thought we were going to get some good razzing from the drunk in the stands, but he mostly just provided accurate calls of the game.  A gentler, more educated bum....

* Richie was really hoping for the Deserter trophy, I can't tell if that is a good thing or not.

* Elvin saved the camera from a foul ball, and maybe snapped off a action shot. He was less responsive in letting his napping girlfriend know she was in danger of a foul ball landing on her.  ELVIN!

* Tim had some great plays at SS, as did Rojas.

* Happy Fourth everyone!  Thanks for a great time.

PS- Let me know if I missed any vital aspects.

Monday, June 16, 2014

6/15/14 West Sunset

Apparently attendance has been light for the past few weeks, so if you are reading, this start making plans to come play on Sunday and not go to brunch with your significant others friends from the South Bay, who you really don't care about anyway and who will be 30 minutes late and then talk about their trouble with finding suitable and trustworthy dog walkers the whole time.

Nothing could have been more appropriate on a Father's Day to have the younger generation figure in the game and figure greatly they did.  Aiden, Liam and John all played like All Stars, made some amazing defensive plays and in general made us feel like we were part of something pretty damn special.  Mitch and Satch squared off on the bump, both going the distance and both keeping the game within reason through a mastery of defense and gutsy pitches.  I can say for my part that the defensive skills of Aiden, Liam and John went a long way in making this a close game.  Aiden’s first catch seemed like a lucky break, in that he caught it instead of being killed by it (a frozen rope that curved into his glove).  His second was a rollicking backwards leap that surprised everyone, Aiden included, who confessed his eyes were closed in the last second.  Not to be outdone, the next inning, Liam gets a high, windy fly ball that he tracks down with confidence and aplomb.  An inning after that, John Carey makes a diving catch in the no man’s land of left-center, I tell ya, it was a thing to behold.  I know Bob  and John M. were proud papas.  Not bad for an outfield that ranged in age from 9-15?

For the first 8 innings, the teams were pretty tight, we both scored 1 run in the early part of the game, and that held for a few, then the visitors went up and then the homers scored and there we were cruising into the 8th and it wasn’t even 5 pm yet!  The homers were pretty stacked with hitters though and it was only a matter of time before the defensive odds caught up with us.  Not coincidentally, Rick K., another father who rarely gets Sunday playtime was also out and was a sizable contributor to the game, including the laziest triple in recent history.

With a 4-2 lead in the 9th, we visitors felt we had things fairly locked down, but no lead is safe, and with a misplayed infield pop up and then a barrage of hits, the homers came back, tied it up, then Mitch (who had been robbed several times in his at bats) stroked one up the middle and the homers were victorious 5-4. 

Quidam id mihi damno ludos.


* Defense!

* The grass in the infield killed every ground ball

* Mitch pitched a hell of a game and deserved the win.

* Explaining the Gaspar shift to the kids proved to go against everything they had learned about the game up to that point

* First game I pitched in shorts ( I left my baseball pants on the garage floor) since the infamous post-Bay to Breakers game of 2003.

* There were some very close plays at first, John Carey was HUSTLING!

* For not coming out often, Rick was on the ball as usual, including a texas leaguer that fell due to the outfield was playing him at 490.

* Satch and Greg,  Strike ‘em out, pick ‘em off, that was pretty awesome

* Liner back to me, almost knocked the glove off.  The hand doesn’t hurt today though, so that is something

* There were an inordinate amount of line drives right at people

* I love a quick tight game. 

* Duane isn’t swinging at my curveball anymore, making it much more difficult to get him out…

* I threw one of the nastiest knucklers in history to Gaspar, for strike three.  Unfortunately so nasty that Greg couldn’t handle it either and Mike made it to first.

* Happy Father’s Day to all of you

Post Script

Tony Gwynn died today at 54.  He was that true jewel that loved the game and it loved him back, pure and honest.  How many players these days will play for only one team in their career?  A cautionary tale in smokeless tobacco use. RIP Mr. Padre.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5/18/14 Golden Gate Park

Every year, Bay to Breakers shuts down the middle corridor of the city, as 100,000 costumed and "wacky" people try to traverse the city.  Many don't make it, choosing to drink, boot, rally, repeat and eventually collapse somewhere around the panhandle/Stanyan.  Now, I have done B2B, and it's fun with a group, but the city establishment has become disenfranchised with this tradition and there are more calls each year to ban the race, much like they have Castro Halloween, and every other party that used to be a reason that we lived in the best city ever. 

So the rule now is you can't have any alcohol, backpacks, trailers, floats, or anything that may be seen as a problem.  Yet, they still drink, they still vomit, they still collapse.  So banning all the fun stuff doesn't really change much, and I am torn as to whether the race is a good thing anymore, since a flaunting of conventional wisdom was kind of the point and watered down anything is just well...not very fun.

But in the middle of all this, is a baseball field, and that is where the real action was on Sunday.

We were worried with all the traffic and such that we might have a dreaded batting practice day, there was ample parking, as no one in their right mind would try to go to the park or the museums on Breakers day.  But getting through the mess took a while, and we started a tad late with 16.  Not too shabby.  We were helped by a great pitching match-up between Greg (who had caught 9 innings the day before in SQ, 12-3 loss to the Giants) and Satch, who had been at home squeezing a baseball for the last month, and dreaming.  For six innings, we both put up a hell of a fight, and while the win may have gone to Satch, I think the Cy Young goes to Greg.  Through the doldrums of the middle innings, Greg was averaging about five pitches an inning.  Pretty impressive stuff.

We were knotted at 1's after two innings, and then the homers scored an scored again, and that was pretty much the way it went for the rest of the game.  Satch was able to stem off a bases loaded one out situation and the defense held together well, Tim at SS got a number of plays, as did Lattig at 2nd.  Our defense was solely focused on not allowing the visitors to score runs, sometimes engaging in plays that weren't necessarily the best bet (especially with a MBC type defense) but each time it kept working out.  The visitors might have a legit argument that our fill in defense in left field left a little to be desired, but hey, we made a few outs too, so what else can you expect?

After feeling a tightness here and the beginnings of a strain there, Satch decided to make the adult choice and bow out.  Ryan, a new guy from Elvin's league came in a did a fine job in the later innnings.  Sean came in to mop up as we finished our game in record time and played an extra inning and a half.  Ed did us all a favor by catching for the visitors and the homers in the end, to speed things up, truly a team player.

Final Score- 7-5


* Greg was the apex of efficiency.

* We have decided that the new MBC motto is Some of my best games have been losses. 

* Or in Latin if you prefer, Quidam id mihi damno ludos.

*  Elvin managed to pop up to Lattig four times in a row.  With his girl watching.  Luckily, he had a decent defensive game, so she saw that too.  

* For a nice manicured infield, it was full of bad hops. 

* I fouled out, flied out, popped out to the pitcher, texas leagued a hit to center, grounded out.  Real stellar.

* Gaspar once again proved that no shift can keep him from getting a Gasparian hit

* My buddy Howard came out and managed to avoid the "first game in 10 years" strikeout.

* Thanks to Mike, Ed and Bob for catching

* For a middling scoring affair, I can't think of too many big hits, the biggest fly of the game was Sean to right, but they had him played in the 430 range.  If you feel slighted by this statement, email me and remind me.

Happy Trails.

S. Paige.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/16/14 San Quentin A's vs. MBC

As usual traffic, was moderate to heavy in getting across the bay to the prison.  However, there were enough seasoned veterans that we had at least a fighting chance in the parking lot by 4:45.  Jimmy rolled in, as did Eliot the A's coach(finally) and we went through what was known and what was new. 
The old was no hostage policy, bat limits, no food, tobacco or passing of notes. 
The new part is that they do a full written inventory before and after now, and it's bad luck for Noah and  his three bags full of baseball crap.  Every team member gets to bring one glove (unless you are a catcher or a first basemen), one pair of shoes (no sandals, Nero!) and one set of catcher's gear (they allowed two in case Ed needed to catch, whose legs are apparently too short for the standard gear).  We can bring 4 bats and the coach can bring four bats, so in theory we can bring in 8 bats, since they borrow ours.  That's how I got the War Hammer in this time.
After a wait at the gate, the usual suspicious pawing of our gear and collection of our licenses, we headed for the entry point, to get our wanding and recheck of the gear.  You would think that with all the time wasted doing this, that the prisoners would be ready and chomping at the bit to play.  However, as always, they had finished the calisthenics and were just lounging around.  Eliot went to unlock their gear and somehow another 30 minutes passed where no one was in uniform yet.  We could get a lot more game in, if we weren't always waiting on this kind of stuff....
The game got off to good start, as we walked and walked and Brian Phelps hit a beautiful single to score two, and then we walked some more.  We scored three runs in the first, only to have them taken back plus one in the bottom of the first.  The first innings dropsies were in full effect, and the second hitter of the game hit an in the park home run on a high change up.  Then we had a pitch out victim dead to rights, and couldn't hold on to the ball, bloop, bobble, drop, shake, rattle, Phelps made the wise decision to go behind rather than in front of some guys wandering through left on a hit, our first out finally came due to the infield fly rule (never an auspicious opening).
After that, the baseball gods shined favorable on Satch, to the tune of 6 K's and no runs in the next three innings.  The gods apparently had it in for Kool Aid, the SQ As pitcher, as he walked at least 8 batters, he was sent to the showers (that's a lot more serious in prison, wakka wakka wakka).  Kool Aid gave way to some other thrower who was a little more accurate. 
The end result was a four inning game, the final being 11-4, where we only got 4 hits.  But damnit, it's a win and we were all smiles as we left the prison.
* After what seemed like a very long first inning, our defense was pretty spotless
* Mitch made a couple of much needed catches in center and stole two-three bases?
* Nero went hitless for the first time in SQ, although he should have had a hit on one up the middle that the SS made a great play on
* The new umpire was reputed to be "great" by the A's.  Meh.

* Greg had a play that he considered blocking the plate, then quickly thought better

* I hit a guy, just barely, and we all ignored it and he went on with his at bat.

* Report was, some convict called me Satchel.  Good to know my name rings out in the yard....
* Red is gone, Otter is gone, there was a wholesale clearing of a lot of the players for various infractions and transfers.
* No one was thrown out from right field
* I struck out the guy who hit the homer off me, with a wicked curve ball.  Greg said he was talking up his own game in the batters box.
* The change up was again the delight of the inmates

* Chris smashed a ground rule double into the Indian prayer garden, for our best hit of the day
* Nero walked from home to home on four consecutive bases on balls
* Vinay, our lone first timer, tomahawked a ball for a RBI
* Elvin brought his white shades and his mismatched socks in again, his player/mascot status becoming more prominent
* I got hit and Jimmy got hit.  For myself, I can say it didn't hurt much and still doesn't.  However, it looks like hell.  This is known as a San Quentin Heart.

Congrats Victorious MBC'ers!  Next time, we may actually play enough to get an official win.

PS- This is the 300th blog post for the MBC, fitting, I would say.  Thanks for reading all 27 of you loyal readers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

4/6/14 Crocker Amazon

Back in the game, a glorious thing!  

After a long separation from the Sunday classic, Satch returned to the field of glory.  There have been several games since the last time I wrote, but few that have been documented.  Always welcome a write up if any one feels the desire.  

We were at Crocker Amazon, which I hadn't played at in a few years, however it is sight of one of two legitimate home runs I have hit in the MBC.  Enough about me though.

The field was in its usual tall grass, gopher-holed splendor, and we started 20 minutes late since the game before us seemed to be without end.  Old guys squared off against new guys-ish.  Satch versus Carter, who has improved a lot in his time with the 'ahem' other team.  But he looked good, kept it around the dish, and we were stifled most of the game.  Satch had a pocket full of K's for the day but alas, the old guys defense was at the mercy of the field and our own issues.  At one point I think I counted that each member of the infield, including myself, had at least 2 fielding or throwing errors. 

The visitors weren't just hitting daisy cutters though, there was a lot of well squared knocks as well, and they added to their lead with each passing inning.  By the 4th inning the score was 7-1.  Well, you can't win them all, I guess.  And we didn't.  The game started to slow, but the the sun and the fresh air was unbeatable.  

The homers fell behind 9-2 by the 7th and Satch gave over the ball to Greg.  With the agreement of all involved we decided to move ahead to the 9th inning and get this thing over with.  We had 16 to start and we lost 2 more in the later innings, so it was a case of finishing the game before it was 4 on 4.  We were also joined by an extremely intoxicated guy who had umpired the last game, and had hazy connections to the Roberto Clemente league that the MBC played in back in the early 90's.  So we let him umpire, but his strike zone may have been affected by the 20 beers he had consumed in the stands.

In any case, the homers mounted a comeback of sorts, Carter giving way to Elvin and Mitch, but we came up short in the end, and a final of 9-6 in favor of the new guys-ish, we all headed home.  

Ahh, baseball.


* I got 2 strikes on about every hitter, but couldn't close the deal on the challenge pitch for most of them

* The visitors had four infield "hits" in a row at one point.

* Elvin was picked off at third in a play was an abject lesson is why sliding makes a difference.

* Mike Lattig was "safe" at third in a play that should have been a abject lesson in why sliding makes a difference.

* Couple of new guys were out who seemed to know what they were doing

* The outfield fence in view and my change up were a good mixture for the day

* Adam had bad balls thrown at him all day and he scooped out most of them

* I came up with 2 outs every time I batted

* We had a fill in player from the game before, Fausto, and I felt so bad for the guy.  There were a couple of close plays that he flubbed but made a second effort on, and figured his team would back him up on and say the runner was out.  But both times he wasn't and we didn't.  I am sure he probably wondered why his own team was hating on him so much.  

* The new net above the stadium probably cost us 5 defensive outs

* Loren has managed to slim down and beef up at the same time.

* Gaspar managed to evade the shift each time, with lovely Laura in the stands

* The infield grass appears to be about 5-7 inches above the dirt of the playing field

* Adam took a walk, which hasn't happened in a while

* No one broke an ankle, always a plus at Crocker Amazon

Next week, Big Rec.

San Quentin 2014 season coming up.

S. Paige.