Friday, November 21, 2014

You want shirts, we got shirts!

Resident MBC Esquire and dad of future Hall of Famers, John McGrath sent me this picture, of Semi Pro, Independent and Defunct League Shirts that are available at Haight St T shirts.  Looks like a lot of the selection that one can get at Ebbets Field Flannels, without the wait. 

Check it out if you are interested.  Thanks John!


1500 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
b/t Clayton St & Ashbury St in The Haight



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11/16/14 Cop Field

The best weekend of the year, the birthday weekend, when Satch can gurantee that he will be out and no one, beast nor man can stop him.

Makes me feel like this:



But I digress.  We had 22 solid players show up and everyone made a contribution.  On paper, the visiting team looked like they would run away with it, but that is what is great about this game, nothing is for certain. Satch was on the mound for the visitors, and Sonny took the bump for one inning for the homers and then gave way to Sean, fresh from a European tour. 

I got the lead off out alright, which was Sean.  And then the homers exploded in a series of hits and errors that was eerily like the last time I pitched.  Then did it again the next inning.

By the third inning, after a long drawn out conversation, it was decided it was 6 and not 5-1. 

By the 4th it was 8-1.  No one argued that one.

Tony rightly noted that this was definitely one of those 'Is this really happening' games, the weather certainly had been odd, it was an offshore breeze, which blew pop ups in the complete opposite direction that we are used to them going.  The air was humid, hot and chilly all at once.

We finally started getting some breaks, and Coney Island James was on a tear all day, at least 2-3 big flies to deep left field, one that cleared the bases.  All of a sudden we were right back in it.  By the 6th it was 8-6.  Then 10-6.  

James asked to pitch, then gave me another inning to celebrate my birthday, and after a shutdown inning, we kept bringing the heat and scoring, eventually with the tying and the go ahead runs. 11-10.  So, when I bowed out at 7 innings, I still got to be the pitcher of record (for the record).  James then entered the game, threw 5 warm ups and promptly removed himself and inserted Greg instead.  Hopefully the elbow issue is not serious.

Sean gave way to Mitch, who seems is most vulnerable to the problem that he can't play defense for himself.  Certainly seemed to be the case, as a number of hits went to the outfield, which would have been routine flies for him, were extra base hits for us.

The see-saw battle continued, and the visitors finally tied it up and then went ahead for the first time in the game.  The homers roared back to within one, but were unable to close the gap.  We had played such a quick game that by the end of 9 it was only 3:15, so we played two extra, with Daniel coming in for the visitors and Sonny reentering for the homers.  The game slowed and the cold started to move in.  We called it after the 11th and everyone went home having enjoyed a great day of ball.

Final Score- Visitors 13-12.

Highlights:

* James was a masher all day

* Jimmy made an amazing defensive play

* John Mcgrath had at least 3-4 hits, including a long gapper

* Tony hurt himself running in after an inning, classic Rojas....

* Tim caught all 11 for the homers, impressive!

* Duane and Jimmy caught for the visitors, Duane and I worked well once he got used to the catchers view of Satch's pitches

* Dennis showed up out of the blue, talked his usual game, departed before the end.  He did give me an epic 12 pitch at bat and I did throw a knuckleball behind him.

* I had at least one inning where Don made all the outs in center.  A few innings later the homers hit a bunch out there, and he wasn't there anymore....dang!

* In one of the above mentioned hits, Elvin was playing about 12 feet behind second base in center.  Not ideally placed for a center fielder.  ELVIN!

* We razzed Daniel for not using two hands, praised Jimmy for using two hands, then watched Tony drop a pop up at third....he claimed it moved too much for him to use two hands....I believe him.

* JT has a theory that the last out of the World Series is part of a un-codified Giants play manual dating back fifty years.  It takes a while to explain it, so settle in.

*  Tyse was victim to the changeup all day

* Abe, Tyse's buddy played pretty well for a guy decked out in brown cordoroy

* First two at bats, I hit two come-backers up the middle, Sean snared the first one some how and Dennis collapsed on the second one and threw me out.

* The homers turned a beautiful double play, to stymie a rally

* Sean seemed to have not lost his stroke in Europe

* Example of Visitors Defensive Acumen- A hit to right went past the right fielder, bobbled by the center fielder, thrown offline past the cutoff, through the second basemen at the base and then was bobbled by the pitcher picking it up.

* Daniel was rocking the bandana neckerchief all game.  Bold fashion.

Same place, same time.

S. Paige.

Monday, November 3, 2014

11/2/14- Moscone

What a day for a ball game, and I am not just saying that because I actually got to play or because it was amazing out or that we had 20 guys show up or that...well, maybe it was all those things but it was more too.

The field was in great shape, the mound was exquisite.  Greg started for the homers and Satch went for the visitors.  The day opened with a couple of runs, and then a couple answered back and we thought we were into a real see-saw game.  It was a nice thought.

The early innings saw the score tied at 4's, and then we went ahead, and they went ahead and then, well the wheels came off.  The homers realized the true potential of their line up and started tearing us to shreds.  Then we started tearing ourselves to shreds, and that didn't help things.

There were a couple of 5-6 out innings, but mostly, the homers were just knocking the cover off the ball.  I think there were at least 7 hits to the left center gap along with several line drives up the middle.  I felt a little sore from lack of use, but I was making my pitches for the most part.; they were hitting strikes.

Some may have thought the homers had a loaded line up, you be the judge: Rojas, Powell, Adam, Greg, Coney Island James, Nero, Tim, Phelps, Mitch, and New Guy Ryan.  Not a lot of hopes for easy outs in any of those batters.

Greg bowed to Brian Phelps after 6, and then Mitch came into close the door for the 8th and 9th.  Satch stayed into absorb the complete game loss, with a final score of 12-7?

 Highlights:

* The home team had at least 20 hits

* I announced with the first and second and Rojas up that it was the at bat of my life.  Tony promptly laid down a perfect bunt, which I promptly threw into right field.  The next time he was up, I re-announced that THIS was the at bat of my life.....

* James hit a home run that I tracked with the ol' Google maps, ~415 feet...see below.... impressive....we were all telling him to slow down as he trucked around the bases, and then he stopped and walked back to third, confused as to why he was being held up.  Once it was all cleared up, he trotted home as he should have.












* I think I had 5 or 6 strike outs, which were well needed

* Tim, Bob and Jimmy did the catching, thanks to all

* Everyone who didn't slide was treated to the chorus, "SLIDE ELVIN!"

* Apologies to Ryan for the broken bat

* One of the quickest games we have ever had, considering the score.  Started around 1:20 and we were done before 4:00.

* Nick made a nice unassisted double play when we really needed it.

* The visitors first three hits were to right field

* The entire home team pitching trio did a great job of not allowing any real well struck balls, I can say for myself that I popped out/grounded out four times

* Bob was hit in the spine, looked like it hurt

* I hit Ryan with an wild curve, in the ass, best place for it

* Sorry to hear that last week only 10 people showed up, come on MBC we can do better than that.

* Jersey Joe made a great running catch in center

* The East coast was well represented

* The shadow of the tree in right made throws to first base a challenge all day.  Kudos to Lattig and Adam for the plays they made

* I hit a triple the first at bat, and slid into third, because that. is. what. you. do....

See you all real soon.

AND A BIG CONGRATS TO THE 2014 SF GIANTS!
S. Paige



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Player Profile #20- Richie Garcia






Richie constitutes the last of the regular old timers that has not yet been highlighted.  I think part of the delay was that Richie seems to stay on the fringe of the MBC these days, due to work, various skateboarding/soccer injuries and ???.  But when I started playing, he was a every Sunday kind of guy.  And to his credit, whenever he does show up these days it is apparent that his skills have not deteriorated one iota.

Richie is the prototypical leadoff hitter, and you can tell that he has always been so.  For starters he is very patient at the plate.  VERY PATIENT.  Some might say overly.  But that is just the pitcher in me talking. And his strike zone is about the smallest of anyone that plays in our league, I don't know how tall he is, but if he's more than 5'5", I would be very surprised.  Compact, I am sure is how he would describe it.  He's all lean and muscle though, and he can move down the line so he is always a bunt/steal threat.

I realized about 8 years ago that I was really stressing myself out too much trying to pitch Richie perfectly.  It's never a good thing to start out a game all frazzled 'cuz the lead off guy is not swinging at your nibbles.  So I decided then and there that I would let the odds and gods take care of it for me.  As we all know, the best hitters fail 70% of the time, so my approach now with Richie is to feed him strikes and hope he doesn't get into anything too fully.  He is decent enough to compliment the good pitches I get by him, as well.

So I can vouch for not always trying to get a guy out, seems to work, as long as you don't mind said guy hitting .500 off you....fine by me.  So Richie gets on base a lot.  He will steal a base whenever he wants to, he was taught to be aggressive on the paths.  His father and former coach came out once and watched us.  Well, he sat and read a book and occasionally paid attention to us.  I don't think he was completely impressed with our skills....

Richie was a catcher for a long while, but then had some sort of multiple concussion incident (skate or die) and hasn't caught since I don't think. 


He can play every position, and play it well.  I think I have even seen him pitch, but that may have been an anomaly.  But he has great hands, and baseball instincts.

Interesting side-note: The first time Richie went to SQ, he got more prison respect than the rest of us.  Being Latino, they gave him the O.G. nods during the handshaking.  Maybe they were just sad that a team hailing from the Mission district of SF was full of goofy white guys.  And maybe they were right.

Richie was also the unfortunate victim of the closest I have ever come in MBC to really hurting someone.  I threw a high and tight fastball (unintentionally) that went straight for Richie's face.  He leaned back enough that it only skimmed his forearm and hand, and then flat to the ground.  For a second I thought I had really hurt him, luckily he was alright, but the shock knocked him out of the game.  I felt pretty sick the rest of the day, thinking about how much worse it could have been.  I don't think he holds a grudge, but he would be right to if he did.

Richie is one of the more level headed, decent people I have ever met, a thing that I take for granted less and less as I grow older.  Pleasant, cheerful, wry, and knows the game in and out.  He is also a drummer, and a good one by all accounts.  I also found out that he went to UC Santa Cruz with a friend of mine, she is blonde and 6'3"...they must have been an awesome looking crew, especially if he was still rocking this look....is that the lead singer from Mr. Big?


 
The only bad thing I have to say about Richie is he loves the wrong baseball team.  Between him, LAttig (that's an intentional typo by the way, think about it) and Nero, they form the triumvirate of Dodger Faithful within the MBC.   The good news is that he is also an Oakland A's fan....so I guess that balances out.

So Richie, I apologize you weren't highlighted sooner, but hopefully this will serve to remind you that baseball is better than soccer and whatever else you find yourself doing on Sundays instead of playing the best game ever invented.

We of the MBC salute you!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Player Profile #19- Brian Cagle


I realized there have been a number of veterans that I have not reviewed, for which I apologize.  Much like Doc's write up, this one is from the way back times of the MBC. 

In fact, Brian Cagle is one of the original 17 Reasons guys (you can see him in the picture I posted recently, although he appears to be about 8 inches taller than is is).  I don't know that he was in any bands, which would make him the oddity in the first squad, but maybe he was the manager or something....I know he is a math teacher, which makes him a genius in my book.

Cagle is a quiet, reserved kind of fellow, but he plays with a degree of intensity that one might be surprised to find in such a taciturn person.  I think part of it is his sense of humor which is rather sarcastic and barbed, but presented so calmly that it flies over a lot of heads.  Having heard stories over the years, it sounds like Brian is not one to be trifled with, but mostly he has struck me as always pleasant and all-weathered.  But, I have seen him when he gets a little aggravated and it is surprising how acidic he can be.   

Brian is what you want in a middle infielder, good hands, quick reflexes, and steady with the bat.  What Brian really has is one of the finest abilities to bunt that I have witnessed since I have been playing. He's like a surgeon out there, and you never know when but you always know it will be in the hardest possible place to reach.

It is a shame that we don't see him much anymore, there was a good run for a few years when he could be counted on each week.  My jealousy runs high in fashion as well, being on the smaller side, Cagle also had the added bonus of being able to fit in to all number of vintage woolen jersey's that us behemoths would kill for a chance at.

 So, a ballplayer who keeps his own counsel, executes when needed, plays solid defense and can be counted on to be fair minded.  Who wouldn't want that as part of their team?

 Thanks Brian, hope we see you again soon!

10/12/14 Cop Field



This just in from the opposite field hitting surgeon, Mike Gaspar.  I wish I could have been there, but hopefully weekends will be a little easier now that we are out of wedding season.

It wasn't nice, it wasn't decent.  It was downright hot at Balboa Park on Sunday.  

If nothing else, Fleet Week seems to bring some great weather with it.  Per Bob's advice we all arrived a little early.  But as it turned out there were only 13 of us regulars.  Luckily, there were a couple of guys practicing their bunting and playing pepper at the field and they were more than happy to join us.

Greg took the mound for the home team and was immediately greeted with a line drive single off the bat of John Mac.  A couple of hits later it was 2-0.  Then came the big hit,  a three run homer from the visitors pitcher Mitch.  And the hits just kept coming.  It was eight or nine to nothing before the homers even came to bat.  

Mitch, given the big lead, was aggressive with the fast ball and mixed in just enough curves to keep the homers off balance.  And with the combination of at ‘em balls and just plain good defense the homers were kept off the board until late in the game.  Mitch gave way to yours truly in the eighth (a sure sign the game is out of hand) and Hank pitched the ninth.   

Greg went the distance for the homers.  And to be fair, his defense let him down a bit.  Their center fielder, Rufino, was very reluctant to catch balls in the air.  Preferred to let them bounce once or twice.  

Final score was 15-2.

Highlights:


  • ·         Everyone on the visiting side had multiple hits, with Mitch's being the most memorable.
  • ·         Nick had some nice catches in right
  • ·         Milo had a home run.  And showed some nice flair when he threw off his sunglasses half way between third and home.  Love the Hello Kitty batting gloves by the way.
  • ·         Fun in the sun.  Well maybe not for the homers.  Sorry guys.

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