Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Love Letter to Sean Paul

 It's been a while since I wrote a player profile. I think I ended when I had written up most of the regulars who had come before me in the MBC. Apologies if I missed any of you.  This profile is a little different though, firstly because it is about a person who started after me.  But also because it is a player that I admire in every sense of the word, and whose pitching skills I am alternatively impressed with and jealous of.

The first mention of Sean in the MBC lore is in a game write up dated Wednesday, January 21, 2009, entitled You football people make me sick.   He is referred to as the new lefty, and his curveball was outstanding.  It appears that his debut was actually the week before, on January 11, though I didn't write that particular game up.

The other distinct thing about Sean was that when he started playing, he would wear these sweatpants that had big, floppy, inside-out pockets.  Mrs. Paige still refers to Sean as Floppy Pockets.  I think we got together as a team and requested he wear something a little more dignified, after he had been coming out for a few weeks in a row.  The irony is that in the time since then, Sean has gone on to win the Best Dressed trophy at the annual 4th of July Doubleheader.  And well deserved, as he has a series of olde tyme uniforms that he sports.

The thing about Sean is that he is the classic 5-tool player, not to mention, a superb pitcher.  He runs fast and he runs smart.  He is a power lefty, who is very hard to strike out.  He can play every position, which I think he has done (maybe not catcher), and his arm is strong from the outfield.  When he started, he pitched as hard as anyone that was playing, and it was great to have a lefty that could bring the heat. His pitching velocity has diminished in the last few years, but he has a full arsenal of pitches he can throw for strikes.

He has been the most consistent starter in our games at SQ, and probably has a pretty good reputation in there by now.  His pickoff move is certainly well celebrated, in a recent game it caused an uproar with the inmates insisting that he was balking, which of course he wasn't.  It's just a really good move.  He also came to my rescue recently in SQ when I was called out on the basepaths during a hidden ball trick, in which the pitcher was clearly on the mound, making it a balk, rather than an out.

Good players come and go, but it is character that is remembered and I think that is where Sean truly shines.  He is consistent in his attendance, even though he moved to Santa Rosa several years ago, he still makes the drive down regularly.  When the SQ games are posted, he is always first to respond.  He plays every position without question, and does not always insist on pitching or playing where a left-hander would naturally be.  And he is just a good-hearted guy, pleasure to be around, great sense of humor, easy going, and just competitive enough to make things interesting, while still keeping the ethos of the MBC spirit.

Three other really awesome things:

1. He has a 0-32 tattoo commemorating his two years as coach and player of the Evergreen State College baseball team, in which they won no games.  Here is a byline from the alumni magazine highlighting the year:  

Slugging It Out

Tough competition and expansion-team status left Evergreen’s club baseball team winless in 18 games in its first full season of competition in the Pacific Mountain Conference. But it was the love of the game that brought together the 20 men who battled the likes of the University of Oregon and Western Washington University over the hard season. Under the direction of team captain and pitcher Sean Presley and with capable logistical guidance from Mike Motte, chief financial officer of nearby Capital Medical Center, the Geoducks gained valuable experience. Presley led the Geoducks in batting with a .310 average, while James Stippich, Russ Trainor and Tucker Waugh also found their way on base regularly. Evan Kearley led Evergreen pitchers with a 4.08 ERA.

I respect the hell out of that tattoo.

2. This thing:

3. Sean is also a musician, which puts him in good company in the MBC.  He played in a band Noddzz that also included Brian Girgus, the celebrated 90/10 player, who is now a successful business owner in Echo Park.

So, in summary, Sean is fucking awesome, and anyone who plays with him should be honored to be in the presence of a player who embodies what we try to do with the MBC.  Namely, playing baseball not just as a enjoyable pastime, but as a collection of diverse personalities and beliefs, coming together democratically to play a game and build upon an ongoing social experiment.

S. Paige.


Rumor has it he also pulled a Dock Ellis a few years ago.

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