Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Windy Day, a Bumpy Field, and Uneven Game

When we play at Balboa, usually we get the Cop field, so named because the police station is directly behind, and we are greeted to the sound of the officers racking their 12 gauges as the shift changes at 5 pm. Not exactly soothing, but better than hassling us.

This Sunday we played the other field, nicknamed Camp Swampy, due to it's lack of drainage after a rain, and the general poor infield character. We had 21 players which was nice, and the game ended up being pretty close, 16-14, I believe, but somehow, the teams seemed skewed. Certainly, each team was resplendent with some talent, but the home squad seemed as though they were a little more grounded, let say.

As SQ looms ahead on Weds, and my week off made me more sore somehow, Satch threw 5 innings and called it a game. Noah took over and proved his shrewdness, and made more of a confident hurler than yours truly. A bitter taste was in my mouth for most of the game, not something I particularly enjoy, and its hard to place my finger on why exactly. Somedays, you are jealous of the other team, because they are playing like a team, or they seem to be having more fun than you, or maybe its just because they have Mitch in the outfield. Greg commanded the bump for the home squad, and did what he does best. Although I must say, I kind of owned him. Lattig came in to finish off, something we don't see as often as we would like.

The uneven start of the game might have had something to do with it, we had a half dozen fly ball outs that didn't get caught, the whole team got the case of the dropsies, dribblers that got by people, and through the first four innings our team had about three baserunners. Meanwhile, the score was entering the 9-1 region. We traded for another outfielder, Stoner, which helped, and our bats started to perk up, before being beaten down once again.

The Mitch factor was defintely the biggest difference, Greg could start walking off the field the second the ball was hit to center field.

Maybe Camp Swampy is on top of a Indian burial ground, in any case its just bad news. It has been scene to broken noses, twisted ankles, a spiking, and stolen equipment. Next week, we have a later start than usual, 4 pm, so maybe that will change things.

Sorry if this post is not the usual fanfare, but as the man said, Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar, well, he eats you.


* The end of Lattig's 1.000 OBP, stopped at 15-15. Pretty amazing. And I must say that I threw the best 3 pitch combination I have ever thrown at him to snap it.

* Mitch. Sometimes it's just not fair.

* Warren? Noah's new guy, who singlehandedly gave our team hope, by clubbing not 1 but 2 homeruns, 7 rbis, and caught the last few innings with aplomb.

* The return of Richie. Take care of that frame, stay off the skateboard for awhile.

* I got one over Mitch's head. Camp Swampy is good for wind carry. And I started my own OBP streak with a 5-5.

* Nobody took a bad hop to the face, although I took a groin shot on a 2nd base throwdown

* Our team getting the outs when we really needed them

* The home team, for agreeing to 16, when it could have been 23

* Sean, for his midgame pants switcheroo, apprently the Shotwell pants are bad juju, and combined with Swampy, perhaps dangerous.

See you in the Q, for those lively few that can get off early on a Wedsnesday to entertain some felons. Otherwise, Sunday, you know where and when.

S. Paige


I got a update from Bob, John Carey had his first official homerun, a rake to right, and missed hitting the cycle by not getting a single. So, from now on, we might have to start bribing John to play with us. Either than or work out a free agency contract so that the MB club is not thrown into civil turmoil as we fight to land him in our lineup.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Sweltering Day in the Park

Unfortunately, ol' Satch was roped into matrimonial social duties on Sunday, and had to miss the game in the GGP. My heart was with the team, but my ass was where I was told to be. I must say, however, that the Bernal Heights backyard BBQ and chilled wine were exquisite. The guest summary this week is provided by one Mike Lattig, who is a natural prosist and witty to boot.....

The Game:

Big turnout at Big Rec on the hottest day of the year. 22 ballplayers overall by the time Ryan showed up in the 2nd. Lots of new faces and a game that seemed as long as it was hot... So none of us minded sitting out a couple. On to the game...

After an orderly top half of the first, the home squad quickly jumped on Lefty Sean for a few early runs. Some blamed his short, three-inning outing on the Shotwell pants and lack of Elephant Ears (dangerous to change up tradition, although somewhere the baseball fashion police are probably sighing with relief)... Others surmise a little bit of tired arm combined with tired outfielders is what got him. Either way, he was followed to the mound by another lefty, Brian, who didn’t fare much better. He blamed that on the Bocce Ball and red wine from earlier in the day (wait until Bay to Breakers). Then another lefty (newcomer Rob) came on to see if he could stymie the home 9, once again with mixed results. The revolving door of runners was finally stalled in the 9th by the lone righty and most surprising pitching appearance of the day, as Vivek took his maiden turn on the bump, throwing strikes and getting outs (Nice work Vivek, how did the curve ball fare? Next week I'll show you the forkball...)

At the end of the day, those four were no match for one man—Noah. He once again kept the opposing squad baffled for nine innings (which in that heat was a monstrous feat) with his patented mix of well placed fastballs, change of speed and late movement. Combined with a defense that all seemed to be playing their natural positions (sure-hands Bartlett at 3rd, the Hose at short, Nick at first and Greg behind the dish), it was too much for the visitors to handle and the home team cruised to victory.

At the end of 9 grueling 90-degree innings, the home-squad prevailed 15-7. (or somewhere in that neighborhood. We had stopped counting somewhere around the 6th)

Some additional highlights:

* Mitch absolutely smashing two balls into/over Left Center. Then being humble as always about it.

* Multiple double plays for the home squad, off a combo of line drives with runners in motion and the traditional 6-4-3 route.

* The emergence of Gaspar as a power threat thanks to a new leg kick he picked up from the WBC. Others may soon follow suit...

Next week promises to cool off, and it will be interesting to see if turnout cools off with it... If you all are half the players you claim to be, we’ll once again be locked and loaded with two full squads. And I imagine old Satch will be back on the bump, this time with his good heat...

Just so I don't feel so bad, here's an addendum from Kvoriak, who also missed the game:

I was playing kickety-kick ball with 5 through 7 year olds at Malcolm X Elem. in Oakland.
I went 4 for 4 with 3 homeruns. Those kids are even worse than you guys.
See y'all soon I hope.

So that is how she fell out this week. If you have additional highlights/ lowlights, let me know and I will add them on. Anyone want to play a game today, the weather is right and I am temporarily unemployed....?

S. Paige

Monday, April 13, 2009

A weekend of Baseball

In the past weekend, the MBC played two games, that had a total run count of 41….impressive, even if one of them we didn’t score any runs.

Yes, I am ashamed to say that our inaugural game against the SQ Giants was a shutout. And a blowout. The bitch of it is that going in we were all loose, good feelings, not a whole lot of tension, had some strong aspects to the team. And the first couple innings we were right in there. Had a doubling off play to snuff a rally, yours truly hit a leadoff double. Had some good plays in the outfield. Then, in true MBC style, the wheels came off the whole thing, the vehicle crashed into the ravine and caught on fire. 11 runs in one inning. And I take credit for some of those, the SQ hitters were a very hungry bunch, and they have some new additions that play real well. But there were probably about 8 errors in the inning too..…Heartbreaking ones that looked like double plays or flyball outs that then turned into scoring opportunities.

Stretch threw the whole game, and he has lost some of his fastball capability, but the guy is 46, and probably weighs 160 pounds, so kudos to him. His curve is still working, and he has a great defense behind him. The main problem for us is that we were hitting like a bunch of handicapped grandmothers. I started for the MBC, lasted 4 innings, did a pretty pisspoor job, and then Johnny came in and shut the Giants down. It was amazing. Brian came in for the final inning and did a great job. Brian also was 3-3 and got some congrats from Stretch himself. Definitely MVP. Too bad it’s MVP of our shitfest.

Yet, I think I can say that we all had a good time. The Giants, and all the guys on the yard were their usual congenial selves. Guys kept telling us how to beat the Giants, we discussed the paradox about being the Mission baseball team without actually playing in the Mission. One guy, Kee, sat with us for the latter part of the game. He played last year, but he is involved in getting his AA degree and volunteering so he couldn’t play this year. Positive! He even knew my professor who volunteers at SQ for a community education program. It was hard to believe that he has a life sentence. He told me the worst part about SQ is that you don’t have to just do your time, you have to babysit your roommate, because any infraction, they blame you for being there. As if prison didn’t suck already. I think Kee is featured in the Bad Boys of Summer, which I haven’t seen yet, but would like to. NICK KINSEY YOU ARE ON NOTICE FOR NOT RETURNING THE DVD. OTHERS ARE WAITING.

One poor inmate actually believed in us enough to bet a case of Top ramen that we could score at least one run. Poor bastard, we got to find out who he was, and get some money into his commissary account. It’s not his fault we hit like the Blind Boys of Alabama baseball team.

So, after the shellacking, we got to talk to the guys, catch up, we have some more possible dates to go in, who knows we might become the preferred visitor team? The Generals to their Globetrotters….

Easter Sunday. If ever there was a day to do something other than celebrate a holiday. Fitting I guess, since most of consider the game our church service. We got 17 out which was nice, including a Ryan and his lil’ guy, a friend of Lattig’s and two new guys who showed up to bail us out. We were light in pitchers, so I threw again, but real light. Greg wanted to throw, so it was another classic show down. Surprisingly, the heavy ball was working, and we amounted a healthy lead through the first few. Then a few more. Early indications of a blowout began to show, by the time it was 12-5. But the beauty of the MBC game, is that anything is possible, and no lead is safe. I gave up the pearl in the 6th to Dennis, who favors bare legs as a pitching distraction and throws every 6 weeks or so. Whatever the case, the home squad came alive, and before you knew it, runs were mounting up. Our defense had a few problems, but I think at one point Greg’s team had 5 extra base hits in a row. Pretty damn impressive. Lattig started to shut the door on our team offensively, and then Ryan came in to break our will. It worked, and in the bottom of the 9th, still behind by 4 runs, the home team girded up their loins and bats and won the game, 17-16. Phew….


* The late surge and team spirit of the home squad.

* Left handed shortstop turning a double play.

* John Carey, having one of the higher fielding percentages for the game, as well as some solid hits (we gotta work on your home stealing, though)

* Almost nailed a soccer player with one of my hits

* Vinay’s snares in left field, impressive, most impressive.

* Bob, hitting the shit out of the ball all day (and passing out steaks)

* The two knuckleballs I threw to Tony, sick and sicker.

* Lattig’s buddy, who started off rough at the plate, and hit a towering double by the end of the day

* John, Bob, Ryan and Greg for catching a long game.

Too bad we don't get paid for this, it would be the sweet life.
S. Paige

Friday, April 10, 2009

Player Profile #8- Robert Carey

(So the only picture I have of Bob is this one, he is the man behind the mask. I know there has to be a better one, so somebody send one to me....)

By now you have all heard me talk about Bob, he is one of the most stalwart warriors we have in the club. Before I even get into his baseball skills, the first thing is Bob is the reason we aren't praying every Sunday to find an open field. Like Nick Smith, Bob has his shit together just a tad more than everyone else, and it shows. He is the club accountant, the club organizer, and though he probably would prefer a different term, he IS the team dad. He organizes the Fourth of July double header, along with the email for the weekly games. If Bob ever leaves our little thing, I fear the wake of disorganization and chaos that might follow.

Bob is a classic ball player, dug in and full of hardball spirit. He always comes to the field in full uniform, with a trunk full of gear, ready to play any position or cure any ailment. You wanna know how Bob rolls? Red Man chew, maple bats, and metal spikes. You got a problem with that?

Pitching to Bob is always a crap shoot. Once he's in the box, he ain't moving. He might turn slightly, but if you throw an inside pitch, there is a good chance that Bob is gonna wear it rather than get out of the way. And he seems alright with that. I think secretly, he likes it, as long as it doesn't hit him in the spine....But when Bob gets a hold of one, it's a thing of beauty, the crack of a wooden bat, the compact swing, and the shit talking that you get when he saunters up the baseline are all part of his glory.

Bob's catching is what keeps us in business as well, he prefers not to catch the whole game, but he will do it if needs be. He is a rock behind the dish, ready to plunge headfirst into the gear in pursuit of a foul ball. As a pitcher it is sometimes fortuitous to get Bob catching in the latter parts of a game, as the strike zone will get larger as he gets sorer, or if he needs to get home by a certain time.

Bob can play any position, first is usually his preferred if he isn't catching. Bob was unfortuately part of one of the uglier incidents we had in MBC lore. While playing at Balboa, Johnny hit one directly into the sinking sun. Bob was in center field, didn't have to move, had a bead on it, then it crossed the sun, and hit him square in the nose. Have you ever heard someone punch a side of beef? That's what it sounded like. I heard it from the infield. We rarely have real injuries, so this was pretty traumatic. The nose was broken, but everything else seemed to be alright. I think Bob took a week off, and then he was back the following week, bragging about his blackeyes. Never complained about it. That's a tough guy, I get hit in the side, and I'm whining and taking pictures for it for the blog....

Bob's a good guy. Ornery and set in his ways, yes, but he's got a heart of gold. He loves the game, and he has passed that love to his son, John, who has been coming out to the field since he could walk. John got his debut last year, at the tender age of 9, 10???? and proved himself more than capable of playing with the big guys, not only is he faster than all of us (he must get that from his mom's side of the family), but he plays a thinking man's game rather than the Cro-Magnon version most popular with our fellas. He is also blessed with natural ability and a great arm. John is a great kid, a spitting image of the old man, in gait and attitude, and it's nice to see two generations enjoying a common interest.

One final great thing about Bob, he has started his own grass fed beef company, Brandon Natural Beef. If you are a beef person, you have got to try some, I have utilized Bob's services for a couple of parties so far, and the reviews are always the same, AWESOME. And if you are a good customer, he might throw a extra strip steak in...His website is:


Bob, we all salute you. Thank you for your years of service dealing with the ineptitude of the Parks and Rec people, resupplying us with baseballs, letting us use your sweet bats, and most of all, for just being who you are. It wouldn't be MBC without a full spectrum of characters, and you are one mighty character.

S. Paige

Monday, April 6, 2009

Redux at the Marina, only Sunnier, Warmer.

It is almost not possible to sum up the game we had yesterday, as I am wary of using the word perfect. But screw it, it was pretty damn perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, the lightest of breezes wafting the spring honeysuckle in the air, the field once again in immaculate condition. The fear as we warmed up was not that we would be short, but that we would have 28 people show up. Luckily we topped out at 20, which was enough to let us all relax for a inning here and there.

Sean, the crafty southpaw, started for the visitors and quickly got everyone’s attention by striking out four or five in the first two innings. I got a hit on blind luck alone, plus a bonus ricochet off the pitching rubber. Yours truly started again for the home squad, with Greg behind the dish, hoping to nail down our repertoire in preparation for the San Quentin game this weekend. For the first time in a long while, Satch went with the full wind up, and it is surprising how it affects the pitches, both in velocity and control.

The first half of the game was a nail biter, 1-1 through the first five. The defense really helped out for both teams, and Sean had a few more K’s to add, as did I. We finally scored one more run, to take the lead in the 7th and Rojas took over to finish out the game. And what a finish, Tony was masterful, the sidearm changeup was moving, the fast ball was zipping. With our new found confidence, we racked up a few more runs. Johnny Bartlett came in for long relief for the visitors and kept the game lively. We got to the 9th, Tony got the groundballs we needed and the game was over…or not. We ended up playing two extras, since we had another hour and a half of daylight, and the flesh was willing. We brought in our own lefty, Brian to finish it up, and he did so, with a little excitement. The visitors threatened comeback, and suddenly it was 5-4, with Danger all around.

Like a solid team should be, we never broke a sweat, backed each other up, and the game was ours. However, on a day like yesterday, I think we all felt like winners.


* Sean, Tony, Johnny and Satch, Brian, who all looked excellent on the mound

* The return of Stoner, who finagled his way out to a game, despite being in the throes of proud new papahood (Congrats Matt!)

* Twice, Lattig?

* The Rojas relief and triple, right handed, after bitching about not ever getting a chance to hit that side.

* Baseball is a balance, so: Is the squeeze on, Rojas? Rojas, why are you thinking about stealing home with no outs? And in this association, Tony, we drop our bats at the plate; we don’t throw them into the ball’s pathway on the trip down to first….

* Bob, stroking one to left, and talking shit up the line, my kind of hit….

* I am reinstating my request for a fence. Or not letting people play at 399. Best feeling hit of the year and it’s an easy out.

* The visiting team for squashing at least three scoring chances with great plays at the plate (two involving the infamous Tony Rojas).

* The 4-6-3 error put out near the end of the game. That’s how you back up a team mate! Thanks for the scoop Nick.

* Kinsey, Will, Brian, B. Cagle, Bob, Bhatia’s for all having solid line drive days at the plate.

San Quentin here we come, so don’t forget, no phones, civilian clothes, or tobacco ( it’s a felony now).

S. Paige

Friday, April 3, 2009

Player Profile #7- Peter Van Schaik

First off, let me say that I miss Peter. A lot. Peter was another of the original 17 Reasons guys. 17 reasons was the big sign that used to stand above 17th street and Mission, and was the Coit tower for the original ball clubbers.

But I miss Peter. Did I say that already? Before Satch showed up on this motley scene of players, Peter hurt his shoulder, and had relegated himself to second base for all times because the throw from anywhere else was not going to have any style or English on it. But he could nail that second base throw like nobody's business. And his defense was awesome, he had awesome range, and he could knock something down and look balanced while he was doing it. We had some good times as a double play combination. By official baseball etiquette, I nor any other 6'6" player, should ever be allowed to play shortstop. But I do. And by the way, I do just fine. Its a ground ball, I can do that. But Peter and I could used to have some really good conversations (which bothered Greg) but he was supposed to be focused on pitching.

Man, I miss Peter. For a man of moderate stature, he used to hit the piss out of the ball. He used a huge bat, and he had one of the quicker swings I have ever seen. He could hit it anywhere, and it always looked like he knew exactly what he was doing the whole time. He had one weakness, a weakness for doubles. I wish I could say I made that up, but I stole it from the Baseball series...And he could talk shit about it, in a funny way, and then back it up with action. You gotta respect that.

You know who liked the Yankees? This guy Peter, that used to play with us. He sat on a throne of fandom that only true Yankees fans can, his theory was no matter how bad the Yankees were, who had the most championships? Who ruled decades of time in the MLB? Yup, those guys. But he wasn't a dick about it. So there was that. The first time I played, Peter was out there, scrapping, dodging, weaving and burning rope, which I was happy to see. Good that someone else still kept alive the old traditions of the national pastime. I like traditions.

Whatever happened to that guy Peter? Oh yeah, so he moved to South America, and then Connecticut. You know, the usual story. He's got two kids and a great wife, which are all awesome, well, I met two of them, and they were. He's an actor too, and he grows a hell of a mustache. Rumors swirl sometimes about a visit. Haven't been able to nail down a visual, but he's probably floating out there somewhere. I hope to see him again one day. He knows where and when we play.

What's that smell?

S. Paige