Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Muggy Foggy Game

Frankly, I thought we were going to have to recruit the old Chinese guy that raids the trash for recycling treasures this week, but ol' Satch was pleasantly surprised by the 17 we had out in the Sunset this week. And a hell of a game was played, a real see-saw battle, with strong pitching, solid and not so solid defense, and all on a day when it looked like we were going to get rainy batting practice.

Satch went the distance for the home squad, Sean started for the visitors. Sean pitched a hell of a game, and had about five or six great plays off the mound. He kept it lively all around the dish, and managed a bunch of strong K's.

For throwing the full 9, I felt like Satch did alright, in fact it seems like I struck out 8 or 9 batsmen myself, with the odd come backer, some soft, some screaming. My life flashed before my eyes after I threw a 3-2 challenge fastball to Lattig, and he ripped it back into my chest. I had enough reaction left in me to get my glove in between me and the ball (thanks for not taking my head off, Mike)

The visitors jumped all over us in the first, and our offense couldn't hit out of wet paper bag for the first three or four innings. Sean kept us off balance, and when we got hits, we could never back them up, we stranded a lot.

Somewhere along the way, Satch got on base, stole second, stole third, and Adam drove in our first run of the game with a towering shot to left. We got one more, and suddenly we were in the game. A few innings later we took the lead on some timely hitting from Vinay, Joe and Gaspar, and for the first time in the game, fortune seemed to be shining on us. Some lucky breaks here and there, and it was the top of the 9th, with us up 5-3.

Then the roof caved in.

A bloop single started a error rally, and before we knew it, we couldn't catch a ball or get an out to save our lives. By the time it was all over, it was 8-5. We limped off the field, and went down meekly in the 9th, with Lattig nailing the coffin shut.

A note on losing. Baseball is one of the best sports to learn how to lose properly. If you think about it, a successful hitter in the big leagues is someone who still fails 7 out of ten times. So you have to get used to failing, it is a important part of the game. As Earl Weaver said, (paraphrasing a bit), "You gotta give the other guy his chance, there's no clock to run out, no plays to run to stall for time, that's why [baseball] is the greatest sport ever." We had our opportunities, Lord knows we did....but the team that prevailed today was the team that maximized some of their opportunities. And I salute them for it.

I would like to say that this attitude helps to soothe the burn of being close to a CG win, and not being able to pull it out. And it does.....mostly....

Luckily, I ain't in this for the glory or the statistics.

Thanks to everyone to made it out, and hopefully Greg and Tony will be back next week. I will have to get the byline from someone else, if anyone is feeling up to the literary challenge.


* Sean, a hell of a game on the mound and in the box, great battle in the later inning

* Lattig, for proving me the dumbest decision maker for the day, in sending him to the visitors team

* Mike and John for catching the whole game

* Chad and Dan, our resident new guys, for making some great catches, and even a hit here and there.

* Lori Bhatia for showing up one day past her due date to support the team ( too bad the kid didn't start his appearance on the baseball diamond, now that would be a MBC story to tell)

* Our other fans, Mrs. Paige included, who braved the foggy day to cheer us on

* The random beerfest in the parking lot before the game, don't know who those guys were, but they looked like they were ready to party

* Bob and John Carey, who didn't make it out, due to Little League team making the playoffs

* The return of Scott and our once a month man, Stoner

* Nick Kinsey, for taking a risk on a pass ball, to steal home, we almost had him, and I think that run pretty much ruined our team's wavering hopes

* The West Sunset field was in immaculate condition

Well, in the end, a great game was played, and another Sunday was in the books. In to June we charge, ready to brave another summer in the fog.

Don't look back, something may be gaining on ya,

S. Paige

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

San Quentin Pirates Game, 5/23/09

And now, our man from the Mission, and resident Indians fan, Mike Gaspar:

well it was time for another match-up between mission baseball club
and the inmates of San Quentin. in this game we were going against the

we all met in the parking lot and were happy to at least escape
the fog and cold of san francisco. there were eight of us all told.
(sq is always willing to lend a player or two) in true mission style
we just pieced together a lineup as we waited to get checked in.
fortunately we had some versatile talent on hand and felt pretty good
about our chances. we got checked in record time and after a twenty
minute warm up it was time to play ball.

things started off well for the m.b.c. as we had runners on first and
third with only one out. but a base running blunder by yours truly led
to a double play and snuffed out a would be rally.

Noah took the bump for our side and after a walk and a couple of
bloops the pirates had tallied two runs. but as he would do later, Noah
came up with a key strike out to leave a couple of pirates on base.

the top of the second was our big inning. in truth it was our only
inning. we got a runner to third but alas he was cut down at the plate.
but we still had some fight in us and manged to load the bases. and
a great at bat by our guest player, mike, led to a walk and plated our
first run. the next batter grounded a seventeen hopper up the middle
and a couple of more runs scored. two more base hits followed and
before the third out was recorded we had scored six runs.

but the pirates were able to slowly but surely come back. no major
rallies. just a run here and a run there. some walks a couple of
bloops, but within a couple innings the scored was tied.

meanwhile the m.b.c. bats went a little cold and this, coupled with
the fact that the pirates defense tightened up caused the momentum to shift.
after pitching a gutsy four innings, johnny came into relieve noah.
again the pirates managed to put some crooked numbers (their bats started
to heat up) and before we knew it, it was 11-6 favor of the pirates.

m.b.c. managed a few more threats but to no avail. soon enough we ran
out of playing time and the game was called after seven innings. all
told we were pretty proud of our effort. we only had three or four
errors, our pitchers, though often in trouble, made some great pitches when
they needed them to prevent a blow out. in addition we had some good
determined at bats. just couldn't get the "big hit" when we needed it.
and i think i can speak for the entire squad when i say there was no
place i would have rather been that afternoon. next game is 6-20 against
the pirates and we sure could use a few power hitters. chris, mitch,
mike l. you guys out there?
one last thing. as usual the sq players were very happy to have us there
and i think we even made them sweat it out a little

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bay to Breakers on a Sunny Day

Well the title says all you need to know about how hard it was to get to the field on Sunday. The upshot was that it was a beautiful day, warm, slight ocean breeze, the Sunset field was well cared for, and we barely scraped a game out of 14 who braved the traffic.

Satch started for the home squad, after taking some resbit for the shoulder, and threw 7, on the light side. Johnny was all the visitors needed, going the distance plus a little extra. After the first inning the score was 5-1, visitors, and I was wondering why it was that my knuckleball was working so well, and yet I couldn't get anyone out with it. I have learned not to try and find logic in the hiccuping butterfly though. Johnny was masterful as usual, shutting down our rallys, and working the counts.

We got a lot of chances to bat, being 7-7, which was good, but in the hot sun, sometimes you would rather have a chance to sit down, which none of us really got to do. The score fluctuated, it was 6-3, then it was 9-5, then it was 11-6, then 11-8. I skulked off the mound and Rojas took over, and shut down the offense. We battled back in the 9th and found ourselves tied up. Extra innings! Hooray. Usually its a good thing, but we were all pretty tired. Johnny's squad small balled a run, on our decision to get the outs, and that ended up being it, with a runner on third, and two outs, Kvoriak ripped a no doubter to left center. Our happiness was short lived as Ralph (newguy) was playing the long ball perfectly, snared it, and thus the visitors were victorious.


* Ralph and the other new guy, who had never played with us, for showing up and saving us from Havana 6.

* Johnny, another CG win, you have to be leading the league in these.

* Greg, Bob and John for catching the game on a sweaty hot day

* Mitch, for another stellar defensive game, along with timely hitting (check that shoulder)

* Satch stole three bases....

* The defense for making plays when it counted

* Our lone fan, a lady friend of Nero's, for being vaguely interested

* Rojas and Vivek, who had some great timely hitting, and yet, always seemed to be in the position of stranding a runner on third

* The Krakatoa rally, it worked, maybe for only a run, but it worked dammit.

See you in a few, somebody pay attention next week and fill me in.

S. Paige

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A day in the Golden Gate

The sun was out, we were charged up with missing the game last week, and the parking was not that terrible, or so I heard. We got 19, and those energetic few took the field and established the home team. From the get go, it seemed a little skewed. There was a lot of power and glove men that seemed to be on the visitors, of which yours truly was a part. But it was a team of camaraderie, and we have been proved vastly wrong before when we thought the teams were mismatched, so we gave it a go.

By the end of the third inning, there were grumbles and hems and haws. The score was 11-1, the only run coming from Mitch, who in addition to recording more than half of his teams outs, also legged out a double, stole third, and then came home on a sacrifice. The Jameson kid was on the hill for us, and his mom was in the stands, so there was no letting up on his end. Will hurled his best for the home team, but never got a break, and frankly, faced a lineup that didn't have too many weak spots. Gaspar was more vocal about the inequities and our team agreed, so after the 5th, we brought in two new pitchers, flipped the teams, and started over.

Lo and behold, those who grumbled found themselves leading 5-1. Johnny corralled our team in hitting-wise, and their bats started to come alive against Noah, who had his first loss in a couple of months. The final was 6-3, we stopped after the 6th due to the weariness of the players, and the general feeling that we had played enough. Plus some of us had wives and family in the stands that were cold and wanted to go home.

So a wingding of a game (s), but I am glad that it ended well. A brief note on our game. When and if a game becomes lopsided, lets all try our best to be good sportsmen and not steal bases or take the extra base, or score from second on a single with a 10 run lead. Remember, the guys you fuck over this week, could be your team members next week. It's not a case of giving up, it's a case of not being a dick.


* The Booze Battery doing it again.

* Our larger than average cheering section

* Mitch's extra effort, reading the outfielders and taking the extra base

* Gaspar for staying vocal until he got results, but also having the faith in his team to not want to trade anyone

* Nick Smith, for being the team shutterbug, hope they came out well.

* The defense of the home/visitor team, for sharpening up and locking us down

* Bob, for making it from Treasure Island in time, and sticking around for 20 minutes after he was ready to go home

* The wooden "Pete" bat, which I taped up and got three hits out of

On a sad note, we bid a fond farewell to two of the stalwarts that have been with us. The Hose and the Redline both broke on Sunday, doing what they did best, getting hits. We will never forget....

This Sunday is Bay To Breakers, so you East Bayers may want to take the extra time, and go around the city. See you in the Sunset.

S. Paige


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Player Profile #9- Mitchell Burnham

This is Mitch.

This is Mitch too. You see how he looks like he is pissed off. That's because he is a competitor. His nickname in high school was Grouchy.

Mitch can do pretty much anything. He is what we refer to as a 5-tool player. In the real way. When we actually mean it, and we aren't just trying to impress somebody when we are drunk and blabbing about how we play hardball and softball sucks. He can hit, with power, plays center field to the point that we could probably play with just him out there, is still blessed with speed and he'll slide like Pete Rose if has to, arm that can pitch, throw down to second or stop a runner from advancing, and has fire in his belly to rival the greats.

Not to be too distracted by his baseball skills, Mitch also keeps to a lively social agenda, parties like a rock star, still manages to get to work at 6 am everyday. So, what's that, 9 tool player. And he's a great guy, 10, good sense of humor, 11, and he can grow a sweet beard, 12.

Mitch has been said to be the essential difference in a lot of our games, as you might see from past posts; the Mitch factor can make or break your team. There are certain combinations of players that will not be tolerated, for fear of a complete one sided disaster. Let's put it this way, you get put into the position of choosing up the teams and you get Lattig and Mitch for your team, you're also gonna get at least two of the three guys in corduroys and chucktaylors who we dragged into the game and the stewbum (if his Royal Gate haze allows him).

Mitch is a Davis boy, which is probably another reason that I like him, us Northern California kids understand carbon copy dyed blonds with big asses, small town hicks and valley shitkickers.

If I keep up this love parade I might make him uncomfortable, so let me just say, that it's a pleasure to see him on the diamond.

S. Paige


Mitch, I know that fulfilling relationships are great, but it's important that you keep participating in some of the other things that you enjoy doing ( like hitting the shit out of a ball and legging out a triple, and making a sliding catch and throwing your helmet). Take it from me, it keeps you interesting, and that's good when you are stuck at some dinner party on a Sunday me on this one.....

May 3rd.

It rained all week, and the fog and wet made it impossible to play a real game.

Friday, May 1, 2009

We walked out with our heads up this time....

So, after the ugliness that was the last SQ game, we had a simple plan of what we wanted to accomplish. We were gonna score a run, goddammit, and after that, it was all gravy. The gametime changed from 4 to 5, which robbed us of some daylight, and then the usual problems of waiting around the parking lot ensued. I think it is a bad idea to go into SQ during the shift change, cuz everyone is all edgy and stiff, you would think they worked in a prison or something.

Anyway, the hardass at the second gate wouldn't let Adam in with an expired license, so we pleaded for a while knowing it wasn't going to do any good, and then left our MBC brother at the door, and headed in 8 strong (sorry Adam, get that thing renewed....) A bunch of student teachers were leaving while we were coming in, and one asked if we were intimidated about pitching inside to the team. And the answer, NO. Its part of the game, and the SQ Giants are one of the most stand up, quality hardballers I have ever played against, and they understand that you can't give away a side of the plate cuz you are scared about hitting someone. And since most of them look like they could strike a match in the palm of their hand, the prospect of accidentally hurting someone isn't really worrisome.

The yard was pretty deserted when we got there, and we were 30 minutes late, and the Giants still hadn't gotten their equipment, apparently the "Man" had screwed with the mealtimes, and yard times, due to some sort of non-issue. I don't know how long any of us would last having people tell us when to eat or sleep....Anyway, we warmed up quick and got the game going. We took Noel, a bencher from the Giants, who played right for us, got our first hit, and also was involved in a difficult play at third. He argued, we shut up.

Stretch was pitching for the SQ, since the Saturday game had been canceled, and we called on Johnny Bartlett to once again weave his spell over the convicts. He did a bang up job, a few twists and turns aside, and in the third we actually scored a run, and all of us relaxed. It was a 2-1 game for another inning, then they scored a few more, then we got another one (although we had to plead with the scoreboard to put it up there). Then it was 6-2, and we started to fear that we might be into another long game, but with two on, Chris Powell stepped up and crushed a ball over the left center field, into the guard office. It bounced off the wall and then back over the fence, so those of us on base thought it was still a live ball, so I was chugging as hard as I could towards home, and didn't get to enjoy the moment. 6-5, a real game, the tension on the Giants was palpable, they suddenly realized we had the skills to take this one from them.

We held them for an inning, stranding a guy at third with a failed squeeze play. Stretch suddenly beared down and our offense came to a halt. Their response, small ball. Two perfect bunts cleared the way to our downfall. The men on were in scoring position, when a foul ball was hit down the third baseline. Johnny fielded it, clearly in foul territory. No one called the ball fair or foul. The batter was confused, I was confused, Johnny was confused. The umpires conferred and then told the batter it was a ground rule double. So, it went from foul ball, to ambiguous single, to ground rule double. We might have complained, but we knew better. Then came the flood of gorks, and suddenly it was 11-5, and everyone relaxed. The light was gone, the Giants had 15 minutes to be back in their cells, and we stopped the game in the 7th. We got a little time to talk while there was an alert in the prison, and Stretch presented Chris with his home run ball, apparently the first of the season.

Walking out we felt like a real team, and I bet all of us felt like we had won the game, despite the score. We challenged the Giants, and made them sweat for once, a hard thing to do when you are facing a bunch of lifers. If we had gotten Adam in, who knows how it might have turned out.


* The home run, of course.

* A great defensive game, especially in the outfield to reel in the Giants bats.

* The only really bad baserunning mistake was Noel, who technically isn't on our team. We gotta work on our baserunning.

* Making their defense work, and reaping the benefits in errors, or as we call them MBC hits.

* The pickoff when we needed an out.

* The pitchout that almost was. Since they steal every base they can, it was a smart move.

* Johnny and Greg keeping the Giants uneasy

* Everyone who caught a ball when we needed an out, a welcome change from the last game.

So, the next game scheduled is against the Pirates, who the coach seems to think we will walk all over. In any case, sign up now.

Pray for sun and wind to dry the field for Sunday

S. Paige