Monday, June 29, 2009

6/28/09 A great day, a great game

There was a lot of fear about this game due to last weeks debacle, so it was a heavy sigh of relief that went up as we found ourselves with 22 players for the match. It was one of the more beautiful days on record, and the wind was blowing out for a change, not that it helped us any. Satch, back in uniform (well, what passes for his uniform) started on the bump for the home squad. Ugly first inning. Somehow I struck out batters for the three outs, but mixed in between were about five walks, four HBP, three runs, two wild pitches, and one blazed out shortstop (my fault as well).

Our own offense was stymied by the masterful pitching of Sean, who owned us for most of the game. He got ground balls, he got flyballs, he got strikeouts. Satch finally settled down, and started to throw up blanks as well, but the visitors tacked on another run in the third, and we continued to spike ourselves and trip over every scoring opportunity that we got (which wasn't many).

Finally we scored a run, got a little self respect, and the game came to life again. Johnny took over for Sean and did what he does best. Dustin, the Jameson Kid, took over for Satch and continued to keep the game from getting any further away.

Then all at once, we had scoring opportunities, and Brian Phelps stepped up and crushed a ball to wayyyyyyyyyyy deep in center. Sean, chasing after it gave the international "That is way over my fucking head" hand signal, and Brian motored around the bases, add a throwing error, and the game was tied, 4-4. And it stayed that way, through the end of the game. Extra innings! Hard fought battle, but finally, Lattig decided to start hitting, which he did with a beautiful triple to the gap, and then Brian Phelps, once more put a ball in the air, down the right field line for the win. Whew.


* There was probably 18 strike outs between the four pitchers, but it never really felt like it

* Sean, a fine pitching performance, keeping us completely buffaloed for the first 6 innings

* A bunch of people were HBP, but Bob wasn't one of them

* The return of Ezra, who played like he hadn't missed a week, and made a perfect throw to third to catch Mitch stealing

* The phantom that is Scot Mills, apparently he works on Sundays now, good to see you out there Scot, you should take more Sundays off....

* Our cheering section of half drunk Latins from the last game, and new mothers, wives, girlfriends, and lil'uns.

* A double play or three...

* Mitch playing shortstop much as he plays center, and not letting a thing through

* A double HBP, with a ricochet, hitting Greg after the batter (sorry, that wasn't too funny).

* Helen's first game, she hit well, she ran the bases, she took out Johnny, has all the makings of a professional MBC player. Is she in a punk band yet?

* Addendum to the above, sorry about the strike out, Paul. I needed it, and it's good for your daughter to know that its alright to not succeed sometimes. Remember, a good hitter still fails 7/10 times.

* Chad, who has had some trouble adjusting at the plate, took me deep for a triple, and played a great game in center field. Thanks for coming out and bringing a friend!

* For some reason, the teams were broken down as 12-10....oh well

* The new Redline seems to have some pop, if you like using it, I am open to a $5 donation.

Next week is our Fourth of July annual double header, in GGP. First game at 11:00, bring the family and the beers.

Tip of the cap,

S. Paige

Friday, June 26, 2009

Marathon shutout by Sacramento-born pitcher is one for the record books

Marathon shutout by Sacramento-born pitcher is one for the record books

By Carlos Alcalá

The record has not been broken – and perhaps cannot be.

One hundred years ago today, a young Sacramentan threw the longest shutout by a single pitcher in professional baseball history: 24 innings.

Clarence Henley's 1-0 victory for the San Francisco Seals was, one San Francisco paper said, "the most spectacular game of baseball ever played on the Pacific Coast."

The modern professional is considered strong if he pitches a complete game.

A Texas college pitcher went 13 innings last month, but critics heaped scorn on his coach for allowing it.

Henley pitched nearly twice as many innings, maintaining enough control to strike out six while giving up nine hits and walking only one of the dozens of Oakland Oaks batters he faced.

Clarence "Cack" Henley was born in Sacramento in 1885 and grew up in a brick house that still stands on 13th Street.

His father, Oscar Henley, was a brick mason and built the Henley home about 1880. It is the oldest brick home in Sacramento.

Clarence Henley entered the Pacific Coast League in 1905. He was so tall and thin that he was immediately nicknamed "Slivers."

He threw so hard that it was said the Seals' catcher kept a piece of beefsteak in his glove to cushion the impact of the ball.

Henley had two 30-win seasons, though the feat was easier then because teams played more than 200 games per season, thanks to balmy West Coast weather. (Today's major league teams play 162 games in a season.)

His control was storied, and over the course of his career, he struck out twice as many men as he walked.

His long shutout, though, was a product of the times.

Back then, "pitchers generally started and finished their games," said Marshall Wright, a Massachusetts historian of the minor leagues. "They were expected to do it, and they did."

For today's hurler, said Alan O'Connor, a Sacramento baseball historian, "a good outing's five innings, six innings. It's different."

The players then didn't have year-round training, nor did they have designer steroids.

"Drinking was the only substance abuse," said Wright, "and it wasn't minor."

Once, a group of gamblers got the idea to fix a Seals game by getting Henley drunk, San Francisco Examiner sportswriter Abe Kemp recalled in a 1953 column.

The plan was to bet big that Henley would lose and ensure it by buying him as much nickel beer as he would drink.

He drank a lot.

The gamblers and Henley boozed all night, downing $10 in beer. He was still standing.

They ferried him to the ballpark, Kemp wrote, and "smiled knowingly as he zig-zagged toward the clubhouse in centerfield." Then they made their bets.

Henley wobbled at the start of the game but grew stronger as the game wore on.

He pitched 12 innings of shutout ball that day, and won when he himself homered.

Sheryl Pinto, Henley's granddaughter, still lives in the brick house in Sacramento's Colonial Heights neighborhood where Clarence and his wife, Emily, lived. Clarence Henley built it, Pinto said.

She has held onto photos and clippings her grandmother saved, including this one about the fabled 24-inning game:

"And Henley," the story reads. "Well, he pitched as he never did before. He twirled as clean and great a game as was ever witnessed anywhere.

"You might think that's romancing a bit. Not on your life. If you think a pitcher, no matter how famous, pitched a better game where bat and ball held sway, then you had better tell it to Sweeney," the writer concluded, emphasizing with that old phrase that he would never believe it.

Oaks pitcher Jim Wiggs also shone. He pitched 23 shutout innings before losing.

"Henley's control was far better," William Slattery wrote in the San Francisco Call newspaper, "the tall San Francisco slabster walking only one man, while Wiggs passed six.

"That was with a hard-to-please umpire, according to the Chronicle. "The ball had to cut the plate in the middle to be called a strike."

The two pitchers scattered 20 hits, with several scoring threats eliminated only by dramatic double plays.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 21- Shitty Batting Practice

I wasn't there, but I hear that it was a real downer at the yard this week. 9 guys showed up, due to the June holidays, and the SQ game the day before (we might want to limit our Saturday games, or just Sat for the Giants....)and then there was another permit snafu, that forced the batters to disband after 4 pm.

No highlights, but i hear Bob got HBP during practice, so it wasn't a total loss of a day (thanks for the steaks, Bob!)

Lets gird up our loins for this weekend and make it a occasion worth remembering.

S. Paige

Monday, June 15, 2009

The philosophy of the MBC game

If there is one certain in life, it is that nothing is certain. I was planning to write an entire entry of circular logic, but I don;t think I have it in me. I will try my best though. The game this week, at West Sunset was a perfect example of how we can be so sure of a game's outcome, that we forget that anything can and always will happen.

We had 18, perfect. We had one of the most beautiful days on record, we had a fan (Stella), and we had a dry but immaculate field. It seemed that a lot of people were hobbled with injuries, knees and hips, and backs and ankles all were twinged with early high vacation living. The way the two teams fell out, it looked like a massacre in the making. If I was a betting man, I might have laid the family fortune on Satch's team. Good thing I only wager on losing poker hands. As a starting lineup, with a one legged Greg on the mound, we had Mitch, Lattig, Satch, Bob, Rick, Adam, Gaspar, Vinay, and the new guy Chad. That is a lot of power, speed and experience to contend with.

This is not to say that Greg's team was not riddled with some talent, but there is no good reason that Lattig, Mitch, and Rick should ever be allowed on the same team. We racked up 4 runs out of the gate, and then we started to slow up for fear of ruining the vibe in the first inning. Big mistake. Satch had missed a week, and started for the visitors, and the arm was feeling good, but Greg's team came right back at me, with a shit load of comebackers (most of which I got a glove on, and ended up screwing up the play) and bloops, and drives, and it was tied up after 1. And I kept making the pitches I wanted to, and to their immense credit, those warriors fought them off and put them in the holes. We had some through the legs and double play potentials that were booted away, which never helps. And a special thanks to Mitch, without whom, I might still be out there pitching, if he hadn't reeled in some long bombs the home squad sent his way.

Back and forth it went through the innings, and when one team had a quick inning, the other did too. 6-4, 8-4, 8-7, flopped 10-8. Then we had that damn 6 out/ 4 error inning that steals all Satch's reserves, and next thing you know it was 14-10. I limped from the field, humbled again, and let Lattig finish the job. Tony had come in for the home squad and shut us down, our once mighty and formidable team shaking their heads in disbelief. And all on a beautiful day.

Shows to go you can't never tell what's gonna happen in between the lines.


* Nick Kinsey, who had at least a couple of extra base hits on the day

* Greg, who managed to pitch through the pain, and lead his team to victory

* Cagle for his pop, and solid defensive infielding

* Tony for timely hitting, pitching and defense

* Vivek, who I got to hit ground balls all day (except for the big fly) and yet continued to get on base somehow

* John, for catching and calling a great game, throwing a man out at 2nd, and with some great hitting

* JT, for a good stretch at first, and some hitting of his own

* Paul, for showing up after being gone for a year or so, hitting and tracking down balls in the sun

* Nick Smith, for the shutter-buggedness, grunts and playing center all day, when we knew he hated it, and still tracked down two of Satch's flies to deep center....

* Mitch.

* Gaspar getting a man of his own at 2nd.

* Bob HBP count, +1, I missed it, but it sounded good. Keep up the good work, Bob!

* We should have paid more attention to how we do our lineup insertions.

A special event of interest, as mentioned, most of us were playing with some sort of malady, which is not uncommon. However, Tony's knee was hurting (although he somehow was ok to pitch two innings later on....) so we allowed a pinch runner. Nick Smith was subbing at 1st base, and so, while commiserating on the bag, the glove was passed, and Tony took the sack, and Nick became the runner. Haven't seen that one before. Score it how you will.

I shouldn't be this sore, but it was a long weekend

S. Paige.


We can officially start the MBC recruiting drive for Cason Abell Bhatia, he's almost three weeks old now, so I figure less than 8 years until he can be offered a starting position.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So, our resident photographer, Nick Smith took some great pics for us, and here is the first one that is of your guest summarist, Mike Gaspar with the review of the June 7th game at West Sunset, take it away Mr. Gaspar:

Contrary to what one would think, summertime often means less players show up to the ballgames. As was the case on Sunday. At first it looked real bad. We might have
been resigned to batting practice. Ugh. But lucky for us some late arrivals brought our grand total to 13.

So we improvised. 6 on 7 with a lot of borrowing. We immediately decided to make it a 7 inning affair. A wise decision indeed.

Johnny B. took the hill for the home team and after a shaky start (not much help from the defense) settled into a nice rhythm. Sean the lefty took the bump for visitors and did a great job as well. In the end it was a see-saw affair. the home team was down by a few runs and stranded the tying run at third when the game ended. All agreed we were glad it did not go extras.


* Joe's blast that hit the right center wall on the fly

* Bob NOT getting hit by a pitch for a change (we'll change that, don't worry Bob)

* Having fun outside on a nice day

* The drinking crew was back in force in the parking lot

Who knows maybe this week we'll have 14 ! (We better, even if I have to recruit the drunkards in the parking lot, so if you are reading this, get your ass out to the field this Sunday)

Thanks for the review Mike, Satch will definitely be there!

S. Paige

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Players Profile #11 and 12- Dave Johnson and Richard Baluyut

So the Satch ignored his own advice about taking it light on the vices, and drank some liquor tonight. Its Wednesday for gods sake, and I tried to be good, but goddammit, sometimes a man just has to let the demons out. It seemed like a good time to talk about Dave and Richard, and not just because they used to keep me company at the 500 Club on Thursday nights (Open til 2, serving the finest in hipsters, junkies and mission rats). Dave and Richard were a team, I can barely remember a time when they didn't play together, or at least arrive together. They probably deserve their own separate page, but fuck em, they moved to New York just when we had a chance to really break this MBC thing open.

Anyway, Richard and Dave were playing before I showed up, and I quickly figured out that they were two forces to be reckoned with. Dave was a competitor, in one of the first games that I pitched more than the last inning, i remember Dave swinging a bat, while I warmed, up, talking shit, and telling his teammates that "This guy ain't shit." I smiled at him, cuz we were friends, he did not smile back. That's Dave. Serious man. The passion was great, and anyone who was at his final game will tell you that he was very sad to leave the MBC.

Richard may have been more sedated, but by no means less competitive. My vision of Richard continues to be him warming up on the mound with a cigarette drooping from his mouth, his hat placed high on his head, is long, black hair heading in ten ways. That cigarette would stay behind the mound, and sometimes he would get it, sometimes he would leave it for the other pitcher to find. Richard had back surgery, and three weeks later he was back out at the game, not just present, but catching and pitching, much to the chagrin of those who thought he might collapse and never walk again with each pitch.

Dave and Richard were stalwarts in that they could both field any position, and do it well, and it often was that they were the center of one team, and challenged all others to join their cause, or face the thunder. It worked out nicely for the balance of the teams, because both could catch and pitch, play infield and outfield, hit and run.

So a few years ago, they moved to NY, and started the East Coast version of the MBC. From what I hear, they have had some luck in getting quality people out, but the vibe and hours are not the same. They play on Saturday, at 9 in the morning, in Central Park. Dave lugs the equipment down and hopes that enough people show up to make it worth it. I have this awful vision of Dave carrying baseball equipment on to the subway, and seething as he make his long ride. I know he drives, and hopefully it is still the El Camino, but I can't shake the idea of Dave, buried in duffel bags and being harassed on the subway. And from what I hear, more often than not, people flake out. When you have the the years of participation that we do, and the weather, you can make do, but in NY you have a limited window of nice days, when it is not snowing or so hot and humid that no one can stand it.

Richard introduced me to a poker game in SF that was great for a while, and he was a good player, calm in the moment, and willing to bluff his nuts off for the right pot. We had us some great times, and some awful times, but such is the nature of poker and I am grateful. Dave became a regular at the 500 for a time, and I would play Misfits and Link Wray songs for him on the box, and we would talk Pittsburgh, where he hailed from, and I had had a family connection (Yinz want ta ga daaawntawn, enat?)

When they left, a piece of the MBC went with them. I still have a hope that one day we can form a team of players to go to the East coast, meet up with Richard and Dave, Pete and Peter, Ezra, and the rest, tour up to Cooperstown, play a few games and check out the Baseball Hall of Fame. At the very least, it would be a great story.

Time to hit the sack

S. Paige

Monday, June 1, 2009

Player Profile #10- Mike Gaspar

Mike is one of the most stand up guys I have ever met, and that goes well beyond the baseball diamond. He is pleasant to be around, cheerful, and honest. He rides his bike to games when he can, another thing I respect about him, and he is often the quiet difference in a win or a loss. Gaspar has been coming out since before I came to the game, and in my opinion he gets the Most Improved player award for the MBC.

Mike can play every position, except pitcher, but then again he hasn't been given the chance so who knows. He tracks down fly balls, he knocks down grounders, and he does it all with a utilitarian ease. He is dependable behind the dish, calls a fair game, although every once in awhile he can squeeze a pitcher. He can catch 9 is he needs to, and won't complain. He has played in San Quentin a number of times, and wrote up the last visit for the blog (see SQ 5/23 game).

The Gaspar shift has been instituted in the MBC to combat Mike's ability to hit to the opposite field, but it seems even with the knowledge of where he will hit it, he still manages to drop them in. Any new guy who comes out is directed, much to his confusion, to play way in at left when he steps to the dish. And just when you think you have him played perfectly, he drives one up the middle, or even to right.

It is Mike's demeanor that really makes him stand out though, he is easy to talk to, fun to be around, and plays the game like he loves it. It is always a difficult choice on whether to be on Mike's team or opposing him, because he is great as both a teammate and a opposing player. Mike is also one of the few left that actually lives in the Mission, giving us the street cred.

Mike hails from Ohio, and follows the Indians like a true fan; I have found that not only are there a lot of people in SF who come from Ohio, but they all seem to be genuinely decent people. And you can't forget that the Ohio state flag is a baseball pennant....

In any case, it is a pleasure to play with Mike, for he truly embodies the Mission Baseball Club spirit.

S. Paige