Monday, November 30, 2009

November 29, 2009: Balboa Park

Heavy in turkey, gravy, liquor and other things of vice, the game was surprisingly quick and sharp...well mostly. 20 solid players, another amazing day, and solid pitching by Dustin and Sean, and a extra inning before the sun set at 4:30 (damn it gets dark early).

Holidays are the great, but man do they take it out of ya, Satch was running on ethanol, stuffing reserves and stale sunflower seeds by the end, but it was a good game. Sean and Dustin both pitched great ball, and the score was close, 1-0, 1-1 through the first couple. Mitch manufactured the first run doing what Mitch does well, which is leg out balls, steal bases and run hard.

A slightly better hitting team and some costly errors brought visitors out front to 3-1 ( or 4, never did resolve that extra run)and then at some point in the 4th or 5th, the wheels came completely off, added insult to injury and by the time anyone could figure it, the score was in the 12-1 range. Sean missed being hit at least three times on comebackers, and we had two groups of three singles that went to the exact same place. The homers could not get a clean play, and the runs just kept coming.

In the visitors corner, we relied on Dustin's hungover magic and TWO nifty pickoff plays at second courtesy of Satch and Dustin. Both killed the runner in scoring position and gave us two outs, and might have been the difference in a closer game.

The game out of bounds, we all loosened up and enjoyed the remaining light, played an extra inning with Greg and Satch coming in for the 10 inning and were headed to the showers before the cold settled in.


* Dustin, great pitching. Hitting, not so much...

* Elias steals home, and damn near beat the ball to the plate, wasn't even close.

* Tony had some nice plays at short, knocked down the tough hops.

* Beautiful double play by the home team

* Tim steals third standing.

* Bob hit and hustled his heart out

* One of our balls is still lodged in the top of fence. No one wanted to climb the 80 foot fence to retrieve it

* Both pitchers and catchers made some nice plays around the dish

* JT made a long run and snagged a good foul ball for a crucial out

* Thanks to everyone who caught, it was a team effort on both sides

* Lattig played center field like a champ, playing each batter right where he should (goddammit....)

* Greg struck out on a knuckleball, Greg struck out on a knuckleball.....

* Even though Tony would argue, I don't think that the home team got hosed on any calls

* Doc got a hit, and scored! ( and almost wrecked coming into third)

Thanks to everyone who came out and made sure that we took advantage of these last days before the monsoon season.

Next week, same place same time

S. Paige

November 22, 2009- Moscone

It was a tough one, at first, and we started the game with 13, doing the Caracas 6, borrow two, two outfielders. And not too bad frankly, then Sean and Zach showed up and made the whole thing legit.
Satch started on the bump, did alright, thanks to a newly crafted infield at Moscone which made a huge difference. No more falling off the mound on the follow through. And talk about true hops, that is one terrific redo.
But the story was not with the field, it was with Greg's arm, which gave up one hit in the first and then settled down and did not give up another until 9th, an amazing pitching performance. It was doubly amazing that Greg has not pitched in a while, and all of sudden he throws this gem.
Backing his play were some great defensive plays, and it was his game all the way. I had to leave in the 7th to go to a sound check (which was a waste of time...)so I missed the exciting conclusion. Once again, Greg was the center of the action, and so it is only fitting that he tell it:

Leading off the 8th Zack hits a ground ball to short that bounces off a sprinkler head then steals second. Next batter hits a
weak nubber that I proceed to throw down the first base line, one run
in. Sac fly for run 2. With the shut out gone, Sean comes in for a
clean save. We tack on a few off Rojas with the standard help from his
defense. Although Sean did launch a long homerun. Final score about

So that's how it finished, amazing day.


* Greg gets it all this week. Congratulations

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 15, 2009, West Sunset

Teetering on a birthday hangover cliff but excited because it was the one weekend I couldn't get in trouble for playing ball. That was my feeling as I stepped on to the field for Sunday's game.

Another clear, autumn day, brisk enough for sleeves, sunny enough that no one felt the chill. 20 people showed, and when the teams split, we noticed immediately that something was not going to work in the formula. The home team had all the power, most of the defense, and pitching and catching to spare. But we gave it a shot. And true to our initial fears, after the 1st inning the score was 9-0. The home team was walking around the bases, not legging out triples, and in general no one was having fun. Amazingly, all but two of those first runs came with two outs, it had to be the longest two out rally I have ever been a part of. Noah kept dancing, as one ball fell after another, and Tim's voice got hoarse repeating the phrase "Two outs!".

We brought in the MBC and traded Satch and Greg to the visitors team, for pitching and catching depth as well as some bat power. New guy Edwin and Dennis "white legs" went to the homers. It was still lopsided, but at least it wasn't going to be a massacre. Noah kept hurling for the visitors, and Floppy Pockets kept it up for the homers, only with a 0-0 score.

It see-sawed for a bit, and we had the lead for a bit, but Sean was throwing fire all day, striking out pretty much everybody, and we never could get more than a run at a time. By the time the sun started to be a factor, the game was again getting ugly, as Noah was blinded by the rays, and killed by the gorked ball. There was easily 6 infield hits in one inning, and when it wasn't that, it was doubles off the wall. Tough choices.

Satch came in as long relief, and the defense settled down, but by then the score was 11-4, and Sean showed no sign of letting up. Dusk came early and suddenly, and we capitalized on a pitching change and the lack of good light to score some runs, but in the end it wasn't enough, and the homers took the prize in a final of 11-8.


* Bob as a leadoff hitter? And then he never leaned into one....

* Sean was dealing, and throwing the wood around as well

* The pitcher in our league is expected to catch pop flys, he is in the best position, and frankly when its your arm, you want to have only yourself to blame if it gets dropped.

* Same goes for pitcher as the cutoff, and this time it worked, catching Tony off of third, when we really needed an out.

* Lattig was 7-8 at least

* The Gaspar shift worked perfectly when we really needed it to

* I don't really want to point this out, but I think Noah might have given up 19 runs this Sunday, which has to be some sort of record, they were in two games technically, but still, pretty damn amazing, Congrats Noah! Way to battle!

* Ben almost had an amazing double play, but we were happy to get the lead runner!

* A play at the home, with the infield in, haven't seen it actually work in a long time, Elias to Gaspar, to get the sliding Dustin at the dish!

* Dennis has been trying to hit to the opposite field for 6 years apparently, and he did, a double. Congratulations!....

* Nasty knuckleball for a strike. Always nice when that happens.

* Almost had Lattig on a foul tip strike 3. That one will haunt me for a while

* Vic is the new base stealing weapon, not only did he get on base a lot, but he is quick as hell. Too bad none of us could bat him in....

* We sat on the third base side for the first time in a long while. The regular dugout was a swamp, a foreboding sign of winter, error in design, or broken sprinkler? In any case, it was different, and Gaspar almost killer Tony with a foul ball.

* Nero had some clutch plays at third, as did Ben at second

Game next week at Moscone, someone pay attention, I'll be laying down melodies at the Rite Spot.

S. Paige

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 8, 2009- West Sunset

What a day for a game. With the rain on Friday, the field was watered and ready to go by Sunday, and we had a plethora of players, some 25 raring to get another game in before the impending winter comes for real. The teams were a bit more broken up from last week, but the core of the home squad still had the old guard, of Greg, Tony, Brian, Lattig, and Johnny who started the game on the bump. A rough couple of innings, but Johnny settled down and started getting the outs he was pitching for.

Satch started for the visiting team, and the bowling the night before must have helped to zero in the eye hand coordination, because I was getting the ball just where I wanted. Vitali asked me at one point if I was getting squeezed by the catcher, and I was happy to say No, that I meant to put the ball just off the plate. Relying heavily on the changeup and the occasional fastball/slurve, Satch had some great sub- 9 pitch innings, which is a great feeling. Also I had some solid defense behind me, although with 13 guys, it was a complete crap shoot every inning as to who was where.

The game started off 2-0, progressed to 6-0, (although one of my own teammates apparently broke up my shut out when asked what the score was, saying it was 6-1). Then it was 6-4, on a bases clearing triple (misplayed sun ball…) then it was 8-4. Just when the homers would get a little something going, we would come back with a scorcher and take the lead back. Not too many errors seemed to be the motto of the team that would prevail, and as the sun set in the west, and the glare got bad, we kept the ball out of right, and on the ground.

With so many people, and everyone having a good time, we lost track of the score, and it was debatable whether it was 10-7 or 11-7 (I think it was 11, an rbi single past Greg to score Vitali, and then Noah and myself scored later), but we settled for 10-7. Noah came in for the long relief for the visitors, and did an amazing job with his slow curves and inside out pitches. The homers smelled comeback and sharpened their teeth, and with some well placed hits, we had a 1 run game on our hands.

Bottom of the ninth, the visitors knocked the ball down, got the outs we needed and secured the victory….but wait, it was still light, and we had a surplus of players, so we threw an extra inning in for fun, giving the homers another chance at glory, but home squad victory was not to be, and in the enveloping dark we bade farewell to another glorious baseball game.

• Tracy, a new guy, made an amazing catch in left field to rob Johnny of a sure triple, not bad for his first time out!
• Didn’t kill Greg with the comebacker, that was good
• We did some backing up this week, fundamentals….
• Tony was smooth as silk around the infield, with one bad hop exception
• Lattig taking my changeup deep, thanks god I claimed Mitch on my team early!
• Tony plugging Mitch on a 0-2 pitch, who wore it, then got a hit, stole two bases and then scored. That is what you get for getting Mitch agitated
• Nero had a two run double
• I kept Sean off balance all day, that was a nice feeling
• Zach played a solid right field in the sun, and had a monster hit to left
• Vitali with a ground ball up the middle, caught the ball while standing on second, then on to first for a double play, after hitting a triple in the first
• Vic, Ben and Elvin are quickly becoming reliable additions
• Nick Kinsey out for the first time in a while!
• Almost got Lattig on a tag up play at 2nd
• Elias being honest about not getting a runner at third, it is nice to see that truth above winning is still rampant in the MBC
• Chris had another great catch in short center field, after a long run from SS
* Johnny has a show this weekend with THE BARBARY COASTERS, Friday and Saturday! We also have a birthday show at the Elks lodge, come on by and wish Satch a happy birthday, I am 138 this year!

Stay away rain,

S. Paige

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 1, 2009- Balboa Park

A late inning change during the week due to the Bay Bridge closure brought us to Balboa park and a late start of 3 on the day that time changed. Needless to say we were a little worried about attendance and light for the game, but we were pleasantly surprised by a full squad with a couple of extras, and just enough light to finish a game (well, 8 innings). The mound was redone, with nice clay, which made for a nice change, and the grass while being hard and a little treacherous in the infield, was mushy and slow in the outfield. With the influx of new guys, the teams actually ended up being a pretty even split of the new guard versus the old. The exception being Stoner, who gets one week a month away from daddy duty and the pitching battery of Dustin and Noah who have been old guys for a while, but took the helm of the visiting squad. We traded away our new guy for Nick Smith just to make the teams right and got to work. We worked out a pitching rotation that favored everyone’s sore bodies and ensured that no one had to throw more than they needed to.

Sean, the intrepid lefty began and after his stated two innings of work, he wanted to keep going, since he hadn’t had a workout yet. We let him do it, cautiously though, capping his at 4 innings. The game started out low scoring, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1…. We old home guys (and I know some of you are thinking, Who does this young whippersnapper think he is) were just biding our time, waiting for the right moment to strike. And our moment came in the third, as we tacked on five runs, some through the bat of Chris (who I think had three doubles), some through great situational play like Brian Cagle’s bunt, and some through old fashioned shitty fielding like we have every week. Dustin took it on the chin (and took the Jameson to the gut), and if us veterans hadn’t seen it so many times before we might have had some pity. It’s tough to get the ground ball you want and watch it turn into an RBI double. Fundamentals… that is how you win games.

Noah took over the hurling duties in the 6th and settled into dead ball pitching, his specialty. Satch came in for the 5th, 6th and 7th, feeling better than last week, and used a lot of breaking balls and a few wicked knuckle balls to get out of some jams, the best being a bases loaded, no outs situation. The visitors scored a few more and (I think) so did we, but the decision was made that the score was 7-4, which gave the possibility of excitement and late inning heroics. Greg (our newly anointed bridegroom!) took the mound in the 8th to secure out victory, and while the visitors started to smell the blood in the water, the rally was stopped and ended with a pretty scoop from none other than featured player, Adam Pfhaler. The moon hung in the purple dusk; we gathered the gear, enjoyed the humid Indian summer and left the park, each knowing that few in the City had a better Sunday than us.

• Congratulations to Jen and Greg, I hope you know that marriage is a big commitment, and that you are ready for this:)
• The return of Bob, glad to hear that John won his early game, and made it possible to make an appearance. Bob’s got steaks for sale too, if you are interested, email him.
• Glad no one was injured by the bad hops, of which there were many
• Dustin got two really nasty knuckleballs, if only I could do it on a regular basis.
• All of the new guys that came out, thanks a bunch and keep on coming out!
• Catching foul balls is one of the biggest plays you can make!
• The double play that the homers made to get out of the bases loaded jam
• Tony, complaining about not getting any ground balls, promptly got one and it went right past him (ok, it was a bad hop, and we are glad you are alright)
• Nero, another recent profiled player, making some much needed plays in center field
• Stoner’s over exuberance and competitive spirit were in full effect, remember it still doesn’t matter who wins and loses, as long as we all have a good time….
• We should bunt more, as a rule, use the inside game, it is an important aspect
• We had a lot of loud hits as well as a lot of loud outs.

Enjoy the summer weather, we know it won’t be here for too long.

S. Paige