Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12/26/10- Rain Again

Usually we get some pretty good games in around this time of the year. But not this time. Goddamn rain just keeps coming down, and when its not raining on Sunday, its raining every day before and after. I would love to say that we will get a game in this week, but who the hell knows anymore.

Well, make sure you are staying in training, drinking, carousing, enjoying the social ramble.

See you in 2011.

S. Paige

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12/19/10- Rain

Well, here we sit in the midst of the storm of the year, staring at wet ground and dry skies.

It could be a great post-Xmas Sunday game, if we can get some sun and wind this week.

In any case, Sunday rain can eat me.

S. Paige

Monday, December 13, 2010

12/12/10- Crocker Amazon

Finally, a day of baseball, and nowhere as wet as we all were expecting. It's been a long time since I made the trek out to Crocker Amazon, and the field was in good shape, if you didn't count the outfield, which seemed to have been strafed with carpet bombs for the last month. But we had 20 players at one point, a nice tight game, and a nail biting 9th. We had a group of guys who kinda watched us from the stands, and one crazy dude who watched us from the gate and seemed to be a running a constant commentary of our game. Always nice when the fans come out.

Johnny and Sean started on the hill, and while we got off to a early lead, Sean's visitors seemed to have a lot more confidence in their abilities than we did. It helped that Sean was his usual overpowering self, and was backed by a solid defense. Johnny, no slouch himself, had a good number of strikeouts and kept the ball inside-out as is his want to do.

The ball did no rolling, if it hit the grass it stopped, so balls to the outfield were quickly swept up and the hardest hit ground balls in the infield became races to who could get the dribbler. After losing the lead, the homers stayed tight on the heels, until Sean took a ball to deep right center for a two run home run. It was a real beauty. It's nice when we get a fence to shoot for. I know I saw a lot more use of the new metal bats than I have in the past....

So there we were, down 6-4, in the 6th. We lost Dennis, picked up Tyler, and got new life as Tyler ripped a triple to center, scored and we had a one run ball game. Satch had taken over for Johnny and decided the best course to take in keeping the game close was to float changeups for the big hitters to twist themselves up on trying to put it over the fence. It seemed to work, and I got more than my usual quarry to swing at knuckleballs, helped by the humid day.

The 9th inning saw the visitors turned away, after Tony and Sean both sky-balled pop ups to Chris. Greg, now pitching for the visitors, had us under control since entering the game, and then something changed. Before any of us knew what was happening, there were doubles being hit one after another, and with a mighty wallop over Mitch's head, the two runners scored and the game was victorious for the homers.


* The infield and dirt were in great shape, although I have never played a glad at C.A. when there wasn't a pool of water in the dugouts.

* Bob, Ed, Adam, Tim all did a great job of catching, its a real chore when there is a real backstop and lots of space for the ball to roll when it get by

* Sean struck me out on a really nasty knuckle dropper. I haven't struck out ina while, always nice to remember what that feels like. It was a great day for the knuckle, as Rick would attest to, if he wasn't telling me to go fuck myself under his breath.

* Hopefully everyone who played in the outfield didn't hurt their ankles, it was ugly out there.

* New guy Joe came out and got himself a MBC hit, pop up behind second, looks like a scorching line drive in the scorecard! Thanks for coming out!

* Adam somehow managed to get doubled off third with one out, he ran really hard, just the wrong direction. And broke another bat.

* Tony had a serious rope to right, one of many well struck balls of the day, the stadium seating at C.A. really amplifies the sound of the connection I think.

* Sean, Chris, Adam, Tyler, Mitch all had loud hits

* Rick, Satch, Stoner and Greg did not.

* I think what really helped was being able to make sure to get an out with each play, we had some weird ground ball, possible double plays opportunities, but just making sure to get that lead runner is tantamount to limiting damage.

* Lots of overthrown balls at first, must be all the space over there.

* Chris made a great cross body throw on a play at first, somehow it hit in the middle of Adam's glove and dropped out, bummer

* Stoner missed a ball in deep center, but made up for it in the same inning with a much needed third out.

* The consensus seems to be that our games are going to start at 1pm for a while, until the days start to get longer, alright with me, but it makes it a little harder when doing the scramble back from the mountains, hung over and battle weary from seeing the family.

Rain this week, but could be a nice weekend again, St Mary's drains well in a pinch, as does C.A., apparently....well the infield anyway.

Big Rec, 1 pm next Sunday, see you there.

S. Paige

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MBC Comments from the Orient!

I recieved this comment after the St Mary's article, in the comments section of the blog:

О! 这是非常有趣的阅读。我要注明你在我的博客文章。它可以吗?而你等一个Twitter帐号

I dropped it into Google Translator and came up with this:

О! This is a very interesting read. I would like to include your articles in my blog. It is possible? And you wait for a Twitter account

So there, you go, our first Chinese fan. Mission Baseball has gone global!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12/5/10- Rain and St. Mary's

Once again, the rain gods proved stronger than the baseball gods. Satch was up in the mountains, watching a Holiday parade and wishing for a year filled with warm Sundays. Those stalwart few who ventured out in the rain to defy the rain, I salute you all. Lets hope the weekend bodes better luck for us all. Here is a message from Brian Phelps, one of the few that would not go gentle into that good night.

I’d like to give honorable mention to Ed, Chris and myself for making out to St. Mary’s. We were joined by 4 other brave souls. Quite the batting practice performance in some pouring rain. Ed tossed most of it from the muddiest bump you ever did see. Powell displayed some Tom Emanski defensive skills to the youngsters that joined us.Honorable tip of cap to you gents.-Phelps

See you in the mud,

S. Paige

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/28/10- St Mary's

We all saw how the rain was coming down on Saturday, and few thought we might have a game, Satch included. Racing back from the mountains on Sunday to beat the holiday traffic, the call came in from Bob that the Big Rec field was too wet. I countered that I was willing to try. He told me not to bother. The wife started a mental list of things around the house that needed doing. It was looking grim. Then a bolt of lightning from Ed and Jon to say that the St. Mary's Field in Bernal Heights was looking good, and an informal game might just prove perfect. A few more emails came in saying they would try, I tossed those chores out the window and screeched away.

Amazingly, the field wasn't just in good shape, it was in better shape than any of us had ever seen it. The mound was pure clay, the infield grass (yes they have grass now) was short and well managed, and nary a puddle in the infield. The outfield was a little soft and swampy in places, but certainly not any worse than the leaky pipe main area at Cop Field is.

Manpower was looking a little on the light side, but luckily we had a Hispanic contingent of drunken Sunday players who's chosen area of resbit was the St. Mary's field. So with the addition of Carlos, Vicente and Pancho, we had enough for Havana 6. Sean and Satch squared off, and from the beginning we knew that the sun was going to be a problem, whoever designed the field didn't think people would be playing there in November. The batter and the catcher were pretty much blind for the whole game. It made it interesting anyway, but apparently only with lefty pitchers did the ball disappear. Satch got lit up for about 9 runs, including a solo shot to deep right from Sean, and Carlos who proved that one can hit in power slacks and busted penny loafers. Sean gave up one or two runs.

We played as the sun sunk and became more and more a factor, the wind picked up and we realized that the blinding sun was the only thing keeping it from being really cold. Brian Phelps and Noah lent a pitching hand, the visitors racked up some more runs, Carlos gave up and sent Pancho into sub for him, Ed's kids and John's kids enjoyed the air powered Nerf rocket, and we stopped before it got totally dark. Not bad, considering I had given up on the game 24 hours earlier.


* In addition to the home run and the pitching, Sean made an amazing catch to end the game, tracking a ball from SS, to deep left, full extension and a great grab and roll. He almost had one in the fourth, which he missed by mere inches.

* Special thanks again to everyone who came out and Ed and John for letting us know about the field

* I hit a drive of my own off Sean, that I never actually saw, I swung in the general region of where I thought the ball was. Just goes to show ya, vision is overrated.

* Greg brought the gear, which really helped us legitimize the game

* The game had a Mexican Radio soundtrack, reverberating off the stadium seating

* Brian had his own monster shot to right

* We had a couple of real nasty plays which took about 15 seconds to complete, the defense kept dropping the ball, the batter kept walking to the base, the ball dropped and thrown away, the batter still walking.....

* With all the kids and Brian hitting sharp foul balls, we were all happy no one was killed

* Tony looked real pretty chasing down a fly ball. He missed it.

* Adam played some 3rd base and even pitched some warm ups, the shoulder seems to have healed well

* No chores.

Back at Big Rec next week, hope the week stays dry, but hey, St. Mary's with sunglasses is certainly serviceable.

S. Paige

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rain and Cold

Thought we might have a chance at the game, but too much rain on Saturday. I heard the Sierra's got 50-100 inches of snow, that's 4 to 9ish feet to you and me, Russ.

Have a good Thanksgiving, we'll see you Sunday!

S. Paige

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/14/10- Cop Field and Camp Swampy

What a great birthday, Dave Johnson showed up from the Brooklyn Ramblers Baseball Club, we had about 30 guys over the course of the day, two glorious games and a great BBQ!

The sun was pounding down on us as we started to warm up at 11 am, the day unseasonably hot, and the teams full of new faces. At lesat 5 new guys showed up, invited by others and with the NY VIP still not arrived, we started the game, Greg taking the bump for the home squad and throwing down the gauntlet with a 1-2-3 inning. Satch responded by promptly giving up two runs and almost falling off the mound in the heat. But it was to be a game of back and forth, and in the 3rd we finally struck back with a run of our own and then another, thanks of course to Mitch, who always seems to be the first man to score runs when we need them. They tacked on a few more, thanks to some huge hits by the new guys. However, we took on the challenge and kept in the game.

Satch settled in and had some better innings, as Greg did, but suddenly we visitors started to liven up and took the lead, 6-4, but as Satch bowed out with the lead, to give the ball to Loren, a new guy who pitched for UCSB, supposedly. Johnny took the ball from Greg, and had his usual stuff. However, before too long the homers had lit up the new guy and we had a 6-6 ball game. And then, suddenly we had scored the go ahead run, and with the final out of the 9th, we had the first victory.


* Huge hits from the new guys, who could all play ball, hit, run and field

* Cool to have so many people

* The drunk guy who wandered thorough the game was a new one

* Satch had a mammoth shot to center, thanks to the slow curve and the Nike bat

* Almost had a triple play in action

* Tony took a fireball to the back, thankfully he was alright, but he should have listened to us and wore a helmet

* James killed the ball off me all day

* Richie called the balls and strikes from behind the mound, and did a great job, even when Bob disagreed with him

* Bob caught the whole game, including the new fireballer, which he said was more than he had signed up for

BBQ- Chef James made some amazing tacos, Bob and Stoner brought burgers, Johnny had the Boudin sausages, Scott brought tables, water, ice, and everyone else brought things to share, it was a great team effort. After more time than it should have been, we declared that the 2nd game would be starting in 7 minutes, otherwise, it wouldn't have happened.

2nd Game

Sean started for the homers in the second game and was pretty lights out for the whole game, Johnny re-took the bump and didn't fare as well as he had for the first game, but in all fairness, the homers had a pretty solid squad. Doc showed up and umpired the 2nd game from behind the dish, and did a good job, and managed to not get beaned.

The homers took a commanding lead by the 4th and kept it, with the visitors finally getting on the board, however it was never close. Dave took over for Johnny, but fared little better, the beer and sausages catching up with the players. The homers gave the ball over to Bill Zerbes and then Brian Phelps as the twilight started to fall. The game was pretty loose by that point and by the 7th it was too dark to see, so we called it a day and shook hands all around. A wonderful way to start my 33rd year!


* There were possibly 2 double plays

* Duane had a monster shot one of many for the day

* Bill Zerbes hasn't been out for a while, and he looks like he hasn't missed a day as far is batting is concerned

* Sean had a few strikeouts but mostly was just overpowering

* Lots of hits with Adam's cheater stick

*Although she didn't play, it was great to see Dani out again, if you haven't read it yet, there is a great Cheap Eats on Huff's bunt in the SF Guardian

* My wood WarHammer had a good day as well, I had at least three solid singles, didn't feel any of them in my hands

* Bob didn't get it in either game, but it was on everyone's mind.... :)

Thanks again to everyone who came out and Richie and Doc for umpiring the games, Johnny for the grills, James for the tacos, Dave for making the trip and all those who wished me well!

Hope the rain stays away, but I know we can't get greedy.

S. Paige

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Season to Remember

Our own Jonathan "Dr. Finance" Tiemann is not just a lefty first sacker, he's also an avid Giants fan and a great writer.

Paradise Regained in San Francisco

The late A. Bartlett Giamatti, Yale President, Baseball Commissioner, scholar, and incurable romantic, wrote passionately and often about his lifelong love of baseball. He compared the very object of the game, to go out and come home again, with literary romance, which he asserted derives from Homer’s Odyssey. In its rhythms, governed by events (most of them in mystical sets of three) rather than by a clock, he saw the expression of our desire to make ideal moments stand still. He felt that the baseball field, enclosing its marriage of geometric and pastoral perfection and held apart from daily life as a place for play, is as close as humankind is ever likely to come to recreating Paradise.

In large measure the appeal of baseball lies in its ability to evoke an earlier, simpler age, one for which we yearn, even though it probably never existed. Baseball lends itself to a very long-dated, historical viewpoint. We remember Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, even though they played for the Cubs a century ago. We teach our children about Babe Ruth, who made the transition from pitcher to everyday outfielder around the end of World War I. Major League Baseball still supports research seeking a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” even though the Iron Horse himself succumbed to the malady long before most of us were born. Even baseball fiction is long-dated. When Brian Wilson struck out Ryan Howard to end the National League Championship Series and send the Giants to the World Series, Howard joined a long line of avatars of Mighty Casey.

There’s good reason for baseball fans’ remembrance of things long past. When we compare Matt Cain’s postseason pitching record for the Giants to that of the great Christy Mathewson, we place Cain’s achievement in the rarefied context in which it belongs. But we today can also watch the 26-year-old Cain, and in him imagine a youthful Mathewson pitching equally well, and at the same age — in 1906. Edgar Renteria’s decisive Game 5 home run for the Giants in 2010 recalls his own walk-off hit in the final game in 1997, or Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run in 1960. It stands in counterpoint to Willie McCovey’s line drive smash — caught — to end the Series in 1962.

Our remembrance of such small events, so long ago, validates Dr. Giamatti’s claim that in baseball we will the ideal moment to linger; we want time to stand still. Those memories don’t demonstrate that baseball is a perfect type of our lost, paradisaical past. But they show that we wish it were one. Dr. Giamatti had it just right. Baseball satisfies us in part because it reminds us of the Paradise we have lost.

Baseball, of course, has always also had the power to remind us too directly of our fallen nature. The Black Sox scandal of 1919, in which members the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series for a payoff from gamblers; the steroid era of our own time; and the annual winter chase for free agent talent in return for a share in the commercial potential of the game all serve to disabuse us of our fantasy of Elysian perfection in baseball. Yet in spite of it all, we still yearn, still hope, for that perfect season in which some ineffable purity of excellence transcends the hype, the money — even the hyper-professionalism — and a team of ballplayers triumph purely by playing baseball better than anyone else. This year’s San Francisco Giants have approached that ideal as closely as any team in recent memory. For a moment, at least, this year’s Giants have regained Paradise.

San Francisco appropriately celebrated the Giants’ victory, the team’s first World Championship since they moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958, with a parade through the Financial District and a rally at City Hall. Estimates of the crowd ranged as high as 1.5 million (a preposterous exaggeration), but whatever the number, the crowd was big, it was boisterous, it was joyous, and it was peaceful. They cheered, they laughed, they sang, they wept, they waved, they had a great time — and they respected the barriers during the event and dispersed happily when it was over.

As always, the Giants, recognizing baseball’s power to evoke the past, integrated the team’s distinguished history into the event beautifully. The parade retraced the route of the 1958 parade welcoming the team when they moved to San Francisco. As in 1958, the great Willie Mays featured prominently, and the Giants welcomed many past players to join an alumni float.
For all the historical context, though, the tone of the Giants’ celebration was one of youthful exuberance. The players themselves shot as many pictures and as much video as anybody. They came dressed in jeans (some torn) and T-shirts. Most wore the official championship shirt, and a couple, like Pat Burrell, had their T-shirts on over the shirts and ties they had assumed they were supposed to wear. But Eli Whiteside wore an old fan favorite, the Grateful Dead-themed Giants shirt, and Dave Righetti, the veteran pitching coach, wore an orange Brian Wilson “Fear the Beard” T-shirt. The only false note was Tim Lincecum’s Red Bull hat.

The players’ suspension of professionalism fed the success of the event. At City Hall, the crowd listened politely to Giants’ managing partner Bill Neukom. Mayor Gavin Newsom and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger read their audience correctly and cut their remarks short. The crowd didn’t care about the dignitaries — they wanted the players. Andres Torres and Juan Uribe won us over by speaking briefly in both Spanish and English. Brian Wilson showed the sly wit that was his best-kept secret until about a month ago. Matt Cain charmed by looking more nervous speaking for thirty seconds than he has ever looked facing a tough hitter with the bases loaded and nobody out. When Aubrey Huff reached into his jeans and produced his “Rally Thong,” it was a little off-color, but then his teammates went wild, laughing and snapping more pictures. If the rest of the country watching at that moment said, “Only in San Francisco,” for once they may have been right.

Such a celebration may only have been possible in San Francisco, but it was a gift just the same. The Giants looked and acted like a bunch of overgrown kids, and their fans and their city loved them for it. San Francisco has embraced this team, and the players have returned the embrace. Many of the players are newcomers, but San Francisco has always loved newcomers who are willing to love it back. It’s part of the magic of the city that it places its stamp on each of us, even as it invites each of us to remain entirely ourselves. The Giants weren’t just the guys that happened to wear our town’s uniform. As a team and as individuals they reflected back to us our Californian ideal of a cohesive community that nevertheless values each member’s individual personality and gifts. The Giants, on the field, in post-game interviews during the season, and on the stage at the celebration this week, always seemed entirely themselves — even Pat Burrell in his tie — and that’s how we wanted them.

These Giants defeated the Padres, the Braves, the Phillies, and the Rangers. They won with great pitching, with timely hitting, with outstanding defense. The record books will preserve all that. They won with competitive intensity and an unwavering team spirit. The newspaper archives will preserve that. But for those of us that watched them this season, memory will preserve the inspired grace of their play, the goofy antics that enlivened the season, and the genuine enjoyment this team took in the privilege of playing baseball for a living.

These Giants defeated more than the other teams. They defeated, for a season, the forces of darkness that ever try to usurp and debase our most sublime pleasures. They overcame the grim inevitability of the most successful Yankees teams. They swept away the steroid era; the dominance of pampered, overpaid superstars; the dreary banality of the typical post-game interview; the dull uniformity of MLB-approved ballpark pep elements. They even defeated the Designated Hitter rule. They played; their coaches coached; and we cheered. It’s hard enough to achieve that in Little League. To deliver that synthesis in the public arena of Major League Baseball is a wonder. The Giants gave themselves and their fans the rarest of gifts: Through these young men’s unrestrained joy in the most perfect of games they gave us a glimpse of Paradise.

Jonathan Tiemann
November 5, 2010