Monday, January 30, 2012

1/29/12 West Sunset

Compromise and begging, that's what keeps a marriage fresh....

In any case, Satch made it out to the field by the 5th inning to watch a little, play a little, and leave early.  Not my finest moment, but it was great to be out again, and an amazing day, weather-wise to boot.  From what I could gather the game had been a fairly close affair until we got there, and then as Mrs. Paige, Lil' Satch and I sat and ate our burgers from Bills place (they make a good burger) we watched the home team tally at least 6 runs.  It was line drive city.  The only good thing was that it gave me enough time to change in to my uniform so I was ready to head out for the top of the 6th.

Noah, was hurling for the visitors, and was taking it on the chin, as he does.  Brian Phelps went 6 strong for the homers and was in the groove, helped by a strong defense and corner nibbling.  As I entered, the pitchers changed, and Sean came in for the visitors and slammed the big door.  I saw at least 6 strike outs in 3 must be the hockey hair.

Tony came in for the homers and was looking strong, but we managed to score a few runs off him, and make the game at least in striking distance.  It was 9-1 when I came in, and maybe 9-5 when I left, someone else will need to fill in the blanks.  Great to see everyone!


* Sean was on fire, caught at least three people looking at strike 3!

* Mitch started with a new bat, K'd twice, went back to Krakatoa and got a double.  Sweet.

* The pink mothers day bat was a hit with the team, we are all comfortable with our masculinity

* Nick Smith almost killed Sean on a come backer, reigniting the BBCOR debate

* A great relay from right field got DJ Greg at the plate, with a sweeping tag by Bob.  Unfortunately it got DJ in the nose, but he was alright after a minute or two.

* Rich got the long foul ball award....again

* A near collision and dropped ball helped our rally, more than once.....

* Noah called for and caught a ball in right.  He was camped out under it and no one was within 100 feet of him.  But he called it....

* A lot of line drives, which is always nice to see

* Bob sez, "Baseball and sunshine are good for babies." Thanks Bob, now can you call my wife and tell her that every week?

* I didn't strike out, a plus after being gone for three weeks, I didn't get a hit either.

* We are all thankful to see Milo Sedawi back in healthy form, and falling down again.

* Mitch had a great unassisted double play at second.  Which I am was grateful for, as there was no way I was going to get to second before the runner did.  Here's a picture so you can see I had no chance.....

* The usual near calamities of overthrown balls at first during warm ups.  Maybe we should switch dugouts, or create a DMZ where you can't stand?

* I got an RBI on a pickoff play at first where no one was paying attention

* The oblique feels better, but I am going to stay away from the mound for a while still, just to make sure.

AOY Brian Phelps had these gems to report:

Play of the game- Duane made a crazy Jeter-eque play on a ball in the hole and got the runner (was it Tim?) by a step when everyone thought the play was not going to be made. Dwayne has never played SS before this season and has quickly picked it up. 

* The sun at West Sunset has become an part of the game. Lots of players with eye-black on this week.

* After the whole BBCOR talk, I did notice a bunch more wood being used. 

* JT continues to battle at the plate and get base hits.

* Snyder encouraged me to use my side arm fastball in pre-game. Used it a lot and was happy with the results. We even talked about a side arm slider, but it was ugly in warm-ups. Didn't use it all game until a 2 strike count vs Mitch and it worked perfectly!  Mitch switched bats next AB and smoked one. 

* And yes we need a DMZ. Not that I would know from experience, but have 5 guys standing behind the first baseman might cause for a distraction on who to throw to. But as a lefty, my opinion on the infield shouldn't count.

Please send me additional information on what I missed!

Here's some pictures from Jimmy (he seems to have a thing for pictures of Sean....)

S. Paige

Friday, January 27, 2012

Safety versus Freedom

An interesting question arose, started by our AOY 2011 Brian Phelps, as to the new BBCOR bats that have become the only bats allowed by Collegiate and High Schools.

I agree that safety is important, and can say from vast experience there is nothing fun about a hard hit comebacker when you are on the mound.  And I can also say that I have personally broken three aluminum bats in my time with the MBC, which shows you that aluminum isn't a forever kind of thing.  That being said, I believe we pride ourselves in being a baseball club rife with worn equipment, placing minors in dangerous situations,  piecemeal uniforms, non-performance enhancing substance use, questionable base running, balks aplenty, and distracted players.  

Single point argument:  Krakatoa has a screw in it, which is totally illegal and possibly unsafe, but is anyone going to say that we can't use Krakatoa anymore?  They better not while I am still 6 feet above ground.

No one wants to see anyone hurt, but the more rules we have, the closer we come to being the thing that the MBC was created to get away from.  It could all change with one bad incident, but is it worth sterilizing the whole population, so that one person doesn't procreate?  Sorry for the eugenic analogy (dibs on new band name) but it seems to work.

At the end of the day, wood is great, but expensive, as are the new BBCOR bats, so maybe we can pitch in to buy some more team wood bats or a softly used BBCOR bat?  Few of us have the resources to buy the real composite cheater sticks, and even less of us have the hitting ability left to wield the cheater sticks with any sort of real mortal danger, so I don't think that is going to be too much of a problem.

In any case, any interesting conundrum.  Here's the original email, and the responses. 
> Hello Missioners,
> Last game a few of us were talking about the new BBCOR bats, since Lattig bought one and I've been bringing one to recent games. There's a reason high schools now mandate these bats, safety. I know we haven't had any incidents, but it only takes one. For some of you true ballets this won't apply since you rock the wood. For the rest of us, I'd like to throw out the idea the we implement the same rule. After all, we are role models for the community. I know this would be an expensive endeavor since metal bats are pricey. But if everyone (that swings metal) pitches in, I think we could accomplish this. I know someone that works at Sports Basement, so maybe i could get a deal on some. We could even do a bake sale :)
> After using one for a number of games, I really like the feel of the BBCOR bat. It feels closer to a wood bat. Plus most of the Mission bats show their age.
> Thoughts?
> - Phelps

The Peanut Gallery responds:

Greg Snyder:
I appreciate Brian's concern for our safety, especially as a guy who gives up more than his share of sharp line drives.
But I agree with Loren that for our game, the danger is not significantly greater with one type of bat than another, and there are much greater safety risks than our pitchers being brained by a comebacker.
I also agree with Rich that wood bats are much more pleasing on all kinds of levels.
Most importantly, though, I strongly resist rules like this for our little game. People should use whatever equipment they want. We may choose to look down on them for it, but they still should be able to use the bat they prefer.

Jonathan Tiemann:
Much as it pains me, I have to agree with Greg.  Part of the fun of our game is being able to look down on the guys swinging metal bats, knowing all the while that they're thinking I'm a fool for not joining them.  On the safety issue I'm happy to defer to the pitchers.  I can misplay a ball equally well whether it comes off a wood bat or a metal one.


Johnny Bartlett:
Very well put, Greg. And, I think, the embodiment of the Mission Baseball Club.
Richie Garcia:
I'm happy with the way things are, but if we want to give up our current bats, I would vote for just using wood bats.
Rich Janeway:
There is nothing better than hearing (and feeling) a wood bat connect with a baseball. Swing wood, figure out how to get solid contact and you'll never go back! The "ping" is for the kiddos (and the birds)!!!


P.s. You can buy 4 solid maple wood bats for under $125 at West Coast Sports in San Leandro

P.p.s. The bigger the bat, the less likely it will break... Trust me! Swing a big bat and swing it hard!!!

Aaron Daley:
Does this mean we have to retire all our old bats?  I'm all for safety, but I am pretty fond of a few of those old sticks (Nike PSI, Easton 33.5).  Whats the problem, other than the length/weight ratio being too large?

And I'm not the one going out to buy the $350 cheater bat, mine are purchased out of a trunk in a parking lot from a guy with a large facial scar, what's wrong with that?

John McGrath
Is there objective proof that the BBCOR bats are in fact safer than aluminum bats?

Loren Myrow:

As someone who has delt with equipment rule changes in multiple sports, I'm pretty well versed in what is going on at the collegiate/hs level.  The reason the NCAA adopted BBCOR is not about safety, but about saving time.  A couple years ago, there was a NCAA committee that proposed ways to shorten game times from an average of 4+ hours to an average of 3.  One of the rules implemented was a "pitch clock" and the other was to pull back the bats.  This bat recall coincided with Gunnar Sandberg from Marin catholic wearing a comebacker in the head & any time a child is severely injured by a metal bat, parents (including soccer moms) question the safety of a game that involves chewing tobacco, metal spikes and trying to throw a rock hard ball as hard as you can adjacent to someone trying to hit that ball as hard as he can.  I'm all for safety in any situation, but if safety is the #1 concern here, then our pitchers need to start wearing helmets... Which would be amusing seeing as half the batters of MBC don't wear helmets.

Anyways, my two cents.

There's a couple factors involved with the BBCOR bats (batted ball coefficient of restitution) that make them different from the previous BESR models (ball exit speed ratio).  Essentially the overall weight, balance and barrel size are the same for both types of bats.  Both have a -3 length to weight ratio, both are available in metal and composite models & both will produce ball speeds over 100mph if hit on the sweet spot.  The main difference is in the size of the sweet spot and how much the graphite composite models "open up" with prolonged use.  Most bat manufacturers have gone to either a variable wall thickness or have inserted multiple metal rings inside the barrel in an attempt to bring the sweet spot from 5-6" with the BESR models to approximately 3" for the BBCOR bats.  This smaller sweet spot of the BBCOR models reduces the exit speed of off center hits by a significant margin when compared to BESR bats.  That being said, if a stronger MBC player hits a ball up the middle going 100mph, it matters not what type of bat hit it.  I personally don't feel that MBC is overpowered at the moment and I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere that allows children to play soccer on the sidelines, dogs to assist in outfield strategy and the use of "questionable" equipment purchased from the trunks of scar-faced gentlemen.  If safety is our number one priority at the moment, perhaps there are a few things that should be addressed in addition to a rules change regarding our bats.

Jay Cellini:

I'll chime in that I like the idea of using wood, bamboo or BBCOR and I agree that it only takes one "incident" to ruin someone's (everyone's) life and I do not think it is worth it and besides I would like to try pitching someday (no laughing) but am scared ****less about getting drilled off of one of the metal bats.  As many of you know, (and yes, I am aware it is obvious so no ridicule please, I'm sensitive) I'm coming back to baseball after a 30 year hiatus and I am astounded at the way the ball moves coming off those aluminum bats!  In the outfield what I remember vs. what I experience in the connection vs. distance/ball speed department is amazing (and scary).  There's my 2 cents.

Chris Powell:
The question you need to ask yourself is do you want to be like a Major 
Leaguer or a Little Leaguer?

Duane Harris:

I'm all for wood and/or the new BBCOR bats. 

With that said, I also see where both Loren & Aaron are coming from too.

Whatever is decided, I'm cool with as long as I'm on diamond playing ball

Bob Carey:

Speaking of safety:  I always wear a cup, but seldom wear a batting helmet.  Wonder what this says about my priorities? 

Regarding the bat issue:  It’s been a good discussion; however, I don’t believe it’s a huge problem at this point.  Of the bats I’ve seen used in our game, I can think of only three or four that have are true cheater sticks.  Three of these are bats owned by individuals and I’m only scared of one of them with it in his hands (go ahead and try to figure out who it is).  The bats in the team bag are almost all old and most of them are pretty dead — yes aluminum bats lose their pop.  Anyone who is buying a bat going forward should go BBCOR (there’s not much other choice in adult bats).  For the level we play, they should buy last year’s models instead of paying full price.  All of that said, everyone knows I choose wood.


PS:  Aaron pointed out that I messed up the time in the announcement.  It’s a 1PM game at W. Sunset.

Dustin Skiles

Atta babe bob. Good Point. Go Wood.

Monday, January 23, 2012

1/15/12 and 1/22/12- West Sunset and GGP

No one has written up the game for the 15th thus far, I heard it was a cold windy wet affair with disagreeable overtones.  Additional comments and highlights and low lights will be posted as they trickle in.

As for yesterday, the heart was willing, but the weather was not.

Thanks Mike Gaspar for doing an early recon, Bob for sending out the updates and making the final hard call, and to Ed for this picture (and for stating that he doesn't care about football, that's a true MBC'r for you....).

The nice weather is on its way back in to town, so we can be thankful for that.

S. Paige

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1/8/12- West Sunset

The disabled list is no fun.  But if ever there was a week to miss, it sounds like the teams were overfilled as it was.  Here with a recap is Mike "Does it all" Gaspar:

 It was a sunny, warm, January afternoon.  the field looked to be in decent shape.  Although the dugout was swampy for some reason.  It looked like we might have an 18 player showing, but then the second wave came and we ended up with a 13 on 13 game. Johnny started for the home team and was looking to build on his scoreless innings streak started a few weeks ago (see blog entry for 12-11-11).  Well he managed shutout the visitors for the two innings anyway.  Dustin took the hill for the other team and had an easy 1 1/3. Then gave up a couple.

When the starters departed, the score was 5-2 home team.  And in came Tony and dj for Dustin.  Well the scoring got a little hazy from there.  I do know the homers continued to add on helped by some less than stellar defense.  Tony meanwhile got out of a bases loaded no out jam punctuated by a strike out to end the inning.  I’d say the score was 7-2 homers after six.

Well the pitching parade continued with Loren giving way to Dennis for the homers and mike and Noah finishing for the visitors.  The visitors did rally in the 12th for a few runs. (big hits by bob, Mitch) but I think the final was 12-7.


* Mitch scored on a infield hit and three stolen bases.  Talk about a Rickey run. He also had two doubles and got "mitched" by Chris in left field.

*Paul k. came out for the first time in 7 months and had some nice hits,

* Bob got hit of course.  Tony hit Jeff twice in the same at bat.

* Loren had a great game both in the field and at the plate. Also stuck out like three guys.

Same time/place next week
One mbc family note:  good to see Ed's little guy recovered and doing well.

Speaking of Ed, here is the RBI Ninja with his two cents on the game:

Coming down Taraval seeing the blue ocean, I knew there would be a lot of people there. But when I arrived at just before 1, it looked like it would be a 9-9 game. Didn’t last long, by the end of the first half inning, I think I switched teams three times and was one of 12 on my squad. We decided early on to not act like we were going to play 9, then have extra innings, someone decreed it a 12 inning game.

Johnny started for the Homers, and Dustin took the hill for the Visitors. Long about the 3rd inning Dustin ran into a few bloops, dinks and good base running by Jimmy allowing the Homers to score a couple. Two more were added in a similar fashion the next inning. The visitors got only one back. It could have been more had Greg and Tony pulled off a pick off of DJ Greg. DJ was on third when the runner from first broke, Greg threw to tony at third for the put out.

Later, Johnny was rolling along getting two quick outs when Mitch came up. He hit a swinging bunt single to third. On the next pitch he stole second. He waited one more pitch to steal third. His stay at third lasted one pitch too, after which he broke for home making it easily. Ben, the batter, wisely chose not to swing.

Dustin bowed out and gave way to DJ Greg, then Mike Lattig and finally, Noah. Johnny was followed by Tony, Lauren, and Dennis. That was it, I think.  Long about the middle innings, the 9th and 10th,  the visitors fell apart, lots were scored, few were counted. The final score was lost in the sun like so many would be pop outs.


*Mitch was mitched, by someone, Mike Gaspar maybe, maybe Greg. If it was you, great job.

*DJ Greg almost threw two runners out at the plate from right.

*Bob was hit by a pitch.

*Jeff leaned into a pitch and was hit on the arm. He was also hit with the next pitch.

*Duane played a solid short for the visitors

*Jimmy scored from first after I hit a groundball up the middle. He did some Majicks at third and ended up at home. I am giving myself an RBI.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1/1/12- Cop Field

Hard to believe its already 2012, but it is.  And it was hard to believe it was as nice as it was out on Sunday.  But it was.  Here's proof, for all those who are no longer living in our jewel of the West...

Yep, so we had 20 guys show up, it was a little sparse to begin and we started to wonder if we may have to Havana 6 it, but then there was the second wave, including one very rough looking Sean "I don't know what end its gonna erupt from" Presley.  Strangely enough, Sean and I ended up on the same team, which rarely happens.  And we both pitched.  And we both lost.  But more on that later.

Satch was hurling for the homers, and feeling sprightly and good with the warm sun and the time off, the fast ball was moving, the curve was curving, the knuckle was, well you get the idea.  DJ Greg started for the visitors, and was throwing good ball, getting us to pop up, ground out and in general not score any runs.  The visitors on the other hand, were not shy about their scoring, getting out of the gate early and running up a 4-0 score before we had ended the 3rd frame.  Missed pitches, a constant barrage of short flies to the right field/deep second base area, and timely line drives made for some long innings.  We even had John Carey on our team, which should have given us the youth angle, but nothing was working for us.

It didn't help that every time that we hit the ball well, it seemed to be right at somebody, Dennis made some good catches to rob us, and Mitch, playing shortstop, had about 8 put outs.  This was taken right before Nick was robbed of a great line drive.  Which was pretty much par for the course for us.

DJ Greg sprinkled a few strike outs in there for good measure, and I would say the total K's for both teams had to be at least 12-15, it was apparent what a week off will do for timing.

In the 6th, cruising, I threw a fast ball a little too hard to Will, and felt a painful pop somewhere in the southern rib/ northern hip area of my throwing side.  Not good, I finished the inning with a lot of knuckles and changes, and am now looking at rehab time.  Greg diagnosed it as oblique strain.  I say I pulled my rib meat.  Either way, Sean came in to throw and didn't have any more luck than I did.  We at least had scored by that point, the score was 5-2, but it didn't stay that for long.

Will came in for the visitors and kept at us with the pop ups, K's and ground balls.  We turned away a big scoring opportunity from the visitors and then went down meekly 1,2,3.  Not quite capitalizing on the momentum.  It was early and sunny still, so we kept at it for the 10th and 11th, but the game never got any better for us homers, the true definition of anemic offense.  Not even sure what the final score was, but I know that we lost.

But what a great day and a beautiful start to 2012.


* The weather.

* Dee Dee survived her first baseball thumping

* The field was in great condition

* Bob made an awesome catch at the backstop

* Lots of bunts, both intentional and swinging

* We had a great double play home to third, if only the bases had actually been loaded.

* Mitch may have been thrown out by Greg at 2nd base, I put on the tag, but didn't see a thing.

* Nick Smith finally got the hit that had been robbed from him

* Duane uncorked for his first triple of 2012, starting a new streak?

* Maybe its just me, but in general, I think our outfielders give wayyyyyyyyyyy too much respect to most of our hitters, if someone hits it 490 feet, oh well, but that's not the place to play on a regular basis.

* Speaking of, Loren really got a hold of couple.

* Ed technically broke a bat, but Jimmy Shotwell would have kept using it

* We lost two balls over the cop fence.  Damn cops.

* My offense got steadily worse all day, started out with a monstrous double, and by the end I was gratefully taking walks.

* AGAIN, Please try not to swing when people are stealing. Unless you can guarantee that you will get a hit.  Which you can't.  So don't swing.

* Thanks to Ed, Greg, Bob for catching.

* After a failed center fielder pick off maneuver, we ended the inning with a pick off with the SS.  Some people just don't learn.

* Bob was not HBP, but Mitch was.  Both of these guys refuse to move on inside pitches.  I respect that.

* Late edition- Ed states that he broke that bat.  And then Sean struck him out looking.  Then hit him, the next AB.

See you in the ice bath.

S. Paige