Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3/24/13 Camp Swampy

I couldn't make the game this week, and here with an exciting recap is Ed "Mr. Blah Blah Blah" Sidawi:

"It was a good one?"

Thanks everybody, don't forget to tip your waitresses.

S. Paige

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

3/17/13 Cop Field

The semi finals of the World Baseball Classic proved to be a sticky wicket for the MBC this week, but we made do and managed to have almost a complete game.  With 20 to start with, the homers went with Satch on the mound and Greg behind the plate, and that was how it stayed for the duration.  The visitors countered with a wily and dealing Johnny Bartlett who went almost as long until he gave it up to Carter Rockwell for the last gasps.

The big news was that there was a baseball reunion of sorts, three of the players from the Evergreen State College baseball team of Olympia, WA, other wise known as Sean, John and Will.  Apparently they had a real good run as a squad and won exactly 0 games in their college career.  Monumental.

Photo: 10 Year Evergreen Baseball Team Reunion playing with Mission Baseball Club #missionbaseballclub

Sean promised that we could have a Evergreen style blowout in the making, and when we committed 7 errors in one inning, I began to believe as well.  The visitors lineup was a real Murderers Freeway, anchored by the return and seemingly invincible Rick Kvoriak.  Rick drove a challenge fastball of mine so far to left field that I had to second guess whether I had mixed myself up and not thrown what I thought I threw.  But unfortunately  I did. And he tattooed it.  Also in the line up, Lattig, Bob, Phelps, Bartlett, Ed, Nero, Carter, Richie, Duane.  Not as easy out in the bunch.   We were relying on Chris Powell to score our runs, which he did until he had to leave, the score at the time being 7-2?

However, as Greg reminded us, there is no safe lead in MBC, which proved to be a blessing and a curse, as we started hitting and the visitors started muffing, and we ran the score back to tied, then proceeded to see-saw the lead back and forth.  The clock watchers started to get nervous that they were going to miss the WBC game, so we tried our best to play efficient ball, and get in a full 9.  With a neck an neck ballgame in the bottom of the 7th, with about 20 minutes to go, Greg suggested that we give the visitors 6 outs and whatever the outcome, we take it from there.  Seemed like a good idea, and the visitors responded by running a number of tallies across the plate, they were two up by the end.

We got our final ups, and were debating whether we would need our 6 outs, but hit begat hit, as Carter struggled with control, and half of our team left so we had 6 people hitting and we found ourselves tied up, with 1 out and the bases loaded.

Yours truly at the plate, and then it got ugly.

I completely shanked a ball to the right side, Duane called for it, just as Doc called the infield fly rule.  Duane caught it, turned to first, at which point John McG decided to give chaos a chance and raced for home.  Duane caught by surprise, still managed a great throw, and somehow John, who didn't slide, got his foot on the edge of the plate right before Ed applied the tag.  Arguments mounted, but Doc made the call.  Game over.  And for the record, I do not get the RBI on that.  I think it is one of those stats that get lost in the miasma.  A strange way to end a good game.  Final 13-12.


* Thanks to all that came out and stayed out, hopefully you enjoyed yourselves

* Kvoriak and Powell get to share the Long Bomb award.

* My team really got on me for not scoring on a passed ball, that I admit I should have, however, the throw from the backstop from Ed went past Carter and I scored anyway. All in the plan, gentleman.

* Johnny pitched a hell of a game and struck me out with the eephus

* We averaged about 5 errors per inning for the first 5 frames.

* Red Sox Will had a rough outing in left, I thought it was the sun and offered my shades, but he said it was just cuz he missed them.  Honesty.

* The visitors stifled us with a great double play

* With only 6 batters, I almost had the chance to score myself on a hit.

* Phelps was late and left early.  AOY emeritus.

* Nero is currently sporting the Oscar Gamble look.

* Bob did not get hit, but he did swing a a first pitch knuckleball to end the inning. Wah wahhhh.

* John of the Evergreen did his team proud, and had a couple of nice hits

* My team had some trouble with the have it around

* I had a single cum double on the weirdest, highest bad hop in left.  I was glad that it didn't take Bob's head off, it went from a 1.5' bounce to a 7' bounce.

* Good to see some old faces again

* Richie snared a seriously hit line drive to kill our rally

* Someone's car got dented in the cop parking lot.

* Doc put in another great outing as umpire.  We have to keep him close by though, once he gets into a conversation with someone when we are warming up, by the time we are ready to start he's half way through a story.

Thanks for the good time, it may be another few weeks until I can make it out again.

S. Paige

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hooptedoodle #1

Sweet Thursday is one of my favorite books of all time, and part of why I love it is that Steinbeck makes a point in the book of saying that sometimes an author just has to let loose witha little controlled nonsense, a verbal sorbet to cleanse the pallet if you will.

I, along with all the other kids growing up in the mid-80's to 90's, were taught that the best thing we could do for our future is collect baseball cards, because they would ultimately lead us to a life of riches and glory beyond our wildest dreams.  Countless cards shops sprung up all over the place, and every weekend in the summer there would be a card show somewhere, with a promise of big name ball players there to sign autographs.  Usually we were promised Willie Mays, and got Jim Barr.

And so, on this gray March Friday, on my OSHA mandated 15 minute breaks, I present:

Baseball Cards that I was promised would surely be worth something someday, and went absolutely nowhere (along with all baseball cards collected at this time.)

1. Matt Nokes- While this card is worthless, 11 years in the majors in nothing to sneeze at.  And his middle name is Dodge.  That's pretty cool.

2. Tom Gordon- Another 11 year veteran.  This guy was supposed to be the shit.  Stephen King made him a essential yet strange part of a short story.  His card that is worth the most is a error card.... at $0.40.  So if I had 1,000,000 of those error cards, I would be living in the tall cotton.

3. Hensley Muelens- First off, he helped the Giants a lot as a hitting coach, so I got to give it up for that.  And he fit in well with the Ryan Vogelsong faction of wayward players who finally make a impact long after the hype has worn off.  Muelens played some real off the grid, Japan, Europe, Korean, Mexico.  But I clearly remember thinking this guy was totally my ticket to a new boom box someday.

4. Mike Greenwell and Andy Van Slyke- I got so many cards of these two guys, and has anyone even thought about them in the last 15 years, except smarmy blog writers who decide to disparage people who attained what they coveted most?  They both played for 11-12 years, had fairly decent careers, but remember that isn't the point, the crooks at the cards shops urged me to invest heavily in both of these guys.

5. Chris Sabo- Another in the series I like to call, Ways to Rip off Kids.  8 years in the bigs and he led the Reds to a WS victory.  But after that 1990 year, he dropped like a Satchel eephus pitch.  According to Wikipedia, Pete Rose nicknamed Sabo "Spuds" because he looked like Spuds Mackenzie.  Why do I have a sudden urge to wear a JimmyZ shirt and some wayfarers and wear my baseball hat on the back of my head so that my bangs can show the proper wave effect?

6.  Jim Abbot- I think we all know that this was a feel good story, and if I have one player who I can at least get a good anecdote out of, this would be it.  Amazing how the body can adapt and overcome with the right perseverance   10 years in the majors, threw a no-hitter, he was no flash in the pan. His rookie card leads the way with the highest value so far. $1.00


7.  Kevin Seitzer- Another 11 year veteran, I never really knew much about this guy except that he was supposed to be great, and I should buy his card.  He was probably riding the wave of the Royals 1985 WS win, and they needed someone to talk about.  Was Bret Saberhagen already done with?  Come on!

8.  Walt Weiss- This one strikes close to home, cuz this was the 3rd Oakland player in a row to be named Rookie of the Year.  Canseco and McGuire obviously need to have their own special place here, but, they at least seemed to live up to their hype for a while, so the case could be made they were a different beast (insert 'roid rage joke here.).  But Weiss, he seemed alright, he made that error in the '88 WS that lent to the Dodgers winning, but he played 13 years in the majors, so he was obviously good enough to stick around.  But after his first two years, I never heard a peep about him.  A Topps Mint rookie card goes for $2.95.  Way to go, Walt!

1988 Topps Traded Walt Weiss Rookie Card

9. Wally Joyner- God, I have a lot of this guy's cards.  And not just the regular Donruss, Topps kind, I got the Mother's cookies and Sportsflics ones too.  Wally played for 16 years, mostly with the Angels, and apparently lost the ROY award to Canseco.  I feel bad about that, no one should be in that position.  He probably also had a sure thing to sleep with Madonna, and Jose muscled him out on that score too.

10.  Gregg Jefferies and Sandy Alomar Jr- Some may say the penultimate in over-hype.  14 and 19 years in the bigs respectively, but man oh man, these guys was being put up with the greats before they even stepped on the field.  Both seemed to epitomize the Million dollars worth of talent, worth 5 cents on delivery player, although Alomar was a ROY and 6-time Allstar, but was injured a lot.  And by all accounts, Jefferies was a decent fellow, tried to appease New York Mets fans who turned on him after he failed to become the next Dimaggio.  These two Future Star rookies (along with Ken Griffey Jr, who was worth the hype) were the most coveted thing to look for in card packs. Jefferies was a local boy too, Junipero Serra graduate, and now he lives in Pleasanton, and runs a sports complex. 


So, having spent the time looking back at all of these guys and their careers, I have to say, they all were able to stick it out in MLB for quite some time.  Hype aside, they made a living playing baseball at the highest level, and you can't argue with that.  I just find it strange that a whole generation of kids was effectively duped, sold on the baseball card version of sub-prime mortgages.  I did notice that the people running the card shops were usually not pillar of the community types, and more than once I saw kids out and out lied to.    But one could say that about a lot of businesses, maybe just not the ones that cater to youth.  And I guess I still cherish the excitement of going to the card shop, poring over the cards, seeing one that you knew you had at home and knowing that it was selling for $8.00 was thrilling.  It was like having a savings account that you could tap into whenever you wanted to.  So the take away message?  

Here is my favorite explanation, by none other than the Spaceman himself, Bill Lee:

...Kids today, they go, 'how much is your baseball card worth?' And I'm going, 'A plug nickel, son, a plug nickel.' I'm saying, 'Son, be your own person. Do not collect baseball cards. It will be the ruination of you. Maybe you'll learn economics a little bit or you'll learn what value is. But you're being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur takes something of no value and makes money on it. And I do not believe in that for kids.' I teach 'em right off the bat: Learn the game. Do not look at Yuppie, do not look at the Chicken. Do not look at that. Look at the ground ball. Field it cleanly with both hands. Be as smooth as silk. You know, make the nice throw to second. Have the nice breaking curve ball. Subtract on the changeup. See the ball and hit it. Don't associate with the other things of the game. They will eventually bring you down, eat you up and spit you out.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

3/3/13 West Sunset game, In Print!

Our literati sister in all things baseball and butter related has made the switch to sports reporting in the Bay Guardian.  And here with a nice lil' something about the Mission Baseball Club is our own L.E. Leone.

9 innings, 20 years

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3/3/13 West Sunset

Thanks to Jonathan "That's good financial advice" Tiemann for this weeks write up.  Sounds like a good time was had by all, dislocated fingers and all.... 

Here's a summary from yesterday's game.  I'm afraid you missed a good one.

Spring Training may be in the air, but Spring wasn't much in evidence on Sunday at West Sunset.  The day was cool - plenty of jackets and sweatshirts on the bench, and a few on the field.  It was overcast, too - a welcome relief for us outfielders, since we were mostly able to see the ball for a change.  We started out a perfect nine on nine, and by the time the stragglers finished arriving we had eleven to a side, with Doc in his accustomed spot behind the plate.

Johnny Bartlett took the bump for the home team, and Greg started for the visitors.  The game started with a bang, as Duane led off with a drive up the gap.  He had an easy triple, and wanted more, but Johnny took the relay and threw him out at the plate.  The play went something like 8-6-1-2.  We managed a couple of runs anyway, for an early lead.  The homers' bats came alive too, though, and our outfielders had plenty of work, mostly fielding hits.  By the sixth inning the homers had a solid lead.  Meanwhile, Johnny gave way to Sean, and then to Will, while Carter took over for the visitors.  

The visitors' fortunes turned in about the seventh, when Carter led off with a drive over Paul's head in center field.  By the time Paul was able to run it down, Carter was already around second, and he was able to complete the circuit for a rare MBC home run.  We put up a crooked number in the inning, and after seven the visitors led, 11-10.  The seesaw game had just about everybody's juices flowing, but while it was more competitive in spirit than most, it also retained the atmosphere that keeps us all coming back to Mission Baseball. 

In the eighth the visitors strung together several hits, including a two-out, bases-loaded single, to extend the lead to 13-10, and after we held the homers in the bottom of the frame, we were liking our chances.  But we went quietly in our half of the ninth, and the home team battled back with three in their half to send the game into extra innings.  Lattig put his spikes back on, and we went to the tenth. 

Lattig and Jimmy led off the tenth with singles, and I thought I had one too when I lined the ball into center, but Mitch was playing shallow, and he was able to force Jimmy at second, Mike going to third.  Bob plated Mike with a sacrifice fly, which Loren caught in foul ground in right, and we ended up settling for the one run.  Paul led off the home tenth with a single, and John McGrath forced him at second.  We liked our chances again when Greg gunned John out trying to steal second, but the home side pushed across a two-out equalizer, and we went to the eleventh.  In that frame, Duane and Carter led off with hits, and we had runners on second and third, with nobody out.  Elvin knocked Duane in with a high bounding ball, and Carter went to third.  Jay hit a shot to third that looked like it would bring us an insurance run, but Johnny made a nice stop and a perfect throw home, and Tim applied the tag for the second out.  Jay ended up stranded at first, so we went to the bottom of the eleventh, again trying to defend a one-run lead.  This time, we recorded two quick outs, but the homers kept battling, and had the tying run on base when Sean came to the plate with two down.  Carter got Sean, though, on a fly ball to right, and we finally had the game by a tally of 15-14.

Highlights -

  • Carter's home run, of course, which also earned him fraternal bragging rights, since he hit if off Will

  • Jen lined a clean single over second base - You have an average now!

  • Daniel laid out and nearly caught a sinking line drive in right center.  It was the effort of the year, and almost the catch of the year.

  • Nobody hit Bob, but Will did manage to get Jay in the ribs with a fastball. 

  • It seemed like there was a good deal of umpiring by committee, with Doc, the catchers, and the hitters negotiating over the calls.  It worked out just fine, but made it even harder than usual to figure out what the count was sometimes

  • Greg dislocated a finger diving back into third on a pickoff attempt, but calmly relocated it himself.  That was before he threw McGrath out stealing.

  • Best line of the day - Bob was saying that if Loren hit a screamer to third with his composite bat he might kill the third baseman, and Paul calmly replied, "Well, he's had a good life."

  • A high foul ball to the parking lot caused some concern when, after what seemed like an unusually long time, it produced a metallic thunk.  Near as we can tell, it pinballed around in the trees for a while and then bounced in the bed of Will's truck.

  • Johnny still has a good inventory of the new MBC T-shirts.  They look even better in person than in the picture.