Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Player Profile #18 - Greg "Doc" Magrane

I thought I would start the next session of player profiles off with a golden oldie (which isn't a old age joke, but maybe should be).  Greg "Doc" Magrane has been around the MBC for quite some time.  And he has always anchored the veteran end of the spectrum with aplomb, with his current age approaching 70?  To me, every hard scrabble baseball team needs someone nicknamed Doc, and we are lucky to have ours.

Doc was an original SF bum, starting sooner than anyone, I think, and we all smile at the thought of him footloose and fancy-free, cruising the Mission back in the 70's.  Since then, he has earned a Ph.D, got married, had two great kids and worked at UCSF in cancer research.  Doc retired a few years ago and now follows the sun down to Venezuela where his wife has built their retirement haven.  Not a bad life.  We have threatened to put together a barnstorming team and play our way through the country some day.  And we should.

Between back and hip ailments, Doc stopped playing baseball about five years ago, but he still comes out and umpires when he can.  The game always has a bit more shine to it when Doc shows up, makes us feel official.  Still, it is a strange thing to have an umpire after so many years of the catcher's calls.  Doc does a good job, and he is humble enough to let the catcher overrule him if they feel strongly enough about it.  MBC is still baseball by democracy.

Doc's son, Oliver, used to come out whenever he did and he was a decent player, even when he was 10?  Oliver was faster than any of us, of course, and it was a pleasure to watch him grow up from a young quiet kid, to a young quiet man.  Seriously, quietest kid ever.  Except when it's 2 am apparently.  Doc was good enough to rent a room to my buddy Rob for a few years, and Rob said on more than one occasion, Oliver would start practicing trumpet in the middle of the night.  Oliver stopped coming out to play when he got to be a teenager, but I would still see him occasionally at music festivals, wrapped in a serape, with a massive afro of screwy black hair adorned with bits of feather.  Kids these days....I bet he can still catch a ball though.

For an older guy, Doc was a hard out, he always made contact, and put the ball just over the infielders head.  Plus, you couldn't brush him back cuz then you would just look like a bully picking on some old guy....
Something that you might not know is that Doc plays the gut bucket, a skill he picked up in his native state of Indiana.  When we used to have band practice in his living room, Doc would roll out the gut bucket and play along, good times.
Doc, we miss you when you go, and we are always happy to see you return!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/21/14- West Sunset

Felt like forever since I had played.  And my own rusty feelings aside, when 3:00 rolled around and we still only had 10 people, I started to get really nervous that my one free pass was going to be taken up by ...*gulp*.... batting practice.  Luckily, a few more souls appeared out of the fog and we had a game, enlightened by the umpiring appearance of Doc from his South American abode, back for few weeks.

Greg started for the homers, and since Greg is playing with a injured knee, there is no catching, but only pitching for him these days.  Which is both a testament to his fortitude and the overall spirit of the MBC.  We all play hurt, its just a matter of whether the injuries out-weigh the ability.  So unless you can't walk or see, you have no excuses....

Satch started for the visitors, and felt lively as usual since I get to rehab my arm for four weeks after every game.  We both were hampered a bit by Doc's "strike zone" but got through with enough strikes to make the game interesting.  I struck out looking on my first at bat, on a perfectly placed inside fastball, in the one location I knew I couldn't get to.  Not auspicious.  But my team picked me up and we scored a few in the first.

We kept the game within reason for the first few innings, and the homers roared back to score a few.  By the middle innings, it was close and by the end of the sixth when I departed from the bump, the homers had taken the lead, to the tune of 8-6.  They were assisted by some tough grounders, a number of well-placed singles, interspersed with about 5 doubles.

Greg had mentioned before that he was in danger of losing a fourth consecutive MBC game, so I guess I was heartened by the fact that I had put him in a good position to break that cycle.  Brian Phelps came in for one inning of work, followed by another Brian, resplendent in a early 70's Joe Rudi A's jersey. 

Greg kept pumping for the homers and finished us off with little effort, for a 11-6 complete game win.  Enjoy that stay-cation, Greg!


* The homers were a lot more focused on the game than we.

* For only having 15, the teams were both stocked with power.

* Adam definitely gets the MVP, he smoked the ball all day, had about 5 RBI's and was not fooled once.

* Jay, who was the one respondent to my email plea, showed up in the second, and was more than a little off-kilter.  Somewhere between too much tequila and/or not enough Seroquel is how I would affectionately describe it.  He managed to get some hits and was 100% in caught pop fly balls, but his bizarre warm-up batting routine and base-running left some of us a bit rankled.  In his defense, when he showed up he warned me, in response to my email plea, that I needed to "be careful what [ I ] wished for...."  Point taken.  Hope you are doing alright, Mr. Cellini.

* I had a slider as the one pitch that worked for me all day.  I managed to strike out Greg with it, who was too frozen to realize that it had been the third strike.

* Brian Phelps had the ugliest first hit of recent memory, he jumped backwards, then half chopped with the bat, to poke it over third base.

* Elvin played well, came through with some big at-bats, and appears to juicing, or wearing tighter t-shirts

* I took a page from Tony's playbook and started yelling cautioning base-coach instructions to the other team's runners from the mound

* Loren was inquiring about the parameters of getting a AOY 2015 nomination.  I said the first thing is you got to show up regularly.  Nice to see some interest.

* Brian Phelps made 2 spectacular catches in center, one to rob his best friend of an extra base hit....nice work asshole.

* Far too much talk about football in the dugout.

* Bob showed off the range at SS.  He also reported that he was hit four times in one at bat last week.  Pretty amazing.

* Thanks to Bob, Gaspar, Adam and Duane for catching.

* Gaspar had a quintessential gaspar hit to left, no way to really defend it.

* I would describe the weather as the coldest, hot muggy day I have seen in SF in quite a while.

Much needed rain this week, sunny on the weekend.  Quit watching sports and start playing sports.

S. Paige

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

4th of July Doubleheader Pics

Thanks again to Jay Cellini, resident shutterbug for these shots from our glorious doubleheader.  Sorry it took so long to post, but, well, you know....life.