Thursday, October 16, 2014

Player Profile #20- Richie Garcia

Richie constitutes the last of the regular old timers that has not yet been highlighted.  I think part of the delay was that Richie seems to stay on the fringe of the MBC these days, due to work, various skateboarding/soccer injuries and ???.  But when I started playing, he was a every Sunday kind of guy.  And to his credit, whenever he does show up these days it is apparent that his skills have not deteriorated one iota.

Richie is the prototypical leadoff hitter, and you can tell that he has always been so.  For starters he is very patient at the plate.  VERY PATIENT.  Some might say overly.  But that is just the pitcher in me talking. And his strike zone is about the smallest of anyone that plays in our league, I don't know how tall he is, but if he's more than 5'5", I would be very surprised.  Compact, I am sure is how he would describe it.  He's all lean and muscle though, and he can move down the line so he is always a bunt/steal threat.

I realized about 8 years ago that I was really stressing myself out too much trying to pitch Richie perfectly.  It's never a good thing to start out a game all frazzled 'cuz the lead off guy is not swinging at your nibbles.  So I decided then and there that I would let the odds and gods take care of it for me.  As we all know, the best hitters fail 70% of the time, so my approach now with Richie is to feed him strikes and hope he doesn't get into anything too fully.  He is decent enough to compliment the good pitches I get by him, as well.

So I can vouch for not always trying to get a guy out, seems to work, as long as you don't mind said guy hitting .500 off you....fine by me.  So Richie gets on base a lot.  He will steal a base whenever he wants to, he was taught to be aggressive on the paths.  His father and former coach came out once and watched us.  Well, he sat and read a book and occasionally paid attention to us.  I don't think he was completely impressed with our skills....

Richie was a catcher for a long while, but then had some sort of multiple concussion incident (skate or die) and hasn't caught since I don't think. 

He can play every position, and play it well.  I think I have even seen him pitch, but that may have been an anomaly.  But he has great hands, and baseball instincts.

Interesting side-note: The first time Richie went to SQ, he got more prison respect than the rest of us.  Being Latino, they gave him the O.G. nods during the handshaking.  Maybe they were just sad that a team hailing from the Mission district of SF was full of goofy white guys.  And maybe they were right.

Richie was also the unfortunate victim of the closest I have ever come in MBC to really hurting someone.  I threw a high and tight fastball (unintentionally) that went straight for Richie's face.  He leaned back enough that it only skimmed his forearm and hand, and then flat to the ground.  For a second I thought I had really hurt him, luckily he was alright, but the shock knocked him out of the game.  I felt pretty sick the rest of the day, thinking about how much worse it could have been.  I don't think he holds a grudge, but he would be right to if he did.

Richie is one of the more level headed, decent people I have ever met, a thing that I take for granted less and less as I grow older.  Pleasant, cheerful, wry, and knows the game in and out.  He is also a drummer, and a good one by all accounts.  I also found out that he went to UC Santa Cruz with a friend of mine, she is blonde and 6'3"...they must have been an awesome looking crew, especially if he was still rocking this that the lead singer from Mr. Big?

The only bad thing I have to say about Richie is he loves the wrong baseball team.  Between him, LAttig (that's an intentional typo by the way, think about it) and Nero, they form the triumvirate of Dodger Faithful within the MBC.   The good news is that he is also an Oakland A's I guess that balances out.

So Richie, I apologize you weren't highlighted sooner, but hopefully this will serve to remind you that baseball is better than soccer and whatever else you find yourself doing on Sundays instead of playing the best game ever invented.

We of the MBC salute you!

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