I don't know what the trouble was, since last week there were 22 odd souls that were able to show up for the game, but this week we barely cobbled 14. If not for anything else, Crocker Amazon has a fence! For hitting balls over! How can you wannabe Jimmy Foxx's pass up something like that?
This week's Florence Nightengale came in the form of Elan, a young ropy fellow who is another graduate of Lowell like Gaston, and I imagine also in his mid-20's. He showed up as we were contemplating which one of the drunks in the stands would be the most likely to play.
So 7-7. Since it was the minimum, here was the team breakdown:
Visitors: Greg, Tony, Coney Island James, Abe, Carter, Bob, Daniel
Homers: Satch, Lattig, Gaspar, Elan, Mitch, Sonny, Theis
The soupbone was feeling good but you wouldn't have known it after the first inning, the visitors lit me up like a pinball game. The most impressive was James, who clanged the fence and came within a foot of hitting a three run home run. He had to settle for the longest single in history, as the runner ahead was only going halfway to second in case it was caught. I was actually hoping it would go out, we so rarely get real home runs it would have been fun to watch. But we turned back the tide, and a nifty defensive lock down staunched the bleeding.
Greg was on the bump for the visitors, or should I say the hole. The mound at CA leaves a lot to be desired and we both quickly learned that the only way we were going to throw with any confidence was to move to the extreme right of the rubber, where the landing would be on terra firma rather than terra cavum. Made for an interesting angle on the batter as well.
The breakout star of the game has to be Gaspar, who went an astonishing 4-5, striking the ball and spraying the field with such confidence and ferocity that Greg started feeling like it was some sort of personal vendetta. It was awesome.
The homers tied the game and then the visitors took it back then homers retook the lead, never to relinquish subsequently. The game wasn't marred by errors, nor was it a complete rout. We managed to stop a rally in the making with a nice line out-throw out double play, and I personally hit into a classic 4-6-3 double play that the visitors turned, so defensively both teams had their moments. In something I have not seen in a while, 2 of the 5 runs scored by the visitors came by way of the legit sacrifice fly.
Like clockwork, our drunk friend stumbled onto the field during the 7 inning to "umpire" the rest of the game. See earlier blog entries about this guy, we knew chances were good that he would show, and we just decided that he could call himself the umpire as much as he wanted to, but the catcher still had the final call. It only came up once on a third strike, when he thought there was only 2 strikes. He must have recognized his own official impotence, so he left the field during the 8th and retired to the stands again. I felt kinda bad for him, but hey, what do you expect wandering into the middle of a game and calling yourself the umpire?
Elan pitched the last 3 innings for the homers, a good lefty with a smooth delivery. James came in to throw for the visitors and had some mustard on the ball. The deficit was too much for the visitors to overcome, however, and the final score was the homers, 8-5.
* Gaspar raking the ball all day
* James' long, strong, powerful single
* Abe made the defensive play of the game, on a surefire triple from Elan, going to the wall to snare the ball in right.
* Thies had a gap triple that left him a little winded at third
* I went a spectacular 1-6, didn't get the ball out of the infield until my final at bat
* 7-7 gives you a lot more at bats, but it sure would be nice to have a moment to rest at times.
* The two breaking balls I got Tony and James on were my proudest accomplishments of the day
* Abe also had a confident and well struck double
* Greg swung at a knuckleball in a 2-0 count. The sky is falling
* I was instantly punished for trying to kickstart the scoring by using a metal bat. I jarred my hand and popped the ball up to the shortstop.
* A blue heron and a resident hawk were in a battle for the sky during the game. The hawk won.
Hope more people show up next week.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Here after a long writing absence is Mr. Mike Lattig. Fitting that he returns to the recap, much as he returned to the bump, after many a months rest. Thanks!
It was another glorious day for baseball in Golden Gate park. A high sky with wispy clouds, a slight breeze, but plenty of sun and warmth. And with the 3 o’clock hour fast approaching we were a tidy 9x9.
As is custom for GG Park, that became 10x10 once game time rolled around, but I don’t think anyone was sad to have an inning off here and there. However, the visitors may have wished for more at bats when all was said and done.
With my shoulder feeling as good as it has in years, I decided to hop on the bump for the home team and was blessed with one of those rare days when everyone seems to find their natural defensive positions. I couldn’t have drawn up a better defensive lineup if I tried: Tony at 3rd, Chris at Short, Josh at 2nd, Sean at 1st, Ed behind the dish, and Mitch, Joe and James in the outfield. It instilled great confidence – and they lived up to expectations.
Opposing me on the visiting side was fellow crafty righty (that should be a thing, shouldn’t it? Why can only lefties be crafty. I’m trademarking it…) Sonny, who’s really been coming on of late as a pitcher by keeping people off balance. But this was not to be his (or his team’s) day.
After Bob opened things for the visitors with a squibber up the middle that somehow evaded Chris, and I ran a 3-0 count to Carter that included a 30 MPH curveball in his back pocket, the game was on lock down.
I came back to strike Carter out on a gravity ball in under the hands, and then I believe we retired 13 straight hitters after that, with a combination of pop-ups (4 or 5 of them) and ground balls that were gobbled up by a solid infield. That included a great scoop at first from Sean on one play, and Ed bolting out from behind the plate to grab a ball up the third base line, then spinning and firing a bullet to first for the out.
By the time the 6h inning closed, only about an hour and a half had passed, I’d faced 23 hitters, and the game was essentially in the bag at either 7-1 or 9-1. A rare lopsided game in the MBC that didn’t seem like it would even threaten to reverse itself in the late innings as our games can tend to do. And it didn’t.
On offense, we weren’t putting up huge lopsided numbers. We just seemed to string 2-3 hits and a few stolen bases together every inning. Tacking on 2 here, one there, three more here to pad the lead and never look back.
Sean’s bat definitely took the prime spot – as he peppered left center all game long with an inside-out stroke that was a beauty to behold. Add to that a few drives from the likes of Joe and Mitch (and I think James too – though he was more the king of the foul ball, so much so that Daniel was playing him on the line in hopes of catching one…). I’d guess we all contributed a hit or two throughout the day to just keep the line moving and keep the runs coming.
Ultimately, I gave way to the two hard throwing lefties to seal the deal, and they did just that with Sean and Gaston each dialing up a solid 2 innings to cruise us home for the win. (and yes, 6+2+2 is 10. And even then we finished before 6.)
Sonny was relieved nobly by a cast of unusual pitchers that included Ryan, Daniel and John McGrath. A virtual cornucopia of Crafty Righties™ if ever there was one. And we kept tacking on runs here and there. To the point where I’m not sure anyone knows what the final score was. (And JT wasn’t there, so we may never know…)
All in all, it was a lopsided game, but a fun one. Crisply played, mostly clean all around on defense, and agreeably extended to take advantage of the sunshine. Sounds like next week we’ll be moving on from the cozy confines of GG Park to the windy slopes of Crocker Amazon. So glad we got a good one in while we could!
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The rainstorm that was spoken briefly of, never really materialized on Saturday, and Sunday was clear and sunny. We had 21 players, and a bevy of pitchers and catchers to choose from. Satch went for the homers and Mitch for the visitors.
The first inning strike out of Bob was satisfying, I must say, on a change up that was three feet lower than usual. Satch was feeling good. I should have remembered my Roman history however, and laurels and the whispering Sic transit gloria mundi....
For the first two innings, the homers were putting em up and laying them down. We were aided by a visitor defensive breakdown that included Chris Powell dropping a ball! We ran up 5 runs and I was feeling tip top. I was still feeling tip top in the fourth, but for some reason, the pitches that were lights out before, were just lit up. I had two strikes on quite a few batters, but they kept hitting the third strike, and hitting it hard. Greg was running around left field like a mad man, and when the dust settled, the visitors had scored 7 runs! That might be a record, but then again, maybe not in this club.
In any case, I was significantly humbled. I requested and got to pitch one more inning to get the bad taste out of my mouth, which I did, and then turned the reins over to Sean who captained the bump for the rest of the game. Mitch, having his own frustrations, handed the ball off to Sonny, and then to Chris Powell for the visitors.
With the score at 8-5, we floundered a bit through the middle innings and then we regained our stride and took the lead once and for all. The sun disappeared while we were int he 7th, and the last two innings became a cold, windy affair. No chance of extra innings, and the visitors, in three layers of clothes and losing players to the late start time, recorded the final out and were staved off for a 13-8 win for the homers.
* Defensively the day was a real spectrum, nearly everyone had a dropped ball or a bad throw, but there were also some real gems
* At one point the visitors had 5 rips in a row to left field.
* Adam and Lattig had great scoops at 1st
* Tony recorded an astonishly poor day at the plate, 0-4 with 2 K's. Very un-Rojas
* The wind played hell with the fly balls, I thought I had a bead on one in right that went five feet over my head
* Duane was plugged twice in the same spot
* Somehow, I was a hitter for the day, 3-4, double, triple, home run, missing the cycle by not getting a single. The line drive that was caught was the hardest ball I hit all day. The home run I was sure Mitch was locked onto, until it went over his head, not sure when that happened last.
* Hank was a victim of line drive robbery
* Sean danced off first with enough lead to warrant 7 throw overs in one at bat
* John Mcgrath, Sonny, Bob, Tim, Chris, all had nice inside pitch drives
Thanks for a great game!
Here with a recap is our very own Mike Gaspar. Thanks for the write up!
It was another great day for baseball. Lots of sunshine and not much wind. It looked like we'd be starting the game 7 on 7.. but then all of a sudden six players showed up (probably due to parking issues at Big Rec). Anyway, Carter started for the home team and had a rough first inning. Some solid base knocks, some bad defense and then Loren's bases-clearing triple to right (with Mike L's teammates yelling "you're scoring Mike, you're scoring" the whole time as he chugged around the bases.) And just like that, the Visitors had put up a five spot.
Meanwhile, Sean the lefty took the bump for the other team and shut down the Homers with aplomb. Carter settled in and gave his side a chance to come back, which they did. Scratching and clawing a few runs here and there eventually knotting the score at five. Then the visitors answered with some daring-do on the base paths. With runners on the corners, the man at first broke for second but stopped about halfway. Carter did as he should, stepped off the rubber and ran towards the runner and then threw to second. At which point the guy on third ran home. An inning or two later, no doubt emboldened by their earlier success, they tried a suicide squeeze. But this time to no avail.
And so we headed into the bottom of the ninth with the visitors up by one.
At this point, Sean had given way to Greg who in turn gave the ball to Loren. And with one out up stepped Bob. A classic power vs. power match up. Loren was bringing the heat but was all over the place. And few were surprised when he nailed Bob square in the back with a fastball. This was not a Greg change up or a Satch knuckler, so needless to say Bob was not too happy. But to his credit. he dug back in and whacked a single. Next came J.T. who took advantage of Loren's lack of command and took a walk. Then there was a groundout. So up stepped Elvin with two down and the winning run at second. Elvin put up a good fight but was retired.
Final score 6-5 visitors.
-Lauren's girlfriend Sarah joined us. Harkening back to the old days of couples in the MBC.
-J.T. had at least one clutch RBI
-Ryan had a hustle triple for the homers
-Bob saved the lives of a couple of sunbathers in right field when he got one of Loren's line drives.
-Thanks to all the catchers who strapped em on on a hot day.