Tuesday, April 28, 2015

4/23/15 San Quentin Giants vs. MBC

The first prison game of the year was met with a lot of traffic and paperwork to begin with.  Not exactly how one wants to start the season, but it is the Bay area, and it is prison, so....

Rules have gotten stricter; we have to formally sign no-hostage and no-interaction forms now, and the gate guard goes through each of our pieces of equipment searching for contraband (I guess) and we can't bring metal bats, metal canteens or bags of any kind.  Sorry Noah, you will have to leave your 57 lbs of gear at home this year....

As usual, we lost one man before we started (get that license renewed rookie) and not as usual, we were led by our new manager, Johnny "Cornelius McGillicuddy" Bartlett into the depths of the pen. He composed the line-up, kept a formal scorecard and was quick to argue on behalf of the team on a bullshit ground rule double call.  Under his new management, we thrived.  This was close to what the lineup looked like ( I am operating off of memory here.)

Mitch CF
Chris SS
Satch P/RF
Sean 1st/P
Duane 1st
Brian RF/LF
Sonny 2b
Daniel 3b
Greg C

I wouldn't say I felt good going into the game, or at least not better than usual.  But once on the bump, the fastball seemed to be pretty lively and I got a couple of people to swing at the knuckleball, so all was well there.  In the second, mixed in between a couple of very loud hits, I managed to strike out the side.

In a rare move of thinking about someone other than me, I took myself out and asked Johnny to put Sean in to make sure he got a chance to pitch.  Glad I did, as Sean stifled the Giants for the rest of the time, striking out three for himself.  In addition, Sean hit a massive gapper that should have been a triple, but was called back inexplicably by the 2nd base umpire who called it a ground rule double, even though the player had never signaled it.  It never came in contact with anything other than the usual fencing and concrete out in right.  I was pissed cuz I scored from first on the play and had to go back to third. Eventually I scored on Duane's hit to the right side and subsequent defensive error, as did Sean.

The Giants for their part played a good game, their best pitcher was in the hole, reportedly for some vague allegation that he was dealing.  SQ S.O.P is that you get thrown in solitary while they investigate your case.  He had been in there a month already, and showed no sign that he might be released any time soon.  The replacement pitcher was a young kid, with a decent fastball and a great curve that he used sparingly int he first few innings and relied more on as the game went on.  We hope to see him again.  A lot of new faces on the Giants, but they all knew what they were doing and the game was a closely contested one.  The fans started strong, one in particular was jabbering away the entire game.  He wanted to know each of our names as we came to bat, and he rode us pretty hard for everything we did.  Thankfully, he was on the Giants case as well, especially as Sean and I piled up K's.

The most amazing play--and thankfully with a good ending-- was the left fielder crashing the concrete and pipe barrier in foul territory in pursuit of a foul ball hit by current AOY, Ed.  The outfielder caught the ball a split second before his thighs hit the low concrete wall and his head connected with the pipe railing.  A sickening sound thudded through the park, and it looked like it could be really bad.  An alarm was sounded and we waited for what seemed like a long time, while the EMT came rolling out in his golf cart.  Luckily, the fielder arose after a minute, with a bandage on his left eyebrow, but moving under his own power.  And he held on to the ball!   We all applauded loudly.  It was a great play.

Darkness was falling rapidly, and in the last inning, it became very hard to see the ball against the wall.  A double to right center was missed by everyone, Mitch ran the opposite way to catch it, before realizing it was behind him.  Sean got the final out and we gathered to shake hands and humbly accept praise on the fact that we managed to win a game.  We talked to SQ stalwarts Chris and Otter, who let us know that the A's are again a force to be reckoned with.

Final Score- 4-1 in five innings, making it an official game.

Out the way we came, listen to the same jokes about getting to leave because we won, and that we looked like a team formed in a bar (yeah, and...?), took a very dark team picture and on to the Marin Brewing Company for some refreshments.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Eight Things You Gotta Love About Mission Baseball

"Eight Things You Gotta Love About Mission Baseball"

A Short Proclamation by Coney Island James 

Thanks to Coney Island for writing this up, he even asked before he submitted, to make sure it was the kind of thing that I would allow.  Don’t worry, I didn’t let the power, nor the praise go to my head.  I did however, take him up on adding a few of my own, let me know if you think of others, or if you want to submit your own piece of scripting to the blog.  It’s here for all of us. - S. Paige

I have made it through one and a half seasons with the fellows of Mission Baseball. The excitement of a rookie season -- played mostly in denim, if you recall -- has given way to a sophomore campaign packed with excellent moments.  Why, just last week I joined the distinguished list of runners thrown out trying to steal second, and a few weeks before that I hit the top of the fence at Crocker-Amazon for the longest single ever!  Through slumps and streaks we keep coming back, because you gotta love Mission Baseball.  In fact, I can easily list eight things about our game that I truly appreciate. 

I know that lists are generally of the "Top Ten" sort, but I settled on eight to recognize the guy running this blog:  "Satch", ol’ number 8.  All players should feel free to add to this list.


(13) Satch hasn’t been caught (officially) for throwing an illegal pitch (yet).

(12) We have stopped games and reshuffled the teams when they were too lopsided.  No one really enjoys a blowout, especially compared to a tight, see-saw battle.

(11) You don’t get a free base just for standing up there with the bat on your shoulder.  The point of the game is to. Hit. The. Ball.

(10) With a few notable (and may I say notorious) exceptions, MBC players can be relied on to give an accurate and honest call on a close play, regardless of how it may affect the outcome of the game.

(9) Unlike the MLB, we have never discriminated against women players. In fact we love it when a lady plays with us, and wish it happened more often.

8. We have no PA system, which means you will never hear any of the following: walk-up music, YMCA, Macarena, chanting "Day-Oh", or any other "bark like a seal when we tell you" sound cues. Mission Baseball is not a club or middle school pep rally. Play ball!

7. No DH. Nothing more to say here.

6. The pace of a Mission Baseball game is usually good. Why? Not many batters step out, pitching changes during an inning almost never happen, and breaks between innings are relatively short.

5. For the most part, we don't have base running coaches. I know that some may disagree with me, but I think that this forces base runners to develop techniques and skills that coaches normally provide (choosing when to steal, judging the outfielders, scanning the field while running, making quick decisions, and so on). Do you want a greater emphasis on base running as a skill? Then get rid of the nanny telling you when to stop and when to run. There, I said it.

4. No instant replay. Nothing more to say here.

3. Most of the fields we play on have no fences. What? This is something to love? Yes, and I will tell you why! It introduces different strategies into the game for both offense and defense. As an outfielder, fences are useful in positioning. Without that reference point, you have to exercise greater judgment based on the hitter and the situation. Plus, there is nothing back there to contain a ball that just got blasted over your head! Similarly, batters have to consider whether swinging for the horizon is truly worth the effort when the defense is already way out there, counting gopher holes 300 feet away from home. Besides, who doesn't love a homerun earned the hard way?

2. We tack on an extra inning or two to many games, even if the score has been settled, simply because we love playing.

And the number one thing you gotta love...

1. No off season. Nothing more to say.

Monday, April 13, 2015

4/12/15 West Sunset

What a day for a ballgame.  The wind that was supposed to descend on us never came and we enjoyed warm, even hot sunny weather the entire game.  We had 21 players, and what seemed like a good match up went sideways early.

Satch and Sean squared off, and Sean shut us down in the first.  Satch managed to limit the damage to one run in the first and one in the second, but the writing was on the wall, something was going on with the defense.  The third proved to be THAT inning.  We had about 6 chances at fly balls and couldn't catch them.  Add to that missed foul out opportunities and legitimate hits and the score after the 3rd was 7-0.  I managed to record strikeouts for all three outs, but I would have been a lot happier with a quick inning.

Sean continued to throw effective ball, and we were pretty powerless until we started to hit the ball on the ground and make the other team actually play defense.  Then they had their bad inning and suddenly we had a good game.  For a little while.....

Storm came in for the visitors and had some trouble with the strike zone, Sean kept at it for the homers.  Carter came in the 8th, as we were clinging to our smallest deficit, eager for a comeback-Cinderella story, the score 9-8.

I fucked it up.

There I said it, all the bad humors I had been waving away through the beginnings of the game came back to me in spades.  I had a bunch of opportunities to make plays at SS, and I pretty much screwed them all up.  We managed to get two outs (which was the theme for the day) and then every time I had a chance to get that last out, I couldn't do it.  Sean hit a perfect squib pop up that I was right on line for except that I was playing in and it sailed over my head.   John McGrath deked me perfectly on a ground ball, staying between me and the ball just long enough for me to lose sight of it completely and then have it go through my legs.  I got a ground ball from Bob that I should have thrown to first, and I threw to second instead, not in time.  I got another ground ball and I threw it to 3rd, a hurried bad throw that went right by Elvin.  Finally I managed to get an out at first, although Storm had to make a good stretch to ensure that we got the out....ugly, in fact, fugly.

So our close comeback turned into 14-8.

Mike Gaspar tried everything he could to get us into a rally, including one of the best jumps we have seen, but with Gastone on to close it out, we were over-matched (I managed to strike out too) and the game came to an end with no one even entertaining the thought of extra innings.


* Sean pitched a great game

* Thanks to Carter, Bob, Gaspar, Greg for catching

* New guy Josh had a good game and timely hits

* Mitch made two errors in center, which is unheard of and goes to show that the defense and the outfield in particular was jinxed yesterday

* Sonny and I both smoked the ball.... right at some one....

* Gaspar and Adam were the only guys that were hitting like they knew what they were doing

* Nick Smith was back, and his usual high quality self

* Abe was doing it with the glove and the bat, just like the game at Crocker Amazon

* We kept hoping with all our pop ups that the other team would start dropping them, but other than Tony's one crucial drop that started our only rally, the homers kept it pretty tight, looking unsure at times, but effective.

* The homers definitely deserved to win, and I don't mean to disparage their hitting prowess, but it was hard to notice in the midst of our bumbling

* We had Greg picked off at second, but no one (especially me) bothered to get to the bag to try

* I did manage to strike out 7or 8 batters in 5 innings of work.

* James made a great throw from right, but the runner knew the rumors of his arm and chose not to test it.

* I recorded all three outs in the third and the fourth innings (the last one was a 1-3, do I get an out or assist on that?).

* Thanks to everyone who came out