Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/4/16 Moscone

I was a little late to the game on account of not really being able to play and having Lil' Satch in tow.  I strained a back muscle in the 11/13/16 game, and it still does not feel all together.  But it was a beautiful day and I figured that it would be a good outing, regardless. 

By the time we arrived, things had already begun their precipitous slide, Mitch had been roughed up for a few runs in the first, and Sonny was throwing lights out.  And that proved to be the big story of the game, Sonny continued to pitch to his defense, and the innings piled up with nary a run in sight.  Six innings of shut out ball, fantastic outing! 

Me and lil guy were amusing ourselves practicing hitting, which he rarely gets to do with real baseballs and wood bats, on account of the fact that I can't afford any broken windows right now.  We played an inning at second base, which was exciting, since we got to take practice ground balls from 1st and be in the mix. He's getting good, and I told him that he only had about 3 more years before he can start playing for real, which I believe was when John Carey made his auspicious debut with the MBC.

Tim was doing a great job behind the dish, and Sonny was throwing intelligently.  We finally scraped a run, but I think it may have been the only one.  Solid defense was definitely the key.  That and scoring runs....

Mitch handed the ball off to Greg and then to Coney Island James, who I don't think I had seen pitch before.  He carried the team the rest of the way. Sonny handed off to Carter took over in the latter part of the game, and I decided to humiliate myself and ruin the team's chances.  Well, I didn't decide that, but that is what happened.  I had said that I was available to bunt if needed, and by the 8th inning, I felt like I was ready.  Mitch was the 10th place hitter, he got on, stole second, and we had discussed that I would bunt him to third.  Except the pitch I chose to bunt was a out of the strike zone curve ball, and I reached for it, bunted it up in the air along the first baseline, it dropped, bounced with some English on it, and hit me me in the leg. 

Dead ball, batter's out, runner cannot advance.

Pretty much the worst possible scenario.  So I porked that rally right in the keister, and the game ended soon after with a score of about 6-1.


* Sonny's pitching was great

* James hit a ball a long way into deep left

* Tim threw out a runner at second

* It wasn't a particularly ugly defensive game, but their offense scored runs, and we didn't.

* For the second time in a row, I have been on a team that looked unbeatable on paper, and couldn't win the game.  Maybe it's me?

* I never realized how much we casually curse at the game, until I had the kid sitting with me.

* Bob HBP, after the order was sent in from the bench

* I am the proud recipient of a FuckFace Co. bat, and oh what a bat it is!  Modeled after the Shoeless Joe Jackson bat, it's got a real piano leg quality to it

Thursday, November 17, 2016

11/13/16 Cop Field

It took me a extra day to get to this one, as the sting had not quite gone out by the usual press deadline.  Needless to say, I had a great time, and I think everyone else did too.  Remember that I said that. 

It was birthday weekend, the only Sunday other than Father's Day that it is understood that Satch gets a free pass to play ball.  Luckily, many others were like-minded and we had 24 to begin with.  By the end of the game, that number had dropped to 20, but what can you do?

We started a tad late as the Mexican league was playing in front of us, and we wanted to be hospitable, as they always are with us.  It also helped that it gave me an extra 10 minutes to warm up.  Lattig started for the homers, and I think he got through the first inning unscathed.  I felt good taking the mound.  I wish that I looked as good as I felt.  I was getting K's, but in between those, the homers were hitting the ball hard.  By the end of the 2nd inning, the score was 4-0, I think.  We scrapped for a run, but in the process we lost Rojas to a knee injury that I fear will be a while before it heals. 

My pitching was great one inning, and awful the next, and when I managed to get a pop up, it was in between everyone, or worse, to someone, but it didn't get caught.  Ben saved me a few times in left, snaring line drives.  By the 5th inning, it felt like the 10th.  The score had crept up to 9-3.  I still felt good, but we had been sitting a lot of players, and I wasn't getting the game I wanted to see, so I stepped aside for Sonny, who came in and shut down the homers for the rest of the game.

Defense for the homers was superb, so much so, that we spotted Mitch in right field, which gives you an idea of the confidence that they had.  Abe was all over the place, making catches, and Tim was doing a great job blocking the dish.

Lattig gave way to young Nick and then to Powell, which helped us a little, since we knew he couldn't play SS and pitch.  Suddenly we started to come alive, and that's when I, along with a few of my teammates, really shit the bed.

Around the 7th, we scored a run, and had no outs, with the bases loaded.  I was on first, Sonny on second, James on third. Finally, the waves were gonna break our way.  JT comes up, and lines a hit to short left center field.  I was so excited for JT, and for the prospect of some dignity for our team in the game, I started thinking what it would take to get to third, or even home if it got past the fielders.  Then like a lead ball in the gut, Abe comes diving in, and catches the ball while sliding along the grass.  He was only about 20 feet from second base, he fired the ball to second, doubling off Sonny who was thinking the same thing I was, and then to first, to catch me tripled off.  Yes folks, a triple play.  I couldn't quite comprehend what happened.  Greg's look of disgust was all I saw walking back to the dugout.

We went down meekly the rest of the game, I don't think we scored another run.  Shit.


* Got to give it up for the defense, it wins games.

* Abe all-around

* Ryan's opposite field triple

* Ben's defense was our shining moment

* I never scored, but I did have a 1.000 on base percentage, with 3 hits and 1.000 percentage in fielding opportunities and about 5 K's.  Happy Birthday, asshole.

* Defense of the infield for the homers, especially Powell and Adam

* At one point Greg almost got thrown out on a hit to the outfield, to which I replied, " At this point, we are trying to fuck up singles....."

* Every person on the home team seemed to contribute offensively and defensively.

* I will give a shout out to Bob on a play at third that he got me to convert on a swinging bunt to get a lead runner.  That was good.

* Duane made a spectacular running play on a pop up in foul territory at first.  Technically he was out of bounds, but you got to respect the play when it happens.  And it wasn't going to make much of a difference at that point.

* The election results were discussed, both sides were respected as much as they ever are

* Mitch was on base about 10 times, it felt like

* Mike did a good job behind the dish after Greg


I hit a ball on Sunday that went over everything in left center, probably about 410 feet (yeah, I google mapped it....).  Given my portly carriage and general torpor, I settled for a triple, rather than get thrown out and embarrassed.  However,  I have always felt if a ball goes that far, and everyone sees it go that far, there should be an understanding that it should be a home run and the runner shouldn't be challenged but given the by your leave to circle the bases. 

I have often wondered if I should just do it, but I don't want to look like a (bigger) asshole than I am, by trotting around the bases and getting tagged out.  However, in the discussion that commenced after the game, most people said that they would have respected that home run call.  The rub is that I have to plant the flag and do it, knowing full well that I risk that my intuition on the hit was wrong and disappoint my team (again). 

It's all theory until put into action, and only then can you hope to enact the change you wish to see.

Wise words, whether you are an out of shape, over the hill ballplayer looking for a second chance, or anyone else that wants the world to be a better place.

Monday, November 7, 2016

11/6/16 Cop Field

Here with the recap is Abe Zuckerman, third baseman, spray hitter and expert bunter, and your friendly neighborhood tax lawyer.  When you got money, and Uncle Sam wants it, talk to Abe.

Homers: Greg, Bob, Tony, Nick, Sonny, Brian, Mitch, Sean, Abe, [missing 1 player]
Visitors: Carter, Randy, Chris Powell, James, John McGrath, Mike [missing 4 players, somehow]

The stories of the game were Carter on the mound, and the visitors' bats running wild.  Carter started for the visitors and threw a no hitter thru 7 (with only two errors) before giving up back to back base hits to Sean and Abe and then getting out of the inning without giving up any runs.  I believe the final line was Carter pitching 7+ (8?) scoreless innings and facing 2 over the minimum.  Powell then came in and closed it out.  I don't believe the homers scored.

Greg started for the homers and from the first inning gave up hit after solid hit. Both Sean and Tony pitched in relief but the visitors were hitting solid liners and long fly balls off them too.  A couple errors in the field didn't help matters.  With Carter blanking the home team things were quickly lopsided (8-0 or thereabouts) by the third or fourth inning and it stayed that way.

Aside from the crushing offense and pitching of the visitors, a number of good defensive plays were made on both sides, including:
- John snagged a line drive hit above his head while over at first base.
- Chris dove to his left at short and caught a very hard hit line drive.
- Sean pulled a Willie Mays while playing first, on a ball popped up down the first base line.
- Abe made a sliding catch ranging to his left in center.

Final Score: 10-0 or thereabouts, which doesn't seem that bad, but it was an absolute thrashing by Mission Baseball standards.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

10/26/16 Moscone

What a glorious day for a ballgame.  And not just because I got play.  The weather was perfect, the field was in great shape, the mound was hard clay and we had exactly 18 players.  We had a good tight game, a nail-biter to the end,

Carter started for the homers and Satch for the visitors.  Carter threw five shut out innings, and was pretty dominating.  For a team that looked like it should provide some runs, we were pretty anemic for the first half of the game.  Then we decided to get out of our own heads "relax", and have some fun, and then the runs started coming in.

The real story of the game was the three double plays that the homers combined for, which pretty much destroyed any big inning that we had tried to patch together.  Defense and pitching wins games.  remember that, it will come up again.

Mitch seemed to be the lynch pin of the homers game, he was the quick pivot at 2nd for two of the three double plays, he pitched three innings, he had several hits, and scored twice, I think.

It was 4-0 going into the 6th inning, Carter bowed out, Mitch came in, and we began the long slow climb out of the hole.  Our bats suddenly came alive, Don hitting a powerful gapper, as did Jimmy, who had two swinging bunts on his first two at bats.

Satch ended up throwing a complete game, and I will say that the homers hit approximately 19 balls to the left side, Jimmy and Chris were overwhelmed.  They had a pretty good percentage of outs, but the ones we missed, there were a lot of flares and tweeners that no one could get, ended up hurting us. All in all, it felt like a good outing, and with the offense coming alive, we went into the 8th inning, suddenly in possession of the lead, for the first time in the game, 5-4.

Well, as usual, Mitch got on, took second on a throwing/fielding error, took third on a fielders choice, and scored on a hit. * I was updated by James for this recap, which I admit was not sufficient.  Here is what really happened. Thanks James, when I am pitching, I am sometimes not able to retain as much of the play by play...yeah, that's what is was.....

* The recap of the home team's comeback in the bottom of the eighth, down 5-4:

- Mitch: infield hit, advances to 2nd on error
- James: bunt single (because Satch got me out 4 previous ABs!), 1st and 3rd
- James: steals 2nd, runners on 2nd and 3rd, no out
- Abe: infield pop-up, 1 out
- Duane: SQUEEZE PLAY BUNT WITH TWO STRIKES! Mitch scores tying run, James to 3rd, Duane out at 1st, 2 outs
- Next batter (?): ground ball to 2nd, error, James scores go ahead run, 6-5

- Next batter (?): third out

We managed to get another out, but also were faced with runners at first and third.  The stage was set. Weak ground ball to second, looks like we are going to get out of it.  Bob, plenty of time, picked it up, and then it slipped out of his hand, flying softly the wrong way towards second, landing, and rolling slowly on the dirt.  Run scored, 6-5.  We got the next batter out, but the damage was done.  The homers brought in Greg to shut the door on us, and he did so.  Game over.


*Three double plays was amazing to see.

* I have never seen so many balls hit to the left side

* I did manage to keep James off balance, which is saying something

* Don made a great play in outfield, and new guy Ben made a couple in left

* Jimmy and Chris did the best they could

* Bob and John Mcg did a great job behind the dish, blocking the ball and avoiding the straw sacks placed for flood abatement

* Every time Duane came up, it was a pressure situation, and I had to bear down and give him the best stuff.

* Chris slid to stop a tweener and it sounded like he was sliding on sandpaper.  His pants was to' up!

* A safety squeeze by the homers was perfectly executed

* My hardest hit ball of the game was the game ender, a line drive to James

* Carter and Bob present, but no HBP!  Blasphemy.

* I told Sean he could pitch if I coughed up the lead, but then the run that scored was partially a result of a shady throw on his part.  I rescinded my offer, based on insider manipulation.

* An infield fly rule has to be 2 or more runners on, with less than two outs, but there has to be a force out possibility present, right?  Someone weigh in on this.

Looks like rain, so everyone don't forget to do your throwing workouts and hit the cages....

S. Paige

Monday, September 26, 2016

9/25/16 Cop Field

What could have been a really horrible day, turned into a great one.  I sent out an email last week, apologizing to the group about my lack of attendance, due to various family and work obligations.  This week, the madness finally ebbing, I was able to get out again.  So I sent out another email, pleading for good attendance, since the weather was amazing, over 90 degrees in SF rarely happens!

I got out there nice and early, Mitch showed up soon after, and a slow trickle of players followed.  At 3pm we had exactly 10 players.  ARGHHHH!!!!!  I do not understand how it is that we can have 70 active people on an email list and not get a full game?  As we trudged through infield/outfield, we kept noticing that there was a convolution of young players with lots of gear and uniforms at our field.  Was there a permit snafu, or was this divine providence?  The latter it seemed, they were a traveling team of high-schoolers from SF--coached by the University High coaches-- gearing up for a tournament in AZ.  Can everyone say scrimmage?

So we started, us the homers, the 25 odd kids and five coaches on the other side.  Satch started, and threw 5 innings.  Only gave up 2 runs, which makes me happy, given that it was a bunch of whipper snappers in the prime of their athletic life.  Unfortunately, their starting pitcher (who we learned later was actually a red-shirt college player) struck out our first 7 guys in a row.  Not exactly the look we were going for.  But in the third inning, Nick got on, James tattooed a ball to left (their outfielders played us like we were a t-ball team) and Satch hit a opposite field grounder past second, and we had two runs.  They got back one, and then we exploded for another two runs, after a pitching change made us all a little more confident. 

Satch bowed out, having struck out about 7 and hit one kid in the chest while he tried to bunt.  i won't say that was intentional, but I was trying to make it hard for him to bunt.  I thought the rule was, you try to bunt a ball, and it hits you, it counts as a strike.  Apparently not, but he did push at it, not just hold the bat out, so I feel it should have been strike.  Whatever, the score 4-2 in our favor, as I left, helped by Mitch doing what Mitch does, robbing a deep drive to right field, seriously, he was playing the guy at about 415 feet, and he just waited for it.

Sean came it, and well, the change in pitching seemed to help the other team as well.  They had several powerful line drives, and when the dust had settled, it was 5-4, them.  In hindsight, Sean probably did it on purpose to give himself a chance at the win.  He's crafty like that.

At first, that strategy worked, as we went up 6-5, but then the youth and keen eyesight of the young un's took over, but our hitting went cold, a hard throwing kid came in and made us nervous, and after Jessie pitched a frustrating 8th inning, where we had a blown opportunity at a home to first double play, the final score was 10-6.  We stopped after 8 innings, since it was after 6 pm, and due to the fact that the other team took soooo long to get in the box and then in between pitches, stepping out, looking for signs, etc.  

But at least we had a game!


* That young kid got Mitched.

* We held our own against a high school all star team

* It helps your hitting to know that they aren't allowed to throw curve balls

* Derrick had a nice hit, and made a crucial catch in the sun drenched left field

* Bob caught 6, after having played in a earlier game with JT and Dennis

* John McGrath successfully argued a 3rd strike call that the catcher made with a simple, "Fuck no." The kid was shaken.

* I was really surprised that they didn't bunt more, with their speed we would have had trouble.

* Duane made a fantastic catch on a high line drive

* We almost had a double play on a 1-6-3 dribbler, Chris made a nice play on the turn

* Bob was not HBP, we were surprised.

* He did however loaf it down to 1st on a ground ball that the SS muffed.  If he had been running full would have been a closer play.....

* About 5 times, after getting a base hit off me, I said Nice Hit.  Each time I was ignored or met with a blank stare.  These kids were still in the mindset that one does not give or take compliments from the other side....

* James had the hit of the game, a triple

* We were about 2-7 on pop ups in the infield

* Derrick brought the gear, but forgot the helmets, so we were swapping constantly from the base paths. I also got a chance to wear a helmet sized for 5 3/4 to 6 7/8

* Roll Call of the faithful: Chris, Mitch, Duane, Derrick, Jessie, Bob, Nick, Abe, James, Satch, John McG, Sean

Thanks for a memorable game!

S. Paige

Monday, August 8, 2016

8/8/16 Moscone

What a day for a ball game, the sun was out, it was breezy without being too bad, and we had 21 players.  What could be better?  Well, the visiting team might have wished for a more even game, but other than that, a nice clean game of baseball.

Carter started for the visitors, and Tony for the homers.  I showed up a little late with Lil' Satch in tow, and Tony promised he only wanted to go three innings.  Well, 3 innings into it, he hadn't given up a run yet, and his arm felt good so he kept going.  I didn't mind, since it is easier to play right field or second with the boy, rather than having him sit on the bench while I pitch.

Carter was throwing well, but we were able to string together some hits and by the middle innings the score was 7-1.  Carter bowed out after 5 to John Carey, who is a fireballer, with a few control issues.  Once he got in the groove, he was good.  He lasted 2 innings, and then a new guy threw the last inning.  Tony finally gave up a run in the 7th, which he was happy about and left the game with his head high.

A discussion continued after the game as to why the final was so lopsided, given that the team didn't seem all that different.  JT's input, which I think is accurate, is that games are won by the teams that catch the ball.  And the homers defense was great.  Tony admitted his arm felt good cuz he was throwing regular pitches, and letting the defense do the work.  Which is awesome when you can do it.  For myself, I came in and threw the 8th and 9th, and all told, probably only threw about 14 pitches.  A quality defense is a great thing. 

And that is probably the main reason for the asymmetric score, which was 12-1 (or thereabouts).  However, I have to say that the teams were not really balanced.  The visitors had two young kids, a couple of new guys, Randy, Tim, Carter, Bob, JT and John.  We had Powell, Lattig, James, Tony, Greg, Adam, Elvin, Abe, etc.  At the very least, you can't have James, Powell, and Lattig on a team without some serious counterbalance, that is a combined power and average of about .900.  And that's not all just skill, but knowledge on the game, on how to play people.  At the very least we should have had one of the kids.  Again, not complaining.


* All this talk of defense aside, the visitors had a double play, that almost was a triple play.

* Elvin was hit twice, once in the ribs, and once in the ass.  Both of them sounded like a kick drum

* Bob was also hit twice

* Tony threw a great game, and had his side arm sneaky ball working well

* A steal attempt at third was called an out, then safe, then out again, then safe

* On a outfield that didn't get watered as much, we would have had some legitimate in-the-parkers

* Bob took a beating all game, as the visitors catcher

* Powell stole second before the ball crossed the plate

* Elvin made a great catch in left field, on the run, with a first baseman's glove, left handed.

* I snuck home on a mental error when the first baseman thought there were three outs.

* More Fuckface bats apparent

* Carter struck me out, I tried to lean into it at the last moment to give the perspective that it wasn't a strike, which it was.  What an asshole....

* Lil' Satch almost took my head off with a ball, when we gave him a chance to hit in between innings

* Greg made a great running play at third

* Thanks to everyone who came out, nice to have a full game

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pictures from Inside SQ

Here are a few pics from Opening Day in San Quentin:

7/24/16- Big Rec GGP

By last count, there are 101 people on our email list for the games.  We had 13 show up on Sunday, 15 with the two new guys that were playing catch in the park that we recruited.  Given that ~15% of the people on the list are no longer in the area, that that is a 15.1% attendance rate.  That sucks.  Now I know that summer time, people have travel plans, or whatever, but still, everyone get your priorities straight.  If I had the power to, I would be out there every Sunday.  Some of you still have that power.

Of those that did show up, we were treated to a foggy, humid day in the park.  Didn't get cold until the end, but the temperature never got above 65 I would say.  It was 99 in the East Bay, when I left home.

Carter (President and CEO Fuck Face) started for the homers, and went the distance, matched by Satch for the visitors.  We both threw excellent games, I would say, and had our share of quick, 6-8 pitch innings.  When you have to keep switching out defense, and 2-3 more at bats, it can make a difference.  Chris and I were responsible for the first two runs for our team, it was a good system, he got on, stole some bases, I knocked him in.

The homers were not a bunch of shrinking violets by any means, and had some loud hits, but our defense proved to be better, definitely the difference when you are trying to conserve energy.  I will also say that the homers sub in for us at 2nd made at least 4 put outs on line drives.  That helps too.

The game got to 8-4 and there it stayed for the latter innings.  In the 9th, after shutting us down, the homers made a play for the win, but fell woefully short, with two runners on, and the score 8-6, Greg strode to the plate,  talking a big game, sneering at Satch, and then hit a two-hoppity comebacker to me, for the final out.

Final- Visitors- 8-6.


* Special thanks to Nassir and Bukkari, for playing the whole game with us.

* Carter threw an excellent game, cap tip!

* Thanks to Ed, Bob, Don, and Gaspar for doing the catching

* Gaspar did what he does best, took 5 pitches, fouled off 4 more, then amazingly, drilled a ball up the middle

* Elvin had a frustrating day at the plate, with one exception of a clean hit to left

* Bob got hit in the hindquarters early on, Official!

* Had Lattig's number with the off speed

* Bukkari had a triple after a couple of strikes outs.  He switched to the left side, and drilled a single, but blew a hammy on the swing

* Powell hit with authority all day

* I had a triple myself, after striking out, as promised

* Bukkari had a couple of throws that were so far off line due to his frustration that one had to wonder what he was throwing at

* Powell had more bad hops at his face than I can remember, both at SS and 1st.  He also hit a ball that took a wicked third hop, going over Randy's head

* Carter had a big wallop on a grooved fastball

* I managed to not cover 3rd properly all game.  In my defense, it was unoccupied a lot....We had someone nailed at 3rd on a throw from left, and by the time I caught the ball, my forward momentum was too much, and when I tried to turn to apply the tag, it was too late.  Someday I will remember....

* More than one play where the ball fell out and the baseman had to scramble to pick it up with his bare hand while keeping his foot on the bag for the out

* Not one passed ball for Bob (or Don), he wanted that pointed out

* Thanks again to everyone that made it out, hopefully we will have a swell in attendance as summer winds down.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

7/16/16- MBC vs. SQ All-Stars

We missed our game in June, due to the Warriors game 6, which the inmates said they would rather watch than play us.  We tried not to take offense to that.  So there we were, on Saturday morning, the freezing wind whipping and and fog curling over the coastal range.  The guard at the gate tried to throw a scare into us, saying that they would cancel the game if the fog came in any more, and started to block the guards' view of the yard.  That would be some fog....

Only nine brave souls were present for the MBC, but we were a determined bunch.  We were also a error-prone bunch.  Needless to say, most of our outfielders preferred to play any position other than outfield.  That's what happens when you staff a team with 4 second baseman.  But we made the best of it.

The real surprise of the day was the ranks of the SQ team had been decimated by people quitting the team, most notably Dewey, the fireballing pitcher.  I wasn't the only one that probably was relieved that we would be facing someone, nay, anyone, else.

The first play of the game was marred by one of the most egregious bad calls we have experienced inside.  Powell hit a ground ball and beat the throw by a step and a half.  The field umpire called him out, and I guess the plate umpire didn't see it.  But everyone else did, and we have never had so many players from the other team come over and apologize after a bad call...The umpire must have had somewhere else to be; he was replaced in the fourth inning.

Satch started for the MBC and went the distance.  It was probably a 150-170 pitch endeavor, I'll get to the details in a second.  It was great that we actually got to play 9 innings, for some reason I thought that yard time had to be done by 1pm, but apparently, it is the soccer game that ends the baseball prematurely on Saturdays.  And the soccer players never showed up.  One thing that did show up was a gusty wind that blew dirt into every crevice of the game, and several times an at bat had to be stopped so the dust cloud could pass through, and every one could make sure that they could see before the game was resumed.

Long story short, we made a lot of errors and walked a few, and the other team walked a lot of batters, and made a few errors.  So we both played a less than clean game, but it was a great time!  Other than when you think you got an out locked up, only to watch it clang off the glove.  The scoreboard official gave us a tally of 7 errors for the game, but I know it was more than that.  Ed, in particular, had a rough day, and by his own admission made two errors on one play, but only one error was counted on the board.  So that is the kind of defense we had.  That being said, we had some great plays as well!  Abe made a double play on a weird ground ball to third, he tagged the stealing runner just before the base and then threw out the batter.  McGrath had about 14 opportunities at second base and successfully completed 11 of them.  I will take those percentages any day of the week.  Powell went to the hole a few times and made some great grabs.  Richie....I don't think he had a ball hit his way all day....

We fell into a deep hole the first few innings, and the score was about 8-1, but slowly crawled our way out of the mire, and with the help of the erratic pitching and some timely hitting we made a valiant comeback to what we thought was an insurmountable lead.  Going into the ninth inning, the score was 16-12.  No problem, we thought.

Needless to say, the final score was 16-15, with the tying runner on third base and the winning run on first.  Phew.....


* Everyone on the team contributed something.

* Chris had our first hit, regardless of how it was called.

* At one point, the scoreboard showed us with 10 runs on one hit (the first real hit was Duane)

* Speaking of, Duane had a bum ankle, and watching him swing,he would wince each time he missed it.  Then he would get on base, refuse a sub, and steal second and third.  We were all confused.

* McGrath made the most of some very squirrly plays at second.

* The wind played hell with pop ups all day

* But the knuckleball worked great with the wind

* Abe was the victim of the hidden ball trick at second, after having a great hit.

* I had a single and a double, but the only RBIs I got were on a fielder choice which scored 2.....

* Between the bad call, the other bad call on tag play at first, Powell was convinced the umpire had it in for him

* The new rule is that no ball is considered dead in the outfield, except if it hits someone or gets lodged somewhere.

* My line for the day: Nine innings pitched, probably about 14 hits, 6Ks, and 4 walks ( I may have boasted 2 walks elsewhere, but 4 is more accurate). No hit batsmen, which may be a first for me in SQ.  In fact, neither team hit anyone.

* We were lucky enough to get an out on a interference play when someone in the dugout picked up one of our many throwing errors at third.

* Struck out twice, which is always fun.  The second on a perfect out of the strike zone breaking ball.  I would say at least I swung, but no one would say that if they saw the swing....

* The SQ team has some awesome new uniforms and hats.  Hope we can purchase some at some point.  For those of you that gave money to Ed already for a SQ hat, hopefully he remembers who you are....from 3 years ago....

* The fourth pitcher SQ used was great, they should have brought that guy in sooner.

* I had about three comebacker balls that I came within an inch of catching, I heard them buzz by, but just couldn't grab em!

* The best part of the SQ game is playing a hardball game against a great group of friendly competitors.  The worst part of the SQ game is the hour on either side that we all wait for the SQ uniforms and gear to be checked in and checked out. There has to be a more efficient way.

Here is a link to the write up of the season opener, courtesy of Marcus Henderson, who sat with us for most of the game, and kept us abreast of the news of the Q:

Don't look back,

S. Paige

Friday, July 8, 2016

7/3/16 Fourth of July Doubleheader

What a day for a couple of ballgames.  It was sunny when we started and frigid by the time we ended.  Game started promptly at 11, first pitch.   Elvin and his friends brought out the big guns, canopy, reclining chairs, all the necessities to help us make it a great day.
The teams fell out, approximately 15 on each side, and in attendance were several of the old guard, including Mr Johnny Bartlett, who took the third sack and brought Boudin sausages, natch.

Most of the specifics escape me, so I will try to do a recap and highlights as I remember them.  First and foremost, the final scores.

Game 1: Final Score: Visitors- 15-8

Game 2: Final Score Visitors- 10-8

The first game was a well contested affair until the end when the wheels came off for the homers.  Greg started for the homers and Lattig for the visitors.  Some great defense, and not too many problems with the constant change of players, to allow for everyone to play the same amount. Though on the losing squad, Brian Phelps got the hit of the game, with an the in-the-park home run, to deep right.  Apparently he was mocked at the plate by Bob about getting a real hit, rather than another chickenshit opposite field hit.  Way to kick the hive, Bob.

The BBQ was great as usual, helped in part by the families that came out to support their players and helps organize things.  Elvin's friends, as I mentioned were also very helpful with a range of things.  Mike Lattig gave  very nice speech to welcome the newest AOY to the club, Mr. Mitchell Burnham.  True to his laid back (off the diamond, at least) nature, Mitch's speech consisted of, "Thank you, guys."

We started the second game, Satch going for the visitors and Tony for the homers.  I threw 5 innings, gave up two runs, had a few strikeouts, felt good, got a K on a knuckleball, which is always fun.  I bowed out to John Carey and Mitch took over for the homers.

Going into the last few innings of the second game, the score was 10-3 and the homers mounted a huge comeback that almost worked, John Carey was on the mound, and the homers were taking their walks.  However, someone forgot to tell the high school kid that everyone was taking walks, and with the tying run was on 2nd, he chose not to walk, thinking that he would be the hero.  Instead, the final out was recorded and the visitors had won both games.


* JT brought his family out, and then had the best day of his life at the plate, putting on a hitting clinic, going 5-5 in the first game, and nearly the same in the second.

* Mitch was duped by Milo, who made him throw 38 pitches on a batting practice before the 6th inning, entirely ruining Mitch's ability to throw strikes from 60 feet.  Milo, amazingly, had the gall to tell Mitch afterwards that he would have swung sooner if he had thrown him anything worth hitting.  We all got a little nervous that Mt. St. Burnham would erupt, but luckily, he kept his cool.

* Sean rung up Milo with an extreme "YERRR out" call at third on a pick off play, sending Milo into a huge funk.  Sometimes we need to remember that kids take this stuff more seriously than we do....

* I managed to hit the ball to the same place almost every time, luckily that place was deep left center.  Finally, the outfielders started playing me at 390

* This is about where Phelp's HR landed

*  John Nero came home, I don't know if it is for good or not.

* In addtion to the AOY awarding, other awards given: Sean received the Best Dressed award, and Elvin (left-handed) was awarded his second Rookie of the Year,.  Most Improved was not awarded, as no one improved.  The Deserter trophy should have gone to everyone who ever moved to Portland.

* Chris Powell stole every base he could

* There were a lot of bad throws to first, including several from the outfield  courtesy of James who was trying to throw everyone out at first

* The soundtrack for this year's game included: Django Reinhardt, Lester Young, Bill Evans, The Stooges, and Vince Guaraldi.

* Some broken bats, including Bob's which broke completely off at the handle.

* Elvin had quite a few hits

* The food was a step up this year, seaweed salad,  several types of sausages.
   * The food was a step up this year, seaweed salad,  several types of sausages.

* Bob was hit his first at bat.  And then again.  And then John got grazed. its a family affair

* Thanks to all the catchers of the day

* And the weirdest part of the game, a man in a Technicolor trench coat led a goat across the outfield in the latter part of the second game.  If you don't believe me, here is the evidence....Freedom!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

6/5/16 Cop Field

One driving into the city from the East Bay could see the line of delineation formed in the fog/sun in San Francisco.  I hoped for the best, but the closer I got to Balboa Park, the more it seemed we were cursed to play in the DMZ.  So it was sunny for the first few innings, and gradually, it became colder, windier, and foggier (as seen in the photos above).

I had Lil Satch with me again, loaded with snacks, cold weather gear, and baseball equipment, and in between at-bats, we practiced hitting in the backstop down the left field line.  I also benefited from him napping on the drive in.

Carter started for the homers and Satch for the visitors, and the game was a fairly low scoring affair at the beginning.  We scored 3 runs in one inning, the homers scored one run in another, and that was it for the beginning. 

Having been thrown one pitch to swing at in 9 pitches, I took a walk in the fourth inning with two outs and Tony on third, and then employing a rather underhanded old dodge (AOY 2016!), I took off early from first to draw the throw and hopefully stay alive long enough for Tony to cross home.  It worked, Carter ran straight at me, threw it to the second baseman, who never looked in Tony's direction as he dashed home.  I was tagged, but the run counted and we were up 4-1.

I ended up throwing 5 innings, and felt good, McGrath was calling a good game and had some great blocks behind the dish.  I will also say that we had Aiden playing for real, and he did his father proud, as well as being a decent fellow to play with Lil Satch (who said that was his favorite part of the game) while I was on the mound in the 4th.

Around about that time, I realized that the young, robust and determined center fielder in the A's uniform, who had robbed myself and James of extra base hits was, in fact John Carey.  Truly he is a man among men now, and those who have followed this blog will remember that it seemed like only yesterday that he was tailing his dad in an oversize uniform, and getting at bats in between innings.  The word is that he is playing for his college team now, and is home for the summer.  Great news, if you aren't the guy that tattooed a laser shot to center field that gets miraculously caught.  John scored the first run for his team, in true MBC fashion, single, stolen base, throwing error, fielding error.*

*After the ball got past third base, I ran to field it and throw it home, unbeknownst to me, McGrath had the same idea, and I threw towards the body I saw near home plate.  That, of course, was the batter, home plate having been abandoned.  I am not sure if that counts as an additional throwing error or not....

Around the middle innings, the homers caught fire, and scored two runs and were threatening more when we were able to get out of the jam.  Carter  hit a triple to left and it was only due to excellent defense that we maintained the lead.

Mitch took over pitching for us, and threw two good innings, and then Tim took the ninth inning.  Those who can count will realize that we only played 8 innings, yes, we skipped the 7th, as the weather was turning fast, and we were in danger of losing more players, two of which had left in the 5th.

John took over pitching for the homers, and definitely led the day in K's, however it came at a cost.  His lively arm was wild, and Adam spent a lot of time getting hit, or chasing balls to the backstop.  Adam's zeal for the game was quickly eradicated.   I got on through a dropped third strike and a near collision at first with Elvin, which luckily resulted only in a glancing blow, but still, I eventually came around to score on a hit by Tim, an inning which sealed the fate of the homers.

The runs piled up, and the homers made nary a whisper in the ninth, the final score being 8-3.


* Thanks to everyone who came out, it seems that attendance has dipped a bit in the last few months, so we may need to start recruiting a little

* Mitch worked a full day and then came out and played, that is the love of the game right there

* Elvin may have mastered fielding with his right hand, but when it comes to throwing left handed from the outfield, he missed the cut off man by about 70 feet.

* Gaspar made an outstanding sliding catch in right field

* Tim and Tony combined for an awesome double play, with Tony making a great play on the conversion at second

* Adam showed his old colors that earned him the Bad Sportsmanship trophy, by walking away from the batters box after hitting a ground ball

* Aiden lined a ball straight back to me, if instinct hadn't taken over, I would have dropped it and forced him to run it out.  Great hit though!

* It was great to have Mitch in the outfield again, too often he has been relegated to other positions lately

* Richie managed to tune himself up at first with a knee and elbow injury, that hopefully was not too serious

* I felt really bad about the elbow in Elvin's ribs, but there was no way I was going to miss him completely, and if I ran into him with my body, he may have been killed.  The elbow was more of a bumper to keep the rest of me from colliding with him.  Cold comfort, but better than the alternative, given that I outweigh Elvin by about 150 lbs.

* Elon swung at a 3-0 knuckleball and popped out.  That might have been my proudest moment of the day

* Bob claimed he was gonna kick the shit out of me, if I hit his kid.  Tall order, given how full of shit I am.

* Lil Satch and I played 2nd base for the latter part of the game, and it worked out well, not only did we get to play next to Tony (his favorite) but he liked the warm-up grounders he got to take, courtesy of Nick Smith.

* Get well soon Greg!

S. Paige

Friday, June 3, 2016

5/25/16 MBC vs. SQ All Stars

Thanks to McGrath and Phelps for giving me the recap, I really wanted to be at this game, but various obligations kept me away.  I am glad that Phelps was able to step into the starting role and do so well.

Traffic clogged up the base paths from the get go and even with the fear of Officer Wood blocking home plate, the Mission players were eager to go. But upon arrival the gatekeeper was not wearing an Ushanka but rather a smile. Officer Rico was suave and polite in the process of letting us in, making jokes as she went through our IDs and searched our things.
Paired with the fast pace of our liaison Andrew, we were on the field faster than expected. The crowd was ready and two lefties squared off and never relinquished the mound. The MBC scored first but SQ immediately came back and the game was tied.
SQ took the lead in the bottom of the second and it stayed that way for 6 innings. SQ All-Stars got 2 more in the 7th right before lock-up time called the game. Beers and burgers were had by all. 
FINAL SCORE 4-1, SQ All Stars


* Mitch leadoff double, Phelps bunt single and Mitch scores on an RBI single by Duane.
* This would be our only run.
* Phelps got picked off at 2nd (again)
* McGrath had a double
* Phelps started his first game on the inside and pitched 7 IP, 4Ks, 4 Runs, 1 BB.
* 2nd batter of the game for SQ crushed a homer over the barbed wire.
* Don chased down a ball and barrel rolled onto the concrete… survived unscathed.
* Powell made a slick sliding stop at SS and made a sweet throw.
* Mitch made a nice catch in center and rifled back to an outstretched Duane to double up the runner at first. The ump called him safe but hundreds of “Oohs” let out due to the obvious fact that he was out:
Don: Can we appeal the call?  
Ump: Are you asking me to appeal it?  
Don: Yeah  
Ump: Then he's out.
* Greg leapt out of squat faster than Johnny Badass and made a diving catch on a foul ball behind him that was only 10 feet high
* The game ended with the bases loaded and a hard hit ball to center off the bat of Mitch.
* One fan caught back-to-back foul balls.
* Maybe one of the best umpires behind the dish we’ve ever had. 
* We learned origin stories for Sonny and Randy’s nicknames.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5/29/16 Big Rec

Another nice day, if the wind wasn't blowing.  Seriously, gusts all day, some of which blew pop flies all over the place.

It was Don's birthday, and he had a fan base out there.  There was the promise of pizza, beer, and cupcakes, but nothing had materialized by the time me and lil Satch (LS) had to go.  Hopefully it happened.  We started a little late because the traffic and parking was terrible, thanks to Duane for sending out a warning email, though he didn't make it himself, so not sure what that meant.

Sonny started for the homers, and I think he threw a complete game, way to go!  The visitors had some pop but just couldn't string together much of a offense.  Carter was on the bump for the visitors, and threw well, having his little one and wife in the stands as well.

The game went along fairly quickly,  we were 10-10 by the time everyone got settled, and had some nice plays at first, for the homers.  We threw the ball around a lot as the visitors. 

I came in for the 6th and 7th and felt good, I was worried with LS getting bored and tired that I was gonna need to be efficient.  And Lo and behold, I tied the major league record for minimum pitches in an inning with 3.   Carter, who was catching by that time was in full support of the last batter getting a picture perfect fastball down the middle, cuz that is what you gotta do!  Luckily, the pop up that ensued was not one of the ones that was dropped ( I dropped one the inning before).

The hardest hit balls of the day seemed to get caught, which is just the way it goes.  Me and LS had to depart after the 7th, with the score at 5-2.  I have not heard the final outcome, but I imagine that it was around that.


* Nick Smith was called out once at first on a bang bang play, and then when it happened again later, he was called safe, due to the unfair nature of the play (and cuz he was safe....)

* JT came out, and hit a scorching line drive that was caught.  He also made a crucial out in right

* John McGrath caught, did well, hit the ball, almost had a close play at the plate

* Lattig did the best with a lackluster bunch of throws from the infield, and made some great picks

* Terrible hops turned into great hops  a lot that day

* Elvin had a great RBI knock

* Randy also had some good defense

* Bob did some catching, had a nice wallop

* Mitch, who we are worried has work-related scheduling issues on Sundays now, was out, and not playing outfield, but still making Mitch catches

* I hit the highest pop fly that dropped clean for a single, due to the wind, and the left fielder playing me at 415ft.

* Odd day with no Tony, Greg, Adam, Sean, etc.

* LS is coming around in his hitting, got some plate time, and wants me to remember to bring more food and a larger sunshade next time.

S. Paige

Monday, May 16, 2016

5/15/16 Big Rec GGP


A spring day in May is a fine thing, and even better when there is aplenty of parking.  In our yearly recruitment drive, we played in GGP on Bay to Breakers day, and netted some fresh volunteers.  I think the heat must have knocked the drunks out early, I didn't see the usual assortment of staggering giraffes and body paint that I have in years past.

We started with 13, with Satch and Greg going head to head.  And that is how we finished, a complete game for both hurlers, which is how it should be.  The field and the mound were both in great shape, which made pitching a lot easier. A late McGrath made us 7 on 7, a legitimate game. And much later, after recruiting, Dennis showed up and we had 17.

We gained a Dutch recruit who played right field for a half an inning and took a hurried at-bat, in which he grounded to second but didn't bother to run, and then suddenly left, due to his girlfriend waiting for him.  The decision to invalidate his ground ball as an out was contested, unofficially, as we felt he had made an impact in the defensive game, gathering in a ball hit by Nick that would have been extra bases had the Dutchman not been there.  But whatever....

The visitors scored first, then we answered back to knot it at 1-1.  It was to be a see-saw battle the whole game, which made it exciting.  I will say that the lethargy shown by the Dutchman was infectious in his team, the visitors in particular had not interest in running out ground balls.  That lack of hustle may have made the difference in the game.

I noticed a man and woman in sporty togs that watched at least an whole inning of the game so I sauntered up and asked them if they were interested in playing? They both agreed and we had 8 on 8, which made the situation a lot more relaxed.  Brian and Michelle had actually run the B2B that morning, and showed a lot of spirit in playing eh whole game with us.  Michelle was on base twice and scored a run, and didn't strike out.  Brian, not so much, although he did also score a run and made a perfect throw to the plate from left to gun down Jon McGrath.  We were lucky to have them.

Going into the late innings, Powell was interested in throwing and I declared the 7th my last inning, and then had a good inning and asked for one more inning.  Chris, out of the goodness of his heart, acquiesced and suggested that I could also pitch the 9th if I wanted to.  I couldn't argue with his logic that he would have the opportunity to throw next week, while it might be a month before I was back out.  A sad, but true commentary.

We were tied at 7-7 going into the bottom of the 8th, and then James got on, and scored the go ahead run coming all the way around.  In the top of the ninth, the visitors roared mightily, until they got into the batters box, and then, they went down in order.  Tony hit what could have been extra bases but Dennis was there and made the catch for the game.


* It was almost too nice of a day

* Thanks to Bob, Adam and John for doing the catching on a day when the weather was hot

* We had a series of foul balls to left, some of which I am not sure were actually foul

* There was quite a few untouched pop ups that go as singles in the books, but were not pretty to watch ( I had one)

* Elvin continues to improve as a lefty, and had a great timely hit

* I don't think I hit anyone, and the only pitches that were getting away from me were knuckleballs that anyone could avoid

* Chris made some crucial plays at SS, and stopped a few more from getting to the outfield

* Once again, perfect strikes to anyone other than Richie in the box

* Tony gained the love and attention of three kids in the stands, giving him advice throughout his at bat and subsequent base-running.  Given the adulation that he was garnering, I found myself feeling like the villain in a wrestling match.

* Adam made a number of great stops at catcher, which at Big Rec can be a substantial difference in the game

* We had a chance to get out of an inning with the SQ out (right fielder to 1st base), but some of us were yelling one, and others were yelling home, and the right fielder said it all sounded like home

* Matt also made some great plays at SS, and was a constant threat at the plate

* Greg did a great job on the bump, the game could have very easily gone the other way

* Adam came through with a big RBI at bat that almost broke me

* Tony knew the knuckle was coming and was still flummoxed.

* Thank you to everyone who came out to play, it would have sucked for my once a month game to be a batting practice on a beautiful day


It came to our attention that John Nero recently moved to Chicago, without so much as a warning, much less a goodbye.  After ~16 years playing with the MBC, we thought we at least warranted a social nicety or even a polite "go fuck ourselves."

Apparently not.  Hopefully we have not seen the last of him, and we wish him the best.  Someone else is going to have to bring the vegetarian-only grill for the 4th of July BBQ.

For those who wish to remind themselves, here is the player profile on John from 2009.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

4/30/16 San Quentin All-Stars vs MBC- Game 1

I wish I could have been there, sounds like it was a well-played affair.  thanks to Abe Zuckerman for the write up.  Too bad we couldn't keep the winning streak alive into the 2016 season....

Game was preceded by the teams lining up on the first and third base paths, a four man color guard marching onto the field, an inmate signing the national anthem (quite well) and the warden throwing out the first pitch (high and outside).
Sean pitched all 9, held the SQ All Stars to 2 runs in the (2nd?), which we matched in the (5th?) to even the score.  The game remained tied until the bottom of the 8th when the SQ All Stars plated 3 runs after a couple errors, a couple hits and couple a stolen bases.  
We didn't score in the top of the 9th and it was all over, 5-3 them.

Notable plays: 
* Sean picked a man off third by throwing over to Tim who proceeded to chase the runner almost all the way home before applying the tag.
* Sean picked another runner off first via the rundown, getting assistance from Powell (at short) and Dwayne at first. 
* Matt, playing second, tried to gun down a runner that was sneaking home from third.  Matt threw a strike to home where Greg successfully blocked the plate and applied the tag and the runner was called .... safe, for some reason.
* Matt went 2 for something in his debut, crushing the ball both times.
* Mitch, who requested to hit at the bottom of the order because he was "rusty" hit a strong single in his first at bat, only to be picked off immediately even though he was standing like 2 feet from the bag.
* The SQ All Star left fielder made a running, jumping catch on a ball that was crushed by ????
* I made a diving catch coming in on a pop-fly hit to shallow right field that Jimmy, playing second, never saw.
* Elan smoked some balls and pulled his groin.  He then continued to hit even though he couldn't run at all.

* Of Special Note:  The SQ All Stars gave Greg a major league official game ball signed by the entire SQ team in appreciation for his services over the years.  Seems that the players in SQ feel the same way about Greg as we do.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5/1/16 Cop Field

I don't know what happened at the the games other than two pictures from the catcher's POV and a two sentence description with accompanying pitchers list that I got from AOY Sidawi.

Home won 13 to 12. Coney island James hit one to the moon for a triple and mars for a hr.

Home team pitchers- Carter/new Nate/Sonny
Visitor team pitchers- Greg/Matt/ Greg again/Tony

Through the "miracle" of technology, the final run of the game was captured by Abe, in slo-mo and with corresponding ethereal acid guitar.  Abe's hazy memory on the game is as follows: 

My recollection is that the homers were down 12-7 going into the bottom of the 9th facing Tony on the mound, and the homers crushed a series of hits, scoring 5 runs on 1 out, followed by my brother Max hitting the sac fly that scored Randy (I think I have his name right), sliding underneath John's tag at home.  It was a close play that was seriously contested for a second until people were shown the iPhone replay.

Replay is real.

Monday, April 25, 2016

4/17/16 Cop Field

It was a beautiful day out, very little traffic, and as usual, crappy parking all around the field.  Seriously, ever since they re-did Balboa Park, it has been harder and harder to park.  The teams faced off, Satch throwing for the homers and Carter for the visitors.  Carter however, lasted one inning and then gave the ball over to Greg.  We never heard why.

I had a much better first inning than last time, which felt good.  And in general, the arm felt fine.  Except when I was pitching to Lattig, and then I couldn't throw a strike to save my life.  The same with Carter, who only was there for one or two at bats.  Both of them chose to take their walks after 7 or 8 balls in a row.  No explanation, other than lack of use and concentration and skill, that I can come up with.

We had a good group, a couple of new guys that both seemed to have some good skills, and a returning crop of new talent as well, including a few younger recruits. Gaspar was also out for the first time in a while, and made an amazing catch in right field, the first of many of his defensive gems of the day.

The game went along in a bit of a teeter-totter, 1-0, 2-1, 4-1, 5-4, that kind of thing.  I bowed out after 6 innings and gave the ball up.  Then we realized that the other team had lost a player, making it a lopsided, 9 on 7 game, so I volunteered to switch teams, since I had done all the damage I was going to.  I left the homers in a 5-4 deficit.

We had a number of people who had to leave early, so we skipped the 7th inning and moved to the 8th.  Low and behold, the team I left suddenly came alive and started hitting all over the place.  The team I joined went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th.

So I got to lose twice in one game.  That's something.

Final- Homers- 8-6?


* Gaspar's catch in right was the play of the game

* Elon's catch on his own team in left was a close second

* Thanks to Greg, John and Carter for the catching

* One of the new guys had an amazing arm

* In jest, I cocked an elbow out on a first pitch and it actually hit me.  It must have been chest high, but Greg was indignant and insisted that Carter call it a strike, to teach me a lesson about fucking around, I guess.  I hit the next pitch about 410 feet to left-center and had a stand-up triple.

* Greg said he didn't mind the hit, but he took exception to the triple, since I had to exert effort and actually try, he took umbrage with that display of spirit.

* Chris Powell made a great catch off of the mound

* Abe accomplished something, but was not lauded for it.

* Bob had three real solid drives, one on a pitch he had to go down to get

* Powell's defensive rehab is continuing to improve (see above) though he made another error on a routine play at SS.  We think he may be the victim of the whammy or even a malicious curse.  Its the only logical explanation for his errors....

* Parking really sucks at Balboa.

Monday, April 4, 2016

4/10/16 Cop Field

 Photo credit: AOY 2015 Lattig  

 It's been a long damn time since I got a chance to play, sorry for all the missed weeks and absence of updating on the blog.  What can you do; life has a way of getting messy sometimes.  Sunday's game highlighted that for sure.

We had 18, we had a nice sunny day, we had a nice mixture of the old and the new.  The breakdown of the teams seemed to lean heavy on our side, to the point that we considered a swap before the first pitch.  Boy, did we look like assholes for feeling superior.

I felt really good warming up, the fastball was there after a two month rest, and we faced off against Sonny, going for the homers.  He had his usual repertoire of downward breaking stuff, and we didn't fare too well in our first licks.  The bottom of the first proved to be one of the ugliest innings I have ever been a part of.  I think they sent 12 to the plate, scored 7 runs.  What was consistent for the entire game as that we got the first out, no problem, and then could not seal the deal to save our lives.  I want to point out that I felt I was making good pitches and the homers were taking me to the woodshed for gappers and line drives.  Mixed in with that was about 6-7 one inning.... misplayed pop-ups, groundballs through the wickets, you name it, we did it.

The inning was a wake up call, of the 'ice water to the face' variety, and we decided we could at least try to maintain some dignity.  We scored two runs.  Gave two back to the homers.  9-2 going into the third inning is some heavy shit.

The momentum shifts were schizophrenic, and we were turned away from two huge innings by good defense, and/or lackluster hitting.  A particularly disappointing backbreaker was James' bases loaded long fly ball that the left fielder scrambled for and then tracked down to end the inning.  We had scored 4 more by that point and had threatened to catch up.  No joy.

I fulfilled my contractual obligations to throw 5 innings and handed the ball over Greg.  Two months off is good for the arm, but not the rest of the body.  Baseball uses some very specific muscles, and they all felt like broken clock springs on me.  Sometimes a change in pitching can be a big difference.  Sorta worked.  Greg held them to 5 runs over the next four innings, though he was perplexed as I was with the hitting prowess that the homers showed.  Truly they deserved to win the game.

We kept battling, Elon came in to pitch for the homers and we worked our way to a 10-9 game.  Exciting, but short lived.  More runs were scored, and try though we did, we were unable to catch up with the homers and our last at bat, with runners in scoring position ended with a foul out to the first baseman.  Cue sad trombone.

Final Score- 14-12


* I set a Hall of Shame record, I was on base 4 or 5 times and failed to score every time

* Chris Powell probably wants all memories of this game erased, he struck out and made his season's worth of errors, luckily he was in like minded company on our team

*Elvin had a strong day at the plate, and survived being hit twice

* Our team managed to hit three guys, but each of them twice.

* We were robbed on more than one occasion by good defense

* Greg gets the honesty award for running on a spinning ball in front of the plate.  Some of us might have claimed it hit our foot or something

* All the hitters on the homers looked good

* John Nero came through for us, first he argued a fair/foul call on a ground ball down the line, and when he was brought back, he got a clean hit to right center

* Bob went for a bouncing ball with his glove and caught his shoe instead, the ball just kept on rolling

* Kyle, James' friend, playing for only the second time looked a little shaky in the field, but managed to get good wood on the ball a couple of times

* Bob had to hustle to score on a foul ball out to left.  That was how bad we were at getting timely hits

* After watching 7 balls in a row, I also watched a 3rd strike, right. down. the. middle.

* Jimmy played a solid backstop all game

* Abe proved his hitting prowess once again

* Frustration: Throwing a perfect strike, if Richie wasn't at the plate.

* I managed to avoid a collision with Duane at first, I was pretty happy about that.

* A couple of new guys (that I know of) were making plays, and getting hits

* We did manage to catch and track down Elon in a pickle for a much needed third out

*  We also had a second or third effort play to get a runner at second, after another hit

Hats off to the homers, they played with a lot more heart and talent than we did.

Monday, January 25, 2016

1/24/16 West Sunset

What a day for a ball game, after all that rain and weather, we were treated to 58 degrees and sunny.  Thanks to Greg and others (seen in the photo, courtesy of Duane) for tending to the field before the game to get it ready.

We ended up with 17, which is great for a Sunday in competition with that lame game involving behemoths and a pig skin ball.

Greg started for the homers and Carter, who has been on new baby duty for the past few months, for the visitors.  I had brought out lil Satch again, and this time we were all happy.  West Sunset has a warm up mound with a nice plate that he can practice hitting at, which is great.  He and I played right field for the first few innings, and then he went in to the bench so he could hang out with his friend Tony.

The teams were remarkably balanced, most obvious in that we both had great SS, Rich and Chris Powell.  And throughout the game, they both made essential plays, both with the bat and the glove.

The visitors may have set a record for the most pop-ups in the infield for the game, as we tried to adjust to Greg's just enough-inside pitch strategy.  On the other hand, the homers exploded for three runs early in the game and looked to be on a steam roll towards victory.  It was 3-0 for the first few frames, then we got one on a sac fly, and our bats slowly came alive.

By the 5th inning, Greg had given way to Sonny, who was featuring a new, Marichal, crane-like delivery.  We were able to see past the trickery and resumed our attack.  We tied the game at 3-3 in the 6th and then took the lead going into the bottom of the 7th, 6-3.

The troublesome 9th almost proved to be a reverse of fortune.  Satch was riding high on 6 innings of no-run pitching, and then had to face down Abe, Rich, James, and the rest of the bats in the heart of the order.   Confidence was high and I joked to Bob about hanging one to see if Rich could put it out.  Maybe I should just shut my stupid face and pitch.... In any case, Abe got on, stole second, and came around to score, with Rich sky rocketing a shot to center that Carter never got to.  Our lead began to slip away.

Luckily we got a crucial second out on a close play at first, though it was widely argued that the runner had beaten the throw.  With runners in scoring position, lil' Satch's friend Tony came to the plate, and slapped the first pitch on the ground to first base, Duane picked it up and that was the game.

Final: 6-5


* Rich and Chris, line drives, runs scored, and long throws all day

* Tim, Bob, John did a great job of keeping the ball dry, as much as possible

* Great unassisted double play at second by Duane to get us out of a jam

* Long running, tumbling grab in left by John Mcg to get the third out in the 8th

* I re-institute my request for a fence or cones.  I tattooed a hanging curve to left and all I got was a double. And no, my lack of speed is not the problem....

* Greg critiqued his own bunt as he ran down the baseline

* Duane made some great stretches and plays at first base

* Other Nick made a great play at third

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1/10/16 Big Rec

Lil' Satch and I went into the city to play, late as usual, and when we got there it was the third inning and the homers were up 2-0. Phelps was pitching for the homers and Sonny for the visitors.  We got in another inning and a half and then the Parks Department shut us down saying that the field was closed and we had to vacate. 

Boooo!  The field was in perfect condition, other than a little soupy around the plate.  But maybe they are protecting their investment.  Word to the wise, from here on out, on post-rainy days, don't play at Big Rec, lets take it to some obscure field where no one cares.

Can't list any highlights, they all happened before we got there.  It was nice to get out in the fresh air.  Lil' Satch loved the shutdown cuz then he had the whole diamond to himself to hit wiffle balls and run the bases.  So, it kind of worked out.

S. Paige

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

1/3/16 Big Rec

First game of the new year, always a pleasure.  As we seem to be in the beginnings of our fabled El Nino winter, we were a little worried that it might rain but Bob sent out a email that soothed the fears of a wash out.  And it did the trick, as we had 22 players come out, and not only was it dry, it was a beautiful day!  Slight chill in the air, but no wind, and the field was in perfect condition after a serious rehab from Parks and Rec.

Sean, resplendent in a red cotton ensemble took the mound for the homers.  He threw well, as he always does, but was unable to stop the visitors from scoring the first run of the year, on a sacrifice fly.  And then another. And another.  All told. he threw 7 innings, and gave up 3 runs, which is great for the MBC.  He struck out at least 3 or more, and was a consistent spray hitter through the game. Abe took over for him in the 8th, which I think was the first time I have faced him, and gave up one run.

Satch went for the visitors, determined to start the year off on the right note.  And to that end, I guess I was successful, though I don't think I struck out a single batter.  But the fastball was pretty locked in, and the change-up and curve were getting swings and my defense was playing stellar ball.  I cruised through 6 innings and didn't give up a run.  In the spirit of taking my turn to sit out, sharing, not being as asshole, and the fact that I went bowling the night before, I handed the ball off to Tony and then Sonny to take the game home.

Tony went one inning and gave up one run.  Sonny went 2 innings and gave up two runs.  While the homers made it a battle to the end, with the winning run on base, ultimately the game was decided with a 4-3 victory for the visitors.

An interesting postscript, I felt like it had been a while since I was on a team that won, and thanks to this blog I can satisfy that query.  Other than the last SQ game, I have to go back to the July 12 game to find a time when I was on the winning team.  So we can safely say that the latter part of 2015 was a real drought in the win column for ol' Satch.  Good thing no one pays attention to stuff like that.


* Thanks to everyone who made it out, the first game of the new year is always one of my favorites, along with every other game of the year.

* Sean gets best dressed.

*  John Nero was a man possessed, rapping out hits like he was 21 again

* Dennis made an appearance, and seems to have stolen one of McGrath's kids bats for game use....

* Lattig wore pants for the first time in a long while, and then slid home on a pass ball.  Timing is everything

* Abe and his brother came out, and Abe made a great play in left in addition to his pitching

* Tim's strike zone was a little hinky at the start of the game, and we had to say something.  He responded well.

* Bob made a Mitch-ian play in center field, which was followed by James also making a long running catch

* I hit two doubles and was stranded both times.

*  James was yelling from center field to hit the cutoff with a runner in scoring position.  Then a ball comes to him and he throws a laser to the cutoff man, who is standing about 7 feet from the catcher.  Luckily, there was enough time to get the ball that extra distance for the out at the plate, but I think James should be excused from ever having to throw to the cutoff man again.

* In a nail biting finale, man on first with two outs in the 9th, routine ground ball to SS, to 2nd base, dropped ball.  The MBC style.

* I hit Bob in the ass on the first pitch of his at bat and it wasn't even intentional.

* Thanks to Tim, Greg and Don for catching

* Sonny made a nice second effort play to get Sean in a rundown, after he overran second base.

Hope that 2016 is another great year for the Mission Baseball Club.

Don't look back, something may be gaining on ya.

S. Paige