Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/18/17 Cop Field

What a great day for a game, and not just because it was Father's Day and I got to play. Lil' Satch had sat me down early that morning to tell me that he was not going to join me at the ballpark, because when we weren't playing tag-team second base or right field, it got boring sitting on the bench when I pitched.  I thought it was a well-constructed argument--for a five year old--and let him know that I appreciated him talking to me seriously and that I hoped that he would still entertain the idea of coming out sometimes.  He promised to think about it....

Since we are in the midst of a record breaking heat wave at the moment, it was also very nice to have a day of sun and warmth in San Francisco, too few are the days that it gets above 70 degrees.  We started 30 minutes late, trying to be polite to the rag tag team before us.

The downside of course, was that the sun was also pretty blinding and led to hits on at least six or seven fly balls and pop ups that would ordinarily been routine outs.  But no one was seriously injured either, so that was good.

We had exactly 18, and the teams were divided what seemed like evenly, but the score did not reflect that.  No small part of that, I humbly add, due to my own contribution to the game.  But more on that later.  Sonny started for the homers and Greg for the visitors.  Sonny, who has been masterful as of late, was finally proven to be human, as he gave up runs early.  Greg, recovering from an errant pitch from Stretch at the a SQ reunion game, was just happy to be out there, but his command was not what is was supposed to be. After the first two innings, the score was 4-1, but Greg had had a frustrating second inning and pulled himself out.

Satch came in and went the rest of the game, the slow curve and the change up were getting me a lot of outs.  The homers scored 2 runs in the third and nothing after that.  The visitors on the other hand, were just getting started.  We began dismantling Sonny, first a little and then a lot.  I can't recall too many bad hops, but the left field was pretty bad, Nick W. in particular had quite a few "shrug, cover up, and run" fly balls hit to him.  Abe came in for a mop up job in about the 6th, and fared a little better than his predecessor.

We had a great defense, anchored by John C. in the outfield, and Tony, Greg, Ken, and Mitch in the infield.  John McG did an awesome job behind the dish, though Bob might disagree with a few points.  Not to say that the homers didn't have some good plays, Abe and JT combined for some outs, and there was a great relay putout at the plate, but unfortunately luck and the whammy had a lot to do with the outcome. James, in particular had a rough day at the plate and in the field, though he almost threw out someone at first base from center field.  A solid line drive single at the end of the game hopefully is a portend of more positive things to come, good luck buddy, we have all been there!

The long and the short is that we scored a shit ton of runs in the game, and we ended up leapfrogging the eighth inning because it was getting late, and people needed to go.  The homers were unsuccessful in their comeback plans and the final score was: ~14-3?


* I looked back on the history, and this is the first time I have been on a winning team since August 8, 2016.  That could be some kind of record, and also a bad sign of how few games I have played in the last year.

* It was great to have full rosters on a great day

* John C. started things off on the right foot by stealing second with his old man behind the dish.  We encouraged him to stick it to Bob the whole game.

* We also saw Bob block a ball like his life depended on it, mostly cuz John was the runner at third.

* John McG put himself into serious AOY contention by stealing second with a 8 run lead.  His defense was that he had to go, so he was just trying to get around to score quicker.

* Kier and Max, the father and son dynamic duo, were patrolling the infield.

* Abe wanted me to make sure to tell everyone that he was 4-5.

* At one point, I made a Willie Mays-style catch in no mans land in the infield, after we had surrendered about 3 dropped pop ups.

* JT had a great day at first, and made some decent contact at the plate.

* Tony was finally lulled out of his hitting doldrums by using the Carter FF bat that I commissioned.  It's a 34"/49oz

* Max tried using the bat too, but after the first swing, came to his senses.

* Our team almost had a real bummer of an inning, but we righted ourselves after some tough plays and got the outs we needed.

* Greg almost tried wearing sunglasses in left field, but decided against it

* Mitch took a nifty hop off the arm, that floated up perfectly, he barehanded it and threw it to first

* So, probably due to the warm weather and the two hours of swimming I did beforehand to stay cool, I had one of the best games of my life.  Pitching-wise, everything felt good, and I threw one of the nastier breaking balls in recent memory to Bob for strike 3, one of about 8 Ks on the day.  At the plate, I think I had 2 singles, 2 doubles and a home run.  Jimmy was playing left field when I hit the homer, and said that it landed close to where first baseman plays on the other field. So that would be about riiiiiiiiighttttt here:

430 feet isn't bad.  It actually rolled all the way to the other backstop, which was a great feeling as I was approaching third to know that I could slow down and not code on the diamond.

I guess I should be a little less boastful, but since it might be another 11 months before my team wins again, I gotta take it when I can get it.

S. Paige

Monday, June 5, 2017

6/4/17 Big Rec

The rally hawk was in pure form on Sunday, he swooped and dived through the game, tussled with a crow, and snatched a gopher out of a hole and flew around showing off his kill to the game.  Unfortunately, the dynamics of the game were similar, my team was definitely the gopher.

On paper, we were a dangerous bunch, even if there were only 7 of us, and the game was saved from being a 13-man affair by the arrival of John Carey.  But we had Lattig, Duane, Mitch, Adam, Tony, me and new guy Ken, who is the Rambler from the East Coast game that Dave emailed us about.  I would take that team any day of the week.  But we couldn't field or hit our way to anything.  All day.

Cap tip to Sonny for a masterful complete game, he kept us off balance and the one time we strung some runs together to tie the game, it was short lived.  The other team, comprised of Sonny, Bob, John C., Elvin, Chris, Abe, and James, capitalized on every error we made, and played a tight game of defense.  It was the difference.

I don't want to take away anything from the homers, they had some big hits, but we should never have been in the position for them to hurt us as much as they did.  We had a plethora of pop flies that fell in between two fielders, overthrown plays at first, and one very suspicious misplay in right field.

I threw the whole game as well, and felt good, it was nice to know that my elbow issue has, for the moment, subsided, though I kept it at about 65% the whole game.  Great to get in a full game though.

We were down 3-0 by the end of the second inning, and we roared back to tie it up but that was the last time that we ever got anything close to a rally.  The score kept mounting, 5-3, 8-3, and we didn't or couldn't answer back.

In true Titanic versus the iceberg style, the game ended on a short fisted bloop that James crashed in from third, caught in the tip of his glove, then fired to first to hang me out to dry, as I was stuck in no man's land waiting to see if he caught it or dropped it, which would have forced me to run.

The final score: 10-4.


*The mystery of his successes continues, but can't take away from the face that Sonny pitched a hell of a game

* Chris Powell hit the ball hard all day

* I had a great battery mate in Mitch, but I think we lost some of the integrity of our outfield

* We ripped the ball a few times, but the wind killed it

* Lattig was stranded on base at least 4 times, he came up with 2 out hits all day and we couldn't help

* Elvin was my angel of death all day, hitting left handed, I would get 2 strikes on him, and then he would bloop one right in the middle of everyone

* No one killed the slackliner that was practicing in the left field foul area

* Bob and Mitch did great as the sole catchers of the day

* I picked Elvin off at first, as he stood slightly off the base talking to Adam, and then took a lead, while I was nowhere near the rubber.  It also helped that I threw the ball to the space in between him and the base.  

* Sonny also came up big for his team with a double and a couple of RBIs

* Abe was thrown out by Mitch at third, by a significant margin, something that surprised us all

* Adam, by his own description, contributed very little in every arena

* Tony managed to get a few hits, but is still not comfortable running, evident when he was unable or unwilling to take an easy 2nd base after his hit

* I think our team gave 3 free bases on out of bounds overthrows at first

* We need to make a concerted effort to enforce the slide rule and /or teach Elvin how to slide.  As Mitch said, otherwise someone is going to get hurt.  When there is a play, sliding is the safest course, especially in a friendly game such as ours.  It protects the fielder from full body collisions, unintentional though they might be, and directs the play away from the head and body to a much safer ground level.

For those that are more visual learners:


S. Paige