Tuesday, December 4, 2018

12/2/18 Cop Field

I was unable to attend this week's contest, and it sounds like it was a real barn-burner, for another 12 man operation.  Seriously people, let's get those numbers up.  

Grateful to Richie "Thrashin' " Garcia for the short write up of the game.  And a cap tip to Greg, who apparently threw the game of the year!

We had a 6 on 6 match-up. Each team borrowed two fielders and played with two in the outfield. Despite this, both pitchers were lights out for most of the game. 

Nick pitched for the home team and Greg pitched for the visitors. 

Greg was clearly the player of the game, pitching 8 2/3 shutout innings with only two outfielders and driving in two runs with a single to center. 

By the way, the only run Greg gave up was on a bases-loaded walk, not a hit. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

11/25/18 St. Mary's

Oh, MBC, just when I think it's time to ring the death knell, you surprise me.

After a quick death on Sunday when the GGP field and the attendance rate were thought to be untenable, Dave went out to the blessed St. Mary's and gave us the thumbs up for a game, as long as there were enough willing players.  If you follow this blog, you know that we have had a bit of crisis lately in fielding adequate teams, and on a holiday weekend, I will be the first to confess that I was not feeling particularly hopeful.

But one positive response begat another, and Dave wisely chimed in that only responses in the affirmative were needed or asked for, so as not to kill the momentum.  I for one, was in the car, racing like a madman.  I don't know why it is but every time I drive to St, Mary's I always turn the wrong way on Mission.  That convergence of streets, freeways and overpasses just weirds me out.  But I made it there, eventually.  And lo and behold, we had 16 players!  The later additions of Loren and Tim Presley made it all perfect numbers.

Sean started for the homers and it was woefully obvious that we were going to have trouble with his pitching and the winter sun which come directly behind the release point for a lefty.  But let's not blame the sun.  Our team was great on paper, but we were not worth a tinker's damn on delivery.  Through the first 5 innings of the game, I think we had 6 hits.  We had one possible scoring opportunity, but we played it safe thinking we would have many other opportunities.  We did not.

On the other side of the diamond, the homers were stitching together some solid hits, and were helped by an unfortunate number of lost chances on fly balls.  Greg had started for us, but left after 2 innings, cuz he wasn't feeling it.  At that point it was 2-0, and were still confident in our own abilities.  I took the mound for the next 4 innings, and gave up another 2 runs, though those runs ar the subject of debate.

The basics of the scandal.  Pop up behind third, in short left.  Abe races out and tries to make a back handed catch, which he does not do.  The question: Was he in fair territory when he attempted the catch, and then carried the ball into foul territory, therefore making it a fair ball?  Or was it foul and should have resulted in a dead ball?  There were no lines to check.  The catcher Mike N. admitted he had not been able to tell.  The only person that was 100% sure that it was a fair ball was Mike Lattig, the runner on third base.  Not exactly the ideal witness.  Richie was base coaching, but hard to tell which way he was leaning.  So the call was made that it was fair.  Nuts, says I!

We did score a run, only by the grace of Mike N. stealing two bases after a hit, and then coming in.  We tried valiantly to score Sonny on a sacrifice fly to center, but James cut him down with time to spare.  Had to try though....

The game hurried along, light in offense as it was, and by 3:30 it was about concluded.  We decided we could play one more and we tried to mount a comeback, but our spirit was already doused, helped by the steady bullpen pitching and defense of Chris P.  He made two rally killing catches, one a double play just as we were finally feeling good.

Final Score: 6-1


* Great to see all the stalwarts out, enjoying the old game

* Sean and Chris both pitched great

* In the midst of what seemed like a bad defensive game, our infield had a number of good plays, and even turned a 6-4-3 double play!

* That double play came about because James had neglected to follow the Algorithm™, which states that he only hits right handed if his team is behind, which it was not.  He hit a ball so hard to SS, that the out at 2nd was recorded while he was still getting out of the batter's box.

* Thanks to everyone who caught, the sun is brutal for a catcher, Greg was the only one who eschewed sunglasses behind the dish, due to a religious objection.

* Nick had the big hit, a long double, off of me on a knuckleball, which worked wonders the rest of the game

* Abe did not have the best game.  In addition to the controversial defensive play, he also struck out twice, and was picked off at third at a crucial moment at the end.  Hopefully just an aberration in an otherwise solid career.

* Jake won the farthest and possible deadliest foul ball award for the day, hitting it into the houses on Arnold Ave.

* I threw a Dave a really nice slider for one of my two Ks of the day

* Brian P was out with Wes in tow, who took some mean cuts out in right field

* Loren was at about 50%, due to a bad wheel.  He was rehabbing with Kronenbourg 1664

* Sonny hit a rocket off Chris that he snagged as it was going by.  Then the same thing happened 2 innings later.

* A new black hole was almost created when Lattig hit one to the right, then hustled down the line while I was limping to cover first.  Ed got to the ball and threw to me, but it went wide, saving Mike and I from a celestial body collision that may have ripped a hole in space and time

* So James threw out Sonny at home. While he was covering defense later, we got our revenge when he was forced to throw out his own teammate at first base on a ground ball to right

* I had two hits that both felt good and one that sounded real good.  Unfortunately, neither of them occurred when we had runners on.

* We started taking our walks in the 8th inning.  Desperate, yes.  Illegal, no.  Unseemly, well, what can you do?

Thanks again, it was a great day to be out!

S. Paige


A visual demonstration of our team's offense, as told by Ed Sidawi and Chris Powell (nice catch!)

Friday, November 9, 2018

11/4/18 GGP

Two in a row, how could I be so lucky!  And did we have a great turnout, yes we did!  The final count was 27 players, which is afar cry from what we have had in the last few months.  The day was beautiful, and Johnny Bartlett came out of the woodwork, summoned by Greg to help bolster up the numbers.  A perfect day.  Also our first daylight savings game, at 1pm.

Greg started for the homers and Sean for the visitors, another classic match up.  There was no scoring, and one hit a piece for the teams through the first 3 innings.  I took over in the 4th and continued to keep the scoring low, though I did give up two runs.  We scored one back, and then with my second single of the game, a passed ball, and a double steal(!), we tied it up with a Gaspar hit to the awkward part of the infield and then went ahead for good.

The amazing thing with so many players is that we still have trouble getting nine to the defense, partly because everyone is trying to be considerate and make sure that they are sitting enough to give others playing time.  But it is strange when you have 13 on a squad and you are hollering for a left fielder.  It is also impossible for people who don't sit to hide for too long, since the defense effectively changes every position every inning.  You will be found out and shamed!

A harrowing moment in the later innings, Mitch hit a topper in the infield and raced up the line.  The hurried throw forced Liam to reposition his feet at first and Mitch's lane to the bag was cut off, and he rolled his ankle pretty seriously as he stretched for the corner of the bag.  He got up and walked, but with a pretty severe limp.  He later sent us this picture, nasty sprain, get well soon Mitch!

A watchful reminder that we all need to try and keep it safe on the base paths, our most serious injuries and near misses have been in moments like that (Ed's broken arm, Johnny's broken glasses, Jay's trucking of Will R., Elvin's refusal to slide....).

The game went quick, Chris P took over for me, and then Chris L, then Mike N.  Sonny took over for Sean, and we finally figured out the mystery of hitting Sonny.  Don't know what exactly, but we didn't do as terrible as usual.  Regulation time ended in a 4-2 game, and we played on, given that we had so many reserves.  The visitors kept on trying but couldn't get any closer to to tying up the game, and after 12 innings, we called the game complete.


* So nice to have so many people!

* Great to see Johnny and Richie, back from extended absences.

* New guy roll call, so I can stop calling them new guys: Jake, Jessie, Scott.

* Bob popped up a first ball knuckleball.  That was my highlight.

* Thanks to all that donned the tools of ignorance, through extended innings.

* We had a lot of plays at first that were closer than they needed to be

* Not a horrible defensive game, it's fun when the teams are evenly matched, as reflected in the low score.

* Urano was not the offensive powerhouse that he usually is

* James went to his algorithm, but it failed to pay off, and his innings sitting out were noted in the defense.

* Only for MBC veterans: I am convinced that Gabriel and Casey might actually be the same person.  If he ever puts on the catching gear, that will be the test.

* Thanks to all those who have been carrying the gear, and getting permits, it has been more diverse lately.

Hope for another good showing this week!

S. Paige

Monday, October 29, 2018

10/28/18 GGP

Well, I sent out the email saying I was playing, just like I always do after a long hiatus, and we barely had a game.  But now I have the basis of a empirical research study, so that next time I can send out an email saying that I am not playing and see how that affects the numbers.

It was a very muggy day, there was a huge fog bank sitting on SF, and the sun came through for about 5 minutes over the course of the game.  Mostly it was just humid.  We had 8 people there at 3pm, which increased to 10, then we convinced our new left fielder Andrew to play, as he was was wandering around the park with a glove.  Our kind of player.  Then a few more people showed up and we had 13, which apparently is the new MBC standard.

The game had started with only 10, so I was all-time pitcher and Mitch was all-time catcher, with 2 teams of 4.  I threw 3 innings or 9 outs worth of pitches before the official game started, and then threw the rest of the regular game-- but we only played 7 innings.

The real story is Mike Lattig, who pitched for the other team and managed to throw no-hit ball for 99% of the game.  He gave up a hit to Abe (which was argued as an automatic out while we were playing 2 outfielder/dead field rule) and then retired the next 17 batters in a row.  He had only 2 new counts.  Pretty amazing!  Cap tip to the wily right-hander.  Mitch should get credit too, as I think he called a great game.

I matched the zeroes for the first few, but as all things must eventually pass, the homers scored a run, then another and then they had some hits, and then we had a couple of errors that didn't get us out of the innings and the floodgates opened.  Dave in particular, really took me to the woodshed and had about 6 RBIs for the day.  But everyone was hitting.

In the middle innings, we massaged the score to a 7-0 white lie, but that didn't help, and they just scored more runs.  We couldn't do anything, the reliever for Lattig was good enough to keep us from a big rally, and I am honestly not sure if we scored a run or not, but I think we did not.

Final 12-0?


* For a tragic beginning, the game really turned into a fun affair

* I think there were at least 3-4 double plays, which was awesome.

* Dave killed it twice

* A new guy Scott, had a bunch of family out to watch, too bad they didn't get the real experience

* The grass on the infield was so slow, a laser line drive turned into a lazy groundball

* Lattig changed the rule on opposite side dead fields right before he hit one to left...something malodorous about that.

* Mitch beat out at least 2 routine ground balls and hit one that sizzled

* Redemption play: Dave hit a low liner to Abe at 2nd, tailor-made double play, except Abe muffed it.  He hung his head in shame at the lost opportunity, but the very next batter, same location, same play, he turned it flawlessly and we were out of the inning!

* I am encouraged that my hip issue does not seem to be hindering my pitching. My lack of a challenge fastball on the other hand.

* A portent of doom: JT and I are routinely late to the game, and when we realized that we were both there already, our hope for any other late arrivals was dashed

* Abe made a fantastic cross-body play at SS

* You don't get to sit much with 6-7

* Abe, our defensive wunderkind for the game, also made a great running over the shoulder catch in short left field that rivaled anything that Powell has done.

* John McGrath won the awkward bloops and ground balls award, while playing 2nd 

* While playing defense for the other team at 3rd, I caught a smoked line drive and tripped over the bag, thus doubling off our runner and killing the rally.  I have rarely experienced two such opposite emotions.

* Lattig also complained that we shouldn't have stealing with so few players, and then threw the next pitch to the backstop.

* Thanks to the stalwarts that came out, let's try and get back to stasis with the attendance.  And yes, I recognize that I am part of the problem but I want to be a part of the solution as well.

Huzzahs for:

Nick S.
John M.
Chris L.
New guy on Bike

Monday, September 17, 2018

9/16/18 Cop Field

After a weekend of lil' Satch's 7th birthday parties, a well-deserved game of baseball.  Seriously, somehow he stretched his birthday into three separate parties.  Nice work if you can get it.

We had 16 players, which was also nice for a change, here's hoping that the summer doldrums are behind us and we don't have to start every game hoping that two more people will magically appear at 3:15.  And yes, I acknowledge that one of those people is usually me.

Classic match up.  Sean and Satch square off.  Toe to toe, mano y mano.

Actually it wasn't as dramatic as all that, but I got there on time this week, so I had the chance to start the game.  The most interesting part was how many new people were there.  Lattig was the elder statesman of the group, followed closely by me, Mitch, Sean, and Powell.  The MBC is changing.

On paper, our team was real strong.  I even felt a twinge of remorse that we had Powell, Mitch, and James on the same team.  That is unfair in most games.  I should have learned by now that nothing is for sure in the MBC.  What we did do was score two runs early in the game, and then not a thing after that.  The amazing part was that we held the other team scoreless for at least 7 innings, a 2-0 shutout for the bulk of the game is very newsworthy.

I felt OK, considering my recent hip-related issues, and for some reason was able to spot the fastball pretty well.  The mound was in pretty poor shape, so there were only a few places you could be on the rubber and not have your landing leg go into a crevasse.  Didn't seem to bother anyone too much though.  Sean was just a good as I was, and after 4 innings, I turned things over to Powell who kept on the same path.  Sean bowed out after 5 and a new guy entered who had not pitched since high school.  Those words were ringing in my ears like a warning sign, as we have seen a lot of guys come out and pitch after a long hiatus, blow out an elbow, and never come back.  This guy didn't do that, but I hope that he also took the time to ice his arm.  I also think we need to remember what happened at the end of last year, when new guy Jimmy pitched great one week, then broke his arm throwing a slider the next week (see write up December 3, 2017- Cop Field)

So the new guy stymied us and our defense finally broke down as Chris L. came in to throw the last innings.  He got away with it for one inning, but the 8th proved to be our Waterloo.  The homers came prepared for aggressive baseball, and helped by some errors, including at least one by yours truly, they pushed 5 runs across the board.  We tried to mount a rally in the 9th, but came up short and the game ended with a 5-2 victory for the homers.


* Again, so nice to have enough players to make it enjoyable rather than continual baseball.

* One of the reasons that we lasted as long as we did was that we completed 3 double plays, only one of which was the traditional 6-4-3.

* Powell and Mitch accounted for about 19 of the defensive outs that we made.

* Brandon made an amazing catch on a line drive from Sean, to deep right, and then had the wherewithal to heave the ball into second to double up Abe.  Abe was on his way home, thinking there was no way that ball could be caught.  No one faulted him for thinking that.

* A pop fly to short left was called fair by our catcher, in a crucial spot in the 8th.  I know it was foul because I was blocking the view of the ball from the catcher, as I stood gape-mouthed from my place at third.  I don't fault James for calling it fair, since I know he probably had no clear view of it, but it was foul.  By about 2 feet.  Oh well.

* Mike, Chris L., James did a fine job of catching

* Abe made two really nice plays in left while he was filling in defensively for the other team.

* I struck out for the first time in quite a while.  New guy was all up in my head

* Elvin is being brought up on charges in the kangaroo court for watching football on his phone during a MBC game.  He may have to represent himself, as I don't know of any other lawyers that would take such a case.

* James and Chris proved to be the only two people on the team who could get on base.  In fact, James went 5 for 5, with the first four hits batting lefty.  The last one he went righty, since his MBC batting algorithm states that if his team is behind that he bats to his strength.

* John McG made some crucial plays at 2nd for his team

* There was a huge crowd of players from the Mexican league positioned just off the field in right.  It was nice to have spectators, and they argued among themselves on a few calls.

* I went 0-3 with the aforementioned strikeout.

* At least twice we had a man on third and couldn't score him

* We also had the amazing luck to shut down the homers who had 2nd and 3rd and no outs, and did not score!

Sidebar- It should be noted that it is generally good sportsmanship to obey the defensive positioning requests of the team on which you are filling in on.  There was verbal dust-up concerning this, and--without going into specifics-- it is easier to just comply.  I know I am no one's first choice to fill in defensively, but I do honestly try to support the other team and make the plays when called upon.  The high percentage of negative outcomes (in my case) can be placed firmly at the feet of my lack of defensive skill, rather than a Machiavellian plot to hurt the opposing team.  That being said, in the same vein, we should all remember that this game is purely for fun, and no one person is ever solely responsible for the outcome of the game.

Friday, August 31, 2018

8/26/18 GGP

Bang Bang play

Another paltry showing, and other game where I proved to be #14, and yet, this game was actually a lot of fun, lots of twists and turns.  We ended up with 15, after a park father recruited us his son, Azaan, who plays for the Mission HS team.  Needless to say, he was a lot better than all of us.  Here is his MaxPreps line


Nick W. was on the hill for the homers, and Chris Powell started for the visitors, and both did well through about 4 innings.  Chris had an issue with the first three batters that faced him, they all hit the ball really hard, especially Nate, who set the day's tone for long drives to left field.  But Chris settled down after that.  Nick had his good curveball working and was pretty, pretty, pretty good.

We have had some see-saw battles in our time, but this was a real SEE-SAW battle.  Like every inning, there was one run scored, and the lead would change hands.  pretty exciting stuff, especially since the last game I played in was such a lop-sided snoozefest.

There weren't any particular amazing defensive plays, one thing that we all noted was that when Powell is pitching, that is a big sacrifice you make defensively, same with Mitch.  Powell noticed it too....

We had a lot of pitchers get work, I threw 2, Azaan threw two (at what he claimed was 60%, which was still really good) Chris L threw one, though his effectively wild almost became just wild.  On the other team, Mike and Abe tried to hold the line, but the visitors finally broke out of the tit-for-tat offense, and by the time the 9th inning rolled around, the score was 10-5.  They scored two to close the gap but that was all they got.

Final: 10-7, visitors


* A much more enjoyable game, even though the sun didn't show up again

* There was a yuuuuge crowd for the olde tyme game, it was a all-start thing or something, but they had hot-dog vendors, and press, and we saw Dave, who ditched us in favor of the old guys.

* Don returned, hit one of the deeeeep left bombs, did his thing

* John McG was in the mix, now back to complete right handedness

* Elvin had a nice 2 out hit to score a run

* Elvin's insistence on playing first base, so that our team had to fill in right and center field was pretty aggregious.  When queried on this, his response was " I don't give a fuck what you guys think." Clearly, Elvin, clearly.

* Nate, Don, me, Azaan, and Chris all hit baseballs almost to the hill in left.  Average distance:

* Man, is it nice to have a first baseman that can make the scoops, welcome back Adam P!

* While pitching, a ball was hit wayyyy up in the air in between catcher and third.  I instantly declared, " NOT ME!", which yes, is a little unorthodox.  It also appeared that it was not Don or Chris L. as it dropped between them.  Hey, I took myself out of the play early on, for the first time my laziness has given me an alibi

* For not feeling all that great, I had two doubles and 4 RBIs.

* Unbelievably, Powell dropped a pop fly to SS, that is his bread and butter!

* The homers may have been cheated out of a line drive down the third base line that was actually a fair ball.

* Urano did his best to carry his team, he was doing it all with the bat and glove

* Nick S. was the team dad for the game, thank you for taking the gear, and being the organized one

* Don made a nice running play on a bloop to left

*  There was an excellent relay to get a guy at 2nd, that is why we take the time to make good throws

* Mike pitched well for a guy who was in the hospital not long ago with busted ribs and a punctured lung....

Thanks again for everyone who showed up, get well soon all those who are out on the DL.

S. Paige