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