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