Tuesday, December 10, 2019

MBC in the Show

Amazing as it seems, this photo is not a fake, the Mission Baseball Club was officially represented at Oracle/PacBell/ATT/ Wille Mays/ The Giants Ballyard. 

Part of a fantasy camp thing, JT, Bob, and New Dan all took part in the 3-day event! 

Pretty exciting stuff.  Glad that they all repped the MBC with their skills.

Monday, November 18, 2019

11/17/19 GGP

Dear God, what a day! 

I know that we are all screwed in the long run with climate change, but to have a day in November in SF, where it is 75 degrees and playing baseball.  Hard to refuse.  It was also my birthday game, one of two weekends of the year when I get a hall pass to play, no questions asked.  I even made it there before the first pitch, so that was something.

We ended up with 17 players, which was also nice.  I started for the visitors, and Lattig for the homers. 

I will get the big news out of the way early.  I Madduxed the hell out of that game. 

9 innings, complete game, probably about 75 pitches.  I think I struck out 3, walked 3. 

Having not thrown in about 8 weeks, I was happy to get 3 innings, and then tried to give up the bump to one of the other pitchers on the team, but they all wanted me to stick with it.  I was helped immensely by a stellar defense.  I think we had two errors the entire game.  Usually it's a good game when we limit it to 2 errors per inning.

Around about the 2nd inning, I started feeling the vibe, and my team did too.  The warm weather, the easy plays, the general looseness.  I was not throwing anywhere near 100%, but the hitters were either failing to square up, or my team was playing in the right spots.  Batting practice fastballs can be great, if people are popping them up. 

The other thing that really helped was every inning, other than the 9th, we got the first batter out.  That makes such a big difference.

Lattig on the other hand, couldn't buy a break for the first few innings, we dinked the hell out of him, and the score stood 8-0 after the first few frames.  The homers were sneaky though, they started building a come back, one run per inning, until it was 8-4 going down the final stretch.  There were back to back doubles at one point, and Mitch was a thorn in my side the entire game, to the point that limiting him to a single was considered a successful at-bat.

Nate had come in for the homers, and all our scoring dried up.  He was dealing, and we were flailing.  The defense stayed strong, however.  With the continued support of my team, all feeling the vibe by this point, we squashed a rally in the 9th, and the game was ours.  We played an extra inning, Sean dealing for us, and since it was only about 3:30 by that time. 


* Nothing better as a pitcher than a defense you can count on

* Our game saw some smoked line drives, Don, Matt, Tony, Urano, Sean, Mitch, James in particular, I recall.

* Adam pulled a few throws out of the deep dirt at first to save us

* Tony made an amazing grab on a ball at 3rd, we didn't get the runner, but the play was enough

* Tim was also hitting the ball hard, each time better than the last

* We had a couple of near collisions at first base that were a little scary

* Speaking of, one actual collision in left field, youngun' Matt raced out from SS to get a fly ball, Bob raced in.  Matt called for it, Bob sort of slowed down, and then they collided.  Bob took the brunt of it, but seemed fine.  We calculated that there were 400+lbs involved in that mishap, so lucky that all were ok.  Sean was racing in from center, but managed to avoid the calamity.

* Lattig requested a double play, to get out of a long inning, and I promptly hit into one.

* Matt charged a ball at SS, picked it and fired it to Adam, who almost had his glove knocked off with the force.  Maybe from 17 feet away, we don't need to throw it quite so hard

* RBI Ed never had a chance for an RBI.  But he did start the double play.

* I struck out James twice on the exact same upstairs fastball.  His timing may be off, since he has not been able to come out much lately either.  Probably the only way I was able to do it.

* Nate had the unenviable play of the "too high pop up" in the infield, and as he slowly backtracked, hit the unevenness of the mound, and lost it.

* Thanks again to everyone that came out, it was a great one!

S. Paige

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

10/27/19 GGP

I missed yet another great one, from the sounds of it.  Abe "Cover Your Assets" Zuckerman was there with the play by play.  It also sounds like Abe's scoreless pitching streak continues.  

What a game. 

Chris Powell started for the visitors and Tony R. for the homers. 

Chris was "dealing", insofar as everything the homers hit went right into a glove, leading to 7 innings of no-run baseball for Powell and the homers. On the flip side, the visiting team was absolutely mashing and coupled with an endless stream of defensive errors, the result was something on the order of a 5-run 3rd, and a 5-7 run 5th (we stopped paying much attention after the score was ~10-0). 

Tony gave way to Chris Leavitt who pitched well in the 7th and 8th. 

Then, thanks almost exclusively to defensive errors, the homers managed to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th off Powell and it looked like the homers *might* be able to turn it around and end the game with a respectable score. 

Abe came in to pitch a scoreless top of the 9th, and then, in the bottom of the 9th, with men on 1st and 2nd, no outs, with a huge red-tail rally hawk circling above......Bob hit into the 5-4-3 triple play to end the game. 

Classic and brutal

5-4-3 (3B-2B-1B).  Well done.  Too bad Bob refused to be in the photo (unlike J.T. in the last triple-play shot).


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

10/20/19 GGP

Brian "Sinister Side" Phelps filed this report on the game on Sunday.  Sounds like it was a real barn burner.  Sorry to hear traffic was such a mess, but kudos to all that stuck it out to play. Anyone who can contribute to what the conclusion of the game was, is welcome to reply.

I came from a Walkathon for my son’s school and was on the cleanup crew. I almost didn’t even go. But an iced coffee got me up and out of the house.

So I arrived at the field at 3:45 expecting to be super late and was just hoping to get a few innings in with the boys. BUT It was only the first inning due to a delay in arrivals b/c of horrendous parking (Greg did mention that he books Big Rec to entice me into playing). This is where my adventure begins.

So without any warm-ups I get thrown in at 3B (lefty don’t belong there to begin with). And of course the first ball gets hit to me. 
Throw into the dirt to lefty Elvin. Error #1.

Top of the 2nd and I am the defensive sub for the other team. Back to 3B. 
Ball hit to me and throw in the dirt to Adam. Error #2. 
There was also runners on 1st and 2nd so I should have jut touched the bag. Mental Error #1.

With Mitch and Greg dueling the game moves along with some runs here and there.

A Sandlot moment happens. One of HR’s friends is having his own adventures in the OF and missed a bunch of fly balls. I come up and smash a line drive right at him. He literally didn’t move except to put his glove in front of his face and caught the ball. 

Then I come in to pitch with a 1-run lead. Urano his a screaming grounder that nearly takes my glove off. It rolls away from me but I get it in time and sailed a fastball over Bob’s head. 
Run scores. Game tied. Error #3.

Top of the 9th and HR is pitching at this point. Sonny/Elvin get on base. Mitch selflessly tries to bunt them over. He takes 3 walks and keeps squaring up. Finally gets a ball to bunt and puts it in play. Error happens and bases loaded. 

This is where the Zero turns into a Hero and I crush a double past aforementioned “Smalls”. Three runs scored. 

But since I was expecting to arrive part way through the game it was supposed to be over so I had to leave before the bottom of the 9th ended. 
So I still don’t know if we won or not. 

Highlights that I can remember:

* Dave and Lauren both hit deeeeep triples.

* Urano crushed one too but I was able to run it down and keep him to a double. 

* Lauren hit another deep one the HR tracked down (they were on the same team).

* HR’s had great movement on his fastball and dirty curve but struggled to find the strike zone. He said that he had like 15 walks. 

* Greg fielded a comebacker to the mound with ease and class.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Brooklyn Update- Rockwell rocks well

John McG was in NYC recently and filed this update on our past AOY, and current "erm...bohemian poet, I guess?" Will Rockwell.  

In addition to playing with the Ramblers, he also got some surfing in. 

Oct 13, 2019:  Will the Thrill right at home with the Brooklyn Ramblers, going on half a decade as a mainstay hurler.  As cool as ever, featuring a classic “bottom drops out change-up” from a side arm delivery to compliment his other excellent pitches.

The game was really, really fun.  Like I had been there before.  Also, Dave Johnson says a big hello and Ken also and a couple of other dudes

And there was this too - Rockaway Beach on Friday.  Got the shot from a dude I met out there on Saturday.  Saturday was about 1/3 smaller but same shape.  Amazing!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Roots of the MBC

In case you didn't realize it, the Mission baseball Club is not your standard baseball club. 

In fact, the roots of the club are found in trying to parse out what was fun about baseball, without the aggro-drama that seems to go with it.  I have long theorized that baseball players are assholes because the really good ones are told from such an early age that they are good at something and are groomed to believe that what they do is deserving of endless praise.  I agree, being a skilled athlete is impressive, and is very valuable in one small section of society, but really, good baseball skills have no real value to our collective well-being.  Yes, throwing a ball 98mph is spectacular, and very rare, but in a natural disaster, I'll always take the person who has great skill in bandaging wounds, or an innate ability to construct quality emergency structures.

More so, in reference to the "ego" that a lot of baseball players develop as they get better, I think you can't pay someone 15 million dollars a year to hit a ball with a bat, and not expect them to feel like they are superior to others.  But what are you really celebrating?  It would be like if the guy who was the best stapler in the office got twenty times the salary as anyone else.  He provides a service, yes, and he is better than the others around him, but by how much?  The value of that service is really debatable.  And what if he is a terrible person, a real bully, but he staples very well?  If it was baseball, he would still get signed, and the press would call him "difficult to manage," and maybe "clubhouse cancer," but year after year, teams would still offer him jobs.

In short, while major league baseball honors Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Judge Landis, and Mariano Rivera (he's probably a decent guy, but is there a personality behind that cutter?), the MBC patron saints skew towards players like Buck O'Neil, Bill Lee, Al Schacht, Josh Gibson, Rube Waddell, Earl Weaver, Mackey Sasser, Dock Ellis, Ron LeFlore, Glen Hubbard, Satchel Paige, Billy Ripken, Kevin Mitchell, Chuck Knoblauch.  All of them famous in their own right, but maybe not for being particularly good at baseball.  Indeed, some of them are famous for how bad they were. 

But they did it colorfully, and hopefully, without malice. And that's the point.  Why not celebrate our quirks and more human side, along with the love of the game?

I am a firm believer in baseball showing us how to lose, lose well, and lose often.  To that end, what many people might not know about the MBC is that there is a rich undercurrent of musical talent, complete with musical losses as much as wins--some bands went through the roof, some bands went down the drain, some bands just went.  You learn a lot when you're trying to start something, maintain something, or desperately keep something alive.  And you do it because you love it.  I think that drive has always been present in our players.  

I have long tried to figure the best way to present this aspect to the blog, and finally realized that the best thing to do was write the damn thing, and figure out the rest later.

Here is a compiled list of some of the musical forays our former and current MBC players have been involved with, or are still doing.  Bands are mostly not listed in chronological order, as I do not mostly have that kind of time.  For those that did not respond, I have taken the liberty of investigating you and putting up what the interwebs tells me:

Nick Werthman- (It may or may not count)
Jazz Band in high school

Sean Paul Presley- 
Nodzzz with Anthony Atlas (one time player)
White Fence
The Sleeper Band

Tim Presley- 
White Fence
The Fall
Darker My Love
The Nerve Agents
Ty Segall

Johnny Bartlett-
The Dangling Genitals
Wig Torture
Phantom Surfers
The Ogres
The Barbary Coasters
Saturn V

Greg Snyder- 
Bedlam Rovers
Majority Whip

Dani Leone- 
Ed's Redeeming Qualities
Sister Exister

Tim McCrystle-

Brian Girgus- 

Adam Pfahler
Whysall Lane
The Moons
Old Hangtown
J Church
The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black

Rich Janeway- 
The Pee Holes
The Twits

John McGrath- 
Celtic Voices Choir

Richard Baluyut- 
Whysall Lane 

Duane Harris- 
Various Punk Bands 

Tony Rojas-
Dig the Gibberish- Florida - late 80’s
1990 - moved to SF
Secret Heroes - 1991
Flophouse - met JC and Ben - 1992
Androgynauts - teamed up with Mark Zanandrea from the Catheads -1995
Shotwell - originally Jimmy, Greg, Aaron Cometbus, me - 1995-1997, 2002-2007
Majority Whip - Americana band Greg and I started  1997-2003
Jack Shack - classic punk cover band - We played New Years parties at Doc’s clock for many years in a row 2001-2006
Solo TR - Time to Burn - 2005
Dirty Marquee -political pop punk band, nice blend of folks who didn’t think I was too old to still rock, bless them.  My last touring band - 2008-2013

Aaron Daley-
Timber Giants
Bone Cootes and Living Wrecks
Old Hangtown
San Similar
Ramshackle Romeos

Richie Garcia-
The Candy Apples
New Granada

Sonny Smith-
Sonny and the Sunsets

Rick Kvoriak- 
The Not Yetis
Orbit and the Purple Knifs
Barbary Coasters
The Ogres

Pete Simonelli-

Mike Lattig- 
Strictly Promotion and Concert booking (e.g., the guy that ends up with the lion's share)

Phil Hereso- 

Ezra Gale (MBC and Brooklyn Ramblers)
Bitches Brew
Mas Cabeza

Super Hi-Fi
Donovan (yes, that Donovan)
Spanglish Fly

The Highs, the Lows, the What the Fucks:


My first gig was being a lounge lizard piano player in a ski lodge bar when I was 19 Friday nights for about four hours. I had to play four hours of music so I repeated a lot of songs. People walked around clumsy in ski boots spilling their drinks everywhere. My first night, a man dropped a cigarette in the piano and the piano began to smoke a few minutes later. A patron got a little dramatic and grabbed three or four drinks from the bar and threw them all into the piano to extinguish the smoke. The bartender became irate and beat the shit out of him, more or less. The bartender also changed my name to Sonny when he ran an ad in the paper some weeks later.

John McG:

[We sang the National Anthem] for Irish heritage night at the 2019 A's game as part of the Celtic Voices Choir.  Sang at the Warriors game last year (choir - nat'l anthem, but no Irish night, with only 41 home games, the Paddies don't get a night) and also at a Giants game a few years ago (again Irish night, but we sang Danny Boy - in true Paddy fashion).

Tony R:

Flophouse were all baseball players.  We even brought a tv to band practice to watch the playoffs.  Then we joined the men’s senior baseball league (msbl) and played for 2 years.  It was great competition but we couldn’t tell any of our teammates that we were smoking weed or they would’ve kicked us off the team.  We also did acid one game, but that’s a whole other story.  As soon as we found Jimmy and a bunch of musicians and poets playing ball at Jackson park on 17th, we were in and the Mission team had its roots.   

Majority Whip was originally Greg, myself and Lee and Phil from Paddlefoot, all ball players.  We met Paddlefoot at Jackson park when they were just hangin around playin catch.  Just like today when we need players, we asked them if they wanted to play.  Our bands ended up playing countless gigs together and, out of 5 members of Paddlefoot, 4 played for the Mission team at some point.

Mike L:

We had the Muffs come play our annual festival in 1994. They arrived less than 10 minutes before their set time, pulled up in a van looking like a mess, Kim got out, went straight to the Port a Potty, commenced to puking, came out, wiped her mouth, walked on stage and yelled "I just puked my fucking guts out. One, two, three, four..." and off they went...

Amazing. RIP Kim Shattuck


Some band stories- Played at the Shrine in Nigeria with Femi Kuti; also in Lansing MI in the infield of a minor league ballpark, Voted best band in 2001 from the SF Weekly?

Greg S. (Godfather of the MBC gives the skinny on the evolution):

Early days - Bedlam Rovers. This was the band that led to meeting everybody. The general pre-baseball music scene key players (band-wise in terms of baseball) Rovers, Paddlefoot, Flophouse, Jawbreaker, couple others whose names evade me right now, because it was 30 fucking years ago.

Then - Strawman. With Jimmy Broustis (see below) and other non-baseballers.
As baseball began - Shotwell. Key to the whole thing being successful. Me, Jimmy, Tony, then shortly after, Pete Simonelli.

Later - Majority Whip with Tony
Some Old Pics 


Bedlam Rovers


Phantom Surfers (duh)

Sister Exister

The Sleeper Band


Adam and Duane showing off LPs





 Tony in the back with the cats eye, and possibly Greg's hand on the basse

A Note on Jimmy Broustis

A lot of us who were in the Mission during the 90's and 00's knew Jimmy.  He was a semi-regular at the 500 Club, always with a cackling laugh, a handrolled, and a scheme to outmaneuver the capitalists and turn the whole economic game on its head.  I was astonished from my place behind the bar when Jimmy—in between gulps of Speakeasy—exclaimed that not only did he know all the guys in the MBC, he had been there at the beginning.

As Greg puts it,  "Jimmy really should be given more credit as an early creator of Mission Baseball. [He was] too erratic to have made it stick without others, but he had the gear and was the most unemployed."

Jimmy had a resurgence in the MBC a few years ago, showing up in patchwork flannel baseballer pants, a wooden bat with a nail in it, and a gangly, yet effective playing style.  He was there for a few months, and then gone again, off to fight his next battle.

Lastly, here's a story on Jimmy, who was amazingly ahead of his time in the landlord fights that predominate the landscape of SF these days:


So, in summary, support your local bands and your local baseball team, 

S. Paige