Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Proof of Life

"Found" footage of baseball in America. 

Spills, chills, double plays, pop-outs (so many pop-outs), strikeouts, new nicknames for Tony (T-Bone?), Bob being thrown out by 50 feet, and an answer to the question, do all pitchers drag their toes (apparently yes).

Monday, July 20, 2020

7/20/20 A wishful game

If we were going play a game, I think this is how I would like it to go down. 

First, it would be a good showing of good people.  There would be 16 players, to give everyone another at bat, and a more action in defense.  I would start for the homers, and Sonny would start for the visitors, and we would both pitch really well, deep into the game.  At least 6 innings, and I would like to strike out maybe, 3 people, including Tim to finish my day on a wicked change-up that he waved at.  I would be especially happy with that because Tim would have had 3 hits off of me already.

Sonny would be just as good, though not quite as sharp, and we would have scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning, and then hold the visitors off from scoring for a few innings more.  Then the visitors would score one and it would be a good tight game, back and forth with multiple double plays and derring-do with catches made in the outfield and runners on third.

It would be especially sweet if Mitch was filling in defense for the homers and make an amazing running catch and a bullet throw to home to keep the runner there and preserve the lead. 

I figure after 6 innings, I would have been done, and Powell would want to come in and pitch.  Same would go for Sonny, and Mike N. and HR would probably want a chance to hurl the ball.  I think it would be exciting if somewhere in there the visitors would tie the game and we would suddenly have a real nail biter.  Who knows, maybe even some controversy like Mitch hitting a triple but it rolling into the soccer game in left and being declared a dead ball, ground rule double.  And then Sonny would have to come back to third and they wouldn't get that go ahead run they needed.

Maybe even extra innings, with Dave coming in and throwing like Bob Gibson. 

Since it's my game to imagine, I would hope that my team would win in the bottom of the 10th on a line drive to right from Adam, to put the game away, since he is a good guy.

Highlights I would have liked to have seen:

* Great catches from Anna in left and right field as well as 2 hits

* A bang bang double play

* A successful covering 1st play by me, to see if I could still beat the runner.

* Mitch's long run catch and Ichiro-like throw

* Adam making some scoops at 1st

* Mike N throwing a nasty knuckle curve

* Bob calling two horrendous strikes against me

* Gaspar beating the shift

* Bob going up to hit a fastball at his eye line.

* Everyone who successfully caught a pop fly in the wind.

* Tony opting to go home to preserve the lead, and Gaspar with the tag

* Dave's big bat, and dominance on the mound

* The new guy who had a rough day at the plate, but played well and kept it cool

* Controversy on a play at 2nd, was the ball ever in control, or was it a transfer drop?

* Gaspar with a beautiful bunt

* Sometimes Bob doesn't get HBP, but maybe I do

Something that I have always dreamed about would be if we had our own band that played olde tyme jazz standards while we had our game and took requests.  That would be the perfect finishing touch to a great game. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Protect the Environment, you Fucking Fuck.

If you have been reading this blog,, you have been consistently exposed to references and citations of James...Coney Island James...New Yawk James...etc. Well, he isn't just a character I made up to make this team more diverse and exciting, he is an actual person, a hell of a ballplayer, and an all around good guy.

James showed up more than a few years ago, he stood out with his ropey, scarecrow frame, lack of a ball cap, or ball cap backwards (or a knit cap, what, you think it looks funny, well fuuuuuuuuck yu), and skill set.

 He runs—fast. He hits—a ton. He throws—like a fucking cannon. He dives for balls, he catches everything, he stands at the plate and takes hacks like he is trying to hit the ball from Mermaid Ave. to Bay Parkway. And he often does. He is hard to strike out, unless you see that he is itching to clobber the ball, and then you can get away with slow stuff. Unless he decides to bunt, which he does quite often, and then you have to slag your doughy, arthritic carcass off the mound, and field the ball, and make a great throw, and then most times he still beats it out. And he can pitch though I have not seen it much lately. He makes windmills jealous with his windup.

He also made one of the ballsiest plays I have seen at SQ in recent times, going full-out into a concrete table in pursuit of a fly ball. I thought he was dead when I watched it happen. But up he sprung, somehow playing despite having run full-bore into, and over, a table in prison.

James is part of that elite group of players that are not allowed to bunch up too much on one team. Powell, Mitch, Sean, Urano, and James on the same team. What are you, fucking dumb?

In addition to being a dynamite ball player, James is also a really decent human being. He has Master's degrees in biological sciences, and spent several years in Americorps and the Peace Corps working to make the world a better and more connected place. He spent several years in Ecuador, so he hablas espanol as well, which makes him a hit with the Clemente leaguers that play in the game before us. I threw up in the jungle for a few days, and held a girl's hand in Ecuador once. 1992, in Esmeraldas. I worked at it all night, got up the courage watching Back to the Future in Spanish in the resort rec room, held that hand for 5 minutes of bliss, and then it got broken up by her mom who was wildly searching the grounds for her and was accompanied by a resort guard with a double-barreled shotgun. James probably has better memories.

A ways back I used to see him on the N-Judah most mornings, but he never seemed to see me, even when I smiled or waved. For those that know me, I am—politely speaking—hard to miss. When I asked him about it, he told me that in the morning he just likes to by himself, enjoy that time, and not bother making small talk. I respect that level of honesty, more than he probably knows. But that is James. He once offered to break a game delay stalemate on a weird permit confrontation at our reserved field one Sunday by offering, "Do you want me to just talk to them, 'cuz I'm from New York, so you know, I don't give a fuck."

During our current pandemic he has taken to filming himself cataloging the plastic waste that he collects to clean up our local beaches. Which I have to say is an admirable way to occupy one's time during our whatever-this- fucking-reality-is. If you are interested, his handle is the Brooklyn Biologist. The funny thing is that you can tell he is censoring himself in the videos, which is wise, but if you know the man, you know what he wants to say at certain moments:


My wife works to protect the SF Bay, and she was very happy to hear that at least one of us was doing something useful for ocean conservancy. All you surfers, pick up some garbage next time you are out. ya lazy barneys.

Full Disclosure: James borrowed my old War Hammer bat and then left in at a water fountain in GGP. And he felt really bad about it and he paid for a replica to be made. I mention this because it was a bummer. But the vibe of James and his love of the game lead me to believe that I can't be that mad at its loss because it will always make me happy that someone wanted to use that hogleg bad enough to borrow it.

But it's a sliver of a heartbreak.

So that is James. If you play with us, you hope he is on your team. The best part is, no matter what, he is always on the Earth's team. And it needs it.

Cap tip.

Friday, July 10, 2020

I dreamed of a 4th of July Game...

Anyone who regularly follows this blog--all 7.4 of you--knows that we play a double header every 4th of July and have a delicious BBQ lunch in the middle.  With the world going to hell in hand basket this year, well, this year we couldn't do it.  Which was a real shame.  The strangest thing happened though.  I had a very vivid dream that we did, and I would like to share it with you all.  My dream.  That I had.  That was not real.

For some reason we were at St Mary's, not our first choice of fields, but it seemed right.  Even in dreams, the MBC is an intelligent and respectful group, so we all had face masks on, kept a reasonable distance from each other, sterilized hands regularly, and didn't share equipment.

It was a slow start, as it always seems to be, but by the end of it we had 16 players.  There was a woman playing with us, which was different, though when I asked Greg--in my dream-- he said that she played quite a few times and her name was Anna.  She was really good, and made some great digs at first and led off for the homers.

Sonny started for the visitors, and I started for the homers, it being my dream where I get to do what I want.  Amazingly, no one scored for the the first 3 innings or so, aided by some great defensive work on both sides.  And we had an all-time center fielder in the form of James, who was bedecked in PPE, to protect himself and his growing family.  In my dream I wished him congratulations and told him it was the best and the worst thing that can ever happen to you.  I am sort of an asshole in my dreams too.

The homers finally got on the board after a few misplayed balls, and the bases loaded we had a fielders choice and a timely hit to break the seal.  We kept it that way for an inning, and then the visitors also came through with their own collection of hits and errors.  We answered right back, in my dream Mitch hit a scorcher to left center that was the big hit of the game.

I was keeping the pitch count low, in my dreams I am still a conscientious pitcher, but by the 6th inning my shoulder was twinging after one fastball too many and I thought better to step aside then risk a stupid injury.  In my dream.  Mitch came in and shut the door for two innings like a boss.  Sonny bowed out and Nick W. came in to mop up.  The runs that were on the board stayed the same, and we ended the game with a tight 3-1 victory for the 4th of July single header.

Dream Highlights:

* It was a very realistic dream, which made me happy.

* There were several double play opportunities, and I think that each team successfully turned at least one.

* James, in a true future-AOY fashion kept firing the ball from center field to throw people out at first, and he got Greg on one.  Greg thought it a bit poor that the mid-50's game-legged catcher was being singled out, especially after a nice line drive up the middle.  As a fat mid-40's game legged pitcher, I agree, and also was almost thrown out by James

* The first inning I got three batters in a row to pop up to Mitch at SS.  I wish I could do that in real life.

* Even if only in a dream, it was great to see Tony again, and he played 2nd the whole game, which I thought was strange, but weird things happen in dreams.

* Elon was out again, and still being tied up in knots with the slow ball.  If he ever connects with one of those big swings it is going to disappear into the sky.  Maybe in his dreams.

* There were great plays at 1st for both sides, a lot of them of the bang-bang variety.

* The wind blew a bit, just like it does in real life at St Mary's.

* Since the dream was so lifelike, we also had a new guy out who looked like he could hit a ton, but also had trouble with the change-up.

* This would have been the time to change the AOY and present the award to a new person.  But since this was my dream, and not real, we didn't.  With the controversy of last year still fresh in everyone's minds, and Don's general demeanor, he went ahead and gave himself a 3-peat and a pat on the back.  So much winning!  In my dream, I remember that I found this old baseball picture and gave it to him.  I couldn't take a picture of it, since it wasn't real, so I made a drawing of it instead.  I am a pretty good artist.

Happy 4th everyone.  I hope we can make it out of this mess someday and find a way to get back to what life used to resemble.  I hasten to add that does not mean back to "normal".  Hopefully we can all say that we have gained more focus on the really important things in life--family and friends, physical contact, human rights, human dignity, fact-based health practices-- and that as one country and one world, we can move forward with a lot more compassion, respect, justice and and love for all.

Hopefully that part isn't just a dream.