Cold, windy, foggy. Classic summer game.
The one thing that was different was that we had a glut of players, whereas a normal year we would be barely scraping by, due to summer travel, etc. However, when you can't go anywhere, or do anything, baseball proves a good alternative...
This game proved to be historic in the lore of the MBC, as there were no runs scored throughout the entire 9 inning game, something that none of us could remember. Amazingly, with 11-12 hitters on each team, barely anyone even reached scoring position throughout the game. The reason: defense.
Both teams proved to have stellar defense through the entire game. Catches were made when they needed to be made, and ground balls were picked up and the smart outs made. I can remember at least 4 chances where there could have been a desire to rush and try and go for a double play, but in each instance the lead out was made and that was it. It is amazing how much of a difference it makes.
The field itself was a player in the game too, mostly in the constant wind that battered down every well-struck fly ball, and the infield grass that slowed every hard hit ground ball to a slow trickle. In the end, that proved to be the difference in the game, hard hit balls were easy outs, slow choppers were instant hits.
Pitching was the other aspect of the game, and I have to take a moment to tip my cap. Yes, against my better judgement--and probably medical advice if we had a medical professional around-- I threw a complete game. Yes, including 2 extra innings. I don't know the last time that I tossed 11 innings, maybe I haven't. I think I had 3-4 Ks over the course of the game, so I owe a big thank you to my defense for keeping a lid on the game.
Nick W. started for the homers and pitched just as well, stymieing our chances. James made it to third base in the first inning and that was the last time we had a runner that close to scoring. Mitch took over in the latter innings, and then HR. I just kept choogling along, since we had too many players, I tried to pull myself in the 5th but my team thought I should keep going. I tried again in the 6th and the 7th, but each time I was convinced to try one more, as long as I felt ok. Well, these days feeling ok is relative but I wasn't in any uncommon discomfort. I made a statement that I would keep pitching until we at least scored a run. That didn't work out, but at some point, I felt that it was my game to win or lose, and as the regular game ended and extras begun, I was happy to have gotten that far and I wanted to see it to the end. There was a proposal to start the 12th with runners on 2nd, to hurry along the end, if required. I was about 85% changeups by the 10th, but they kept working, so I kept throwing them,
The final inning was far from textbook. It started with a solid shot from Chris L, one of the few line drives of the day, that wasn't caught. Anna followed up with a slow roller into no-mans land for a infield single. The next batter put one in the infield, and as the play unfolded at first, Chris made a mad dash for home in an attempt to win the game. Lattig picked the ball at first and made a on target throw to John McG at the plate to get Chris!
First crisis avoided, but now there was one out and a runner on third. I heard the death knell sound, but I chose to think of it as a comforting release, rather than a loss. HR stepped up and promptly smacked another worm burner up the middle that sealed the fate, Anna crossed the plate, and the game was done.
Final score 1-0, Homers.
* An amazing game by all, thanks for coming out!
* Defensive cap tips to everyone, standouts including Tony, Anna, Greg, Mike L, Adam, Chris P., Mitch, John McG, and a new guy who's name I didn't catch.
* The play at home in particular was a favorite, since we a. so rarely have a realistic opportunity, b. actually make the play.
* We made a point of jokingly telling Mike N. that any fly ball between 2nd and 3rd is Chris P's ball, it's in his contract. Chris promptly dropped the next pop fly. Oops.
* Many players resplendent in thier new MBC shirts, with the old logos. Thanks to Mike Lynch for a great print job, and Sonny for organizing the fundraiser.
* Somewhere in the last part of the game, Dave made an almost-catch on a foul ball in right field, that turned out to be ok. But I know he was worried he had porked the game.
* James didn't snag anyone at 1st from the outfield, but on one attempt he overran the ball and fumbled it in his hurry to get it and throw it. Perhaps it isn't an every opportunity kind of play. I know all of us slower runners would appreciate the reprieve.
* Mitch made a snag on a screaming line drive that may have been the difference in the game.
* Tim made a couple of crucial plays at 2nd to get an out, and once had a great chance at 2. It was a close play with a sliding runner and he still made a quality throw to 1st.
* The wind at times sent pop flies over 2nd, all the way over to the 3rd base foul line.
* 2 coyotes kept watch over the game from right.
* HR struck me out with a high, hard one. According to recent reports, I should be grateful it wasn't in my neck.
* James' at bats over the course of the game lost us about 8 baseballs. Our permit budget has been transferred to new ball purchases.
* Third base was moved mid-game to more correctly align with the plate, and then about 6 balls were all hit in that region, with arguments about whether they would have been fair by the old placement standards
* The band came out, sounded great, and played a bluesy-woosey Take Me Out To the Ballgame.
* Bob came out in his civvies, with a giant protective cast on his left hand, seems he got in a fight with a saw blade. First reports indicate minimal long-term damage done, so lets hope for the best. Get well soon you old so-and-so.
* Also heard that Sonny may have thrown one too many, and is rehabbing his arm
* Thanks again to everyone for a great game.