Monday, October 19, 2020

10/18/20 Sunny Day

Good lord it was a hot one.  The switch in time to 1pm to better accommodate the blindedness of the outfielders was not a rousing success.  But every little bit helps I guess.  The good news was we had 19 1/2 players out, the 0.5 being the return of Lil' Josh Gibson, my younger slugger.  If we counted his runs, the homers walked away with the game, which he kept reminding us of.  He was all in, all game: there to hit dingers, slide hard into 3rd and home, smother foul balls down the line, and remind Tony of the dangers of cigarette smoking.

The game starters were Aiden and Tony, respectively, and Aiden continued his dominance of the club.  Amazing what a fast ball and a decent breaking ball will do to a bunch of senior citizens.  Tony pitched well, but we did not help him too much in the defense department, my own flailing in left field being the most egregious.  Adam put a decent bat on the ball and I thought I was all lined up on that thing, and it just defied the laws of gravity and stayed up in the air, over my head before I could realize what was going on.  

Sonny came in for Tony, Aiden stayed in to punish up some more and then hit his limit, bowing out with the score 5-1.  I came in after Sonny, did one inning, then Mike N, and James rounded it out.  Aiden gave way to Dave, Chris L., Elon, and Abe.  It was a Baskin Robbins of pitching days for sure.

Somewhere along the way we started scoring runs, and by the time we reached the 8th inning we had built ourselves a 7-5 lead!  No one more surprised than us, and Greg came through with the late inning RBI that we always seem to miss.  But the 9th proved to be complicated, and Nick W. hit on to center right into the sun, past Mike and rolled to the wall.  Nick was for sure to get an in the parker, until he crashed and burned coming around 3rd.  I've been there, and it ain't fun.  So we still had a chance, but short lived, he was driven in, and the game was tied.  Extra innings, back and forth, to the 11th, and the visitors finally scored that crucial go ahead.  Josh and me had to hit the road, so didn't see the coup d' grace but the writing was on the wall.  

A great game! Probably final score of 8-7.


* Homers would have been very much back in the game, but 8 of the last 10 balls we hit were to Aiden at SS, who gobbled them up left and right, taking hits away.

* Marcella, I believe, had her first hit and run scored and almost nabbed a runner on the right field SQ play.

* Visitors turned at least one double play

* Elon robbed me of a double in center, on a semi diving, into the sun play

* James made several great catches in center, to keep the score close

* I actually managed to catch the next 3 balls that were hit to me, 75% is a passing grade.

* There were a lot of great plays made from SS and 3rd: Tony, Mike, Aiden, John, Abe

* The jury is still out on how Don keeps his Fuck Um Bucky shirt so vibrant?

*Greg's single down the line gave me hope

* We had a respirator and boat shoe-clad Bob as a second baseman for the last frames, almost back to playing form

* See you's in Grass Valley.

S. Paige


James' Field Report:

Welcome to another episode of This Week in Mission Baseball! 

What a roller coaster of a game! The home team -- my crew -- was down 5-1 around the midpoint of the game. We rallied to tie it at 5, Aaron said the ol' "Feel that momentum shift?", we took a 7-5 lead into the 9th, and then... Yikes, again! Let's give out some awards and see what happened. 

SWING OF THE WEEK: I'm giving this to Nick. Let's set the scene: Two outs, top of the ninth, down two, runner on first. I was cruising, getting guys on easy grounders. It looked like an easy save. I threw a really hard fastball, and Nick blasted it to deep center. The dreaded conditions of centerfield paralyzed the defense, and the infinite roll on the rock-hard dirt commenced. One run scores and it is clear that Nick will very easily score the tying run because we will need a five-man relay chain to get this ball to the infield. It's still rolling back there. Nick approaches third and slows down! What? After like a minute of his team screaming at him, he restarts for home. He trips and falls. The crowd is going bananas! Get up! Run! The ball is being relayed from the other field dirt, and we're bobbling it. Nick crawls around a little bit and retreats to third. His team is outraged! So much yelling, laughing, head drooping (on my team)... Bonkers. He could have easily crawled home on all four, backwards, and still made it easy. Luckily, Dave came up next and got an infield single because the throw to first was not in time (Aaugh!). 

Tie game on two runs in the top of the f'n ninth with two outs. In the top of the eleventh the visitors struck for two more due to the dreaded, paralyzing center field effect. It is no joke. But our unraveling all began with that blast from Nick, perhaps the longest ball I have ever seen him hit. Congratulations. It was memorable! 

Honorable mentions: Aaron stayed hot, but was finally retired after a 9 for 9 streak over three games, I believe. 

PITCHES OF THE WEEK: Let's give this to Elan and Abe for late inning relief work. They managed to cool off the home team in the late, crucial innings to allow their comeback. We were hitting the ball hard on both of them, but their gloves were working! 

GLOVES OF THE WEEK: Tons of gloves to give out this week. Primary winners: Mike N. and Aidan. Mike made so many put-outs at third early in the game on hard grounders, it was ridiculous. Every throw over to first was money. Plus, he threw out Dave a home on a grounder to third. In the later innings, it was Aidan for the visitors. In the late innings, the kid showed so much range at short and a strong throwing arm, it was also ridiculous. I blasted one up the middle that I was sure was a hit, and he glided over and made it look easy. I even sensed a little arrogance in how long he was holding the ball on some of his throws over to first. He did not look like he was in a hurry at all, and was delivering lasers over to first like nothing. Elan and Abe owe him for vacuuming up everything. 

Honorable mentions: Elan made a falling catch to rob Aaron of a double to deep left center, Abe made a spectacular sprinting catch of a shallow bloop to left, and you know what? I'm giving myself honorable mention for my play in center field in this game. Yeah, that's right! Due to playing CF so often, I have mostly overcome the massive learning curve of the sun, speedy grass, and slope of Portrero's pastures. I made a few blinding catches that had me seeing spots for the rest of the inning, and I even robbed Dave on a deep drive to left center onto the other field dirt. It ain't easy, folks, and your certainly in for a baptism by fire the first time you stroll out to play CF at Portrero.  



- Home team takes a 7-5 lead into the 9th, loses 9-7 in the 11th. Aaugh!  

WORD OF THE WEEK: Roll. As in the infinite roll of the ball if it gets passed an outfielder. Of the visitors' 9 runs, I think 6 of them can be attributed to this effect. Elan's basic single to right became an RBI triple and then he scored (2), Nick's blast to CF might have been catchable, but the infinite roll was an RBI triple and he later scored (2), and then Aidan's base hit to center in the 11th also got by and infinitely rolled. RBI and an inside the parker (2). This was absolutely our downfall. Aaugh!  



10/11/20 Game of Baseball

 Running behind, here is the recap from last week.  Our own Brooklyn Biologist James Madden with the highlights:

Welcome to another episode of This Week in Mission Baseball. This was a relatively well-played game, and close at about 6-6, until the top o' the ninth... Yikes. Let's give out some awards, and introduce a new feature this week in honor of good ol' Charlie Brown!

Swing(s) of the Week: I'm giving this to Matt and Gabe for their surprising opposite field power. Just as the center and left fielders were preparing for power pulls to those parts of the outfield, these two pushed a few to the gap in right center (with power!) for some extra base hits. Well done. Honorable mentions to Tony for his timely hitting and line drive placement early in the game, and Mike N. continues attacking the left-center gap. 

Pitches of the Week: Phelps! Where have you been? He started for the visiting team and showed remarkable control and pitch placement. His fastball had some zip and he blew it by a few hitters. After months off, he comes back and had a nice start. Honorable mention to Elan (1 scoreless) and Aiden (same to end the game). 

Glove(s) of the Week: These go to Chris P. and Sean. Chris (birthday boy) made another patented, over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field to end an inning. Sean made a diving, smothering catch off the mound to force a rundown between third and home. More on that in a second... Honorable mentions: Anna made a nice scoop at first, and the other Chris dove for a line drive in left field that was in the glove until his body made impact with the turf. It popped out to everyone's shock and disappointment, but the effort was excellent.

Do you remember reading Charlie Brown? I definitely do, and I use his signature out-loud exclamation ("AAUGH!") with my students when they do something... well, Charlie Brown-esque. With all due respect to all Mission Baseball players, let's have fun with some AAUGH moments:
- Sun blinds James in CF on an otherwise easy pop fly; Elan gets on first and later comes around to score
- Sean dives off mound, smothers a hard-hit ball, and traps Matt dead in a run down. Catchers throw to third base to nail the vulnerable runner... simply dropped.
- The entire top of the ninth inning. Holy cow! (We may need a Holy Cow segment to honor Phil Rizzuto. Hmm...) Anyway, ground ball single to left field happened about 7 times this inning. The visitors batted around, scored 8, and pretty much put the game out of reach. It was brutal to watch from the dugout (sitting my second time), but their hits just kept coming. Poor Nate.  

Word of the Week: Comedy. No, not our game! Check out my Beach Clean Up Comedy videos while you're on my channel. Shameless plug! I recommend Episode 17 to start. If you like my subtle baseball commentary, then you may like my angry, anti-corporate rants as I find their shyte all over the beach.   

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Another Game in the City

 We ended up with 23 players, which was great.  The air was clear-ish which was great.  The game was a high-scoring affair, which was great.  Baseball.  Great.

Sonny started for the homers, and looks to be back in form, including a ramped up fastball at times.  Aiden started for the visitors, and had a ramped up fastball which was expected. This was my first time seeing him pitch more than an inning, and it was great to watch.  The fastball has ride, the curve ball can be a strike, or it can appear to be and then dive out of the zone after the batter commits.  All he needs is a good eephus pitch to round it out.  But that comes with age.  Through the first half of the game, those two battled, though Sony got the short end of the stick on defense at times.  One inning in particular had lost balls in the sun, a ball that deflected off third base, and a few dying quails that were just unfair.

By the middle of the game, it was 10-0.  In reality, it was about 14-0, but at some point we wanted to keep the game within reason and 10 was a nice round number.  Yes the game was lopsided.  But the last inning of Aiden's performance, the homers finally got to him, and dinged him for 3 runs.  

The big story of the day though, was a gentleman's bet between Aiden and his dad as to the outcome of McG's hitting for the day off of his progeny.  Let's just say, Aiden is $5 richer today.  He slammed the door shut on John's last at bat with a strikeout.  John had mentioned he was first ball swinging on the first at bat because  he knew what he was in for if he fell behind in the count.  Hopefully Aiden puts that money to good use.

In came Chris for the homers and Satch for the visitors.  I was feeling alright, and with a lead like that, there was no reason to try and strike everyone out.  I think I gave up another 3 runs,  which I was great with.  Chris also held the runs to a minimum, as did HR who came in after him.  But the lead proved insurmountable, and the final score, as the wind picked up, and the sun went down was a soft 11-6.

Highlights (some stolen from James):

* Aiden's pitching was lights out, and he knew when to stop (or at least how to listen to his father, both things that historically have been tough for MBC players....)

* James and Greg combined for a inning ending thriller at the plate to nab Mike N ( you got to slide!!!!) who ended up being out and bumping Greg in the schnoz which then started bleeding pretty good.  The mask made the bleed seem worse than it was.  Greg established it was not broken, and enthralled us with tales of broken noses past after the game.  Luckily a mom in the area had some baby wipes, and he cleaned up pretty quickly.  Maybe we should invest in a packet?

* A clean and pretty double play from the homers 5-4-3 double play (Nate-Mike-Anna), 

* Matt at third made a diving stab to end an inning on a hot, low line drive that was absolutely smoked!

* There were quite a few big hits of the game, aided by the sun and the fast outfield. James, Matt, Sean, Elan, Mike N., Gaspar come to mind

* Subthread: Gaspar pulled the ball, twice!  PING!

* Speaking of the sun, invest in sunglasses for the outfield, it is brutal out there and sooner or later someone is going to take one in the head

* I was daydreaming in left field, looking at the bay, when Anna smoked one down the line.  I heard the crack and only by sheer dumb luck found the ball in the first place I looked.  I made another play in left on a ball that was over any normal person's head, but I managed to haul it in.  The only one I am proud of was a weird lined gork to the left side of the infield that I leaped at from the mound and brought in.  Too bad James didn't get footage of that, people would probably enjoy seeing a beluga whale acrobatically catch a baseball.

* Pitching I did alright, the one K was Dave in a tight spot, elevated and found an extra 5 mph for the fastball.  Greg called the pitch, so most of the credit goes to him

* Chris P made the quintessential over- the- shoulder play that we have come to expect from him.  The difference was that he was pitching at the time, and there was no reason he should be expected to make that play.  But he did, and it was amazing.

* Anna whacked a single off of me in 2-2 count that was very impressive, she's locked in.

* The baserunning improved this week

* I managed somehow to have a 5-5 game, with 3 singles and 2 doubles.  The big drive would have been over the fence if I had pulled it, but I put into the left center pocket that has been my sweet spot for the last month.  It measured out at 327 feet (yeah, I google mapped it).  It felt good and it had the look.  Only one of the singles was an ugly flop of a swing that fell behind first base, and came on an inning that Sonny couldn't get the last 2 outs.

* Bob came out and showed us his battle scar, and assured us that we are all in big trouble once he is able to swing a bat.

* Here's the swing footage (thanks to James, the Brooklyn Biologist)