Tuesday, May 25, 2021

5/24/21 St Mary's

I was unable to make the game but here are two accounts on what a game it was!

Dave first: 

Went like this... we froze for about 6 innings and yelled at the wind until we realized it was a tie game in the 7th. At that point we started yelling at each other. Visiting team added two runs in top of the ninth only to crap them out in the bottom of the 9th on some sloppy d and a couple of bloops. And then... just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse... Chris P stole home and walked it off but honestly I think everyone was happy to retreat to warmth. 

Now a fine tune from Lattig:

It was the best of times, it was the windiest of times. But what is new at St Mary’s? Is this why the St Mary’s college team is called the Gaels? (spelling aside…) 

Bluster aside, it was a gorgeous day for a ballgame, and we had 17 hearty souls show up ready to take their chances at tracking balls (or frisbees as the case might have become…) as they acted like a hot dog wrapper at Candlestick. 

Sonny and Nick (home and visitors respectively) were probably the heartiest of souls, as they decided it was a good day to toe the rubber on a day where defense was certainly to be suspect. And suspect it was. Pop flies that looked headed toward an infielder landed closer to the mound. And, ultimately, it was dropped fly balls that decided the game. 

But before we got to that, both pitchers did an amazing job of pitching around the wind and trouble - stranding plenty of runners and only allowing the spare run here and there. Scoring was so sporadic, in fact, that we could never really nail down the score. Ultimately deciding we were heading into the 8th inning with the homers up 4-3. Or maybe it was 5-4? Either way, they were up one. 

With HR now on the mound, Dave promptly banged a hit. Followed quickly by Urano, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Thinking he was clever, Lattig laid down a sneak attack bunt. It’s surprise only being equaled by its mediocrity. Nevertheless, Dave was moved to third with one out. And after a strikeout of Dan, Elon took a mighty swing that trickled about 10 feet down the third base line. Mike N sprung from behind the plate as Dave sprinted for home, passing him just in time. And by the time Mike spun to throw to first, it was too late. Tied game. 

Elon was also now holding it down on the mound, and we moved to the 9th tied. Which is when the wind really struck. First, a lazy fly ball to Sonny in center that might have caught some of his glove - but definitely caught chin and chest on its way to finding the ground. Then, with two outs, a looping line drive into left looked to keep the game tied - until it too found the chest of an outfielder. This time the borrowed Nick (who certainly didn’t mean to do it…) 

So, on to the bottom of the 9th with a two run game and Urano taking the mound. The biggest problem with that? He couldn’t also play SS… So after a couple of hits and seeing eye ground balls, we found Chris (who had a five hit day) on third as the winning run. Sensing John McGs fatigue from 9 innings behind the plate, he broke for home on the throw back to the mound, scoring easily to give homers the walk off win. 

A few other highlights I remember: 

  • Mike Lynch (as he emailed) was drilled in the leg and picked off first. Quite an eventful day. 

  • While playing RF I was telling our CF that I was playing shallow because the wind would knock anything down. And within 3 seconds Mike N had barreled one up and sent it over my head. 

  • Nick, trying to be kind, tried to return a frisbee to a father/son who were playing out in CF. The wind had other ideas and returned the frisbee toward Oakland… it was a truly remarkable site to behold… 

  • Great to see Tony back out swinging free and easy with his thumb recovering

  • Elon is off to summer camp for the year, but left on a high note with solid hitting (even if the wind didn’t want him rewarded) and pitching. See you in the fall Elon

  • The band was in fine form and continues to thrill at our exploits as much as we appreciate theirs

  • That said, would be great to get a field with an actual mound one of these days! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

5/16/21 St Mary's

After the debacle a few weeks ago with Balboa,  we decided to hedge our bets and return to the hidden promise of St. Mary's. Luckily,  it was devoid of games and the band was there awaiting our glorious return.  They had been pining for us, and were sad when they didn't get our contact info before we moved to Potrero. A joyous reunion. 

Sonny started for the homers and I for the visitors.  It quickly became apparent that with 13, then 14 players only that this was going to be a interesting game. The wind was howling so much that we deemed it the 3rd outfielder and played the game with only 2 outfielders.  It worked well. 

Greg was all-time 1st baseman for the beginning of the game,  until Sean showed up to even the teams.  What that made for was a lineup that had 6 hitters for the homers,  hard to deal with as a pitcher when you know that you have to keep facing the same hitters over and over again.

Sonny and I did a nice job of keeping it from being a laff riot, partially thanks to the dulcet tunes that our band was playing.  That band really ties the game together, I have to admit.  And they played a Jimmie Rodgers tune when I requested one.  For those of you not in the know:

Anyway, I think that a couple of runs were scored, for the visitors, it was Chris P all day.  He scored 80% of the runs for our team.... I know for my part that I came up in the inning with runners in scoring position and 2 outs at least 5 times.  And I flubbed it 3 of those times.  

Maybe 2, since one was a robbery of felony stature.  I hit a ball so square I had time to enjoy watching it fly.  Straight into left center.... where I realized suddenly that Anna was playing me at about 390 feet, and that smart play, coupled with the wind that suddenly turned the air into pea soup, the ball came down calmly and neatly into Anna's glove. Third out, again.

The wind, as mentioned before, was a contention all day.  Foul balls went very foul.  Other foul balls came back into play.  Jon McG made a great play over behind first, one of many for him in the game and there were basket catches made by Dan, Chris.  For only fielding 7 on a side it was a well-defensed game.  The see-saw battle continued, and we went into the last of the eighth down two runs.  I had bowed out and Sean had come in and shut the door.  Sonny had stayed in longer than I, but had given way to Mike N.  Meanwhile, our team had inched back to close, after I finally was able to bat a run in. In the ninth we scrambled Mike's plans for a win and go ahead, thank god.  We had been ok to not win too, but if we had tied, we might have all quit.  

The bottom of the inning proved to be a non-starter for the homers, and we walked away having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.  

Final score: 5-4?


* Call me crazy but St Mary's reminds me of the peace and tranquility of the Presidio all those years ago.  Not a bad thing....

*  Great defense all around.

* Chris P and John McG seemed to have strong days at the plate.

* I hit a ground ball at the end of the of the game that took that 3rd bounce that always seems to be where the problem lies, and it bounced right up into his jaw.  I was really thankful it was jaw and not throat, but still a tense moment.  Sorry Sonny, you took a shot like a champ.

* Thanks to the catchers, Nick W in particular was very helpful while I was working out the kinks.

* I managed a handful of Ks for the day, I was all over the map, but then would suddenly get locked in and throw 3 pitches right where Nick put the glove.  Weird.

* Bob had a few nice knocks, as did Dan.

* JT and I were involved in 3 double plays.  Unfortunately all of them involved us as runners.

* The homers defense turned three double plays!

* The visitors had one double play, which is more gentlemanly.

* I love pitching at St Mary's because the mound is basically non-existent, and easy on the joints.

* Thanks to JT and Sean for making us a real game

* Coyote sighting, the old boy is still there.

* The band is sounding tight, and has new selections to choose from and they also warned us that the Parks and Rec dudes posted at St Mary's may be badge-heavy, so lets keep our profile low and calm.

Monday, May 3, 2021

5/2/21 Some Little League field

Well, the time tested method of dibs and COVID bureaucracy finally screwed us.  

We are not able to secure a permit because we are not a league, and that is the only people getting permits.  The other field was taken by a non-official league that had just started their game.  The other field near the skate park was taken by softball batting practice, leaving us to chance a move to St Mary's or play at the other LL field.  We measured out the bases, which were about 15 feet into the outfield on all sides, and the mound.  Throwing on a flat surface was nice after months of falling off the cliff at Potrero.  However, the more immediate concern was any hard hit foul ball to the left had a decent chance of damaging property and/or risking injury to bystanders.  So everyone tried real hard not to pull the ball. It mostly worked.

Sonny started for the homers and he went the distance, with a win under adverse conditions.  This was not his first CG, but it may have been his finest. Not only were we on a field 2 sizes small, we had a constant gale force wind to contend with, no joke, about 25-35 mph.  I started for the visitors, and felt good, not trying too hard, and once we realized that the wind was blowing the right direction for the knuckleball, we had some good innings.  Sean came in after I took myself out of the game on a injury in the 6th, and he took it the rest of the way and held the visitors right where they were.

The visitors put up 4 runs very early on, and then we quieted them down.  We could not score a run to save our life in the beginning, and the key word for this game was double plays.  I think the visitors made 4-5 of them.  I know I hit into at least 2.

We were getting good hits, John Mcg had a loud day with the bat, as did Urano, but we couldn't get them around.  We finally scored a run in the middle of the game, and then another.  The visitors were making it look easy, and we kept getting every bad hop and dropped ball that we could.  I will say that we did have good luck with our second efforts though, and still managed to get some outs after a oopsie.

By the 9th rolled around, we were in a 5-4 scrap, and looked like we might tie it up.  Chris L led off with a hit, I bunted him into scoring position, but Sonny doubled down his effort and we left our tying run on base.

MVP: Sonny with the complete game


* Chris P made a couple of amazing over the shoulder catches, and almost made a few more.  He seemed to have invented a new position Short left fielder stop.

* Elon had an amazing dig at first

* Bob made a couple of good put outs are first on tricky grounders, and Sean and I both remembered to cover 1st.

* John McG made several outs at 2nd in needed scenarios, and also slapped some boss line drives.

* The wind made anything in the air a gamble.  A ball I thought was going over 2nd base ended up falling about 5 feet behind me on the mound.

* Double plays!

* JT showed up to make things almost perfect, and did a great job of keeping the score and innings straight.

* Mitch didn't care about the wind, he can still Mitch whenever he needs to

* New guy Virgil is a dead ringer for Richie, if Richie had a gray beard.  It's amazing

* I clicked for a second in the 5th inning, and had a 1-2-3 inning with 2 Ks.

* Is that a foul ball, a double, or a homerun? was one of the themes of the day.

* We kept hitting the ball hard, but right to the wrong person

* A great game of baseball under not so great conditions.

* Get well soon Greg, Anna, Tony, anyone else nursing an injury beyond our usual bunch of injuries....