Monday, June 21, 2021

6/20/21 GGP #3

Roundabout game-time I was torturing the kids in the car about having to come play baseball with me for Father's Day after we got back from our camping trip....but of course, I knew that was a pipe dream, because at 3pm we were somewhere around Rio Vista, stuck in the 4-way intersection.  Still better than 80 any day of the week.  Mike L was there, and he filed this report:

Week 3 in Golden Gate Park, and while the weather looked more like Week 2 (a bit gray, but not too windy), the game itself shaped up to be a cleaner affair with more than full sides on each bench. 

It started as a matchup of veteran right handers, with Sonny spinning balls off the mound for the visitors while yours truly (Mike L) took the bump for the home team. All in all, a solid start for both of us. I was able to hold the visitors mostly in check through four innings, exiting down 2-0 on the strength of a fourth inning that saw Urano and Adam both do what they should have done with pitches right down the pipe - smoke them up the middle for a hit. Those hits plus some stolen bases and a couple of errant throws erased my attempt at four clean innings but left us in good condition overall. 

That’s because once I was out of the game our offense got to work, stacking up four runs in the bottom of the fifth to give us a lead with Mitch, Greg, Marcy, and Me all reaching base before an out was recorded, and reaching home safely before the third out was made. 

The beneficiary of those runs was Sean, who followed me on the hill and quickly claimed the title ‘King of the Comebacker’, as hitter after hitter knocked one back at him (including a life-threatening line drive from Bob), and as expected Sean handled them all with ease. I think there were 5 (could have been 6) comebackers over Sean’s four innings. Including one where he caught Liam (how had arrived late from high up in the mountains) leaning off third to help erase a threat. 

Sonny bowed to Phelps after 5 solid innings, turning it into a battle of the lefties as we headed late into the game. We were able to tack on a run against Phelps (Greg driving in Mitch) which proved handy as ultimately the visitors were able to scratch 3 runs across against Sean to tighten things up. 

But that is as tight as they would get, as Chris came in looking sharp to get the last three outs - a single the only blemish on the back of his baseball card for the day. All in all, a fun day at the yard, a nice sub-3-hour game, and plenty of good spirits as we all enjoy the post-pandemic life. 


·       We would have had a runner thrown out at the plate for the second straight week, as Mitch came charging hard on a liner to left as Urano charged hard around third. Sadly, the relay was not to be, as Tony started to throw before he ever had the ball fully in his glove. Probably could have stopped, looked at it, added some Pelican Grip, then thrown and still gotten the out…. 
·         James hit a prodigious blast just foul down the left field line that came up about three feet short of landing in the middle of a family picnic….
     The McGrath boys both banged doubles deep into the gap for a nice Father/Son Father’s Day combo 
·         Marcy had a solid day at the plate, roping a line drive to third that unfortunately was right into Bob’s glove (6 inches either way it’s a hit!) 
·         Adam continued to square the ball up, and this week he actually got rewarded with hits. 
·         T-shirt Mike was a vacuum at third, which was much appreciated by his fellow shorts-wearing pitcher… 
·         We had a few groups of family and friends as spectators which is always nice and is a perfect lead in reminder to bring the family out for the 4th of July. The doubleheader and BBQ are a GO and we will be circulating the sign-up sheet soon!

Monday, June 14, 2021

6/13/21 GGP- Game 2

From what I understand, not quite the same affair as last week, but I think we had a good game.  The fog was thick, yet it was warm-ish.  We had 15 at our high water mark, and there were some excellent plays.  Most of which were at home, in an amazing twist.  Seriously, I think we set a record for MBC outs at home.  

Tony started for the homers, and Nick W. for the visitors.  The first 3 innings seemed to take a very long time, but I wouldn't know because I showed up late.  After dropping off lil" Satch and lil' Josh Gibson at sleepaway camp, I worked my way home and then raced across the bridge.  I was glad I did.

Doc!  The old man makes another appearance and umpires most of the game....

Setting up the controversy, what do you do when one team gets the umpire for half an inning, and the other gets their own catcher calling the balls and strikes.  Good thing we are all honest people, I suppose.

Double plays!  We each had those too, the defense was really locked in for most of the game as well.  Fly balls were a little tougher, with the fog and the wind, but ground balls were in good supply.  We almost had another double play, but Anna legged it out and beat the throw.

Dan took the ball from Tony, and then I took the ball from Dan.  It was nice to play on a field with a mound, and everything was working pretty good.  Knuckleball had a little extra mess on it from the moisture, which also helped with the other stuff, what with wet air raising the seams on the ball.  John McG came in for 2 and then Mike N after that.  

The game had spiraled out of control for our team by that time, and the score was 10-5.  We had calculated that the game would be around 18-7 by the end.  The visitors were stacked with a real Murderer's Row, every hitter a danger.  And they proved it, I saw hard hit balls from everyone: Bob, Anna, Urano, James, Mike N, John McGrath, and Nick W.

We tried for a comeback, and made it about half way, the ending was eventful enough for us to have fun, but we didn't tie the game and force us all to try and finish.  We called the 8th inning the 9th, since we were all ready to go, and the game had dragged on into 6pm.  The band was out and they played through their whole set about 4 times, much to their credit they sounded awesome, and they waiting a long time to get to the 7th inning stretch.  They had also played the Bye Bye Baby song in honor of Urano that has hit an in the parker the inning before.

A great game, in a beautiful setting, with good people.


* The plays at home!  Amazing throws from Urano, Nick W., and James.

* James also hit a rocket to the moon in left

* Ed Sidawi in the flesh!  Apparently he has a reprieve from shuttling his kid around.

* The Mike L's were a great power back-to-back lefty combination all day

* Greg had a nice poke up the middle and almost got thrown out again by James from deep center field.  

* Anna continued her hitting tear

* Doc did a good job of umpiring, though he got overruled by Greg a few times

* A lot of our rally was thanks to throwing errors by the other team, in other words, a real MBC rally.

* I somehow managed to strike out more than a few, and even got Mike N and James on nasty change ups.  That felt good.

* There was a pretty good average on pop flies which I thought were usually trouble.

* RBI Ed must be out of practice

* Tony took his bat all the way down the line, and was almost was safe as the ball was bobbled, he eventually tripping over the bat and falling past the base.  Luckily he was alright....

* There was another play at home, involving Satch of all people.  I had started at first after another droopy single, and that was no place to be scoring from.  But Dan scorched the ball and as I came around third, Dan was being waved on (I think) by our team past second.  So I had nowhere to go but home.  The throw beat me by a wide margin, from James again I think, and John McG was ready for me, except he didn't think I would slide.  And so I did, though I thought it was going to end like this:

But I managed to slide at a 45 down angle towards the plate, and got my big ass foot on the plate before John could reach down to tag me.  It was a good feeling.

Thanks to all that showed up, it was a great game to be a part of.

S. Paige


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

6/6/21 Report from the Salt Mines (GGP)

 I was not able to make it to the game, but the first of our residency at GGP was a good one, and here with the recap is Ol' Reliable himself, Mike Lattig:

It was a beautiful day to be back in GG Park. Not just because the wind was still howling and St Marys would have been unbearable. But because the sun was shining, the hawks were flying, the old-timey game was happening - with all the fans and beer drinking that that entails - and the promise of a better field brought out a number of our old timers who we haven’t seen as much of lately. 

Namely James (kid), Rich (kids), Don (baby - as in he is one, not has one), Ben (kids - but because he’s a teacher, not a father), and Stone (kids). Also making his first appearance in forever was our once and future umpire, Doc. It was great to see him, and he didn’t look a day over however old he is. 

Sean and Sonny did the pitching honors to inaugurate our three-month run in the park, though with the sides at 12 v 12 it was clear they weren’t going to get to run the length of the game. And it looked at the outset like Sonny’s day might be more dictated by effectiveness than numbers, as the home team struck for one in the first and two in the second. But after that, our bats got awfully quiet. 

Meanwhile, Sean had it all going - stymieing the visitors with his varied arsenal and fantastic movement. Along with a complete layout grab in CF by Rich to end a threat early in the game. As Sean said coming off the mound - It took a former minor leaguer to maintain the shutout. But maintain it we did, as Sean wrapped up 5 innings of shutout ball and handed the ball to McGrath. 

This is where my details get fuzzy, but needless to say a comeback was afoot. And after two innings pitched by John, HR came in for the 8th. By the time the third out was made, we were tied up 3-3. Chris P gets the credit for holding the home team in check, with some nice defense behind him. In fact, defense was solid for a good portion of the game with a couple perfectly mission-style exception innings. (Though a quick note to James - go with a full throw on the infield rather than trying to lob it.)

I think we had a relay throw to the plate for an out at one point (Maybe Greg from LF to someone to home…), we had Urano making leaping catches and running over the shoulder grabs out into CF (shoutout to Stone for not plowing him down), as well as taking a DP himself to end an inning… Just a solid defensive day all around. 

So, we head to the bottom of the 8th all knotted. Yours truly started things and jumped into the wayback machine with a long drive into left center for a double. Sean followed with a line drive back up the box that somehow skipped by Don in CF, allowing me to score and (because he hustles) Sean to get all the way to third. After a comebacker left him still at 3rd with one out, Sean put the contact play on for himself. Only he stopped and admired the high chopper hit to Sonny at third before remembering that he’d done so… 

What ensued was the best rundown in a long time. I’m guessing it took at least 6 throws to get him Sonny to Mike to Sonny to Mike to Chris to Someone to Chris…. All that effort allowed Virgil to scoot his way to second, which we ultimately cashed in with another base hit (sorry, forgetting who got it - maybe JT?) to make it 5-3. 

That extra run would prove necessary as HR went for the 2-inning save, giving up a couple of hits to make it a one run game before stranding the tying run at 3rd with a nasty strikeout of Dan. 

All in all, an exciting and fun way to kick off our run in the park. A few other notes:

  • In addition to Rich’s impossible catch in the OF, Adam smoked one to left that HR somehow ran down. Greg went a LONG way in left to corral a drive from… I think Chris P? And Don got a great jump to snag a shot I hit into CF. All in all a great day for outfielders, who were clearly thankful to be done with Saint Marys

  • Anna’s bat has been coming around lately, and she had at least one hit, plus hard contact just about every time. 

  • As mentioned above, Urano gets a gold star on defense for multiple tough plays

  • Mike N seemed to hit a line drive every time up. Which wasn’t that surprising… 

  • Greg was looking spry in LF and at the plate, including a nice line drive to center that we’re calling a hit - even if JT got forced out at 2nd

  • Rich’s kids continue to show us that genetics definitely play a big role in athletic ability… 

  • No band this week due to a previous engagement, but hopefully we’ll see them out there next week!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

5/30/21 St Mary's

One final time at the old wind tunnel before we move to our new residency in the park.  IT was a great game, the sun made the wind less of a freezing affair, and we had 17 players.  I had some weird elbow tweak that I was nursing, so I told Greg that I had decided not to throw many/any breaking balls.  He liked the challenge.  Sean started for the other team, and that is how it began and how it ended.  

Yep, Sean and I each pitched complete games, like a real ball game.  

There had been concern at the beginning that the teams were mismatched, and they might have been, but in the opposite direction.  Our team seemed to not be able to hit its way out of a paper bag, and Sean's team was crushing the ball.  Our defense held up pretty well, especially under the adverse wind conditions, but still they were averaging a run or two an inning.  We only scored 2 the whole game.  The other team had lefty after lefty, and they made JT run all over right field the entire game.

With neither of us bowing out, the game moved along quickly, and there were some gems made in the field.  Chris P made several catches in short left, as well as an amazing diving catch while covering left for the other team.  Mitch played 2nd, and caught pop ups as well as made the turns on some great plays.  I think we turned 2 at least once, and had opportunities a couple other times. Anna played 1st and made some strong plays, including a perfect toss to me covering the bag on a ground ball.  

We could do everything except score runs.

Final Score: 8-2.  


*  Mike N was at least 4-5, maybe 5-6 on the day

* Anna had a great hit late in the game, and made it count, coming around to score one of our two runs

* T-Shirt Mike also had a great day at the plate, bashing doubles and triples

* Pitching without a curve was good, but not having a 2-strike go to pitch was tough.  I had so many lost 2-strike counts

* I did manage to K about 5 though

* Every bad hop=our team, every good hop=their team

* We had discussed stealing, and how we have not thrown anyone out in a long time, but I think we will keep it, if not just to keep the pitchers on their toes

* Dan may have to go back to baserunning camp, caught twice at first on a day we needed baserunners

*  Tony was back, thumb protected

* Marcie also got a hit, and everyone celebrated, it was great to see 

* No band this week which was disappointing

* The mound at St Mary's officially sucks.  There was a rebar sticking up in front of the rubber, so you had to put your foot to one side or the other, and try not to catch your spike and break your ankle.  And don't get me started on the hole.

* Cap tip to Sean for an impressive day on the mound, a big bat all day with an almost homerun, and for striking me out with a nasty dropball.

See you at Hippy Hill.

S. Paige