Monday, October 31, 2022

10/30/22 GGP

What a game!  What a day!  What a foggy mess!  

Yes, Carl (the fog) had his way with the MBC yesterday, and man, it is a weird thing to hit a ball in the air and have it disappear.  This was to be my last game before a 3 month hiatus and hopefully successful surgery.  I wanted to go the full 9 again, make a CG hat trick for my last three games, and my team was nice enough to oblige.  

What was newsworthy was that we had 22 players, instead of 13, so their yielding the mound was actually a big thing, since I did not sit out as I should have.  Thank you all!  Sean started for the homers and he was pretty lights out the entire time.  He had a nasty diving curve ball working, and he kept us to one run over 7 frames.  We had a team of a lot of veteran players, and it quickly became apparent that we did not have the speed in the game.  There were so many plays at 1st that usually would not have to be as bang bang as they were.  Seriously, every time there was a ground ball, the batter was STEAMING up the line, and we had one shot.  Luckily we had Urano at SS, who converted those plays, as did Nick S at 2nd.  Adam was a great 1st baseman, including one short hop scoop that had to be caught.

Hitting-wise, the visitors also had a murderers row and while we kept it in check some of the game, there was a back to back to back extra base hit extravaganza at one point.  John Carey, showing off his youth also got a triple cum little league home run, when our team couldn't seem to find the handle.  Mitch, Powell, Lynch, also displayed big hits.

So we cruised along, making some great defensive plays, including a double play, and then Carl got heavy, and we lost one in the outfield, and then another, and then one in the infield.  The runs piled up, and we just could not get our own offense started.  We left a runner in scoring position most of the innings, and only scored one more run, off of Mitch who came into mop up.

Final Score: 7-2


* Thanks to everyone who came out, it was a great way to end my year, with a well-attended friendly game

* Thanks to Greg who caught a great game, and stopped a couple of absolute scuds.  Bob, Don, and Rudy also did great behind the dish

* Anna barreled up on me and had another that was a sure fire hit up the middle if I didn't manage to get a glove on it

* The visitors hammered the left field line all day

* Carl was doing one thing well, and that was helping the knuckleball, man it was dancing and diving all day!

* Dan, Urano, Tony, Adam, Nick S were all great defense.  Except for that one play, Tony.....

* I lost track of my directive, and took a comebacker and spun and threw it to 2nd, because I thought there was still runners on 1st and 2nd.  Turns out it was just 2nd, but I got the runner off base too far and Urano gunned him out at 3rd.  Glad that it worked out, that is not the usual MBC out, we play the safe game.

* The return of the band!  All is forgiven, they explained that they had intentions of playing for both games, but were not able to.  We will be keeping an eye on them, nonetheless.

* I didn't mean to pick on Rudy, but he got the K business.

* I struck out on a ball in the dirt, one of Sean's diving specialties, while protecting the plate.

* JT had a real nice hit

* I hit James with a knuckleball, it was coming so slow I think he never moved

* I may have had 5 Ks on the day, which is more than usual

* Poor Nick W was all over the map in left field

* I am in pursuit of Johnny Bartlett's record of 4 complete games in a row, I can't find it yet, but I think there is a blog post about it somewhere.  I think the record was set at Camp Swampy.

Great game had by all, thank you all who played, there's no where else I would rather be on a Sunday.

Don't look back.

S. Paige

Monday, October 10, 2022

10/9/22 GGP


What a cold foggy affair.  We could all hear our taxes getting burned up in the sky, as the roaring Blue Angels were heard but not seen.  We managed to get enough for a game, but out of the kindness of our stupid hearts, we agreed to let the league game before us play their last inning, which they insisted in part, was because it was a super close game.  So we did, and 30 minutes later, and several runs scored, the game still wasn't over.  Hmmmm.  So, we took the field quickly and got to it.  Satch for the homers and HR for the visitors.  And for the second week in a row, I threw a complete game.  It felt good, and not too much soreness today.  HR was pitching well, had a very sneaky curveball that was lights out when it was working.  

The homers drew first blood to the tune of 2 runs, and the visitors answered back with 1.  Then we answered back again with 2 more, and....the visitors did not.  I place the reasons solely on our defense, which was awesome all day.  Kenball in left field made several tall man catches, Mike N at 2nd, and Nick at SS (for the first time, as far as I could tell) were locked in.  Lynch made his usual picks at 3rd, and Gaspar and McG were walls behind the plate all day. Alejandro came late, but filled in at all positions.

HR gave way to Chris Powell after the first 3rd, and Chris was pumping strikes, but his loss at SS is always the downfall of his presence on the mound.  Lattig finished the game for the visitors and Greg was a stalwart behind the dish all game.  I think the visitors had at least 2 double plays on the day.  It was a weird game for hitting, a lot of bloops that fell in or balls hit straight to people.  Our baserunners were fooled by things that looked like they had to be hits, only to be caught.  The visitors also had the lil'est player of the day, a young boy with a very long Italian name.  I want to say Lucciano, but that may be wrong.  He tried real hard, and hit the ball well, got on base, and almost caught one in right field.

In any case, the homers stretched the lead to 6-2 towards the end of the game, and we started to play for outs any cost.  We were helped by a couple of balls that barely went foul, and one squibber up the first base line that stayed fair until Nick picked it up while standing on the bag.  

The visitors made an attempt for a comeback, but it was too little too late, and the final score was 6-4.


* Kenball with 3 RBIs and as many, or more, running catches in left field

* James had a semi-tough day at the plate, and to break it up, he hit left handed his last at bat.  He smoked the ball, but it got to center too quickly and I was out at 2nd.

* Poor Loren got a workout in left field, against his wishes

* All of our 1st basemen did a great job of coming off the bag to get the ball and then tag the runner

* The sky was so gray that it made it hard to see the ball

* Fuck the band.  They have thrown us over for the Olde Tyme league.  

* I don't think I struck out a single person, but I did have a 4 pitch inning.

* Mike N may have had the deep drive of the day, but there were several contenders

* We did get Powell in a pickle and pulled it off successfully.

* Mike N also took a hard ground ball right in the sternum, and still managed to make the play

* Lynch smoked a ball to right

* I was on base 3 times, but I don't think I ever made it to 3rd.

S. Paige

Monday, October 3, 2022

10/2/22 Cop Field

Summer has come to SF!  A beautiful sunny day in the city, and enough people to play a game, who could ask for more?  Sean and I went head to head, complete game style, and while I will say that I felt like I threw a decent game, the score would not agree with me.  The mound at Cop Field is an abomination, and we should do something about it.  I will stop there.

The teams had a real seesaw battle for the first few frames, 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-4.  We thought this was going to be the way the whole game.  But no.  In addition to pitching well, Sean and crew hit a few gappers that cleared the bases, more than once.    

The force I didn't think I would have to reckon with was Marcie.  She put wood to the ball every at bat, and had 2 hits and 2 RBIs on the day.  While I didn't feel great about it, we picked her off at first on a heads up play by Anna, who moved quickly to the bag and watched me as I delayed long enough for Marcie to lull to sleep.  I gotta take the outs wherever I can find them these days, but a big cap tip to Marcie on the day, not to mention a great catch she made in right on a sky ball.

Our scoring dried up completely, and the visitors kept tacking on runs.  Craig, a Scotsman who had only played cricket before, got steadily better over the course of the game, and put a hurt on a lot of balls that were way out of the zone.

The night is coming earlier, and fall is in the air.  The last 2 innings were a struggle with the sun so low in the sky, but we made it.  I struck out looking on a ball right down the middle to end the game.  My team tried to form a rallying cry that the pitch was low, since a backwards K is no way to end a game. It wasn't, though, it was perfect, and I froze up.  I own that, and hats off to Sean for throwing it on a 1-2 count.

Final: 12-4?


* The visitors put in the work and made the plays

* Sean pitched a hell of a game

* My team didn't ever fall apart, the scoring was all legit.

* Brad, in center field, made a couple of great catches

* Lynch likes playing 3rd, so we swapped SS as a fill in.  As Sean said, My team is doing pretty well for not having a shortstop.

* Marcie's grunt with her first hit was a powerful one

* Lynch swung at a 2 strike pitch that was around his eyeballs and hit it squarely to the opposite field.

* Greg and Nick W also caught the whole game, congrats to them!

* My hitting was schizophrenic all day, I had a nice long single to open, and then I struck out, then I got robbed on a frozen rope that Powell somehow caught, then I hit a weak groundball that I lazied up the line and might have made it if I had been running, then I struck out again.

* Anna had a challenging day at 1st, there were several throws that pulled her off the bag and into the baseline.

* Lattig brought him out and he and Craig seemed to have worked out a mutually beneficial program for not catching each others fly balls when filling in on defense.

* Sean laid out for one as did Alejandro, but neither quite made it.

* My curve ball was not working.  Then in the 7th, everything stopped working for a bit and I threw 9 balls in a row.  

* Powell had our biggest hit, and scored at least 2 of our runs

* We did pull off a classic double play to snuff a rally

* Adam showed up late and gave me a real battle in a 2 strike count, I think something like 7 foul balls.  He finally got a nice single.  Turns out, Greg told him that it was a 1-run game when he came up to bat, when in fact it was a 7 run game at that point.  Adam took it to heart apparently.

* Get well soon, Tony!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Late Post- 9/7/22 San Quentin A's and MBC

 Here is a game recap from several players on the latest SQ exploits:

Mike Lynch

Sean pitched great and we were winning by one in the last inning but they made a little charge and beat us by a few. We had some good hits but our D and pitching seemed to be the biggest plus. They had a few plays (lucky) that made the game turn around. Chris smashed one to left and the guy threw up his glove and got it. It would have scored two at least. Still fun but looking for a win on 10/1

Sean Presley

Kool Aid shut us down in the first inning even with some decent contact and Mitch leading off the game with a walk. First SQ hitter on with a single, second hitter(new catcher) goes deep on first pitch SQ 2-0 no outs first inning, seemed an ominous opening. Ended up getting out of it, bottom of our lineup set the table and turned the lineup over and we put a 5 spot on Kool Aid in the 2nd. SQ added a run on a solo homer by Jesse the CF, his first in SQ(he made me sign the ball after the game). I forget when or how they got the next run but going into the bottom of the 6th we were still up 5-4. I think after the 2nd inning SQ brought in Wiley(?) to pitch and he was throwing heat and shut us down except for the occasional walk or dink or doink. We had Mitch on 2nd and me on first in the 5th or 6th with nobody out and Mitch broke for third, had a great jump and Chris fucking smoked a ball to left but the LF’er made a great reaching play and tried to double off mitch with a jump throw but Mitch was able to just beat it out and nothing came of that charge.

Bottom 6, light is leaving us, i think we all knew it was probably going to be the last inning. I think they were sending up their 9-1-2 batters(or 10-1-2 i think they might have been batting 10 yesterday). I was kind of on a different planet at this point so i don't really remember what or how everything happened but i think i got the first guy out, their leadoff man(forget his name but he was the first baseman and was apparently drafted out of high school by the diamondbacks and one other MLB team) was the thorn in my side all day as i couldn't keep him off base and he stole every single base when he was on. Was able to strike the catcher out which at the time felt huge. I think Brandon in his last game was able to tie the game with a hit, a high popup to medium deep right field into that sketchy walkway/warning track area right before the tables and our right fielder from SQ, Trevor, couldn't get it. With Brandon on second was able to get two strikes on the LF’er and we were battling. I threw an elevated fastball above the eyes and he somehow went up and destroyed it to center scoring Brandon as  what we all assumed was the winning run. We hadn't discussed it before the inning started and after that hit coach Steve asked us what we wanted to do. I said if you have guys that want to keep hitting i was happy to keep pitching so we played on and true to MBC form whenever we suggest that we play extra baseball we always regret it, its always one toke over the line. They ended up putting up three more runs to make the theoretical score 9-5. We tried hitting again against Wiley and failed and called the game after the top of the 7th i guess. Im gonna call the hit in the bottom of the 6th a walkoff and say final score SQ A’s 6 MBC 5.

Don had an amazing game too, a couple past balls that he turned into throw-outs when the runner tried to advance as well as a big 2 rbi hit. Called and caught a great game, really wish he wouldn’t call for me to hit the batter after i get them 0-2 though

Like i said i think i blacked out.

Don Kreppin

Yeah that's my bad. I just love beaning inmates & indeed it was the 1st inning where i drove in two with two outs & the bases juiced.


& in fact i did go for burgers & beers afterward

Chris Powell

I'm pretty sure we got 2 in the first and 3 in the second. Never being behind in the game until the last pitch.

9/11/22 GGP


A lot of players came out, including the return of Anna from the IL and moving like she had never missed a game.  I think the total was 24 for the game, which is awesome considering that it's been Havana 6's for the last 3 months.  Let's keep it up.  It was a beautiful day, marred only by the Opera in the Park traffic that made parking a real nightmare.

Pitching for the homers was Sonny, and he was lights out for most of the game.  His fastball had a real tailing movement to it, making it hard to read until it was too late.  he augmented that with a breaking ball that had sharp bite, and he was backed by a strong offense.  Not exactly what you want to face.  We did our best, and Satch was on the bump for most of the game, matching Sonny in effectiveness...until I didn't.  I was keeping the pitch count low-ish, and we tried our best to limit the damage when the big hitters were up but it didn't always work out.

While I don't want to highlight the misery, I have to say that John McG had a real rough day in the field.  I can't put an exact number on it, but it was 5+ errors.  You could see that he had been infected with a strong dose of the defensive yips, the whammies, the hinkies.  It happens to us all at some point.  He was on the ball each time, but just couldn't get it clean and the more frustrated he got, the more he was in his own head.  Luckily, we as a team are the supportive, not vindictive sort, and I am happy to say that through the course of the game, we saw a rebirth of confidence and ability in John which was very gratifying.  

Speaking of defensive prowess, how about that Marcie!  She came out after many promises of attendance, and made a great running catch in right field.  She was clearly unaware that it was not the 3rd out with her post-catch celebratory dance, but ultimately, it did not affect the outcome. She also had 2 almost-hits, stopped only by the book the defense was keeping on her.  Cap tip.

The score was something in the neighborhood of 8-2 as we entered into the last few.  We also realized that we had played an extra inning, mostly because we had the band out, and the 7th had come and gone without the Take me out to the Ballgame.  So they played it, and then we shrugged and said, well I guess it is the bottom of the 7th, not the 8th now....

Sean relieved me, as I was struck by my own version of the yips, due to exhaustion and other ailments, I struggled to finish the inning and was happy to give up the ball.  Sean did well, as did HR who came in to relieve Sonny, and Urano after that, in case we had any thoughts of a comeback, he slammed the door.  We did have a mini-rally and brought the score to 8-5 but that is where it ended.


* The return of Anna!

* Bob hit 2nd for our team, power and speed is what you want in the second slot.

* Sean almost made an amazing lay out catch in center

* The homers had at least 2 triples

* I am proud of the progress that McG made in the course of the game

* I am glad I was not the only one that struck out against Sonny

* The MBC single is when you hit a sure fire out, meander down the line, and wait for someone to fuck it up.

* I almost killed Adam and Greg in collisions, but no one was hurt

* New guy Rudy caught half the game and had a big situational hit to right.

* HR hit one not-to-right field, to prove my shift wrong

* Greg also caught most of our game, all systems go!

* Mike Lynch is a hoover at 3rd, nothing gets by him!

* I made 2 catches off the mound on high pop flies, something I ordinarily try to avoid.  But I couldn't, I was the only one that could make the play.

See you soon!

S. Paige

Monday, August 29, 2022

8/28/22 GGP

 I fully admit to being late, just so everyone is clear here.  Sorry.  Glad I made it though.  Sort of.  The day was mostly sunny and cloudy, and there was parking in the park, maybe as a byproduct of the Burning Man.

The score was 11-0, when I arrived, and I was placed on the home team, as a salve to hopefully remove some of the pain of the blow out.  Mike Lattig had started for the homers, and it sounds like it was hit, error, bloop, bloop, blooop.  Chris Powell was on the mound for the visitors, and was pitching effectively to his defense.  We tried to work a 9-7 team break down, to give us 2 defensive fielders to "even" the score, but the visitors saw through that chicanery, and we ended up with the more sensible 8-8.

John McG came in after Mike and pitched effectively, though he was the first to admit that when you lose it on the mound, it can be hard to regain.  Chris Leavitt replaced Powell, which made it harder for us to rally, since Powell was now back at SS, taking away hits.  

We had rallied on the back of a few hits, errors and John Carey's wild arm to bring the score up to 11-7, Urano having a in the parker down the left field line that he scored easily on, but the visitors promptly took two more runs out of us, including a triple from Powell that sounded like a pop fly off the bat, but went really far into the gap in left center.

I took over the mound in the 6th and took it the rest of the way.  Other than the 2 runs, it felt good, had a few Ks.  Loren came in for the visitors and stomped on our throats for 2 innings just to make sure that we didn't smell victory.

Final- 13-7, visitors


* The return of Kenball!  This SF native is back amongst his own, the first in what we hope will be the reverse migration of the East Coasters.  If you haven't made up your mind yet, hit us up in January when we are still playing ball.

* The visitors had a strong hitting lineup and made the plays.

* A couple of close plays at first made a difference for both teams

* Greg catching a pop foul of Powell's is such a coup for a team looking for momentum

* Urano with the round tripper!

* James made an amazing diving catch to take a hit away from JT, that's doing your homework, people!

* Bob had not one, but two balls hit over 1st base, one that actually hit the base

* I have a lifetime experiment that I am running on not watching while routine fly balls get caught while I am pitching, the odds seems better for outs when I don't look.

* The slumps have hit us hard, I know John McG and myself were both 0-fers

* Word on the street is that Anna could return soon!

* A kid and his dad played an inning with us, hopefully they will be back

* It was great to see John Carey back out, and he even wore his glasses, though he has upgraded from the blue rims since this picture was taken...

* Mike Lattig made the long run in left field to snare a fly ball, we were so happy, we didn't care that it was also a sac fly

* Sure was nice to have enough players so that we could actually sit down and talk from time to time

Don't look back.

S. Paige

Thursday, August 25, 2022

8/20/22 San Quentin A's vs MBC



Great to be back inside with all the players.  It was 2019 the last time we graced the field of dreams inside SQ.  Hard to believe.  The coach who met us in the parking lot ran through the usual stuff, and also told us that we were not going to recognize most of the players, as they have been released, transferred, or are not playing.  In addition, one of the housing units was quarantined because of a possible COVID outbreak (it was the flu).  In we went, as usual, with 11 players, and through the sally port, and down the main road.  New things that I noticed in the main yard:

  • Looks like free weights are back in a limited capacity.
  • They have horseshoes now.
  • The outfield is as dry as the bald pate of a Arizona retiree.

There was a opening day ceremony, the national anthem played by a lovely violin player, and two first pitches were thrown.  One by the warden, and one by Brandon, who was getting his freedom in 17 days (he had it briefly, and then was brought back due to an administrative error). The A's have about 20 players, and as usual, every one of them is fast and strong.  I started on the bump and was feeling good. I was getting unsolicited coaching advice from HR to throw harder than usual, but the extra adrenaline took care of that.  

It's with regret that I say that as a pitcher in SQ, you always have to be able to shrug off the increase in errors, that come along with our games.  It is the intimidation factor and the shitty field factor all in one.  Trying to dodge 5 guys in the outfield while you catch a ball in the slippery gravel is a recipe for disaster.  Or running into a picnic bench in center, or never seeing it in the first place because it blends in with the wall.  We got out of one jam, and almost got out of another unscathed, but the scoring was kept low-ish.  We scored a run right off the bat, which was nice for a change of pace.

At the end of 5 innings, the score was a respectable 5-3 SQ, and not many of those runs were earned, though I will say that they put a hurt on the ball when they hit it square. Phelps almost made a great play on a ball that was hit to the deep alley, but after the aforementioned dodging and slipping, the ball ricocheted off his wrist, hit him in the chin, almost fell in his glove, and then dropped.

Greg, trying to channel Earl Weaver, gave me the talking to about making hard decisions for the good of the club, and took me out after that inning.  In came Nick W. who I didn't know has a real reputation in SQ.  And not the good kind.  I guess he hit a lot of batters last time, and this time did not prove to be any different.  When he wasn't getting calls, he was hitting batters.  Or having plays like mine at 1st where I put the runner in between me and the ball during a pick off, and down the right field line goes the ball, not great.  Bad vibrations lead to wheels loosening and falling off, and boy howdy did they ever.  

Halfway through the 7th inning, Nick pulled himself from the game, after SQ was running the score up, and in came Phelps with the bases loaded.  Well, it the first 60 feet of that pitch was great, but the batter squared up and put it into the Native prayer garden for a grand salami.  The final total on that inning, 10 runs scored.  Whew!  Phelps settled down and pitched well for the rest of the game, but there was no way we could surmounted that hill, and the final score was 15-3.  

Not our worst, which isn't something to brag about.


* James, HR, Don, Mike Lynch, John Mcg all spanked the ball

* Powell had a rare throwing error, but he also made an amazing sliding grab at SS for an out

* Nick S. stayed down on a ball at 2nd that had all kinds of bad written on it, and flipped it to get an out when we really needed it

*  Solo was the new lefty starter for the A's and pitched very well

* Don made a great grab of a pop foul for the 3rd out

* Don also gets the tough man award for taking a foul tip to the jaw that rattled his cage, all that and an unpleasant medical procedure a day prior

* The A's 3rd baseman made the play of the game, snaring a low line drive with the bases juiced

* The A's turned several double plays

* I had 2 singles and a fielders choice, not bad since I was hitting with a toothpick

* If we could get rid of our jitters, we will be contenders with this team

* The umpire was ok, at least his bad calls were fairly even between the teams.  

* James nailed a guy at 3rd, with a beautiful throw

* Nick W.- Scourge of the Convict

* Powell came into run for me, and fell victim to the hidden ball trick, perfected by Brandon.  That wouldn't have happened if I had stayed in, because I am too lazy to lead off.  Note to all, they will try the hidden ball every time

* The coaches spent a lot of time apparently getting the players ready for Sean's pick off move.  Our players are ringing out!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

7/31/22 Cop Field

Well, so much for a relief from the summer doldrums.  We had 11 people come out.  Not enough for much of anything.  

As luck would have it though, the team with the slot in front of us had a no-show for their game, and we agreed, via Alejandro diplomacy skills, that we would have a game.  For most of us, this is a rare thing, to have a competitive game.  You could see that a few of the MBCer's were excited with the prospect, and we started to hear rumblings of, "Wow, it's kinda nice to play a competitive game."  

Don'  That's what I said.  The siren song of the leagues is not far off, when this sort of talk starts.  We have a nice little thing going here with our club.

In any case, the other team was a bunch of younger, faster, guys, not a one over 5'6", and we kept up with them for a bit, but like with all things in life, entropy.  Just couldn't keep up, couldn't get the hits we needed, and if we did, they were right at some guy.  We didn't help our cause by booting the ball a few times, but for the most part, the other team was hungry for hits and they got them.

Sean pitched a great game, and left with the game tied, his innings secure.  I came in and threw a few innings, I don't feel like I did badly, but the score did not reflect that feeling.  We only played 7 innings which was a bit of a letdown.  The self-designated umpire made it clear that we were only playing 7, and we had to clarify that this was what the other team wanted, not just his own schedule  We get by just fine without an umpire, we says. 

I think the final was 11-7 maybe?

They were a nice bunch, and we shook hands at the end, which always makes the experience better. But seriously people, baseball is waiting, get your shit done on Saturday, so you can come out Sunday.


* The other team was hitting high balls out of the strike zone, which was a good thing, until we started throwing strikes consistently, and then they really hit the ball.

* Speaking of hitting, I hit two guys in the back, with change ups with 2 strikes in the count.  Talk about frustrating.  I could not get that pitch to work in that inning.

* Mike L made a great cross field play in the 1st inning to get a fast runner

* I think if we had 2 more innings, we could have won

* Nick had a frustrating day in the outfield, two balls hit him in the glove and then popped out

* Cap tip to the pitcher who threw batting practice to his whole team before he pitched the game. That is old school right there.

* I am late with this entry so not much that I still remember.  Send me highlights if you want them posted.

Friday, July 29, 2022

7/24/22 GGP

It was a cold foggy day, amazing, since it was sunny and hot everywhere else in the world.  The other amazing thing is that we had an upwelling of players, 21 by my count.  I would like to say that it was because of my public shaming of those who showed up for the BBQ, but that probably wasn't it.  

Interestingly, we also were missing a lot of the regulars, and yet still had a lot.  I brought along the Lil's, who played right field, and Lil' Josh was inserted as our 10th place hitter, for real.  Tony grumbled a little, but seriously, we have plenty of players who go months without getting a hit, how is this really any different?  Lil' Josh ended up playing right field on his own once I started pitching, and made a great hustling back up play on a ball that got past 2nd base on an overthrow.  

On to the game.  It kinda sucked.  I mean, any day playing baseball is a great day, but our team was cursed with a case of the drearys.  We just could not get good wood on the ball, and if we did, Powell would hoover it up and throw us out.  B. Phelps started for the visitors and he was hurling well, not surprising since he has had several months off to rest his arm.  Our team was not without talent in theory, but we could not string together enough hits to score a run.  Even when we got a rally going, we could not sustain it, or we would hit into a force out and lose the lead runner, or, well you get it.

On the other hand, the visitors were smacking the ball all over the yard.  Sonny had an off day on the bump, and the other team took full advantage.  At one point they had 5 extra base hits out of 7 batters.  They seemed to be aiming particularly for the left field line, and Nate (who was out for the first time in a long while) spent his time chasing hits.  

By the middle of the game it was 7-0.  We managed to finally score 2 runs but that was as far as it got.  I took the ball from Sonny, who proclaimed that he had been smacked around enough for one day, and finished the rest of the game.  I didn't stay clean but kept the scoring to a minimum.

Final score 11-2.


* Every visitor probably had a hit.

* Mike Lynch, a verifiable lefty pull hitter, also put one down the left field line

* James came out, and played a good center field

* Thanks to Chris L, Gaspar, Bob, and SONNY! for catching

*The olde tyme guys were back, I wonder who they paid off?

* The homers had a lot of Ks from guys who don't normally K.

* Poor Nate, so much running

* I struck out Loren on what I thought was strike 2.  Sonny had asked me what to call the pitch before  and I said that I wasn't the right person to ask. I guess he decided it was a strike.  

* Bob made a nice play in left field

* Urano tried to carry us on his back, but one guy can only do so much

* I wish we could have given the visitors a better game, but oh well.

What do a SF Dive Bar, Barry Bonds, and this blog have in common?


Thursday, July 7, 2022

7/3/22 GGP 4th of July Doubleheader


What a day for a ballgame, as long as you know what it is like in SF in July.  So, it rained on the Saturday, and the grass was wet, and there was a heavy moisture in the air for the beginning of the game.  

The good news was that we had a lot of players come out of the woodwork for the games, making us wonder where the fuck these guys are the other 51 weeks of the year when we play Havana 6s.... The bad news was that no one thought to bring a grill to this BBQ.  Panicked phone calls were made, and we ended up fine, but it was pretty ironic.

Game 1:

Satch started for the visitors and Sonny for the homers, and we bandied it back and forth.  We took the lead early, and kept it.  Our team was mostly newer guys vs. the old guard, though with a few notable exceptions, mostly Chris Powell, Don, and Satch.  Powell did his thing, though he clanged a few, probably nervous with his wife and kid watching :)  But the plays he made were outstanding, including a sliding ground ball stop, and initiating a much needed double play.  

I don't want to toot my own horn, but I threw a complete game, and had a few sub-8 pitch innings.  The key, once again, seemed to be batting practice fastballs, and let the human factor do the rest.  It works!  The finest moment was a bases loaded, no outs jam that I got out of, and then had the same thing again the next inning, and escaped with only one run scored.  

We stretched our lead over the game, and never really let the homers in close, though they did score one in the 9th.  Our last two outs featured a surprise guest appearance at first, which was awesome, and we held off the homers and finished 6-3.

BBQ break

Greg, and Lisa C brought grills to save us, and Nick W had his camping stove full of carnitas, so we did alright with the food.  Thanks again to Mr and Mrs Tiemann for the organization and use of their reusable picnicware, and thank you to all that brought something to share.  

The AOY trophy this year went to a hard-nosed scrapper who goes by Marcella Gries.  For those that don't know, she was the recipient of a Sonny fastball, right in the face last December.  She took it like a champ, and even made up a Xmas card with her cat and her black eye.  

That was an AOY move if ever there was one.  So we decided to split the award, she got the trophy and the recognition and Sonny got to be the Asshole with the scepter, some guilt, and a few vague threats of retaliation.  

The Rookie of year award went to the Band, who has entertained us for the past few years, and was much deserving.  They stuck around for the whole time, and shared our food and good times.  They are a worthy addition to the game.

Game 2:

Always tough to get back in the saddle for game 2, which saw Nick W and Tony square off.  We swapped places, so that we were now the home team.  Nick was throwing good, as was Tony, and it was a low scoring affair, with the visitors ahead 4-2.  HR and Mitch came in after Tony, and Daniel was pitching after Nick, when I had to leave in the 7th inning.  I turned to the team to fill me in as to who won that game, and Tony reported that Mitch got burnt in the 8th inning, due to some costly errors and the homers went up 6-4.  Mitch kept his cool and didn't lose it even though it was ugly.  And that's was the way it ended, homers 6-4.


* Great to see everyone!

* Get better soon Anna! 

* Iron Man Award goes to Chris Leavitt who caught both games, one for each team!

* Mike Lynch made a classic play at 3rd, backhand on the line, turn and fire to 1st to get the runner

* Dan, Powell, James all had big hits

* Doc came out!  He didn't ump or play, but it was great to see the Gray Ghost!

* Poor James took a ball to the chest that thumped so hard, we felt the concussion on the bench.  he was stealing home on a passed ball and Mitch threw to the plate before the pitcher could get there: THUMP!

* Daniel made some great catches in the outfield

* JT got a really nice hit off of me, which he said raised his vs. career average to .120. :)

* Sonny has developed some sneaky breaking balls, which make him much harder to hit

* Loren made his yearly appearance, refused to play defense until necessary, and wore track cleats. No Bieber bag though. 

* Another long ago, Noah, came out and hasn't missed a step, though he might argue with that evaluation based on his crippled quad swing

* 2022 AOY Marcie reported the following:

  • I made a sweet out near the end.
  • I gave shit to Don since I since I won a trophy and had a few cutwaters
  • We lost our lead
  • Tony made a catch but bonked his head. 
  • Daniel hit  Mike at bat like 17 times. He made it home eventually to score I believe.
  • I feel like Bob made a sweet hit
  • J.T did something cool
  • We may have eaten some eggs  that were in the sun too long but still alive
  • We took home a watermelon and it's been great for breakfast since.

* I remember the Daniel-Mike N at bat, and yes, Daniel hit him multiple times, some skimmed, some thumped

* The HR shift is like a reverse augmented Gaspar shift, right field play in, almost between 1st and 2nd, please remember it

* List of players we expect to see more often- Daniel, Storm, Loren, Nick Seuser, Mike N, Noah, Stoner

* I want it noted that both teams did a great job of NOT swinging when they had a teammate stealing a base.  

*  In addition to his catching 18 innings, Chris L also made a nice catch on a pop foul, and had soe well struck hits

* James cursed one of my new bats by using it before me, marking it up, and getting an out.   I broke the hex by the second game, but man, it was close call.  You don't want to let that fester....

* Hope everyone stocked up on Advil, ice, and beer.  It was a great doubleheader!

Don't look back.

S. Paige

Monday, June 13, 2022

6/12/22 GGP

We had all the park to ourselves it seemed, the AIDS quilt-- which Anna reported was the world's largest communal art project--was on display at Robin Williams meadow.  Over 3000 pieces were out, one of the largest showings in history, and it looked very well-attended from what I could see.  Needless to say, it also made parking a little more complicated.  No olde tyme games, so we had the big field, and quite a few spectators over the course of the game.  

13 players this week, another Havana 6+1 affair, with Lattig as all-time first baseman.  That was very kind of him, I don't know if that was him being a gentleman, or hurt, but we appreciated it.  Nick W started for the homers, and Sean for the visitors.  They both were pitching well, and helped by a solid defense, so much so that the score was a paltry 1-0 for the first few frames.  Then we tacked on a few, then the homers roared back, then we scored a few more, then the hoers really roared back and took the lead.  

We had decided to play 7 as usual with these scant attending games, mostly because we don't start until 3:30 usually, and it is a chore to cover both sides through the game.  Going into the 6th, the homers had tied the game at 7, and Sonny had taken the duties from Nick.  Sean handed the ball off to Satch, and we were back to an even game.  Not for long, as the homers scored a go ahead and we headed into the final frame down 8-7. 

Rojas, leading off, tattoos a triple to right field, scores easily on Sean's hit, and then Sean is batted in on a double by Satch that was mostly thanks to the sun in center field.  But, we took the lead, and the homers were unable to get the needed rally going in the 7th.

Final: 8-7, visitors.


* The homers had at least 3 double plays

* We had 1 or 2, including a double off at 1st

* Don made 2 fantastic catches in center field

* All the catchers- Bob, Chris L, Don- did a great job of blocking, which makes a difference at the GGP field, 

* It was a triples kind of day, Powell, Don, Tony, Sean.

* Powell also made an insane over the shoulder catch in left field from the SS position.

* The last play was so smooth, Tony Rojas barehanded a bouncing ball up the middle to throw out the runner at 1st.

* I had a 5 RBI day, somehow.

* The homers strung together 4 extra base hits in a row at one point in their rally.

* The humid weather makes for enjoyable pitching, everyone was dealing

* The fill-in defense was sharp on both sides

* While playing 2nd, I have to do a better job of holding the runner, per Coach Rojas.

* Bob got a blooper hit to right and yelled at me while he was running, since I had frozen in between 1st and 2nd (there were two outs....)

* It would have been a great day for the band to come out, but they are AWOL.

S. Paige

Monday, June 6, 2022

6/5/22 GGP


A weird, humid day.  The rain in the morning must have been more than we saw in the East Bay, since there was actual moisture pooled in some areas.  The olde tyme guys were still playing despite the wet, and that seemed to be enough for us to rally a game.  Unfortunately, we only had 12 players show, so another game of Havana 6's, with the updated rules of 2 outfielders and 2 defense fill ins.  The home team was a little stacked, I must say: Powell, Sean, Bob, Mike Lynch, Tony and Satch.  The game was not a runaway though, as we feared it might be, and in fact a nail biter of sorts.  The visitor squad had youth on their side, with Zach, a high schooler, Gaspar, Anna, Adam P, Sonny, and HR.

With a late start and short players, we decided on 7 innings and Satch was set to throw the first 4 an bow out.  However, luck and good pitching weather were on my side and Sean encouraged me to keep throwing, as he had thrown 9 the week before and was not super amped to get in.  I had some very nice sub-10 pitch innings, as well as a few Ks.  The knuckleball in particular was really nasty, helped by the thick and humid air.  Bob was my battery mate, and stalwart behind the dish for the whole game.

Sonny started for the visitors and was also throwing good, but we managed a run early, and held that lead for most of the game.  The visitors got one back, and we added 2 more and that was all the scoring done.  The momentum shift of the game was a bases loaded, no outs situation, that we managed to get out of in about the 4th inning, cap tip to the defense on that one.  Zach came in for the visitors for the final inning and struggled a little with control but got through it.

The game ended early enough for me to get home and be lauded for not being gone too long.  That's a win right there.

Final, Homers 3-1.


* It's a good feeling having Tony and Powell as your up the middle duo.

* The knuckler was dancing!

* Greg came out and provided moral support, he is looking good and even picked up a bat, just picked it up, nothing else...

* Sean was thrown out being aggressive taking 2nd, by his own teammate.

* HR is killing me with the right field shots, a reverse Gaspar shift is in order

* I induced about 9 infield pop ups

* Bob missed a foul pop up and then caught the 2nd one, that's what we do.

* Tony with the line drive catch, double off first play.  As he said, you play baseball long enough, and you can make that play in your sleep.

* I think the visitors had at least 2 double plays, I had to start he first one, filling in at SS.  That sucked.

* Gaspar had the worst sounding ping hits of the day, and a really nice catch in center

* Sonny was muscling the ball to the gaps all day, and had some extra umph on his fastball.

* Tony smoked the longest single in recent history, over HRs head in left.

* Powell made a number of amazing plays on the backhand at SS

* Thanks to everyone who made it out!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Late Post Game 5/1/22 and 5/22/22 GGP game

 The May 1st game was kind of a poor excuse for a game.  The energy wasn't there.  We had fun as usual, but not much to report.  I think the final score was 8-2?


The May 22 game on the other hand, was an amazing day, bright blue sky, warm, no wind.  Hard to believe that in about a month it will be socked in with fog and cold.  We were low on players due to various things, but we ended up with 15, and we played 2 outfielders so that we were able to sit and relax.  I am starting to think that we are close to a official variation on baseball that is perfectly acceptable with 14 players.

Sean started for the home team and we thought we were in big trouble but he proved to be human-ish.  We tagged him for a few runs early, and took a 4-0 lead into the 3rd.  Nick was throwing good ball, especially in his warm ups, but the other team woke up suddenly and we went from 4-0, to 5-4.  He bowed out, and I bowed in and then the world blew up.  In between some very nice hits by the homers, we had two innings worth of 6-out ball.  It was tragically funny, and we all had a chance to be the goat.  We did manage some good plays, but the amount of drops and misfires was astounding.

The boot on the throat was when Tony filled in left field for our team, and caught and then dropped a fly ball, after being blinded in the sun.  He was arguing that it should have been an out, but ultimately, no one took him up on it.  That extended the lead to 13-10, and that is where it ended up.  We only played 8 since the start was delayed while we waiting for people to show.


* Nick, John McG, and Chris did an awesome job catching, there were a lot of scuds thrown, but they blocked them all.

* After a good long stretch, HR fell back into old ways, and had an at bat against Dan that I think went 3-rounds.

* Anna had a great line drive

* Sean came close to snapping after me and the rest of the team refused to honor the unwritten rules on hitting to the outfield where there is no player.

* If we had a center fielder, it would have been a different game.

* I think I may have been 5-5, but in the process I think I have damaged the Tree Trunk.

* Double play by the homers

* Triple error for the visitors

* Adam has returned from the road, great to have him back!

* We have it on good authority that Greg is doing well post-surgery

S. Paige

Monday, April 11, 2022

4/10/22 GGP*

We got to play on the fancy stadium GGP field, since the Olde Tyme Baseballers Club seems to have stopped for the moment.  The band was there for the whole game, and treated us to an extended Take me Out to the Ballgame rendition for the 7th inning stretch.  

We had 16 players, 2 of which were lil S. Paige and lil J. Gibson, out for the first time to play for real.  They both took a lot of convincing that our MBC pitchers were not going to be hurling high velocity fastballs at their heads from the jump.  Not sure where they picked up on that, but they were reassured once the game was underway.  

Lattig started for the homers and Sean for the visitors, and it was a good match up.  Both were getting swings and keeping the pitch counts low.  Lil J, Gibson scored our first run, after legging out a infield hit, stealing 2nd, taking 3rd, and coming home on a hit.  Lil Paige hit a screamer back at Lattig, who was able to snare it, but the swing was strong.

The visitors had Bob as our leadoff man, and he responded getting on base several times, and we were helped by the sure hitting of Urano and Sean.  The homers had a murderer's row of James and Powell back to back.  

We should stop here to mention that Powell hit for the cycle in the game, which I don't know has been done, if it has, probably it was Powell that did it.  His homerun got between Bob and I in right-center, and rolled roughly to Taraval St.  Bob claimed he changed his route to the ball in mid-run, and I said that probably was why we failed to get Powell out by 100 feet instead of 150... In any case, a cap tip to the hitter.*  He hit his triple for the last at bat, and probably could have made it home, but I get it.  He was robbed of another monster hit because we were borrowing James in left and James was playing Powell at about 390ft.

The score was 3-2 for a while, and then it was 5-2, and then Powell hit his homerun, and it was 5-4.  I came in to throw the 7th and 8th, and HR came in after Lattig, and completed the game.  We scored an additional run on a controversial play at first, where Bob legged out a groundball and Greg--the catcher and final say in outs-- called Bob safe.**  Bob came around to score and that run proved pivotal in the 9th inning, when once again Powell hit his triple, and then scored.  

John McG got tapped to close the game, and did well, we stranded the last run and the game was won 6-5.***


* All the pitchers threw well, and HR continues his meteoric rise on the bump.

* Lil J Gibson made an out at 2nd, throwing out a runner at 1st.  Welcome to the majors, kid!

* Anna played an excellent 1st base

* Someone, maybe Sean, had a big hit to right.

* Great to see JT out, after a long break (or maybe he was just playing when I wasn't there...)

* A rare off day for Mike Lynch at the plate

* In true gamer fashion, Mike N came out and rehabbed his elbow with the team.  He said he had to do the exercises anyway, and why not do it while he hung out?  Why not indeed! Get well soon.

* I hit 3 hard grounders, that all were outs, and one flare to right, and one K.  Yeesh

* James had the shortest hit of his career on an Oops ground ball

* McG said it was the first time that someone asked him to pitch, rather than him asking if he could pitch.  He did a great job.

* We made a successful play at home with the bases loaded, that never happens

* I was doubled off at 1st, when Lil S. Paige hit his line drive to Lattig.  It happened so quick, I don't know if I would have gotten back from just a normal lead off distance, but off the bat, it looked like it was a hit all the way.  Bad optics for the kids.

* The homers also fell victim to the double off, at 1st.

* Nick Smith was nimble as a cat around 1st base, as we all took turns making bad throws.

******************* In case anyone wants to know why all the asterisks, hitting for the cycle was not enough for Powell, he needed the win as well, and because of the aforementioned call made at 1st, he wanted it known that the game should have been considered a tie.  It has been noted.*********************

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

3/27/22 GGP

Sorry for the late entry, but this game faded into the week before, and I never got around to cataloging it.  The big news, I would say, is that Noah B. came out to play, after a long hiatus.  I was searching the archives, and found reference to Noah playing in December, 2017, but I was not at the game.  

Before that, it reached back to 2015.  Of course, I searched under his name, not Jamison, so maybe that is the difference... Noah was famous for eating innings as a pitcher, and I hope this appearance was the beginning of another stretch of Noah-ball.  His kids must be old enough to come out too, we need to start grooming the next generation of MBC'rs.

I started again, and HR went for the homers.  He was determined to stick with me, inning to inning, and he almost made it.  HR has improved so much with his pitching, and I am not sure if it is due to MBC suggestions, or just influence. 

Not to toot my own horn, but I kept a shutout going for several innings, helped by some extremely good defense.  It felt good pitching back to back weeks, but I felt it for several days afterwards.  We were missing a few of the stalwarts like Tony, Sean, and Adam, who is apparently is in a "band".

Powell had a scary collision with his center fielder in the middle innings, on a no mans land pop fly.  The irony was that it looked like Powell got the worst of it, but it was actually the center fielder who ended up with the concussion symptoms (I have not heard, but I hope he is alright).

Once I had given up a run, I wrapped up after 7 innings-- or what we were calling 7 innings.  In actuality, we lost a inning in the shuffle and decided it was better to just go on with it.  The homers had also lost 3 players, so they were down to about 5.  Mitch was traded at the beginning of the game to us, and then back to the other team at the end.  It was supposed to rain that day, and the sky was getting dark, but we made it to the end.  I think the final was 5-2.


* HR pitched a great game

* Don saved the day again, showing up at his usual time.

* John McG is killing the ball right now

* Mitch made some nice plays, and was a good sport about being trade bait.

* Noah was super supportive from left field

* I found myself having to justify my huffing and puffing on close pitches to Greg and the batter.  In most cases, it isn't that Greg called it a ball when it was a strike, it's that I am disappointed that the batter didn't swing at it.  

* Apologies to Mike Lynch, I took his SodaStream bottle last week, and didn't get the email where he requested some fresh water when I returned it....

* Anna played a good game at 1st, and had another hit

* Gaspar pulled a hammy (get well soon), another reminder that despite how we try, we appear to be getting older.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

3/20/22 GGP


Beautiful day!  A little hard to park.  I made 14 when I finally got there, having parked Betty White about 12 blocks away.  Elan and HR showed up soon after we started, and we had 16, almost a legit game.

Brian Phillips was on the bump for the homers, and Satch for the visitors.  We bandied back and forth a bit, but we scored a run or two off of BP early, and never looked back.  Brian was throwing well, but our team was hungry for hits, and we also had Sean, Mitch, and Powell, which feels like it might be lopsided.

I have continued to go with what works, and that is batting practice fastballs right down the middle.  Well, to be fair (TO BE FAIIIIIIIIIIIIIR) I was keeping them high and a little inside too.  Several innings went by with pitch counts of 8, 11, 6.  Makes a guy feel like he could pitch forever.  Then I tweaked something in my neck, tracking a foul ball, and that let me know it was time to stop.  Felt good to get some real innings in though!

Chris Powell took over for me, and Sonny took over for Brian.  The defenses were pretty solid, though it was noted that anytime Powell pitches, his team suffers the loss of the SS abilities.  The homers made an honest show of it, but fell short.

We never really had the game get too close, it was about 5-2 when I exited, and I think the final was 9-2. 


* John McG made a couple of great catches at SS, including one for a double play, and then caught the latter part of the game.

* Mike Lynch had a smoking hit down the right field line.

* Mitch may have been the difference, he was playing left and center, and made some crucial outs.

* Greg had a nice line drive

* Got hung up at first, on a fly ball to right that looked like it would be caught, but then dropped so I had to "hustle" to 2nd.  Luckily the throw was off line.

* Powell scored many of the runs we had

* Anna smoked one down the left field line, for a RBI late in the game

* Thanks to Greg, McG, Bob, and Gaspar for catching

* The olde tyme game at the other field was a riotous affair, lots of fans

* I brought out the throwback Big Barrell Easton, but all it did was hurt my hands-- I was on base 3 times but never due to a hit with the metal.

* The 3pm start is nice in that it leaves most of the day to get things done, but Mrs. Paige doesn't like me rolling in at 7pm on Sunday night.  Dare we consider a 2pm start?

Sunday, February 6, 2022

48 Hills Exclusive- For the Love of the Game

 Our baseball club is getting some local press.  Young Master Dillon came out last week and seemed a decent fellow, looked a force to be reckoned with on the diamond, and certainly got the gist of our little game.  It also seemed like he took a lot of pictures, but only used 2 of them, maybe we can get the rest for posterity on the blog?  In any case, enjoy!

For the love of the game

How punk rockers and anti-jocks found fun and a love of sports with the Mission Baseball Club.


FEBRUARY 3, 2022

Greg Snyder wasn’t interested in organized sports in the 1990s. A musician living in the Mission District, Snyder and his friends subscribed to a set of countercultural ideologies as inextricably tied to punk rock as abrasive guitar and shouted vocals.

“When you’re a disaffected punk rocker-type, the sports world is alienating,” said Snyder. Organized athletics seemed mainstream and traditional, a clear target for members of a movement that directly resisted such representations of dominant societal structures. 

“It was not a part of the culture,” Snyder said. “It was frowned upon.” 

Despite a personal history of athletics, he had fallen away from sports altogether. In fact, his high school baseball and golf careers had pushed him further from sports: “Coaches were jerks and the teammates were unpleasant… it just sucked the life out of it,” he recalled.

Meanwhile, one member of the musical community in the Mission was countering the counterculture. 

“In the 90s, I was one of three or four people that would just go out and hit a baseball,” said Dani Leone, a former member of the same musical community as Snyder.

Leone and her band, Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, moved to San Francisco from the East Coast in 1991, joining an active and colorful arts scene in the Mission District. A lifelong athlete and lover of sports, Leone and a few other members of the community began meeting at various parks around the city to play baseball. Others took notice, and soon, the original group of three or four began to grow. 

“People would show up, and in true pickup fashion, say, ‘Hey, can I play?’” Leone said. Word spread around the community, and when enough people had joined in, the group began to play full games against one another.

Thus, a sort of sub-subculture emerged in the Mission, a group of, as Leone lovingly described, “poets and punkers and riff-raff” that also happened to share an interest in sports. One of the members of the growing community was Greg Snyder. 

“We were all just a bunch of musicians living in the Mission who had fallen away from sports,” Snyder said. “Then [we] realized, we all still love this.” He found that he was able to reconnect with a part of himself he had lost, in doing so gaining a new perspective on athletics in general. After all, his return to baseball didn’t spawn from a desire to compete or win; he did so because it was fun.

“It takes a while to realize that you don’t have to play it at that [competitive] level to really experience the joy of it,” Snyder mused. “I hadn’t yet learned that you could really be engaged on this more casual level.”

Though they always made sure to keep things light, the group soon to be dubbed the Mission Baseball Club did dip their toes in the world of competitive organized baseball. Having assembled enough baseball-playing members of the Mission musical community, the team entered the Roberto Clemente League, a since-defunct adult baseball organization in the city. The team of “scraggly musicians” (Leone’s description) stood out, not only for their punk-rock attitudes and outfits; they were the only co-ed team in the league, with three women on the roster. “That was not done with the adult leagues,” says Snyder.  “It blew people’s minds.” 

After two or three years in the Clemente League, however, the Mission Baseball Club had seen enough. “It was fun enough,” Snyder says. “But we found that it doesn’t take too many people who take matters too seriously to take the fun out of it.” 

The league cranked the competitiveness a few notches too high for the musicians from the Mission, who didn’t care so much about winning or losing as long as they had a good time playing. Having tested the waters of competitive ball, the group returned to their roots. Since their departure from the Clemente League in the mid-90’s, the Mission Baseball Club has been hosting their own pickup baseball game every Sunday at various public ballparks around San Francisco.

For almost 30 years, the games have drawn players from around the Bay Area, from all walks of life. Though a core group has stayed involved since the beginning or close to it, there has been a lot of turnover in the club – some former regulars have moved away from the Bay, and others away from the game. Still, the Mission Baseball Club has lived on, its ranks often supplemented by a smattering of strangers who happened to walk by the ballfield at the right time and joined in. 

Last Sunday, I was one of those strangers, having ridden my bike to Golden Gate Park to witness this week’s game for myself. Lo and behold, as I coasted up to the Big Rec fields off Pelosi Drive, I found the Mission Baseball Club. I’d been told the game would start at 1pm, and when I arrived at that time, about ten players were still playing catch down the right field line, chatting, and laughing as they warmed up.

With what I already knew about the group’s organization—or lack thereof—I deduced that a soft start time wasn’t unusual, and I took a seat in the rusted bleachers while the players got loose. Soon, I was directed to Greg, playing catch furthest down the right field line.

“Did you bring your glove?” He asked. I hadn’t, though I’d thought about it. That’s okay, Greg said, assuring me that if I wanted to play, I could borrow someone else’s. 

Looking back, I still have no idea how the teams were divided. As the game neared first pitch, the 18-or-so players seemed to separate themselves randomly into two teams, one group grabbing their gloves and trotting out to the field while the others put on helmets and swung bats around to loosen up. I learned that the teams are different every Sunday, mostly due to the variance in who shows up to the games and the club’s efforts to keep the sides even. Some people are there every Sunday, others coming out every once in a while. There’s no sign-up sheet for the Sunday games, only an email list that Snyder keeps updated with the time and location of each game.

“It’s boggled my mind how we’ve managed to have both enough, but not too many,” Snyder said. 

As the game ensued, I took some photos and talked to many of the players, getting a feel for the eclectic group that had assembled at the park on that sunny afternoon. Tony, one of the founding members of the Mission Baseball Club, wore a custom-made uniform, a sleeveless gray button-up jersey with “Mission” stitched across the chest. Just like Greg, he’d played baseball in high school before moving to the Mission in the 1990’s and joining the music scene.

He remembered when some of his friends had first invited him to play. Tony had declined, assuming his friends wanted to play softball. When he learned they’d be playing hard ball, he changed his tune. He’s been playing with the Mission Baseball Club ever since.

When someone had to leave around the 6th inning, I volunteered to fill in, jogging out to right field and playing some catch with my new teammates. Tony had lent me his glove, a bit worn but still in fine shape, and as I examined it, I wondered how many years the faded brown Wilson had scooped ground balls and snatched pop flies on Sundays just like this one. With what Greg had told me about the club’s roots in a countercultural punk-rock ethos, I chuckled a bit when I read the stitched letters labeling the glove model: the Wilson “Conform.” 

I was curious as to how it would feel to play again; the last organized baseball I’d played, in the spring of my junior year of college, had been, from a competitive standpoint, about as far from the Mission Baseball Club as you could get. That season had marked a tipping point in my baseball career, when I realized the game had become something much different from what I’d fallen in love with as a child. What I’d assumed would be a lifelong passion for baseball had faded away; in its place I felt tension, stress, and physical exhaustion. I’ve avoided the game ever since.

As I stood out in right field on Sunday afternoon, however, the joy that I’d lost began to seep back. It was the smell of the grass, the crack of the wood bat, the sun beaming down on the field. It was the smiles, the laughs, and the warmth of a community that had welcomed me with open arms. It was viewing baseball through a new lens, successes and failures melting away in the shadow of the spirit of the game. Nobody showed up that Sunday with a need to win or do well individually. They showed up to play baseball with their friends. 

Greg strapped on the catcher’s gear and caught all nine innings of the game on Sunday, a long time to stay in the squat for even the most competitive ballplayers. I figured he’d trade off with someone at some point—the other team split catching duties half-and-half—but between each inning, as the other team’s catcher took off his chest protector, shin guards, and mask, Greg was next to him putting it all right back on, cracking jokes about the sweat soaking through the chest protector as the game reached the late innings. I marveled at his endurance, figuring he’d be exhausted by the end of the game. 

I’m sure he was tired, but when the final out was recorded, Greg took off the mask to reveal a beaming smile, and I don’t think it was because his team had won—and they had, 7-3. He smiled because he’d spent another Sunday afternoon doing what he loved, playing ball with his friends. As I said goodbye to Greg and the others, I was encouraged to come back. I don’t know how I couldn’t.