Monday, January 31, 2022

1/30/22 GGP


What a great time of year for baseball—winter in SF!  It borders on creepy how nice the weather can be.  The warm sun, the smell of the ocean, just fantastic.  We had 17 players out, almost a full squad. We learned later that Marcie had been unable to find parking, bummer!  Nick W. started for the homers, and Satch for the visitors, taking a page from unmentionables and being late, and then inserting himself in as the starter.  At least I didn't get my innings in and then leave.... 

The visitors struck for an early 2-0 lead, and that seemed ample for us through the bulk of the game.  We had a secret weapon, Urano, who was hoovering up the balls at SS, and making the outs.  Our defense was rock solid the whole game, and while we didn't ever complete a double play, we had many opportunities and always got one out.  I will take that any day.

Nick gave way to Sonny and we scored a few more and then a few more after that.  The homers were stymied a bit by the live movement I had on the ball.  I wish I could say how or why, but it was working for me.  Except the knuckleball, which was a disaster.  The curve, when thrown properly, had real bite and the changeup had some late movement as well.  Before I hurt my arm patting myself on the back, I will say that I only had one K, so it was my defense that was doing the hard work.

The homers got into the scoring in the middle innings with several loud hits in a row.  Mike Lynch in particular was hammering the ball, as well as fielding rockets at 3rd.  We managed to stem the tide of scoring, with the bases loaded, but the game was 5-3, which is nowhere near safe in the MBC.

Sean took over for me after 6 innings, and by all accounts, he has been lights out for the last couple of weeks.  This week proved no exception, he threw a first-pitch strike to every batter he faced, and all of his pitches were working.  He sealed the deal with a dominating strikeout to finish the game.  The homers did not have a chance.

Final Score: 7-3


* James hit at least 3 line drives to left, one of which Mike caught, and one that would have taken his head off if he wasn't paying attention

* Bob made a nice catch in left, on the move

* Don made a catch in foul territory to get out a batter I really didn't want to face anymore, hooray!

* Urano hit a round tripper—the hard way—and was almost nabbed at the plate. Nick W would say it was not almost....

* Tony Rojas had a long RBI double to right field that James almost tracked down, covering for the other team

* Anna had a couple of hits, an RBI, and played a great 1st base

* New guy Zach is an outstanding fielder and a potent bat.

* Thanks to Bob, Nick W., and Greg for catching

* The try to throw out the runner at first from the outfield gambit failed twice, and both times not instigated by James!  He showed tremendous self control

* Mike Lynch made several showy plays at the hot corner

* Lattig and Zach collided in a weird ground ball play, that sort of looked a bit like this infamous play.  Luckily everyone was alright, and the collision was unintentional...

* Sean's pitching.  Wow.

* I think I had one hit the whole game, but it scored two runs so....

* Lynch with several smoked balls to the right side

* There may be a piece in 48 Hills soon on our little game, so keep your eyes open.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Entry #490- A Revisit/Update of our first player profile

We are nearing 500 posts for his ragtag little blog, and before we go any further, I wanted to correct a issue that many of you may not even realize was an issue.  Back in 2008, when I started this thing, I wrote the first player profile on Greg Snyder, the godfather of the MBC.  It was pointed out to me recently that the profile I wrote was *ahem* rather lean.  

In case you need to refresh your memories, it can be found here:

Now, I could probably make a good argument that Greg is a no-nonsense, efficient kind of guy, and the original profile write up was sculpted to fit with that personality.  But I don't want to go that route, so instead, I will post this update with a few more of the many positive things that I can say about Greg.

Greg's pitching has become less frequent, but he still catches as much as possible, which I would think would be harder.  He calls a great game, he blocks pitches that any sane person would let go by, and he won't ever forget to remind me that I have to back up 3rd base.

While Greg's never been a power hitter, his line drives have increased recently, I think.  Greg suffers from the same slowness disease that has attacked many of us in the past decade, and as such, he has been a victim of the right field put-out to 1st.  But he refuses to make that play when he is playing right field, because he think that should be a hit and not a punishment for lack of speed, a choice I believe is very honorable.

Games are just better when Greg is there.  He is an awesome teammate, and he knows how to keep it light.  He also can mediate conflict—if it occurs—and no one will challenge it, because they know he's right.  If Bob is our little league team dad, then Greg is the best friend that you were lucky enough to get on the same team as—who makes every game fun.

The pandemic threw a weird wrench into our little game, and there were some who thought that we should challenge the lockdowns, and see what we could get away with.  Greg believes in science, and while he would probably break every law he could just to spite a badge-heavy police officer, he forced us all to look at the bigger picture of why we were in lockdown, and kept us from doing something stupid.  When we came back, Greg sent several emails asking for how people felt about playing, and at what comfort level of protection was needed.  Once again, no one really bucked against his suggestions, because we knew his suggestions were right.  Masks were worn, and no one made it a big deal.

One of the undervalued aspects of Greg's game is his defense, he can play anywhere, and for a guy nearing 60, he glides to the ball with the best of them, and he is always to be counted on to make the outs when they are needed.  He also knows that an out in the hand is worth a double play in the bush, to mix metaphors.

Greg whole-heartedly does not care if his team wins or loses, and I think sometimes is secretly pleased to be on the losing team.  That is the real MBC spirit.

Greg has been hauling the gear, collecting money, and dealing with Parks and Rec (with Bob) on behalf of us for the entirety of our club's existence.  Has anyone ever thought about how much effort and time that is?  Or another way of making that point: who of you is willing to take on all those jobs?

There have been moments in the last 13 years that we have tried to trim our email list and each time, we end up with the same engorged list because Greg doesn't want to cut any ties.  He knows that weekly email means a lot to some guys that haven't played in years.  He's all heart.

If you ever want to be thoroughly confused, ask Greg where he grew up.  Depending on the amount of time that you have, you may hear about Virginia, Maryland, Japan, Lafayette, or other places.  If you name a city, chances are Greg attended school there.

For those of the punk inclination, you may also be surprised to learn that Greg built the stage that is housed at 924 Gilman.  You could say he is responsible for "supporting" the entire Bay Area punk rock movement.

A Bruce Bochy-sized cap tip to our captain, Greg Snyder.

Don't look back, something might be gaining on you.

S. Paige

Saturday, January 8, 2022

1/2/22 The 2022 Alpha Game- GGP

 We eked into 2022 with 15 players; better than it could have been, but not as good as it should have been.  I really hope that we are not losing players to that other game, with the oblong ball and the TV timeouts.  Marcella gets a pass since Sonny feloniously assaulted her on the diamond last game, seriously, get some Kevlar Sonny, cuz you just became the Bob of 2022.

Before I go any further though, I want to take a moment to talk about this guy right here:

It was brought to my attention that I have been somewhat remiss in cataloging the exploits of this fine young man over the last few months.  In looking back through posts, I agree, I have not given the shout outs that Tony probably deserved, and for that I apologize.  It is hard sometimes to remember everything, but that does not excuse that I should be able to call up such instances as 4-4 games, of which there have been a few, as well as the defensive plays.  I think it may be in part because Tony is like the weather -- you don't always notice it, but you know you can count on it to always be there, and be a factor.  If ever you were to question the heart of this particular player, just take a goddamn look at this photo, that is a brand new uniform that Tony crafted from scratch, ordering a blank grey jersey and then fashioning and adhering the star, letters and numbers.  He made the M for the hat by Xeroxing the logo of his other hat and then creating a fabric pattern.  And he manages to make it look professional, instead of a schizophrenic yard sale, which is what mine would have looked like, had I the initiative.  Mea culpa Tony, I promise to do better in 2022.

Our team had a sprinkling of the new, Mike Lynch, but leaned hard in old timer: Greg, Tony, Bob, John McG, Mitch, Lattig, Satch. The visitors had all the new MBC talent, Anna, Chris L, Dan, as well as old timers Nick S, cranky as ever, Don, who saved our bacon from 13s, Nick W. who was throwing rocks, and Chris P, the invariable x-factor.

I started the game, as I have not thrown in several weeks, and the soup bone felt good.  In the last few years, I have made a pretty conscious decision to not throw many warm ups and I feel like that has helped my game longevity.  Plus, it can get disheartening when you waste all these strikes before a batter steps in.  I quickly deduced the weakness of the other team, straight fastballs down the middle.  It started as a challenge and quickly became a vocalized strategy: Everyone got a first pitch fastball, right down the pipe.  They couldn't hit it, even more so when I told them it was coming.  Apologies to Powell, who is hard to pitch to, and got first pitch fastballs that were strike zone height but not over the plate, or over the plate, but 2 feet too high.

Nick started for the visitors, and he had a late break hook that was devastating.  We battled the first few innings, and I think it was 2-1 homers for most of that.  Very close.  Nick gave way to Powell and then to Dan, and somewhere in there our bats woke up, and the wheels came off a bit and our lead widened.  

I stayed on the bump, battling, and after 6 innings, I was ok to stop, but was emboldened by the encouragement of my team, Lynch and Tony in particular.  So I kept throwing, and ended up with 8 solid, with about 5Ks.  Greg, still giddy from the waning effects of the cortisone was able to come in a shut the door for the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning.  

First game of 2022 was in the books, with a solid 8-3 victory, homers.


* TONY!  He was 4-5 I believe and he made some great plays for our team, and some bad plays while covering for the other team.  He really can do it all!

* Thanks to John Mcg for showing up to give us a little breathing room, and for catching the final frames.

* Kudos to the visitors for not giving up, and making some dynamite plays of their own.

* Bob looked shaky in the outfield when we started the game, and then all of a sudden he was Willie Mays out there, long running catches, and resisting the urge to move on a few that were hit right to him.

* Chris Powell scored a Powell run.

* You wanna talk hungry batters, I saw Mitch go after two pitches that had to be a foot and high and outside and he almost crushed both of them

* I put one on Dan's back foot in the first inning, probably the best moving curve ball I had all game.

* That's not true, I threw a slider to Powell that was better.

* I hit a ball that I never did see where it went, I thought it was foul off the bat, but ran somewhat half heartedly and got to first.  I think it was a grounder to right, but the sun blinded me from the beginning.

* Small ball defense won that game, getting the sure outs.

* Aiden came out, but for some reason did not play?

* Chris L. did a great job behind the dish all game, and was blocking like a champ.

* I respect Greg's decision as a fill in outfielder not to opt for the San Quentin right field play to first.  As a fellow slow guy, it is a demoralizing play.

HAPPY 2022!  Let's play 2!