Monday, May 20, 2024

5/19/24 GGP

 Sorry, I missed another game that should have been written up.  It was a close one at least.

This Sunday was an amazing game, as usual, our B2B fears were unrealized, you would never have known there was anything going on except for the occasional drunk guy in a zebra costume.  We had 20 players out, sun shining, teams evenly split.  

Sean and the homers vs. Mitch and the visitors to start.  Sean ended up going the distance, which was awesome.  Mitch took the starter role and threw five great innings of work.  He kept them off balance and most of his defense was working.  I unfortunately, clanged a fly ball off the thumb of my glove in left to keep a inning going, and then Sean hit a homerun.  3 runs scored. 

That sucked. 

Sean would add a triple his next at bat, and was all in on the cycle.

Round about the 4th inning, we finally got things going, helped by Anna, who was killing the ball to the tune of a couple of hits, runs scored, and she made some dynamic plays at 1st!  We entered the 5th, tied at 5's. 5-5-5.

We went up in the 6th inning, with Mitch still the pitcher of record, and never looked back.  Satch came in for the long save and was efficient to the end.  I think I ended up with about 55 pitches over 4 innings, not too shabby.  I was mixing up the fast and the slow, and even got some suckers to swing at the knuckleball.

Sean stayed in, and took the bruises.

We entered the 9th frame up 10-7, mindful that no lead is safe in the MBC, but the homers went down 1-2-3, and the game was somewhat anti-climatically over.

Final: 10-7, visitors.


* Sean killed it all day, but just not enough

* Thanks to Santos and Ernesto for coming late to give us an extra player each

* Anna, sweet hits, sweet scoops

* Bob had a double, that could have been a triple.  Still was fucking great

* John Carey also had a big day with the bat, and another triple

* Mike N, made a Brooks Robinson-ian play at 3rd, back hand and a perfect throw, it was awesome

* I had 3 singles, and 3RBIs

* There was a lot of hustle out there!

* I could not throw anywhere but the inside part of the plate, luckily I didn't hit anyone

* New guy Matt made a great catch in left

* New guy Jesse looks like a legitimate threat, and has a cannon for an arm

* Kenball was tough all day

* I stopped Sean's march towards the cycle at least.

* John McG was a wall behind the dish

* Everyone seemed to be ripping the ball

* My first AB, John got on 1st and I told Bob that I was going to just wait for him to get to 3rd before I did anything.  Pass ball-2nd, pass ball-3rd, fly ball to center, first run scored. Nice.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

MBC Roving Correspondent Catches up with the Ramblers

Bobstalwart player and team dadrecently played with the NY Ramblers, the offshoot of the MBC started several years ago in Brooklyn.  Here's his thoughts:

It’s been an interesting ride that spans over three decades and I had no idea in my imagination that it would be like this.  I have always loved baseball and I can’t tell you why.  It goes back to days in the backyard with my dad and my older sister playing with a  bat and ball.  She conked me in the head one time with a bat, but that was just part of the game.  So, how did I get from sororal abuse and head trauma in the 1960’s to Brooklyn on April 21, 2024?  Glad you asked….

In some ways, my journey to playing with the Ramblers starts in a coherent story back in June 2001.  One pleasant Sunday afternoon in June 2001, I had taken my children, John and Helen, to Julius Kahn Playground in the Presidio of San Francisco for an outing.  We wandered down to what we called the Hidden Diamond just North of the playground and there was a baseball game in progress. 

I asked one of the players (I think it was Mike Gaspar) what was going on and he said “It’s a pickup game”.  

I asked, “ Can I play?” 

He said, “ Sure, just come out next Sunday.”

Next Sunday arrived and as fate would have it, my wife and children had other things to do, so I was left with the opportunity to go play ball.

I found my gear and started to put it on, filled with anxiety.  What if I’m bad at this? I don’t want to embarrass myself.  I’m 42 years old and haven’t played for nearly 10 years.  Somehow, I got over those feelings and made my way to the game.  

I don’t remember a lot about that first game with the Mission Baseball Club, but the experience was pretty good and it was the beginning of one of the best parts of my life in San Francisco.  Here, I need to say, I just feel so lucky to be playing baseball with a good bunch of guys.  Never imagined that that would happen.

Since then, every Sunday that I’ve been in town, I’ve played with my brothers (and more recently, some sisters) of the Mission Baseball Club.  They are my baseball family.  From the beginning, I brought my son, John with me from the time he was 4 years old with me and he grew up with them.  He originally just came along and was part of the mix.  We had a conversation early on about certain words and language that one could use on a baseball field and how that was the only place those words were allowed.  I think he understood. 

He started to play in the field when he was about 10 years old and has played in increasingly more meaningful roles ever since.  Should probably insert video here when he’s pitching and makes me hit a weak ground-out.

One of the Mission Baseball regulars was a guy named Dave Johnson.  Red-headed, red bearded guy, a Mission stalwart.  I still have a pair of cleats with a gouge in them where he spiked me when I was playing first base.  One Sunday, he tells me he’s moving to New York.  I asked him why.  He says it’s about a girl.  After a short discussion, I say, “Well you have to go.”  And that’s how we get the Ramblers!

As I understand the story – and I’m open to correction – Dave was pretty miserable in New York without regular Sunday baseball.  At some point, the girl tells him to do something about it and he starts the Ramblers – pretty cool.

This brings us back to why I wanted to play with the Ramblers. 

My son John, after playing ball in high school and college, eventually ended up working in NY and connected with the Ramblers.  He’s played with them for a couple years now, and as he’s now moving on to grad school at Cornell, I decided that I needed to go play with them while he was still in New York City. We made all the arrangements for a family trip to New York.  My daughter Helen, joined us from Chicago.  John and I made the trip into Brooklyn and met up with the Ramblers on Sunday, April 21st. 

Here is a grainy video of me getting the business from my son a few years ago, resulting in a weak groundout:

I’m not going to go deep into the details of the play of the game.  Suffice it to say that I did not cover myself in glory.  I grounded out a few times and struck out once.  Ed. note: Bob informed me that he did get hit by a pitch, which in MBC parlance means that the game was “official”.  

My main contribution to the game was a failure to even come close to catching a foul pop at first with the bases loaded.  A couple of pitches later – grand slam.  Nice rip over the left field fence.

A few comments on the differences between the San Francisco game and the NY game:

  • San Francisco has better fields. There is a photo below of the Prospect park fields where the games occur, there is one nice Parade ground field, but it still is pretty bumpy.  There is a snack bar though

  • The Ramblers actually create a lineup, divide players via a coaches draft and keep a scorebook

  • The Ramblers appear to be closer to each other off the field. MBC has a fairly open door policy when it comes to recruitment, or should I say, open park, and so we develop players that we otherwise would have no interaction with, was it not for the game and happenstance.

  • The Ramblers play on a field with fences

  • As the stereotypes would have it, the San Francisco game is less intense on the surface.  I think we play as hard, we just don’t let it show so much

In conclusion, there’s little that I can say other than that I feel so lucky to be able to play baseball with such good people – whether at Prospect Park or the diamonds in San Francisco.

The field to the far right is the best of the bunch, but that is not saying much.

4/28/24 GGP

They say that SF weather is terrible.  Well, They were not out on Sunday, because it was damn near perfect.  We had 17 for a little while, borrowing a kid from the area who played and who Bob rung up on a questionable 3rd strike.  He was old enough to take it.

I was late to the game, having forgotten my bag in the garage, and the traffic sucked too, so by the time I got there, it was deep into the 3rd inning.  Nick W was pitching for the visitors and Sean for the homers.  Sean's back was covered in sweat by then, giving an indication of how sunny it was.  They both pitched well, and the game was close until we had the inning where we gave them a bunch of runs, and we never were able to crawl back.  It remained 4-2 for most of the game, but we did eke out another run to get closer, but by then, Aiden had come in with his 18-yo throwing prowess and everyone was buffaloed. 

Except me, I hit a triple to right, that would have been a single except for the laziness of Dan.  Thanks Dan!  But my team left me stranded at 3rd, isn't that always the way.

I pitched after Nick and did fine, knuckleball was working.  Chris P came in after me, and also did fine, but we just could not score that needed run.

Final- 4-3, homers


* Anna was hitting the ball hard all day

* Bob and JT were like Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente out in the outfield all day, running down outs and snaring catches in the sun

* John McG caught the whole game, like the badass that he is

* Rick K was out again, I love this new groundswell of attendance

* Aiden pitched very well, continuing his domination of a bunch of old people....

* There seems to be an unspoken agreement lately that batters are not running out the play at 1st.  Sometime to our disadvantage

* Long lost James came out, replete with his 1886 baseball bat, which he left on his shoulder while facing Aiden....good to see you James!

* I got Tony on a first ball Knuckle, that should have been destroyed.  Such is the spell of the drunken butterfly

* Sean is developing his skills at SS and 3rd, a new avenue for lefties?

* The "triple" I hit to right would have cleared the building in SQ, if you don't believe me, I mapped it...