Friday, July 21, 2017

7/21/17 MBC vs San Quentin Giants

There was a game last month, but there was no write up, mostly due to the fact that it was a blowout. something in the neighborhood of 15-something a lot less.  So we had our work cut out for us.  The residual traffic from a jackknifed truck on the Richmond bridge made for an extremely long drive up, and Satch, after warning everyone about the accident, was the last person to arrive.  It's a simple man that can't take his own advice, but I thought 90 minutes would be enough time to drive 17 miles.  I was sure wrong on that one.

We got in finally, and were relieved to see that the Giants had their uniforms on already and all their equipment.  We were also impressed to see a film crew walking around, with none other than Chris "Stretch" Rich, who was paroled recently, and who was back in as the first visiting alumnus of the SQ Giants.  A nice moment, considering that it was probably about 12 years ago that we played our first game in the SQ, and faced Stretch who was probably about 44 at the time.  Elliot gave a short(ish) talk about the semblance of hope and camaraderie that exists in the baseball program, and Chris (as he would like to be referred as) talked about the circumstances around taking his wife's life and was very forthright on complete ownership of the problems that led to her tragic death.  He also talked about seeing Mt. Tam every day from the abbreviated view in SQ, and his goal to one day stand at the top.  He brought out a picture he took from the top, and pointed out where SQ was.  By this point we were all pretty antsy to get playing, since weekday games are always too short too begin with.

We went down easily in the first, and the Giants responded with 3 runs, one earned, an unfortunate thread of the game.  We answered back with a run in the 2nd, and then both sides fell quiet for a few innings.  Satch started the game, and the warm summer sun was helping to keep all the muscles loose and limber.  The first 5 innings of the game were some of the best pitching I have done recently.  My fastball had a lot of movement on it, and I was getting strikes with 2 kinds of breaking pitches. The umpire was calling a low strike zone, but it was consistent for both teams at least.

Then the wheels came off.  The Giants pounded us for 5 runs in the fifth inning, mixing gorks and dinks in with the occasional well placed single.  And we responded by booting the ball when possible, or letting it go past us completely.  Oh well.  It happens every time.

I lasted one more inning, and then handed the ball off to Carter to close it out.  After surrendering a lead off walk, Carter settled in and pitched well.  Until the 9th when suddenly our team got the mental and physical dropsies again, and they scored another 4 runs.  They concluded that they would forgo their last out int he 9th, so that we had a chance to hit one last time, which was very nice of them.

Suddenly, we started hitting, after an entire game of wasted opportunities.  Carter absolutely destroyed a ball that whanged off the left field fence, two feet higher and it would have been a frozen rope home run.  We got 3 across the plate, before the end finally came.

Final score: 12-5.  Sounds ok, if you didn't watch us play the game.


* Nick W. with a triple to score our first run.  He claimed to still be out of breath, 4 innings later

* The Giants centerfielder moved like Hunter Pence's grandpa, but he tracked down at least 3 well hit balls.

* Don got walked three times, his intimidation was palpable, I guess

* Greg played first, which was not the usual.

* Jimmy had a couple of ropes, but was thrown out trying to steal third with 2 men on (and Satch at bat.  Obviously no confidence, didn't think I could get the job done.)

* The highest hit ball in quite a while still had time to drop between Sean, Nick and Jimmy behind 2nd.

* Ruben made end of the bat contact with a nasty change-up in the first inning that spun like a flying saucer about 5 feet in front of home.  I fielded it but couldn't get him in time.  Closer examination, he had torn a 50-cent piece sized flap in the ball. To the disbelief of the MBC, I chose not to try and use the ball to my advantage.

* Every close play we tried to get at first, the runner was called safe.  Every close play that the Giants made at first, we were called out.

* Cap tip to the SQ pitcher, who threw the entire game.

* We decided that if the game was a 45rpm, it would be titled: A Whiff of Dignity, B side: Delusions of Grandeur. I think the LP will probably be called And Then the Wheels Came Off....

* We got a mercy call at 2nd, on Bird, who went past the bag and scrambled back.  The umpire was blocked by Bird's body from seeing the tag, but called him out.  Bird was not pleased.  Jimmy admitted (quietly) that if he tagged him, it was definitely after he had gotten a hand back on the base.  The top of the next inning, the same umpire called out Sonny on a play at second that he was totally safe on.  Balance, I guess.

* The camera crew didn't give us the time of day the entire time.

* Jimmy made some good plays at 2nd, but the best was just catching a line drive that a guy absolutely pissed on.  Luckily it dropped enough by the time that it got to Jimmy that he could catch it.

* Don did a great job behind the dish, called a good game and blocked a number of pitches in the dirt.

* I threw a 3rd strike curve ball that was so nasty that the umpire froze and didn't call it.  But everyone knew.  Sean especially, who was arguing from center field.

* Miles had a nice hit and performed well leading off, given that he has been in SQ only once before.

* We probably left 9 or 10 runners on over the course of the game, 2 out rally never got off the ground.

* Carter made a great play at third, on a ground ball that looked like it was going to be a tweener

* I think I had two hits, one I can be proud of, and one that the third baseman admitted was coming too fast for him to do much with, and 2 RBIs.  The first at bat I tattooed a ball to dead center, that anywhere else in the outfield would have been gone, but the damn center fielder tracked it down.

Next SQ game August 12, against the Giants again.

S. Paige

Monday, July 10, 2017

7/2/17 Fourth of July Doubleheader- GGP

One of my favorite traditions is the doubleheader, and not just because it is twice as much baseball on a Sunday.  It is a time when we see players that have not come out in a long while, the games are usually a little more competitive, and we have yet to not fill the ranks for teams for both games.  Given that the last few months have seen a real drought of players, that last point cannot be stressed enough.

Game 1:

Sean started for the visitors and Greg for the homers.  I was late, and came in the bottom of the first, and missed the squeeze play that scored the first run of the game for the visitors.  The teams were about 13-13 or so, which meant plenty of time to warm up.  For at least the second year, Sean was resplendent in his red uniform.  He threw 7 innings, and dug a huge hole in the mound, not cool.  James took over for Sean and had a 1-2-3 inning. Greg went 5 strong for the homers, and handed the ball over to Satch for the rest of the game.

Bottom of the ninth.  Game score was 7-6.  Lead-off single, tying run is on base.  Stolen base! Lead-off man / tying run is on second with nobody out! Mike Lattig, who later admitted he did not know the stakes, does not do what he would usually do (sac bunt) and instead swings away and pops up to the infield, one out.  Next batter: ground out to short, runner advances to third, sacrifice, 2 outs, Sean on 3rd base, Ken from the Ramblers up.  Three straight fastballs, and the game was over, the BBQ ready to begin.

Game 2:

Satch started the second game, having only thrown 4 in the last game and determined to get some use out of the old soup bone.  Nick W. started for the visitors, much to the surprise of most, who didn't know that Nick was a pitcher.  But he has a good fastball, and keeps in in the zone, very effective over the 5 innings he threw. Ed, with arm in sling, went behind the dish to call the balls and strikes.  While it was great to have him involved, Ed, by his own admission thinks he may not be umpire material, after letting slip that calling this game reminded him that he needs to get his optometrist prescription filled.  And he may have been intoxicated.  But he didn't do that bad....

Cavalcade of pitchers in second game: Tony followed Satch, then new Mike, then John Carey for the homers.  Lattig after Nick, then Ryan then Loren for the close opportunity.

While the pace of the game might have been a little slower due to the food and libations, it was not the dropsy-fest that sometimes is the case.

The 9th saw the visitors up by a run, 8-7, with Loren, in tow with girlfriend, looking for the save opportunity.  Unfortunately, Satch had something to say about that.  A single up the middle, to be exact.  Then Loren forgets that he should be pitching from the stretch, Satch takes 2nd uncontested.  Takes 3rd on a fielders choice, and then, with John Nero up, scores on a wild pitch to even the score.  Homers don't score again, and we decide that tied after 9 (for the second year in a row!) is a good place to end the day.  Happy Freedom Day!

Highlights (with suggestions from the team):

* Mitch had the defensive play of the game with a long run from SS and a Willie Mays-style over the shoulder catch

* Wesley, Charlie and Thomas all present as the new generation of MBC players, start dates 2020+

* Duane made some great plays at SS

* New guy batting with shinguards on

* John Carey manufacturing a run by stealing 2nd, 3rd and then coming home safely on a passed ball

* Game 1: Visitors scored 1 in the first and two in the second.  Ken had a long double in there somewhere.

* Satch hit a long one over James' head in the first game, with the Shoeless Joe bat, which has finally splintered away enough to be retired, so long old friend.

* Johnny Bartlett solid at 3rd base, like he had never left

* John Carey was effectively wild pitching the 2nd game, no one digs in on a hard throwing kid with control issues

* JT's recent batting average dipped below to .800, but continues to tear up the offense

* Ed was hit in the beans by a errant pitch from Lattig, luckily he was drunk enough that it didn't hurt too much

* Sean and Tony presented the best dressed award to Johnny.  The stipulation is that Sean never actually got the trophy from Tony, until this year's game, so there is up to a one year delay in transfer of award.

* No Best Improved or Horsheshit Cocksucker awards.

* In a bold and asshole-ish move, the AOY contingent voted to withhold the award this year, as no one truly broke the barrier of AOY-ist behavior.  This is a good sign in some ways.  I will divulge some of the contenders: Don, for being a Yankee's fan, a steady SQ player, and a roustabout.  Sean, for dependable SQ service and a nice lip caterpillar, McG for stealing with 9 run lead so he could leave the game early, Satch for sending emails every time he knows he can play in a vain attempt to plead for adequate attendance, Elvin, for refusing to entertain the notion of sliding, and Tony and Greg, cuz they think the whole thing is stupid, and it would be fun to see them tell us to stick the award where the sun don't shine.

Pics from John Nero and Video from Ryan:


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/18/17 Cop Field

What a great day for a game, and not just because it was Father's Day and I got to play. Lil' Satch had sat me down early that morning to tell me that he was not going to join me at the ballpark, because when we weren't playing tag-team second base or right field, it got boring sitting on the bench when I pitched.  I thought it was a well-constructed argument--for a five year old--and let him know that I appreciated him talking to me seriously and that I hoped that he would still entertain the idea of coming out sometimes.  He promised to think about it....

Since we are in the midst of a record breaking heat wave at the moment, it was also very nice to have a day of sun and warmth in San Francisco, too few are the days that it gets above 70 degrees.  We started 30 minutes late, trying to be polite to the rag tag team before us.

The downside of course, was that the sun was also pretty blinding and led to hits on at least six or seven fly balls and pop ups that would ordinarily been routine outs.  But no one was seriously injured either, so that was good.

We had exactly 18, and the teams were divided what seemed like evenly, but the score did not reflect that.  No small part of that, I humbly add, due to my own contribution to the game.  But more on that later.  Sonny started for the homers and Greg for the visitors.  Sonny, who has been masterful as of late, was finally proven to be human, as he gave up runs early.  Greg, recovering from an errant pitch from Stretch at the a SQ reunion game, was just happy to be out there, but his command was not what is was supposed to be. After the first two innings, the score was 4-1, but Greg had had a frustrating second inning and pulled himself out.

Satch came in and went the rest of the game, the slow curve and the change up were getting me a lot of outs.  The homers scored 2 runs in the third and nothing after that.  The visitors on the other hand, were just getting started.  We began dismantling Sonny, first a little and then a lot.  I can't recall too many bad hops, but the left field was pretty bad, Nick W. in particular had quite a few "shrug, cover up, and run" fly balls hit to him.  Abe came in for a mop up job in about the 6th, and fared a little better than his predecessor.

We had a great defense, anchored by John C. in the outfield, and Tony, Greg, Ken, and Mitch in the infield.  John McG did an awesome job behind the dish, though Bob might disagree with a few points.  Not to say that the homers didn't have some good plays, Abe and JT combined for some outs, and there was a great relay putout at the plate, but unfortunately luck and the whammy had a lot to do with the outcome. James, in particular had a rough day at the plate and in the field, though he almost threw out someone at first base from center field.  A solid line drive single at the end of the game hopefully is a portend of more positive things to come, good luck buddy, we have all been there!

The long and the short is that we scored a shit ton of runs in the game, and we ended up leapfrogging the eighth inning because it was getting late, and people needed to go.  The homers were unsuccessful in their comeback plans and the final score was: ~14-3?


* I looked back on the history, and this is the first time I have been on a winning team since August 8, 2016.  That could be some kind of record, and also a bad sign of how few games I have played in the last year.

* It was great to have full rosters on a great day

* John C. started things off on the right foot by stealing second with his old man behind the dish.  We encouraged him to stick it to Bob the whole game.

* We also saw Bob block a ball like his life depended on it, mostly cuz John was the runner at third.

* John McG put himself into serious AOY contention by stealing second with a 8 run lead.  His defense was that he had to go, so he was just trying to get around to score quicker.

* Kier and Max, the father and son dynamic duo, were patrolling the infield.

* Abe wanted me to make sure to tell everyone that he was 4-5.

* At one point, I made a Willie Mays-style catch in no mans land in the infield, after we had surrendered about 3 dropped pop ups.

* JT had a great day at first, and made some decent contact at the plate.

* Tony was finally lulled out of his hitting doldrums by using the Carter FF bat that I commissioned.  It's a 34"/49oz

* Max tried using the bat too, but after the first swing, came to his senses.

* Our team almost had a real bummer of an inning, but we righted ourselves after some tough plays and got the outs we needed.

* Greg almost tried wearing sunglasses in left field, but decided against it

* Mitch took a nifty hop off the arm, that floated up perfectly, he barehanded it and threw it to first

* So, probably due to the warm weather and the two hours of swimming I did beforehand to stay cool, I had one of the best games of my life.  Pitching-wise, everything felt good, and I threw one of the nastier breaking balls in recent memory to Bob for strike 3, one of about 8 Ks on the day.  At the plate, I think I had 2 singles, 2 doubles and a home run.  Jimmy was playing left field when I hit the homer, and said that it landed close to where first baseman plays on the other field. So that would be about riiiiiiiiighttttt here:

430 feet isn't bad.  It actually rolled all the way to the other backstop, which was a great feeling as I was approaching third to know that I could slow down and not code on the diamond.

I guess I should be a little less boastful, but since it might be another 11 months before my team wins again, I gotta take it when I can get it.

S. Paige

Monday, June 5, 2017

6/4/17 Big Rec

The rally hawk was in pure form on Sunday, he swooped and dived through the game, tussled with a crow, and snatched a gopher out of a hole and flew around showing off his kill to the game.  Unfortunately, the dynamics of the game were similar, my team was definitely the gopher.

On paper, we were a dangerous bunch, even if there were only 7 of us, and the game was saved from being a 13-man affair by the arrival of John Carey.  But we had Lattig, Duane, Mitch, Adam, Tony, me and new guy Ken, who is the Rambler from the East Coast game that Dave emailed us about.  I would take that team any day of the week.  But we couldn't field or hit our way to anything.  All day.

Cap tip to Sonny for a masterful complete game, he kept us off balance and the one time we strung some runs together to tie the game, it was short lived.  The other team, comprised of Sonny, Bob, John C., Elvin, Chris, Abe, and James, capitalized on every error we made, and played a tight game of defense.  It was the difference.

I don't want to take away anything from the homers, they had some big hits, but we should never have been in the position for them to hurt us as much as they did.  We had a plethora of pop flies that fell in between two fielders, overthrown plays at first, and one very suspicious misplay in right field.

I threw the whole game as well, and felt good, it was nice to know that my elbow issue has, for the moment, subsided, though I kept it at about 65% the whole game.  Great to get in a full game though.

We were down 3-0 by the end of the second inning, and we roared back to tie it up but that was the last time that we ever got anything close to a rally.  The score kept mounting, 5-3, 8-3, and we didn't or couldn't answer back.

In true Titanic versus the iceberg style, the game ended on a short fisted bloop that James crashed in from third, caught in the tip of his glove, then fired to first to hang me out to dry, as I was stuck in no man's land waiting to see if he caught it or dropped it, which would have forced me to run.

The final score: 10-4.


*The mystery of his successes continues, but can't take away from the face that Sonny pitched a hell of a game

* Chris Powell hit the ball hard all day

* I had a great battery mate in Mitch, but I think we lost some of the integrity of our outfield

* We ripped the ball a few times, but the wind killed it

* Lattig was stranded on base at least 4 times, he came up with 2 out hits all day and we couldn't help

* Elvin was my angel of death all day, hitting left handed, I would get 2 strikes on him, and then he would bloop one right in the middle of everyone

* No one killed the slackliner that was practicing in the left field foul area

* Bob and Mitch did great as the sole catchers of the day

* I picked Elvin off at first, as he stood slightly off the base talking to Adam, and then took a lead, while I was nowhere near the rubber.  It also helped that I threw the ball to the space in between him and the base.  

* Sonny also came up big for his team with a double and a couple of RBIs

* Abe was thrown out by Mitch at third, by a significant margin, something that surprised us all

* Adam, by his own description, contributed very little in every arena

* Tony managed to get a few hits, but is still not comfortable running, evident when he was unable or unwilling to take an easy 2nd base after his hit

* I think our team gave 3 free bases on out of bounds overthrows at first

* We need to make a concerted effort to enforce the slide rule and /or teach Elvin how to slide.  As Mitch said, otherwise someone is going to get hurt.  When there is a play, sliding is the safest course, especially in a friendly game such as ours.  It protects the fielder from full body collisions, unintentional though they might be, and directs the play away from the head and body to a much safer ground level.

For those that are more visual learners:

S. Paige

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Mission Baseball club is known....

I was perusing the April SQ News and got to the baseball section. 

We are a force to be reckoned with in SQ, in case anyone was wondering.

I also like that we are The Mission.  Full stop.  Hopefully we can live up to the hype....

Friday, May 19, 2017

5/18/17 San Quentin Giants vs. MBC Game 1

Always a good feeling to get back to prison, said the entitled group of baseball players.  It was, though, and an added bonus that some of the players that we have grown to know are approaching release dates, and ready to re-enter society with the aim of starting to give back to the community.  We wish them the best of luck, and hope that they keep those ideals in mind during the transition.

Unfortunately our entrance was delayed by a bureaucratic get-together, so we didn't hit the field until about 5:30.  That gave us just about two hours to play ball.  We warmed up as quick as possible, and got to playing.  In a stunning change from our usual self-imposed hit like our hands are tied to our shoes, we put up 4 runs in the first inning.  We were helped as well by an umpire who didn't call every pitch 5 inches around the zone a strike.

Sean started for the MBC and looked good.  His breaking stuff and cutters were keeping the team off balance.  They scored 2 runs back in the bottom of the first, on some legitimate hits, the next inning they got another one, and then in the third, I screwed everything up.  I was playing first base, and Sean picked a guy off, with a runner on third, who happened to be Ruben, one of the best all around players that SQ has.  He was just waiting for me to throw the ball so he could break for the plate, and before I realized it, I had waited too long to get the ball in front of the runner.  Safe at second, Ru stayed put, and the next batter scored them both on a single.  FUCK! (is what Sean said in his mind, and I said out loud.)

We entered the fourth down a run, and though we threatened, no runs scored.  I entered the game to try and hold the line, and at least I was able to do that.  1-2-3 inning, punctuated by the strike out looking.  We came back to the dugout ready to do battle.

The fifth inning it all came together.  With some nifty baserunning, we scored the tying run off of the new pitcher, and with the bases empty, I hit my third single of the game, took second on Sean's single and as I was leading off, the count 2-1 to Don, the pitcher tensed then...ALARM, ALL INMATES DOWN.  Crap.

So the alarm announcement in San Quentin is in place to keep check on the inmates when anything anywhere in the prison goes awry.  It can be a fight.  It can be someone tripped on the stairs and hurt their ankle.  It can be a door wasn't closed properly. The idea is that until any situation is cleared, all inmates remain exactly where they are so that the order and integrity of the prison can be maintained.

10 solid minutes we all sat there waiting.  The ALL CLEAR was sounded, and the game resumed, however, the stoppage had screwed the pitcher all up.  He walked the next two batters, and I came home to give us the lead, 6-5.  I had time to high five the bench, take in that we had the bases loaded and ALARM, ALL INMATES DOWN.  Double Crap.

We sat there for the remainder of our time,  waiting while something somewhere was being attended to.  Eventually, Elliot, the SQ coach called the game since we had to be processed out by 8:00pm.  We didn't even get to shake hands with the team, since the alarm was still in effect.  We waved and said Thank you.

As we marched up the hill the ALL CLEAR was given, and with a communal sigh of exasperation, we turned once more to the SQ Giants, waved and said "We'll settle this, next time."

Not the sort of thing you routinely want to be saying on a prison yard, but for us and the Giants, it's just business as usual, good clean baseball.


* An error-less affair, which is very uncommon for us

* The players did a great job rehabbing the field, helped by the real winter we had.  The infield now has grass and everything!

* Sean pitched a great game

* We won.  Sort of.

* Chris made a couple of outstanding plays at SS

* Chris was also robbed of a stolen base by an egregiously bad out call at third.

* The SQ runners will steal bases not a matter of if, but when.

* We did a good job of hitting the cutoff man, and not wildly flinging the ball around the diamond.

* Tim played a solid third base

* Carter took one in the ribs, cementing his place as the Bob 2.0

* John was denied his chance at redemption for two frustrating at bats

* Mitch might have had the hardest hit of the game, line drive to left center.

* A lot less K's than we usually have

* We broke 2 of the bats that the SQ Giants have, hopefully the rules will change soon so that we can start bringing in our own again

* I got a ground ball three steps to my right, then had to turn and race for the bag.  The runner was about 230lbs.  I am, what I am. I managed to get to the bag first, but the collision would have been severe if it had happened.  This is a hypothetical animated look:

* Don blocked a couple of pretty honest pitches in the dirt.

* Claims were being made by the base runners that Sean was balking on his pick off move by crossing his back leg.  Here is the MLB rule:

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when-

(a) The pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery; If a lefthanded or righthanded pitcher swings his free foot past the back edge of the pitcher's rubber, he is required to pitch to the batter except to throw to second base on a pick off play.

The NCAA rules states:

SECTION 3 A balk shall be called for the following action by a pitcher:

l. From the set position, if the entire free foot or any part of the stride leg breaks the plane of the back edge of the pitcher’s rubber and the pitcher does not throw or feint a motion to second base or pitch to home plate

So from what I can tell, the MLB rule is more open to interpretation, as well as, you can bring the knee across the back plane but not the foot, so that could be something to remember.  Either way, it has nothing to do with crossing the leg and everything to do with crossing the back plane of the rubber.  Let's bring the rule book next time, so we can all agree.

Thanks to all that showed up:

Greg, Don, Mitch, John, Chris, Tim, Ed, Carter, Sean

Friday, April 28, 2017

4/23/17- Camp Swampy

Sometimes you can have it all.  Or a most of it.  I was late to the game but not by too much.  I also brought my buddy George, who was in town for his 40th birthday.  Our arrival made it 16 total, which is a much more enjoyable game.  I can't believe that on a blindingly beautiful day that there was not 25 in attendance, but, hey, I guess that is something to work on.

In the course of the game, I was swapped and traded so much that I really can't say whose team I was on the most, but I do know that when we got there, Sean was pitching for the visitors, and Carter for the homers.  I feared my at bat, given that the last time I was in the box was more than a month ago.  But I managed to dink a ball to right for a clean single, one of three for the day. So I am not complaining.

The score was 4-0 when we got there, and it sounded like it had been a rough beginning, and by his own admission, Coney Island James was having one of his worst games.  He was right.  Even Ted Williams struck out occasionally, though.

Speaking of strikeouts, Bob got himself a hat trick of K's for the day, but was not HBP.  Tragic.

I threw two innings, hoping like hell that my arm and elbow pain was not going to be a problem.  And it wasn't, thank the gods.  There was some rust on the fastball, and a little forearm tightness, probably atrophy of not pitching since 2/12/17, and that game I was pitching with a broken toe....

The visitors came back, with a strong outing against Mitch.  We started losing players, which we could not afford. Then I got traded to the homers, and suddenly was trying to win the game against the team that I had been playing and scoring for. 

James had come into pitch and he was not having any problems there, he was locked in.  But I got a hit.  Tried to steal second.  Eventually got to third, with 2 outs and Greg up to tie the game.  An epic battle, Greg got new life on two pop-fouls, but eventually was not successful, and the visitors won the game.  I cheered for baseball, since I didn't remember who I was supposed to be supporting anymore.


* Camp Swampy is in a great shape, especially the mound.

* Good pitching from everyone

* I think Ed got at least one RBI

* Tony's knee is still not 100%, but good enough for him to do everything but run

* Keir had a great game

* Elvin was called out at third for not sliding, which is SO him!  Slide, dammit!

* Greg was doing some great blocking in the later innings to keep runners at bay

* My friend George, who has not played competitive baseball since the last time he played with the MBC (and tee-ball before that) made a catch in left field, with a strong coastal breeze.   He also only struck out once, which is impressive.

* Mitch made a tough catch in center look easy

* The wind was crazy!  A pop up that looked like it was going into the bleachers came back into fair territory

Next game- St Mary's, 3pm. Be there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

3/12/17 Cop Field

Sorry for the late posting of the game.  I was pretty out of it the whole game, due to bringing both kids with me.  The good news is that no one got hurt.  The bad news is that it is a fairly big distraction having two little kids running around that you are trying to keep an eye on while the game is in process. 

The teams were 9-9, which was nice, Carter started for the visitors, and Brian Phelps for the homers.  Both were very effective, not giving up any big melt downs, and the defense kept the games close.  I was a real train wreck in left field, and lil' Satch had his first assist, backing me up on a ball that skipped away from me.  

I kept the kids interest by talking up the long ball capabilities of all of the hitters that we faced, "Oh here comes Bob, he's gonna hit a big one...", "Pay attention, it's James, he hits it real far..." "Brian is trying to slap it the other way, be on the lookout...."The kids would ooh and ahh, and get ready, usually tripping themselves in the process of settling into the ready position and having their back to the game when the ball was finally in play.  Ah well, they had a good time, and they wore helmets the whole game.

The game was a low scoring affair, 3-1, 4-2, 5-3, for most of what I witnessed, we were in the lead thanks to some hustling  and hitting, and few well timed botched plays.  The new guy off the street who played with us struck out his first two times, and then looked like he relaxed a little, and scorched a triple to center.  Sometimes you just gotta remember it's a game.

The kids were in danger of crashing which was not going to help anyone enjoy the game, so I fell on my sword and packed them up and took off about the 7th inning.  I will say that as we were leaving, Abe hit a ball to left and stretched into a double, didn't get tagged out or anything!  Noteworthy.

Abe also provided me with the recap of the exciting conclusion:

Game ended up tied, 5-5.  Visitors (us) eventually won 8-5, scoring 3 runs in the top of the 8th, but I cannot remember how.  I do remember that in the bottom of the 9th with one out and McGrath on first, James hit a monster pop-up to left and Bob made a nice running catch to grab it at the line.  

McGrath must have assumed that Bob wasn't going to make the play (or forgot the number of outs?) because he had rounded second by the time it was caught and was non-traditionally doubled-off at first when Mike (playing second) noted that McGrath hadn't come close to touching second on his way back to first. [We've all been there, John!]


* Chris Powell and James were on the same team, which I think there is a UN resolution that bans that sort of thing.

* I believe that a double play was completed by our team

* Sounds like Bob made a hell of a catch in left

* Greg had a nice hit

* I grounded out weakly and had a flare single that wouldn't have been possible without the piano leg bat.  Luckily, a hit off the hands is still good wood with that bat.

* The new guy also made a great catch in right, which he made look easy

The rain looks to be staying, this weekend, but you never know....

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Late Postings of Pictures from the MBC

I have been sent some pictures lately that I have not got around to publishing, so I thought I would do so now.- S. Paige

This is the rally hawk, from a game at GGP.  For those who don't know, there is at least one resident hawk at the fields at 7th and Lincoln, who is not afraid to swoop down and snare a gopher in the midst of a game.

The next is the Goat Man, who has been seen several times at GGP, walking his goat.  Some old-timers say if the goat looks at you, you'll never get another hit.

This is the victorious team from July 2016, outside San Quentin.  If I remember correctly, we walked most of our runs in, but hey, that counts as a strategy.

And here is a classic example of Abe's new single-out, step by step.

Step 1:

Look he's all raring to go, strong stance, awaiting the pitch

Step 2:

Racing around first base, he can smell the double, he knows he hit it hard, Carter is looking all slump-shouldered, why shouldn't he have the extra base?

 Step 3:

Uh oh, why is that ball so close all of a sudden, that's isn't supposed to happen?  Well, let's see, if a object is moving at approximately 10 mph towards a target, and another object is moving in the opposite direction, from a slightly greater distance,but towards the same target at approximately 50 mph, which object will arrive there first?  Abe, you're a smart guy, which one is it?


2/12/17 Somewhere

Officially there was no game, all the fields in SF were closed.  You got that?

But 18 people gathered in the city and played a game that was suspiciously like the game that we normally play on Sundays.

Carter started for the homers and Sonny for the visitors, and the field we didn't play on was in great shape.  We were a strict 9-9, and it seemed like the teams were pretty well-matched.  There was a lack of old-guard, Greg and Tony being off on some surfing adventure, as well others who couldn't make it for a variety of reasons that were probably valid.

The mud made for an interesting day in the outfield, balls that normally would have rolled for a while went nowhere, and when the ball was heaved in, one side of it was covered.  Maybe it was a game-changer, the visitors certainly had the left-center hit down, but couldn't get more than a single out of it for the most part.

The stars of the game were probably the father/son duo of Keir Beadling and his son Max, who put on a display of offensive and defensive magic for the most of the day.  Max at the hot corner was especially amazing, snaring a series of hard hit balls down the line, most of which he converted to outs.  They also had back-to-back doubles.

The game itself was the usual see-saw battle that we have had lately, that consists of the team that I am on getting within striking distance and then being gutted towards the late innings.  And Sunday, if we had a game that is, was exactly the same.  I entered the game on the hill in the 5th, with our team down a run.  We tied it up.  Then they went ahead again, and we stayed that way for an inning, and then a series of pop flies, line drives, and booted balls made the game 7-3 in a hurry.  And it ended that way.  Theoretically.


* Thanks to everyone who made it out, the email from Bob was not especially heartening, but the positive response on people that wanted to have a game was great!  And then they actually showed up, even better!

* Doc showed up, walking out of the corn like a fresh recruit.  He was going to umpire, but feeling especially spry, he ended up playing.  He got a single, and recorded an out in right field.  Not bad for a guy with three fractured vertebrae.

* It was decided that James is the yin, and Chris Powell is the yang, and therefore should not be on the same team.  The reason being that they can both hit, steal bases at will, play defense, throw people out, and in general, manufacture runs almost single-handedly.

*  Abe has a new thing.  It's getting a hit and then trying to stretch it into a double and getting thrown out by 30 feet.  I don't think it's a good thing, but it's his thing.

* I had two RBIs despite having broken my pinkie toe that morning and having to leg out both hits one of which was a swinging bunt.  Thank God for the errors of others.

* Thanks to John McGrath, Bob, Ed, and ***for catching on a day that the pitchers and the mud couldn't have been fun.

* I hit Carter with a 0-2 change-up.  That might have pissed me off more than anything else.

* The new guy who threw the last 2 innings had some great velocity.

* Chris Powell twice hit lazy pop-flies to right field, picking on an old man, he should be ashamed of himself

* Abe also broke his Fuckface bat, after 6 months of ownership.  I am starting to think that bat company is a bit nefarious.

* Good to see McGrath out, who I have not seen in a while, along with Doc

* Randy, who apprently was Musial-like last week, continued his hit parade, minus one glorious strike out, thanks to your truly, AOY 2017 hopeful.

Hope for the bet this week, but the rain looks pretty constant through Monday.

S. Paige

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2/5/17 GGP

I wasn't able to make it out, celebrating Lil' Josh Gibson's 3rd birthday.  With all the rain, I was surprised that it happened.  There was a pleading email sent out by AOY Rockwell, in town on some nefarious plot, and he REALLY wanted to play ball.  Glad that enough showed up to accommodate him.  

Here with the surly recap is Bob "Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on" Carey.

It was great to have Will out.  Carter was there, and at some point their mom stopped by with Carter’s son.  Way too many Rockwells!  Carter brought implements and he and Will were half done with the work by the time I got there.

We had a good turnout — peaked at 19.

Lousy game, the homers trounced us.  Sonny started for the home team and was mysteriously effective.  Carter started for the visitors with me catching.  He seemed to have decent stuff, but they kept barreling him up, especially with oppo shots.  Randy was on fire, lots of line drives.

I got hit.  Someone else did too.  Baseball god justice reared its head and Carter hit Sonny dead on the ankle bone, and Sonny acknowledged that Karma was a bitch.

I managed to get inside Ed’s head on one at bat.  Told him that Carter was going to knock him on his ass and he could not get the idea out of his head even though Carter did not come near him.

Lots of AOYs:  Phelps, Lattig, Sidawi, Carey, Pfahler, Rockwell.  Abe and Sean seem to be working on their campaigns.

At one point we had an all-geriatric outfield for the visitors:  JT in right, me in center, and Nick in left.  Results as might be expected.

That’s all I remember, we got it in before the rain came down, although there was a shower in about the bottom of the sixth.

Played all nine.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Girgus cuts the SpaceMan's Hair

Brian Girgus made a name for himself as a pinwheeling, scarecrow of a player in his time on the MBC.  I always liked to describe him as 90% mouth and 10% talent.  Not really fair, since Brian had all the tools, they just weren't sharpened real well.  He could catch, he could hit, he could bunt, he could throw, he tried pitching for a while, but eventually took himself off the mound after losing control of his pitches.

Eventually, he drifted south, and landed in Echo Park, with a degree from barber's college and a dream.  He opened the New California Barber shop, and has hosted some good events, and cut some celebrities hair (Neil Hamburger!!!).  That all pales in comparison, however, to his latest get, when he took none other than the great Bill Lee to the ocean for a chat and a cut.  For those of you that want to know more about Bill, pick up one of his books, Have Glove, Will Travel or  The Wrong Stuff will clue you into this true American original, and all-around amazing athlete.

What some people probably don't know is that this would not have been possible without an event, years earlier, at the Lost Weekend video store (RIP), where they hosted a viewing of the Bill Lee documentary, SPACEMAN, and Bill showed up to live-narrate the movie, and then answer questions.  True to character, Bill spent the hours before the movie getting "lit up like a Christmas tree" in the back of the store, on the patio, sitting at my old vinyl booth and table which I had given to Adam when I moved out of my apartment. But I digress, Brian made contact with Bill that night, and lo and behold, years later, he's cutting the guy's hair and playing catch with him! 

There was talk for a while of trying to get Bill to come in with us to SQ some time, I don't know if that is still on the table, he pitched for the San Rafael Pacifics not too long ago, so he might be in the area.

In any case, great job Brian!  Come out and play some time, when you find yourself north of the smog.  No one lies as good as you, when it comes to arguing close plays....

S. Paige

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1/15/2017 Moscone

No game last week, as the rain fell.  The field was in adequate condition by the time that Lil' Satch and I got there, but I imagine that there was a lot of pre-game work done.  Thanks to those of you who put it to rights.  The mound was a gloopy mixture of mud and clay, and even with cleats, pretty slippery.  But other than that, the field was OK.

We ended up having 15, which was better than we were imagining, Greg started for the homers and Sonny for the visitors.  I can say that it was nice t play in a game that wasn't a blowout, we see-sawed a bit through the game, and while we never had the lead, we were tied for a good bit....

The game was a speedy affair, which was nice, and neither team was egregious in their errors, with the possible exception of base-running.  I was the worst offender, lackadaisically running to second, on a infield pop up, only to realize that there was only one out. Doubled off.  Oh, there was a runner on third, and it was a tied ball game too, so basically I killed a unicorn with that one. 

Abe, also from my team, felt bad about his base-running, he was tagged out for trying to turn a single into a double, but I don't know that I would put that in the same category.  But, he was out by several feet.

Greg turned the ball over to Chris Powell, and I took on in the fourth for Sonny, who wasn't feeling it.  I could tell why once I started throwing on the mound, the first change up I threw, my heel slid 10 inches forward in the mud, and the ball turned into a big old grapefruit that the batter slammed into left field.  So, the next three innings I pitched with almost exclusively upper body movements, and trying to land as softly and gently as possible.  As a result, the curve ball was good, the change up and knuckle ball sucked, and the fastball was good, as long as I didn't throw it too often.

After my base running gaffe, I told my team I would make it up, and struck out the side (with a single in between).  I handed the ball off to Coney Island James, who thew the last three frames and did a good job, though he ultimately absorbed the loss.  We went into the 9th inning, knotted at 6 runs a piece, and Chris Powell bunted his way on for a single, stole second, and came home on a hit.  Just like that.  James made a great play fielding Chris' bunt, and at first he was called out, but the overwhelming thought was that he had beaten the throw (I agreed, from the view in right field).


* A fun game, and everyone survived.

* There were a lot of loud hits to the left and left center gaps

* Bob tried to help us out from Left field, and threw away a ball that had come straight to him,  the runners were sent back due to the suspicious nature of the error.  He then made a great catch.  We told him alter that he's cheating on the wrong plays.

* Greg's team seemed to think that bunting with him at 1st was a good idea.

* Still 0-fer with new Carter bat, though I did have 2 RBIs.

* Lil' Satch heckled me, egged on by the team, after the base running mistake.

* There were a lot of HBP, 5 at least, I took a fast ball between the shoulder blades that is still a little sore.

* We had a player come out who has been on the email list but not shown up for at least five years, so I guess it does pay off to keep some of those names on there.

* 5 or 6 Ks in three innings isn't bad

* James tried to throw out Greg at first from center field, and almost had him.  Greg threatened to rage if it ever happens.

* Tony promised he would come out and then didn't. Lil' Satch was devastated.

* I was playing Nick Smith in the hole on the right side, and as such had no chance to get to second for a force out.  That's my official stance on it, no matter what Abe says.

* Thanks to Bob, Ed, Greg, New guy for catching in the mud

Friday, January 6, 2017

1/1/2017 Cop Field

Something satisfying about playing the first game of the new year on the actual first day of the new year.  And it helps when it is a beautiful day.  A little on the chilly side, but nothing we couldn't handle.  We had 20 brave souls who braved the day after the revelry, and the field was in pretty good shape considering the rain.

Carter started for the visitors, and Satch for the homers, and Carter once again proved his dominance, with an fantastic curveball and enough change in speeds to keep us off balance.  I felt good, but I sure didn't seem to be doing the job in getting outs.  None the less, I think I struck out about 7 or 8 on my way to another crushing complete game loss.  i will save the suspense, and say it straight, our offense was bad and our defense turned worse as the game progressed.  Luckily I love this game.

That being said, we turned two double plays, and almost had a third!  So we couldn't have been all that bad.  You can't win a game without scoring some runs however, and we did little of that.  Carter, and his follow up Mitch kept us waving at pitches and grounding weakly to to all fields.

A few times, I thought I felt the momentum shift and was sure that we were going to turn the game around, but it just never materialized.  I will say my own production was paltry, every time I thought I was going to get good wood, I hit a weak-ass dribbler to third.  My teammates followed similar paths, with the exception of Greg, who was hitting sharp.

The end of the game the score was a roundabout 12-2.  I say that, because we had a couple of innings that we figured there were a passel of runs, and 12 seemed like a good number.


* Two double plays, not a bad way to open the season.

* Our team broke early, when we heaped more scorn on Nick Smith than deserved on a close play.  He got hot under the collar, and we all felt bad, and then were confused why we had focused so much on it, in the beginning of a game.

* I struck out the side, that was pretty nice

* John Carey may have had one Manhattan too many on NYE, he was taken out by the mysterious outfield sniper more than once

*In about the 7th inning, the wheels really fell off for our team, we were throwing balls all over the place, dropping grounders, the full monty

* Did manage a good play on a great bunt

* Carter hit at least two pop flies that got in the wind and turned into doubles

* Looking back at the blog, I have thrown more CG losses lately than ever before

* The other team hit some great pitches, I was confident right up until the point that the bat hit the ball

* I hit new Nick twice, once with a country hardball, which was unintentional.  I kept getting him into 0-2 counts and then overthrowing.  I think he started to get  frustrated about the third time...

* Dennis showed up after a long absence

* James struck out more than I have ever seen in the past

* We had John Carey running for Tony who is still rehabbing a bad knee.  After signs, waving, and jumping up and down didn't work, we started yelling "Hey John.  You should steal second, now!!!!"

* Adam once again proved himself the better man in a RBI situation

I would like to say see you this Sunday, but instead I will say run for higher ground, and keep the canoe handy!

S. Paige

Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/4/16 Moscone

I was a little late to the game on account of not really being able to play and having Lil' Satch in tow.  I strained a back muscle in the 11/13/16 game, and it still does not feel all together.  But it was a beautiful day and I figured that it would be a good outing, regardless. 

By the time we arrived, things had already begun their precipitous slide, Mitch had been roughed up for a few runs in the first, and Sonny was throwing lights out.  And that proved to be the big story of the game, Sonny continued to pitch to his defense, and the innings piled up with nary a run in sight.  Six innings of shut out ball, fantastic outing! 

Me and lil guy were amusing ourselves practicing hitting, which he rarely gets to do with real baseballs and wood bats, on account of the fact that I can't afford any broken windows right now.  We played an inning at second base, which was exciting, since we got to take practice ground balls from 1st and be in the mix. He's getting good, and I told him that he only had about 3 more years before he can start playing for real, which I believe was when John Carey made his auspicious debut with the MBC.

Tim was doing a great job behind the dish, and Sonny was throwing intelligently.  We finally scraped a run, but I think it may have been the only one.  Solid defense was definitely the key.  That and scoring runs....

Mitch handed the ball off to Greg and then to Coney Island James, who I don't think I had seen pitch before.  He carried the team the rest of the way. Sonny handed off to Carter took over in the latter part of the game, and I decided to humiliate myself and ruin the team's chances.  Well, I didn't decide that, but that is what happened.  I had said that I was available to bunt if needed, and by the 8th inning, I felt like I was ready.  Mitch was the 10th place hitter, he got on, stole second, and we had discussed that I would bunt him to third.  Except the pitch I chose to bunt was a out of the strike zone curve ball, and I reached for it, bunted it up in the air along the first baseline, it dropped, bounced with some English on it, and hit me me in the leg. 

Dead ball, batter's out, runner cannot advance.

Pretty much the worst possible scenario.  So I porked that rally right in the keister, and the game ended soon after with a score of about 6-1.


* Sonny's pitching was great

* James hit a ball a long way into deep left

* Tim threw out a runner at second

* It wasn't a particularly ugly defensive game, but their offense scored runs, and we didn't.

* For the second time in a row, I have been on a team that looked unbeatable on paper, and couldn't win the game.  Maybe it's me?

* I never realized how much we casually curse at the game, until I had the kid sitting with me.

* Bob HBP, after the order was sent in from the bench

* I am the proud recipient of a FuckFace Co. bat, and oh what a bat it is!  Modeled after the Shoeless Joe Jackson bat, it's got a real piano leg quality to it

Thursday, November 17, 2016

11/13/16 Cop Field

It took me a extra day to get to this one, as the sting had not quite gone out by the usual press deadline.  Needless to say, I had a great time, and I think everyone else did too.  Remember that I said that. 

It was birthday weekend, the only Sunday other than Father's Day that it is understood that Satch gets a free pass to play ball.  Luckily, many others were like-minded and we had 24 to begin with.  By the end of the game, that number had dropped to 20, but what can you do?

We started a tad late as the Mexican league was playing in front of us, and we wanted to be hospitable, as they always are with us.  It also helped that it gave me an extra 10 minutes to warm up.  Lattig started for the homers, and I think he got through the first inning unscathed.  I felt good taking the mound.  I wish that I looked as good as I felt.  I was getting K's, but in between those, the homers were hitting the ball hard.  By the end of the 2nd inning, the score was 4-0, I think.  We scrapped for a run, but in the process we lost Rojas to a knee injury that I fear will be a while before it heals. 

My pitching was great one inning, and awful the next, and when I managed to get a pop up, it was in between everyone, or worse, to someone, but it didn't get caught.  Ben saved me a few times in left, snaring line drives.  By the 5th inning, it felt like the 10th.  The score had crept up to 9-3.  I still felt good, but we had been sitting a lot of players, and I wasn't getting the game I wanted to see, so I stepped aside for Sonny, who came in and shut down the homers for the rest of the game.

Defense for the homers was superb, so much so, that we spotted Mitch in right field, which gives you an idea of the confidence that they had.  Abe was all over the place, making catches, and Tim was doing a great job blocking the dish.

Lattig gave way to young Nick and then to Powell, which helped us a little, since we knew he couldn't play SS and pitch.  Suddenly we started to come alive, and that's when I, along with a few of my teammates, really shit the bed.

Around the 7th, we scored a run, and had no outs, with the bases loaded.  I was on first, Sonny on second, James on third. Finally, the waves were gonna break our way.  JT comes up, and lines a hit to short left center field.  I was so excited for JT, and for the prospect of some dignity for our team in the game, I started thinking what it would take to get to third, or even home if it got past the fielders.  Then like a lead ball in the gut, Abe comes diving in, and catches the ball while sliding along the grass.  He was only about 20 feet from second base, he fired the ball to second, doubling off Sonny who was thinking the same thing I was, and then to first, to catch me tripled off.  Yes folks, a triple play.  I couldn't quite comprehend what happened.  Greg's look of disgust was all I saw walking back to the dugout.

We went down meekly the rest of the game, I don't think we scored another run.  Shit.


* Got to give it up for the defense, it wins games.

* Abe all-around

* Ryan's opposite field triple

* Ben's defense was our shining moment

* I never scored, but I did have a 1.000 on base percentage, with 3 hits and 1.000 percentage in fielding opportunities and about 5 K's.  Happy Birthday, asshole.

* Defense of the infield for the homers, especially Powell and Adam

* At one point Greg almost got thrown out on a hit to the outfield, to which I replied, " At this point, we are trying to fuck up singles....."

* Every person on the home team seemed to contribute offensively and defensively.

* I will give a shout out to Bob on a play at third that he got me to convert on a swinging bunt to get a lead runner.  That was good.

* Duane made a spectacular running play on a pop up in foul territory at first.  Technically he was out of bounds, but you got to respect the play when it happens.  And it wasn't going to make much of a difference at that point.

* The election results were discussed, both sides were respected as much as they ever are

* Mitch was on base about 10 times, it felt like

* Mike did a good job behind the dish after Greg


I hit a ball on Sunday that went over everything in left center, probably about 410 feet (yeah, I google mapped it....).  Given my portly carriage and general torpor, I settled for a triple, rather than get thrown out and embarrassed.  However,  I have always felt if a ball goes that far, and everyone sees it go that far, there should be an understanding that it should be a home run and the runner shouldn't be challenged but given the by your leave to circle the bases. 

I have often wondered if I should just do it, but I don't want to look like a (bigger) asshole than I am, by trotting around the bases and getting tagged out.  However, in the discussion that commenced after the game, most people said that they would have respected that home run call.  The rub is that I have to plant the flag and do it, knowing full well that I risk that my intuition on the hit was wrong and disappoint my team (again). 

It's all theory until put into action, and only then can you hope to enact the change you wish to see.

Wise words, whether you are an out of shape, over the hill ballplayer looking for a second chance, or anyone else that wants the world to be a better place.

Monday, November 7, 2016

11/6/16 Cop Field

Here with the recap is Abe Zuckerman, third baseman, spray hitter and expert bunter, and your friendly neighborhood tax lawyer.  When you got money, and Uncle Sam wants it, talk to Abe.

Homers: Greg, Bob, Tony, Nick, Sonny, Brian, Mitch, Sean, Abe, [missing 1 player]
Visitors: Carter, Randy, Chris Powell, James, John McGrath, Mike [missing 4 players, somehow]

The stories of the game were Carter on the mound, and the visitors' bats running wild.  Carter started for the visitors and threw a no hitter thru 7 (with only two errors) before giving up back to back base hits to Sean and Abe and then getting out of the inning without giving up any runs.  I believe the final line was Carter pitching 7+ (8?) scoreless innings and facing 2 over the minimum.  Powell then came in and closed it out.  I don't believe the homers scored.

Greg started for the homers and from the first inning gave up hit after solid hit. Both Sean and Tony pitched in relief but the visitors were hitting solid liners and long fly balls off them too.  A couple errors in the field didn't help matters.  With Carter blanking the home team things were quickly lopsided (8-0 or thereabouts) by the third or fourth inning and it stayed that way.

Aside from the crushing offense and pitching of the visitors, a number of good defensive plays were made on both sides, including:
- John snagged a line drive hit above his head while over at first base.
- Chris dove to his left at short and caught a very hard hit line drive.
- Sean pulled a Willie Mays while playing first, on a ball popped up down the first base line.
- Abe made a sliding catch ranging to his left in center.

Final Score: 10-0 or thereabouts, which doesn't seem that bad, but it was an absolute thrashing by Mission Baseball standards.