Tuesday, May 22, 2018

5/17/18 MBC San Quentin A's/Giants

Cap tip to Ed "Eddie Spaghetti" Sidawi for taking the time to write up this recap of the San Quentin game.  Sounds like they have been having trouble getting teams cleared through the DOJ process this year, so we are having more opportunities to play.


Originally Scheduled for Wednesday May 16 but cancelled due to Basket-Ball on TV, nine of us entered San Quentin on Thursday May 17 amidst fears of flu and a full west block quarantine. Shockingly, the nine committed souls showed up on time, no id's thrown out car windows on the way to the parking lot.

Getting to the gate at 4:30 is dandy, but turning the corner to a COMPLETELY uninhabited yard is a bit unnerving.  We warmed up and slowly the boys in blue began to trickle out. Lockdown made for a thin A's team that had to be augmented by Giants that were allowed out.

Big Rob started for the A's and he generally threw strikes (fastball only). He was very apologetic to Greg who he apparently hit last time out, which in retrospect is probably why Greg got a meatball for our first single of the day. Rob kept us off-balance, only allowing one run over 5 innings before having to leave for class.

Sean labored through 6 innings, giving up a picket fence in the first three. The only Mission baseball inning came in the 4th when we should have had about 6 outs, but only achieved 3. Luckily Sean limited the damage to 2. A lefty added a long HR to left, off the education building, in the 5th. Sean had luck in the first as a pick-off to third was not caught due to our guy being too timid to fully extend his left arm into a runner, despite it being highly unlikely to break an arm twice that way.

The 6th began with a SQ A's 6-2 lead. With Rob bettering himself, Old Terry put himself on the mound. We nearly batted a round, scoring 4 to tie.

Sean went back out for the 6th facing, for the last time, Manuel who had been on 4 or 5 consecutive times either by walk or by dropped third strike. He walked on 4 pitches.

Two force plays at second and a pop up to the pitcher later, the game was called. as a tie 6-6.

Highlights

*We had a legit argument with the umpire. Instead of the usual deference, we took exception to allowing Manuel to advance to first on a strike out that he readily admitted hit his foot.  Nothing came of it, other than a run on the next batter, but we argued.

*Elvin showed up his hecklers who were calling him "little league" by going 2-3

* James hit one off the razor wire fence for a triple.

*Sean must have had at least 10 Ks because I can't think of many plays in the field. 

*We live in California. It is Spring/summer. We are sitting outside. Bring a jacket and don't be soft

*The yard was empty-empty-empty. I think there were more guards than residents watching


The non-losing team at the Marin Brewing Co.  Greg loves selfies almost as much as he loves leagues and religion.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

5/6/18- Ramblers game- Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY




First of all, what the fuck am I doing up at 6:30am ready to play a non-SQ baseball game?

Secondly, where the hell am I and how did I get home from JJ Bubbles in Bay Ridge?



Culminating a week of neurology conference meetings, and rubbery chicken in tasteless sauce, I had the ultimate gift of being able to play with our brothers to the east, the Brooklyn Ramblers in Prospect Park.

The Ramblers started about a decade ago when Dave Johnson moved back to NYC.  He missed playing ball, so he scraped together a few players from various sources, and they in turn, scraped a few more until they had a nice roster of regulars.  And while they are not able to play year-round due to the inclement weather of the Northeast, they still incorporate the ethos of the Mission Baseball Club.  While I knew that I was not probably going to be facing a hostile crowd, I was a little apprehensive about stepping onto the field and taking the ball as a starting pitcher.  One would have to have some pretty serious credentials and a few rabbis to get that kind of treatment first time out at the MBC game.

Credentials and character vouchers notwithstanding, I got by on the weight of Dave, who is clearly the captain of the squad.  Dave takes a firmer hand in managing the team than any of us in SF would, and I would liken him to a hybrid of Greg/Bob, except he deals with things that Greg/Bob would have neither the interest nor inclination in handling.

One big difference is that the Ramblers are expected to pre-pay for the entire season!  This in turn, makes collecting of dues a more hefty occupation than the rumpled $5 bills that we shove in Bob's hand after each game.  For all Ramblers reading this- get right with the dues to Dave, or enjoy your season of hitting last and playing right field.

No judgement on this next one, but another big difference is that the Ramblers keep score —including the formulation of a carefully considered lineups— and the players are equally distributed, according to skill set.  The practical implication is that pitchers and catchers can be in short supply, so resources have to be even. I admit that we of the MBC always attempt to balance the teams so we don't end up with blowouts.  However, I would also say our weekly teams are usually more organically grown (Insert CA joke here). We play in SF and are a self-admitted bunch of pinko lefty commies after all.....except you, Bob.

The Ramblers also play by the rules of baseball, which means walks and HBPs are enforced, balks are called.  From a pitching perspective, my fear was that I was going to end up walking a bunch of people, not having the advantage of a count reset.

One last difference that you probably already noticed, the Ramblers start their games early.  The Ramblers play at 8:00am and I don't think that the MBC would last very long if we had to do that.  In fact, I know it.  That being said, once past the initial hangover gurgles that always accompany a good Saturday night, I actually enjoyed being out in the fresh air of the morning.  As well, having the game done by noon, one still has a full day to accomplish all the other shit that takes over one's life.  Dave said that sometimes that accomplishment is just hanging out in Prospect Park and drinking, and I can think of plenty worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

In any case, after waiting around for a little while for the gates to be unlocked, we unloaded our stuff and established camp in the third base dugout.  The field was in great condition—the infield grass had just been re-sodded— and real clay abounded!  The dugout was sunken, complete with extra storage, a nice fence for leaning, and a drinking fountain!  It reminded me of what Crocker-Amazon could be like if it was refurbished and if it wasn't used as a public toilet for the indigent and intoxicated population of SF.

The lineup consortium debated each position and hitting potential while we warmed up and arrived at the final teams.  We skipped infield warm-ups to get the game going, since we are were already at 18+.  Starting for the homers was Tom, who played college-level ball, and who had a whole bag of tricks and junk to work with.  He also changed his arm slot continually, which made it hard to get a handle on tracking the ball.  He had his good stuff working too, to the tune of 11 Ks in 5 innings.  The only run we scored was a walk that came into score on a ball hit to right.  There was an exciting play at the plate, and the runner (another collegiate baseballer) named Dave, came in hot and then at the last second, slid into, rather than bowled over the catcher.  It had the looks of a Ray Fosse/Pete Rose All-Star moment until the last second.

I definitely did not have as large a bag of tricks as Tom, but I stayed efficient.  From the looks of the scorecard, I pitched 7 innings, struck out 5, walked 1, and gave up 4 hits.  I'll take that any day of the week.

What really made me feel at home, was the presence of THE INNING.  Those who follow this rambling narrative on a regular basis know exactly what that is.  The plot rarely varies, a few no-doubt, well-placed hits, and then....the wheels come off.  The defense that previously locked down ground balls can't grab the handle, I am leaving pitches up in the zone to be crushed, and ultimately, a shitload of runs go on the board.  This particular one wasn't that bad, four runs scored, and it was familiar to me as the golden hills of California.  I was told that the proper phrase in Brooklyn for this is "You got Rambled."  Very similar to our own home-grown phrase of "real Mission Baseball play," or the Brian Girgus favorite,"[that rally had] some good, old-fashioned shitty fielding."

We had made such good time in the game that by the time that the 9th inning arrived, we still had 50 minutes left on the permit, so we kept the game going.  I had bowed out after 7, and JC—who is counted among the original 17 Reasons MBC players— came in for an inning and did a great job, as did the two pitchers after him: Money, who kept on the fake mustache while he threw, and Rob, who peered over his glove like Randy Johnson.  Tom went out after 5 innings of giving us the business, and Dr. Milo Vassallo came in for the homers.  He continued to shut us down completely, and it was only in the 9th and beyond, with the entry of a third pitcher, Brian, that the visitors managed to finally score a few runs.

Those runs live on only in our memories, cuz the scorecard notations were abandoned after the 8th inning (see pics).

Final Score- 7-4?

Highlights:

* It was an honor to play with the Ramblers, something I have wanted to do since they were created.

* There was a tense moment before we got to the game.  Dave is still rocking that '71 BMW 2002 and it sputtered to a complete stop (on the Prospect Expressway I think) on the way there.  I made my peace with the fact that everything was fucked and my baseball dream was gone.  Dave tinkered under the hood for a second, then had an epiphany, and took my suitcase out of the trunk where the weight of it had been crimping the recently installed external fuel pump hose.  Problem solved.

* I was sure glad that it was 65 degrees and overcast, if it had been a full-on heat and humidity Brooklyn day, the conditions and the cumulative hangover would have killed me.

* It was good to see Ted B. who you should all remember from his visit and SQ game, on his home turf.

* Tom deserves a cap tip for an overpowering pitching performance, as well as shaking off a nasty cervical compression scare in the last inning, while fielding a play at 1st.

* After 6 innings, I tried to do the gentlemanly thing, as we do in the MBC when we have 12-12 games, and take myself out so that I have my turn to sit and let other play.  That is not how they do it in Brooklyn.  Dave said, and I quote," Fuck that.  Keep pitching.  I'm catching."

* Milo (pronounced Mee-lo) wins the Terry Steinbach Helmet award

* The team that was waiting to take the field after us, showed up two hours early!

* The Prospect Park field had a snack bar, something that we should try and instigate at our local fields.  At the very least, get some hot dog cart out at Golden Gate Park once or twice.

* I was expecting to see a few familiar faces (Ezra, you suck) but Randy wasn't one of them.  He was waylaid in NY waiting for a job in Europe, and has ended up playing with the Ramblers.  Great to see him.

* Dave K. made an awesome play at 1st and JC almost had a amazing catch on a foul ball line drive near first

* Speaking of MBCers, Will Rockwell-AOY 2013, is known in the Ramblers circle as SF Willie.  He is still an asshole too, cuz he got on a plane to SF at 6am on Sunday morning and missed the game.

* Another Rambler nicknamed Money, played the entire game in a fake mustache and sleeveless shirt, in parody of Milo.  I didn't ask if they take turns doing this, or if it's just his thing.

* I ended up with a 1.000 on-base percentage, by way of a dropped third strike, a walk, and two singles.  The Ramblers were nice enough to allow me to have a runner each time, my quad/hip thing still being a pain.

* I tried to get Simonelli to come out for a game.  His response: Not at 8am I'm not. Fuck that.

* Only two extra base hits the whole game: JC had a nice crack to right center for a double, and Nick (with a manly beard) had a long double over the left fielders head to score a run in the midst of THE INNING.

* I am sure part of it was being unused to it, but I didn't get much response when I occasionally tried to be witty with the hitters from the mound, everyone was pretty locked in to their game. Or maybe playing by the rules of baseball extend to the unwritten stuff like not being overtly genial with the opposing team?  Or maybe I am just not funny?

* If there is one bad thing about the field, it needs a net or something for foul balls.  The field is surrounded by a perimeter fence, so you have to completely exit through the one open gate, to get a ball that is about 30 feet away from home.  First World Problems.

* The 4-9-6 play to end the 3rd inning, you know, the usual

* I figured a 6 hour flight after playing a game would break me, but I feel surprisingly good for a Tuesday.

* Always a pleasure when I can get new guys to swing at the knuckleball, I think the humidity on the East Coast helped too

Thank you again for all the good times and the opportunity to play Ramblers ball.  I highly recommend any MBCers that find themselves in NYC to get to a game.










The man and the mustache



Monday, April 30, 2018

4/29/18 Cop Field

Beautiful day, we had 19 people show up, Mrs. Paige and the kids came in with me, and played at the playground for 2.5 hours, it was just an all around good day. 

Except of course, for the problem my team had with scoring runs and catching the ball, other than that though.....  It actually was a great game, and I can't knock my team too much, since they did make a legit double play, helped by Greg's almost complete surrender about 10 feet up the basepath, and then the realization that he had to at least try.  In fact, there were quite a few give up early's and then something happened plays.  That's why we run out every ball people.

Greg started for the homers and Satch for the visitors.  Greg's knee appeared to not bother him much, but for whatever reason, his usual game of bust them inside, became, throw at their head and trunk.  Seriously, for a guy who didn't technically hit anyone all game, he averaged about 3 near misses per batter. 

I was throwing pretty good, had a few Ks, the change up was definitely on point, which always makes it easier to pitch, when your go to is real easy on the arm.  Defensively, we just were out of position some of the time, dropped some balls, didn't get to some balls, and then the homers also hit the crap out of the few balls.  Typical MBC stuff, really.  Mitch came in to mop up in the 8th, and threw a good inning.

The sad thing was that going into the middle innings, we were down 4-0, which is pretty rare to have in a Mission game.  No lead is usually safe, but seriously, not even a run?  Our downfall was hitting the ball to Chris P continuously, which is never a good strategy.  We got a runner into scoring position more than once, but just couldn't capitalize.  When we finally did score a run, I think it was the 6th inning, and I think we were lucky to get it. 

The bats finally came alive in the 9th, but we had idled away too much time, and while we did mount a comeback, we fell short with a final 6-4 loss.

Highlights:

* Greg pitched well, when he wasn't trying to hit anyone

* Chris also did well in relief, and ironically, is the only one who did hit someone.

* The sun in left field was not fun

* In catching news, Ed caught two foul pop flies and Bob hung on to a foul tip for strike three, best defensive catching of the year, I say.

* I got Loren to swing at knuckleballs twice for pop ups

* It got a little convoluted, but I had to make a point of James, Chris, and Mitch not being on the same team. That is three big hitters with guaranteed base stealing ability.

* For all of my bad mouthing, my defense also got a runner at home, on a non-force play, corners in.  It was awesome.

* On the other hand, our defense showed it's lack of understanding went into a serious lefty shift against Lattig, only to be corrected by Lattig that is was not a sound strategy, which is very true, he is capable of hitting to any part of the field

* Mitch had a couple of throws from the outfield that saved more runs from being scored

* John McG came late, and opted to go on to the winning team, although he had his opportunity to join us underdogs

* I was trying to old-school a run by bunting with Mitch on first in the 2nd to try and get on the board, but apparently, you are not supposed to sacrifice outs for potential runs anymore.  What I was supposed to do was hit a long double.  And if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass a'hoppin'.

* I got caught in left trying to catch a hit from Powell, chances are I wouldn't have gotten to it, but my first step was in, and it definitely should have been back

* Urano played a solid game, he needed to exploit his youth a bit more though

* Dennis tried to turn a double play with no one on first, the SS relayed the ball, but the batter was safe at first.  Always know where the runners are, people!

* I caught a infield pop fly, and called off the third baseman by staring into the sky and saying, and I quote,"Oh shit.  I think I got that."

* We almost had a second double play!

* At one point, my best pitch was a fat, straight fastball down the middle.

* Bob tried to cheer up our team by singing the Dr. Demento classic Dead Puppies Aren't much Fun

Dead puppies
Dead puppies
Dead puppies aren't much fun
They don't come when you call
They don't chase squirrels at all
Dead puppies aren't much fun

My puppy died late last fall
He's still rotting in the hall
Dead puppies aren't much fun
Mom says puppy's days are through
She's gonna throw him in the stew
Dead puppies aren't much fun

Dead puppies
Dead puppies
Dead puppies aren't much fun


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 San Quentin Series- Game 1

 It's that time of year again, when the team makes the trip north to SQ to play the inmate team.  It's been happening for a lot of years at this point, and we almost always have a good time.  The problems, when they occur, are usually administrative in nature.  Obviously, we want the prison to function well so that everyone remains safe.  But it can be trying, when all you want to do is play some ball.

Two reports so far on how the game went, the first from Nick W:

It was a doozy. A back and forth nailbiter finally sealed by an 8th inning dropped 3rd strike that scored 2 runs, and bookended by opening day ceremonies with a touching goodbye to Elliot and Phelps having to drive to Novato for a spare set of car keys because he locked his in his trunk.

Final score SQ A's/Giants 11, Mission 8

And this commentary from Sonny:

 Sean threw a runner out at first, with his amazing deceptive leg-kick-looks-like-he’s-
already-pitching-but-throws-to-first move.

Chris made a major league-like out catching a grounder at SS and long throw in air to first.

Mike threw some great pitches in the 9th , almost everything dipping down right at the plate.

I had longest at bat of my life fouling off like 14 balls.

We had three errors on one ball, first Sean missed it, then I missed it then Greg missed it.
So we are 0-1 in the season, with about 4 games to go.  Let's hope for a better outcome in May.  Strangely, two of the three people who contributed to this blog article, are two of the only three MBC players that you can actually identify in the Religion of Sports: Through the Darkness documentary that filmed last year while we were there.  
Here's a screen shot, with Elliot talking, and Chris "Stretch" Rich, the former inmate who returned to give some inspiring words to the players.  As for the third man, well, shoot, everyone knows who he is.



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

400th Post! Huzzah!




This serves as a placeholder, I hope to include a longer post when I can, but for now, let's just say, Wow!  Who would have thought that this whole thing would have lasted this long?  Not the MBC game of course, that will go on forever, but I can't believe that I am still reporting on it, even if it is a semi-regular basis.

Hope for the future of this blog:

A new round of player profiles to acknowledge those who started playing after 2003.

More in-depth stories on the things that matter, like how to properly throw a spitball,lean into a pitch, and not be a basic douchebag while playing baseball.

Hopefully more posts on games that I attended, which means that I am attending more games.

An answer once and for all on the most pressing question of our generation- When will Bert Campaneris, Steve Garvey, Will Clark, Jeff Kent, and Fernando Valenzuela make the Hall of Fame?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

4/15/18 Cop Field- Unofficial game

An abbreviated attempt at a game was pursued on Sunday.  I showed up sometime after first pitch with the two lil' guys in tow, mostly to get out of the Missus' hair for a few hours and cuz the boys love playing on the old batting cage structure at Sundberg. 

Unfortunately, the skies grew darker the closer we got to SF, and by the time we reached the field it was lightly misting.  The mist turned into a fine rain, lightened for a second, then got steadily heavier and heavier.  We lasted about an hour, I threw batting practice to the kids for a bit, and then called it a day.  No sooner had we gotten into the car then the skies opened up and a real downpour descended on the game, which I figure probably stopped it for good.

I can't tell you anything about what happened, other than Greg was back from Peru, and was pitching which means his knee can't be that bad, or he has taken the traditional MBC play-through-the-pain route.  Either way, it was good to see him. 

Tony was ready to pack it in as soon as the rain started, but was shouted down.  He then had to make a play on a ground ball that threw up a rooster tail of water as it headed towards him, and then when he threw it to first, it looked more like a shot put. 

It was a great showing for a questionable day, all the usual suspects were out.  Too bad it wasn't a full game. 

We drove home, and the rain stopped just as we pulled in to the driveway.  I guess the wind and the storm must have been stronger than I realized, as I found our EZ Up had blown up and over the safety fence and was upside down at the bottom of the pool.  I donned a mask and spent ten minutes in the semi-frigid water, detaching the canopy and pulling the structure to the side so that we could haul it out.  Not how I pictured the day coming to an end.

Let's hope for a nice Sunday to make up for it!

S. Paige

Monday, April 2, 2018

4/1/18 West Sunset

Easter Sunday and April Fools in the one day, and what a day it was.  Glorious weather, warm but not too hot, the field was in immaculate condition, and we had 20 players show up.  How can you go wrong?

The teams may have been a little lopsided, but on the whole, it was a pretty good split.  Chris Powell started for the visitors and Satch, so hungry to play ball that he could hardly stand it, went for the homers.  We shut down the first inning in about 8 pitches, and then went to town to the tune of 5 runs.  We were feeling pretty good about ourselves, until the visitors roared back and tied it up with their own barrage of runs, making it a 5-5 affair.

We traded zeroes for a few innings, and then the homers struck again for another 5 runs, and never looked back.  Chris had given way to New guy Chris, who was a bit wild.  He was then replaced by Abe, who I think I have only seen throw one other time.  It was a pitching by committee for the visitors, for sure.  Satch ended up throwing a  complete game for the homers, which was very nice to air out the arm for a lot of innings.  Special thanks to Tony for letting me keep going, even though I know he wanted to throw.

We tacked on a few more, the visitors had another mini-barrage, but it was too little too late, and with a ground ball to SS we ended the game in a tidy 2.5 hours.

Final score: 14-8

Highlights:

* What an amazing day, other than the sun which temporarily blinded more than a few fielders.

* Thanks to Bob, Ed, Gaspar, Don, Chris for donning the tools of ignorance

* Adam tried the ol' rufus goofus of leaving early and trying to get picked off of first to give the man on third a chance to run home.  Unfortunately, he didn't realize that there was a runner on second too.  He made it back safely.

* Urano had a great day at SS, making play after play with a smooth precision.

* Derek made a great catch in right field after it was obvious that he could not see it in the sun.  It was headed right for him, so at the last second he saw it enough to catch it.

* Additional thanks to Derek's special lady friend who watched the entire game

* RBI Ed is back!

* Bob was HBP, though he tried so little to get out of the way that it was almost batter's interference.

* Big flies were hit by James, Dave, Chris P., Satch.  Should have had the cones out.

* Nick Smith had no luck at first all day, his infield could not throw him a decent ball for an out, he was jumping, and digging, and pulled off the bag every time.

* Speaking of, we have decided that a ball that hits the wall behind 1st, and bounces back is a live ball.  If it goes past the wall to the fence area it is out of bounds.

* We had a couple of good 2-out rallies

* I think I struck out five for the day, the change up was working really well, as was the curve, with the exception of the second inning, when the visitors were squaring up on everything I threw.

* I think James won the biggest hit, he almost reached the other field, and we all thought Loren was going to catch it Willie Mays style-but it ended up right at the fringe of the infield grass. James got a triple because he isn't a fat bag of slow like me.






* Bob told some new guy on his team to tell me to go fuck myself, but he never did.  So I am owed.

*  I think 5 people got hit by pitches, which is more than usual.  Urano and Tony both took one off the knee but seemed to shake it off.

* The grass on the infield is almost too good, you don't expect that a low ground ball will stay low.

* Thanks to everyone that showed up, I would have been super bummed to have to do...gulp...batting practice.

Here are Ed Sidawi's action photos for the day, as well as a slo-mo of Urano's hit/ error off of Chris Powell:





 



S. Paige

Monday, March 12, 2018

M. Sidawi hits a round tripper

Milo gets all of it, and then disses his absent father by refusing to acknowledge or mug for the camera as his mother instructs him. 

He has a bright MBC future ahead of him.




Also that is some bullshit that the first baseman is standing on the bag, when the ball is clearly deep in the outfield.  Could have been ugly if he had obstructed the runner. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

2/25/18 Golden Gate Park

This is a delayed report, and so it might be short on facts. 

Not to mention that me and Lil' Satch got there in the 3rd inning, and played right field the whole time.  There were a lot of people out, so we sat out a lot too.  It was beautiful day, and Mitch pitched a complete game.  I remember that much.  He didn't get the win, but cap tip for the effort.  Tony, Jordan, (?) pitched for the other team.

My first at bat I crushed a ball to center but it was caught.  Never got anywhere close to that again.  I had one hit up the middle that I thought was clean, Chris stopped it, but it had enough English on it that I made it to first.

Another week without Greg which was a bummer.  No update on Elvin's injury either, hopefully not as bad as he thought.

The game went really quickly again, and we added another inning, on the down-low, again.  So that means that Mitch threw 10 inning complete game.

The one thing that was noted was that at one point JT, Bob, and Dennis comprised the right side of the defense, all of whom are 60+.  This may be the first time that happened, but as we stay on with this game, it won't be the last.

S. Paige

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

MBC Stats Part Deux 2011-2018




I found this old post when I was noodling around recently, and thought it would be interesting to update with the changes in the last 7 years.

http://missionbaseball.blogspot.in/2011/11/mbc-stats.html
The first thing that anyone can notice is that there are a lot less write ups per year, mostly due to the fact that I have two kids and a wife now that demand a lot of my time.  Still, I am averaging about 40% attendance, if you count the write-ups as times when I for sure played.


I wrote up this list in 2011, and the updated information is added in red to reflect status or a growing list at the end to incorporate the new dope.  The overarching theme is that the core is pretty much the same, and that the MBC has been repopulating the world in the last few years.
  • Sean is still striking lots of people out- Not as many as he used to, but Sean's capacity to play any position well is more notable.
  • Bob is still getting HBP, and hitting big drives- Still valid
  • Satch is still throwing a knuckleball- You better believe it!  My change up sees a lot more use though, and I can throw it for a strike most times
  • Mitch is still THE deciding defensive factor- I would add to this: James, Chris P
  • Johnny still throws a lot of complete games- I wish this were still true.  We lost the regular attendance of one of our most stalwart players to a embolic stroke in April, 2013.  He still comes out for the doubleheader, but it’s not the same.
  • Noah eats a lot of innings- Noah is in the midst of the new daddy business, I bet he would eat a lot of innings if he had the chance though
  • Nick Smith still hits the other way, and grunts a lot while doing it- He’s older and grumpier now, but that is all that has changed
  • Cagle still bunts and has good defensive skills and gets caught stealing- Brian Cagle went AWOL a few years back.  He was a good guy
  • JT can tell you the runs scored, the runners left on, and the total score before most of us comprehend what we are talking about- Still very relevant, it’s like he isn’t even trying to poison his brain with substances and bad decisions
  • Tony still makes every play look pretty and pitches well in the late innings- Tony has become a premier starting pitcher, going deep into games, has a great curveball.  He still looks pretty on defense, though his error rate may have gone up a little
  • Greg catches a lot, and seems to be involved in a lot of clutch moments- Up until a few weeks ago, then that stupid knee thing.  Hope this becomes the regular again
  • Gaspar is still hitting lots of foul balls and balls the other way, then as soon as you think you got the goods, he hits up the middle- Gaspar is married.  But everything else in this sentence is exactly the same
  • Lattig's B.A. is about .890- Shoulder issues may account for the drop in his average to only .754 is the last few years
  • Noah and Dustin still enjoy the Jamison- I heard this happened again just few weeks ago, Noah’s sweat was testing at 70 proof
  • Girgus is still 90% attitude, when he shows up, which is never- Girgus moved to Echo Park, opened his own barbershop, and is doing well.  He cut Bill Lee’s hair recently
  • Phelps has excelled in making himself a power at each position he has taken- Phelps is in the same boat as me, probably wants to play a lot more than he does.  And he likes to keep it fresh at 2nd and 3rd sometimes
  • Ed is an RBI machine- Ed’s RBI totals have dropped, at least it seems that way.  Maybe just less chances
  • Richie is still a frustrating batter to throw to- Still true, I don’t even try anymore, just throw strikes and hope he hits it right at someone
  • Nero is still agile and nimble at 3rd- It’s a mysterious thing, given that Nero is not the agilest of players that the MBC fields
  • Stoner makes it out once every five weeks, and still likes sliding for fly balls- Aww, Stoner.  Rarely seen anymore, but he was out not too long ago, and had a very Stoner-ish slide
  • Chris hits the hell out of the ball and has great range at SS- Abso-fucking-lutely
  • Duane's triple record may never be broken- I forgot all about Duane’s triples.  We haven’t seen Duane in a while, I am not sure if it’s extended DL or timing
  • Adam is still a master of the scoop at 1st- This is truer than ever.  I would say that Nick S., Sean P and Lattig should be added to this list
  • Nero, Bob, Adam, Greg, Ed, Noah, Rojas, Gaspar, Tim are all still ready and willing to strap on the tools of ignorance- Yes!  Also James, Don, Nick , Jimmy 
  • The MBC East (Brooklyn Ramblers) are still going strong, Saturday mornings- By all accounts, bigger and better each year. We have had a few visitors from the Ramblers, all good people
  • Kvoriak still impresses all with the deep drives- I bet he would if he ever played anymore, quitter.
  • Infield and short outfield pop ups still plague us as the hardest plays to make- Yeah, they still suck. 
  • The addition of Coney Island James gives both teams a chance to have a guy who can hit, run, throw, and argue
  • Elvin came in as a law student and a right-hander, now he is a left-hander and passed the CA Bar.  It took a while, but I think he is proficient.  I cannot vouch for the lawyer part
  • Speaking of lawyers: Abe, John McG, both great players, both lawyers.
  • John McG has gone lefty as well, in response to an injury and has also contributed to the future of the game, with his two boys Liam and Aiden, who are both great players
  • Nick W. aka Magnum PI, has become a regular, and can play everywhere, and dig up dirt on everyone too
  • The era of Sonny the pitcher has been born, frustrating everyone who hits off him
  • John Carey is in college.  Bob must be really old!
  • Loren disappeared for a long while, but now seems to be back, 30lbs lighter and in the midst of an extended hitting slump
  • We had Rich J coming regular for a while, who plays like a real professional, but he is in the midst of new daddy world as well
  • Carter started the FuckFace Bat Co. He also is a new daddy, but his drop off in attendance is too severe for just that.  He is the default Deserter trophy winner until further notice
  • Daniel D. was a regular, with a lot of fashion savvy. He moved to Portland like a chump, though we tried to warn him, then moved back less than a year later.  He is currently in Monterey and also a new daddy.
  • Doc has continued to show up occasionally but in umpire capacity. Always a pleasure
  • West Sunset has been rehabbed and is now the nicest field we play on
  • Abe, Adam, and Randy combined for the only documented triple play in MBC history, it all went down November 13, 2016 
  • I don't think I have used a metal bat in several years
  • Skateboarding is one of the biggest dangers to a MBCers health
  • Dennis is back and we are calling for performance enhancing drug testing
  • Elvin is the first player to win Rookie of the Year twice, once for right-handed, once for left-handed
  • Who has more to add to this list??????

2/18/18 Golden Gate Park




Two weeks in a row, who could believe it?  Of course the holiday weekend helped salve Mrs. Paige into agreeing to let me play again.  This amazing weather we are having was real nice too, it was supposed to be remarkably colder on Sunday than it was, though we did have 3-seconds of rain at one point.  We also had 22 people out, including relatives of Ed and Nick W. 

Sonny started for the homers and was lights out for the first few innings, we were stymied as usual, hitting the piss out of the ball but right to somebody, or awkwardly chopping it weakly on the ground.  I got the start for the visitors, after some well-timed whining and cajoling, cap tip to Lattig for being decent enough to let me throw. 

Now there are those that might say that the teams were a little askew.  We might want to consider a rule about Chris P, James, and Sean P. being on the same team, since they are all guys that can hit for power, steal whatever base they want, and play multiple positions.  And if I wasn't on the same team as all those guys, I would have probably made a fuss about it. 

In any case, the homers gorked, dinked, and flopped two runs out of me in the first inning, they were concentrating all their hitting to the gaps, but only to about 170 feet.  And it worked.  Luckily, that passed, and they never scored again.  I had about 6 Ks, though some of those were people who had never played with us before, so taken with a grain of salt.  But still, felt like a good workout.  Tony came in for one, then Sean for the close, the score being a lopsided 9-2 at that point.

The real story is that I was finally on a team that cracked the Sonny code.  It wasn't pretty at times, but dammit we did it.  In looking back at the blog, I cannot find an example of being on a team that hit Sonny well, so this could be the first time I was on a team that beat Sonny.  He threw the whole game, and earned his stripes for sure, but it felt good to just once have a decent game against him.

The other big story is that Elvin, playing in his third game of the weekend, made an amazing catch in deep center to rob me of a extra base hit, and came up with an injured hammy for his troubles.
This was essentially the play he made:



I would say it was worth it, but I don't have to limp around for a month.  It was an official bad-ass catch and I tip my cap deeply and humbly.  Sidawi, in true AOY manner, told me that I should protest the play (from his own team!) since Elvin was playing outfield with a left-handed first baseman's glove.  To whom should protest to, is the next question?

The game was so crisp, the weather was sunny and warm,  jokes and bullshit peppered the conversations, the only thing lacking was that we were missing the Captain, Greg, who is still laid up with knee issues. Get well soon.

Highlights:

* Ed caught the whole game, as did Tim, and both did very well

* Bob continues to hit triples and stay at first base

* JT calculated that he was 0-5 with four walks (if he had taken them he would have been 0-1.)

* The bums sitting in the stands had one of the best playlists rocking, they were all over the map: outlaw country, speed metal, oldies, black metal.  Guy was in the zone

* Tony reckoned this game almost ranked up there with the Is this really happening game

* Sean on third, I thought a safety squeeze was in order, especially when I saw Nick W. playing so deep.  I bunt, perfectly I might add, and make it safe at first with no play, only to see Sean still on third....



* I had the chance to catch a pop up from Bob, directly in front of him at home

* The game went so quickly that we decided to lose an inning again, and we were still done by 3:45

* The defense was pretty sharp, but the errors that were made seemed costly

* I didn't charge the first ground ball that came back to me on the mound, and it bounced right by.  The next one I did charge and threw out the runner by 40 feet.

* Tony almost had his face taken off by a hard grounder at third.

* Sonny fouled a pitch that was 6 inches above his eyes

* We bucked the odds and had Sean at 3rd for a few innings.  He made a nice play

* Dennis made a good play in left, after a close but no cigar play on a foul ball

* Loren showed up late, got a nice hit

* We did not make the most of the foul pop ups that we had

* Chris hit the shit out a ball that ended up scoring Tony from 1st

* I was dangerously close to recreating this infamous play, after I stole second in an attempt to get picked off an score the runner from third.  Right fielder dropped the pop fly, and I was safe at 2nd, but I was all over the place:





* Tony and I almost pulled off a no-plan squeeze play.  He gave me the cap tug from the batters box, and I answered him right back.  Unfortunately the bunt went foul, but at least we understood one another for the moment.

Hope that leg heals quickly Elvin, I can write a letter of explanation to your baseball tryouts squad if you need it.

Don't look back.

S. Paige

A