Monday, June 22, 2009
No fun my babe no fun
No fun my babe no fun
No fun to hang around
Feeling that same old way
No fun to hang around
Freaked out for another day - Iggy Pop, "No Fun"
It’s Saturday morning. As usual, I’m up early on the weekend. I love the morning on days when I don’t have to go to work.
I get up on Saturday, type a little, and then go do the grocery shopping. On Sunday, I get up, put on my uniform, and then go play ball. The afternoons of both days are reserved for laziness: watching a ballgame on TV, reading, taking a nap. If I feel motivated to do anything constructive, I’m generally able to fight off such ridiculous notions.
The problem with this plan, of late, has been getting my body’s cooperation. In order for me to feel truly lazy on Sunday afternoon, I need to play ball on Sunday morning. Since my knee has been balky all year, I haven’t had as much exercise as I’d like. More often than not, I’ve been taking a courtesy runner in our games.
In our league, a player who reaches base can be replaced by what is termed a "courtesy runner." He is another player, healthier, allowed to run for someone with a physical malady. Unlike with a pinch runner, the original player is not penalized for this. He can return to his fielding position the following inning. So that no team gains an unfair advantage via this lenient rule, the manager can’t just pick the fastest guy on the bench and send him out to run. The courtesy runner has to be whoever made the last out previous. Thus, the courtesy runner is assigned by a limited lottery, by dint of the runner not having done well in his own previous at-bat. It’s a decent rule. It saves someone (like me) from further serious injury, and also allows someone who just recently played poorly to contribute more to his team’s effort.
I hate having a courtesy runner.
I realize that I have to have one, some days, but it still galls me. I used to have decent speed. I’ve led some of the teams I’ve played for, including the Bombers, in doubles. I wasn’t hitting the ball one heck of a lot further then than I am now. It was just that I always hustled out of the box and always looked to take an extra base. Half of my doubles were a result of my being able to run well. Now, instead of having speed, I’m somewhat at risk of being thrown out at first base by a rightfielder playing especially shallow. It hasn’t happened yet – and I might strip off my uniform and quit, then and there, if it DOES happen – but I’ve noticed a couple of outfielders watch me hobbling to first and then mentally note what they’d like to try the next time I’m up.
So, my knee. I’m feeling better than last week (when I knew I wouldn’t be able to play at all) and I think I might be able to play this week. The knee is still sore, but no longer swollen. It’s probably at about the same functionality as it was the week I jammed it and put myself on the DL. Could be I’ll jam it again, missing games scheduled for later on in the season. I don’t know. I’ll find out for sure when I warm up tomorrow.
If I find that I can’t play, I’ll take those photos I promised you last week.
I’m off to do the grocery shopping now. I don’t get through the aisles as fast I did before hurting my knee. I can still get almost as many frozen pizzas and chocolate cookies to the checkout as I once did, however, so my overall production hasn’t suffered.
Renegades – 16 BOMBERS – 6
Renegades – 18 BOMBERS – 6
That wasn’t much fun. As a matter of fact, it pretty much sucked. It was drizzling, cold, muddy, and blew chunks.
All due respect to the Renegades, who are about as nice a bunch of guys as there are in our league, but we’re much better than those scores indicate. We shouldn’t be losing to those guys by 10 and 12 runs.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We shouldn’t be the Bombers. We should be called Murphy’s Law.
Eh. Do you want to hear a whole bunch of whining? No, of course not. If I keep going, though, that’s all you’ll get. For instance, my day as a hitter. I went 0-for-5, but it should have been a 3-for-5 (or maybe even a 4-for-5.) I hit two balls right on the screws, both line drive outs. I hit another into center field, but short enough so that a charging outfielder scooped it and threw to second to force the man on in front of me. And I pushed one into short right field that the outfielder made a running semi-diving catch on. The only time I reached base (on an error) was on the worst at-bat of the day, a slow roller to short. These days happen, the same way a crappy day of pop flies and seeing-eye grounders will result in three or four undeserved hits, so no complaints.
I’d pass out the compliments to my teammates, but not a whole hack of a lot to pat them on the back about. Not that they all played badly or anything, but it just wasn’t a day filled with heroics. Billy Botting made one of the most spectacular outfield catches I’ve ever seen in our league, a full-out running diving grab on the very first batter of the day. You see a catch like that and you think it’s definitely your day. Nope.
Billy had a great day as a hitter, too, going 5-for-7. He turned 21 on Saturday, went out and got stinky-ass drunk, had about two hours sleep and played probably the best game of anyone on the team. Nice to be young…
Jack Atton threw both ends of the doubleheader, the first two he’s pitched for us all year. Big Jay Atton and Buddy Carchide not making it to the games necessitated this. They’ve been going one and two every week, but Jack was forced into double-duty service with their absence. This shouldn’t have been a bad thing, as Jack has a very good career mark against the Renegades, but his control was very poor today (17 walks, 4 strikeouts) and you don’t win too many games when guys from the other team are going up there thinking, "OK, I’ve got a walk if I want it, but I’ll see if my pitch comes in the meantime."
(I love Jack, dearly, and it’s not my intention to hang the losses on him alone – it’s a team game, so wins and losses are a team effort - but he’d be the first to tell you that the Renegades batters were thinking that way.)
Jack went 4-for-5 as a batter, which would make some guys feel pretty good, but I know it’s cold comfort for him. He’d rather go hitless and have the team win. So would I.
(I got the hitless half of it.)
I mean, nothing went right. I even brought a camera with me, to take those promised snapshots for you, but I took one shot – of Pat Atton – and the flash didn’t go off, the low battery light came on, and that was that.
However, MY WIFE to the rescue! Last night, I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t find the battery charger for the camera. She said that she’d draw some pictures of guys on the team, just in case the camera didn’t work. Since it didn’t work, here are the pictures she drew.
I don’t think any of the guys are going to be too thrilled with their likenesses, but I look as bad as anyone else, so it’s all bad, thus all good. From the top, left to right, it’s Fast Freddy Goodman, Jack Atton, and Big Jay Atton. Next row: Joe Baszkiewicz and Ron Johnson. After that, it’s the umpire and Jack’s kids, Pat and Drew. Finally, down the bottom, with the elf ears and hurty lines emanating from my left knee, it’s me.
Yikes. The only good thing about this week is that next week can’t possibly be worse.
Soon, with line drives that don’t go directly into a fielder’s glove.