I was showering this morning - What an experience! - and, while shampooing what's left of my hair, the invigoration of my scalp produced an idea. I figured out a way to keep you folks, who don't care about softball, caring about my softball posts.
A contest! With prizes!
Well, OK, not prizeS, just one prize. And I'm not yet sure what it will be. It will be something for nothing, though, so that should be enough for most of you slugs.
Here's what you have to do:
1 - Choose a winner in the playoff series between the team for which I play, the wholly-upstanding and beloved Bombers, and the evil nasty Renegades.
(The Renegades are nice guys, actually, but don't let that sway you.)
2 - Predict the amount of total runs scored by the Bombers and the Renegades.
That's about it. The winner of the contest will be the person who chooses the winner of the playoff series correctly, AND who comes closest to the number of runs scored by the Bombers. In the event of a tie, whoever comes closest to the amount of runs scored by the Renegades will win. Should there still be a tie, here's the tiebreaker: Guess how many hits and walks, combined, I had.
Here's a sample of what your entry should look like:
BOMBERS win. BOMBERS score 43 total runs. RENEGADES score 17 total runs. SULDOG has 3 hits/walks.
As a matter of fact, if those of you having trouble with this would like to just cut and paste that whole thing, substituting your own numbers for those given in the example, that would be OK.
Some guidelines for those who wouldn't have the slightest idea what to guess...
The series is best 2 of 3, so there will be either two or three games played.
In the previous match-up this season, the Bombers won both games. The scores were 11 - 10, and 11 - 8.
Through all games this year, the Bombers are averaging 12.3 runs per game, and giving up an average of 8.3 runs.
I am averaging 1.57 combined hits and/or walks per game I play.
BOMBERS website, for those who might like to do some math for themselves and make a very educated guess.
There you go! Give it your best guess and leave that guess in the comments. All guesses made before 9am, Eastern Time, Sunday, August 8th, will be eligible. You'll have the answer on Monday, August 9th. And one of you - perhaps even someone who wouldn't know a softball from a grapefruit - will walk away with a fabulous prize!*
*Prize will not be fabulous. But it will be SOMETHING FOR NOTHING!
And now, with nothing better to fill the rest of this space, I'm going to publish the rant I spoke of earlier in the week.
It mostly goes on (and on, and on) about a specific play sometimes attempted by first basemen. I figure it might be useful to some catcher or first baseman or coach. It specifically pertains to modified fast-pitch softball, so don't come to me with your baseball knowledge and start telling me I'm out of my mind, OK?
(When I say something like "my first basemen", I'm not implying ownership. I'm just talking about games I caught for The Swingers, over at M Street.)
In the brand of softball we play, there is no stealing, and the rules call for a force out back to the bag on a pick off throw. That is, a runner who takes off on a pitch doesn’t have to be tagged out when returning to his previous base. If the throw from the catcher beats the runner back to the bag, he’s out. During the 16 games we’ve thus far played, our first basemen have never, not even once, tried to jump in behind a runner and pick him off on a throw from the catcher [in most instances this year, me.] Staying with the honesty, I don’t have a very good arm anymore. I don’t expect to pick off too many guys. But, the only idea isn’t to actually pick off a runner, although it’s nice when that happens. The other goal is to put a thought into the runner’s head that he can’t just take whatever damn lead he wants to, never having to worry about being picked off. Even if the catcher never attempts a throw, the action of a first baseman running in behind you is enough to keep you a step or two closer to the bag, at least for a few pitches.
My first basemen stand eight feet off of the bag, like statues. They don’t move from that spot until someone hits the ball. Well, if you vacate that spot, to try and deke a runner, what do you lose? Most times, not a damn thing. If it’s a right-handed batter, the likelihood of him hitting one into the spot you just vacated is miniscule. For one thing, his eye is on the pitch, not you going to first, but even if he does see you going, his adjusting, in mid-pitch, and then hitting the ball to that spot, is highly unlikely. So, the worst situation you’re getting yourself into is probably just being on the bag early in preparation for a throw from your infielders. And, if you’re lucky, maybe you get an ungodly good break on a foul pop. Whatever else happens, the other team knows they have to keep an eye on you and your catcher, and that distracts them from other things. It’s a play with much more upside than downside.
[If it’s such a good play, why not do it all the time? It’s the SURPRISE of it that gives it effectiveness. If you do it too often, a smart hitter will find that hole in the defense, the runner will never be caught unprepared, and it becomes even more futile than standing stock-still.]
Since the time I told one of my first basemen all of the above, I’ve caught his eye a few times before a pitch, and I’ve seen him make a sort-of half-step to the bag when I got the ball in my hands following a pitch, but he’s never actually gone to the bag. And, anyway, it’s too damn late to run to the bag when the catcher has the ball. You have to run to the bag on the pitch, and be there, waiting for the catcher’s throw, if he decides to make one. That’s the only way the play works.)
Wow! Was that way too much about strategy? Why, yes, it was! Sorry!
Remember to make your best guesses for the contest, and I'll see you Monday, which is likely to be...
Soon, with more better stuff.