Monday, August 13, 2012

The Wrath Of The Titans




L to R: Between games one and two, we see Michaela (scorekeeper and all-around good sport), Pat Atton, Billy Botting's ass, a pensive Joel Kershner, and manager Jack Atton

Here’s some good news for you folks who would rather lick a pigeon than read another post about softball. You only need to read this one and your work is over for the year!

(And there’s a non-softball surprise, so if you really can’t stand to read about softball again, scroll down to the first photo.)

Titans – 12 BOMBERS – 2
Titans – 16 BOMBERS – 3


And that was that. We didn’t play up to our abilities. Not enough hitting, too many defensive lapses. No more ball for us until next April, maybe May.

I’ll be there.

Yes, Jack. I’ll be there.

I’m afraid I gave my manager a mistaken impression in the final inning of yesterday’s second game. We were down by thirteen runs and he was going to send up a pinch-hitter for me, which was reasonable. Why not get someone else into the game? However, I ended my season by being the sort of selfish teammate I sometimes harbor bad thoughts about. I said, "Jack, this is my final at-bat..."

I meant it to sound like it was going to be my final at-bat ever. And I wasn’t trying to be manipulative. I had told Jack, before the season began, that I was seriously considering hanging them up. I may even have said that I was DEFINITELY going to call it quits, but I’ve said the same thing so often, to so many people before, it probably sounded like my usual bullshit. And I guess what I’m saying now proves that what I said then was my usual bullshit. In any case, in the moment, I thought that it truly might be my last time at the plate. And I drew a base-on-balls, which would certainly be a fitting way to end MY career. But then, a couple of hours after the game, I did the team stats. You know what? That walk made all the difference in my current decision to come back. It left my on-base percentage above the team average. And that convinces me I still have value to offer.

Anyone, whether or not his name is Suldog, is valuable to his team if he can get on-base at well over a 50% clip. Add to that my willingness to play the dirtiest position available? I have no reason to quit and no reason to be ashamed of coming back.

So, I’m sorry about the selfishness, Jack. I owe you an apology for that. You were a better man than me yesterday. You deserved a turn swinging the lumber, too, but you didn’t bat yourself all day. Maybe some of the other guys didn’t realize that while it was happening, and I hope they’ve kept reading this far and know what sort of a stand-up guy you are. You can count on one thing, for sure, next year. I’ll be proud to play for a guy like you. If circumstances allow, I’ll do the same as this year in regards to taking care of some of the things off the field. In any case, we’ll talk soon, I hope.

OK, now that my yearly guilt expunging is out of the way, I’ll talk a slight bit about the games themselves. But only a slight bit, as I’m fairly sure nobody wants to hear too many details, least of all the guys who took part.

We never had a lead in either game. The Titans scored in the first inning of both and never gave them back to us. We gave them an unearned run immediately. We gave them a few more later on. We rallied a bit, here and there, but we were flat most of the day.

This is where I usually give a shout to some guys who performed well, but the guys who did well know it and the guys who didn’t do well don’t need me to remind them, by comparison, of their shortcomings. It’s a team game and the team lost. When we win it all someday, it will still be a team game.

There IS one thing I want to give a few guys thanks for, though, and it’s this: showing up. As far as I’m concerned, showing up is the most important thing a teammate can do. I mean, if you aren’t there, what help are you to your team? So, my special thanks go to Billy Botting and his brother, Jimmy; Drew Atton, and his cousin, Big Jay Atton. Those four guys showed up every week. That’s the kind of team spirit that I really appreciate.

(People have reasons for not making it to games. Some of them are very good reasons. I’m not saying that some guy who missed one week is a jerk. It’s just that I wanted the four guys who made it every week to know that someone noticed.)

Speaking of showing up…


Our throngs of fans


Smith Field is not the easiest place to come see a game. And Sunday morning is even harder if you take public transportation. But two people showed who I never expected to see in the stands: Uncle Skip and Grandma Skip.

Skip is not MY uncle, but he may be yours. And GS is not MY grandma, nor is she old enough to be. That’s how you may know them, though, so there you go. And wherever you go, there you are. And they were at Smith Field.

I was my usual oblivious self. I saw them sitting in the stands, but I was playing and didn’t really SEE them. I wondered who the two folks were who had come out to see us play, but I didn’t imagine they were folks I should know and who came out to see ME. It wasn’t until the third inning or so, as I was going out to catch again, that I took a really good look and realized it was (not my uncle) Skip and his lovely wife.

I was flabbergasted (which is one of my favorite words, so I’m glad to have a chance to throw it in here.) They took the subway, then a bus, then walked. It was a hell of a lot more work than most of the guys who were on the field playing did to get there. As they realized I was realizing who they were, they laughed. Then I laughed. And it was pretty much the highlight of my day. I wish we had given them a better game to see.

Skip smiling even though I'm very sweaty and smelly


I also wish I had been able to spend a little more time with them. We seemed to hit it off immediately; very nice people, funny, unfailingly kind in the face of the crummy softball we presented them with. I drove them back to their hotel, at least. And I hope they will accept my sincere thanks for such a fine surprise.

That’s all, I guess. If you want the statistics...

Final BOMBER stats for 2012


And here’s the team I’m proud to be a part of for 18 years. Here’s to ending the 19th season with a win.

Front: Ron Johnson, Fast Freddie Goodman, Suldog, Pat Atton, Steve Burke, Joel Kershner
Back: Joey Baszkiewicz, Drew Atton, Jimmy Botting, Big Jay Atton, Billy Botting, Tom Resor, Jack Atton

Soon, with more better stuff.



21 comments:

Buck said...

Ah, well. Win some, lose some. Congrats on a pretty good season, even though you didn't get yer championship. Next year, eh?

It's pretty cool that Skip and GS made it to yer games. Would it help to know I was there in spirit? Would ya think I was lying if I said that? ;-)

Great pics, so I'm assuming you ain't the photographer.

Uncle Skip, said...

Ya know, Sully, that the best game to see is the one where everyone is playing for the joy of the game and giving it their all until the final out.
That's what GS and I saw... you guys were having fun ...until the final out.

Uncle Skip, said...

BTW - there's a photo of you over here.

Craig said...

Meeting other bloggers face-to-face is uber-cool. How did they know where to go?

And, as far as I know, that's the first photographic glimpse I've gotten of GS. . . She sure don't LOOK like a grandma. . .

;)

Sorry yer Bombers got bombed. Like they say, sometimes you get the bear (or Titan, as the case may be), and sometimes the bear (Titan) gets you. . . And heck, if you're this close, you might as well go for something Yaz-esque and play 20 years. . .

;)

Craig said...

I mean, heck, you could be pushing the Bombers career record for walks, or foul balls taken off yer kneecaps, or something like that. . .

;)

Suldog said...

Buck - I should have given photo credits. I shot the one of the fans, all others were by Grandma Skip. I have no idea why the one I took came out so well.

Uncle Skip, said...

@Craig - "... or something like that. . ."

As a catcher, he is, and took one for the team yesterday. (IYKWIM)

Uncle Skip, said...

@Suldog - it's the subject that makes or breaks a photo. GS makes them all look good.

Suldog said...

Craig - I hold most of the lower level career marks already - walks, doubles, runs scored, hits. That's what happens when you keep showing up! Bigger numbers - home runs, for example - are, to be kind to myself, not my forte. I should have been keeping track of balls hit off my body. Damn you for pointing out a stat I hadn't thought of!

Suldog said...

(not my uncle) Skip - She is a lovely lady, instant fun for any camera. Also, speaking of catching, I blew chunks yesterday. How many times did I not get the damn ball back to Big Jay? About 6 or 7? Hideous.

messymimi said...

While we all prefer a win, at least you went down swinging...er...walking.

Glad you got to see Mr. & Mrs. Skip.

Michelle H. said...

And that is that. This is my last year at playing softball. I had one hell of a year (life, actually) of playing the game. But I'm feeling the aches of my age more each day. My shoulder isn't what it used to be. My knees need iced done from years of squatting (that's for catching - get your dirty minds out of the gutter). And my swings simply don't have the power that a really good team needs for me to be at the bat...

No, Suldog! You're not getting old. You still have the stuff to play the game. You are the great player that any team would love to have...
*****

Oh, wait! This isn't that type of "end of softball for the year" post. See, you make me totally discombobulated... or maybe semi-combobulated... when you don't make the usual posts.

Anyhow, great that you met your not-your-uncle Skip and your not-your-grandmother Grandmother Skip. And that Roddy didn't break down again.

Suldog said...

Michelle - Yeah, I do tend to write the same sort of silly self-abusing posts every year around this time.

(Not that kind of self-abusing. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

Thanks for the smiles on my Monday, Michelle!

Daryl said...

I was going to go out and find a pigeon to lick but first I scrolled down .. now I am glad I waited .. ;)

i beati said...

wish I was there I have many softball shorts and pics to prove my love no scanners though hah

Stephen Hayes said...

Glad you and Uncle Skip finally got together. The only time someone traveled a great distance to see me, a subpena was involved. Great pictures.

Jeremy said...

Sorry to hear about the losses. I think you make it an even 20 years. (or longer)

Hilary said...

I scrolled.. nice to know you got together with not your uncle Skip. Nice photo of the two of you. :)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Sorry to hear about the two losses but maybe the gaining of two cool people in the stands helped make up for it :-)

lime said...

if i have to choose between licking a pigeon and reading a softball post i'll go with softball....just so ya know.

as for the wonderful surprise of uncle and grandma skip that is just so totally cool of them. i'm glad you all had the chance to meet even if it was so brief.

william Botting said...

Thanks for the special shout out sully. Its appreciated, and as uncle buck said, its for the love of the game why i play. To a great year of writting and playing, my pal, Sully.