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…
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.
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.
Back: Joey Baszkiewicz, Drew Atton, Jimmy Botting, Big Jay Atton, Billy Botting, Tom Resor, Jack Atton
Soon, with more better stuff.