Saturday, June 06, 2015

My Season Opener

Tomorrow will be my season opener for softball this year.

Yeah, I know. June 7th. Of course, since I've told everyone I've retired, having a season opener AT ALL is rather surprising. I guess I need to explain.

Last year, I played in three leagues. Since I was 57 last year, that was a ridiculous sort of decision to make, but it's the one I did make. And it was ridiculous. I played part-time in one of the leagues (the toughest one, with fastballs I couldn't catch up to any longer), but in the other two leagues (modified fast-pitch) I caught just about every game for my teams. As a result, I ruined my rotator cuff. Destroyed it. Barbecued it. Ground it into little pieces.

We won a championship, though, and that's what I was after. I can live with the occasional pain in my shoulder so long as I have that memory. If we hadn't won, I'd be more mad about it.

Anyway, I can't throw now; not even a soft toss game of catch. That being the case, it makes perfect sense for me to be retired from the game. However, my Sunday team, the Bombers - the team with whom I shared the championship celebration last season - are still playing on Sundays (their, and my, 21st season in that league) and was I going to pass up a victory lap? Not with my ego.

So, tomorrow is my opening day. The team actually opened on May 31st, but I missed it - the first opening day I've missed in some 50+ years of playing ball. That's just the sort of fuck-up I am. I finally get the championship and then miss opening day the next season.

There was a reason, of course. My good friend and teammate, Fast Freddie Goodman, had invited me to accompany him on a road trip to New York to see a Mets game. The game was on May 30th. I said "yes" for three reasons:

1 - The league season was supposed to open on May 17th, so I wouldn't be missing that.

2 - I assumed May 30th would be the Memorial Day weekend and the league doesn't play then.

3 - I love Fred.

And here's what happened:

1 - The league DID open on May 17th. Unfortunately, with 7 teams in the league this year, each team would have to have a bye week. We drew the first bye.

2 - Memorial Day was on the weekend of the 24th. D'Oh!

3 - The team opened on May 31st while I was on the road with Fred (whom I still love, but missing that opener ate a little piece of my heart.)

Meanwhile, as you'll recall, I still can't throw. So what in blue hell am I doing still on the team?

I can still swing a bat and make my way to first base (it would be charitable to call how I make my way there "running", but it's something beyond walking, at least.) So I will wheedle an at-bat or two each Sunday, as conditions permit (we're either up or down by a bunch of runs, probably) and qualify myself for the playoffs and be ready for those in case nine other guys better than me come down with the flu or break a leg or something else horrendous enough to make it useful to have me in a playoff line-up. And then I will hang them up forever.

(Unless we win again, of course, in which case I'll have to come back for another victory lap.)

Bottom Row - Ron Aquino, Brad Cole, me, Brian Pacheco, Fast Freddie Goodman
Middle Row - Joe Baszkiewicz, Ron Johnson, M. J. McCabe, Pat Atton
Back Row - Billy Botting, Big Jay Atton, Bobby Botting, Jimmy Botting, Mark Preziosi, Jack Atton
(Not Pictured - Robby Costello)

On a more serious note, most of you heard my news concerning Big Jay Atton. He is still in ICU, but his condition has been improving somewhat. We're all hoping for a full recovery, of course, but he has a long road to travel. Please keep him in your prayers. I couldn't have asked for a more fun teammate for the past 18 years and I'll be missing him sorely tomorrow.

Soon, with more better stuff.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Yep... we're still thinking of Big Jay here...
...and thinking only a fool would do what Sully's doing.
Then I realized I would do the same thing myself should the stars align in such a manner as to make that possible.

Enjoy your season.

OldAFSarge said...

Have a great season.

Keeping Big Jay in prayers.

My last hurrah on the diamond was 17 years ago. Sure I miss it. Would I play now? Not a chance.

messymimi said...

Yes, i'm praying for Big Jay, and i hope he gets out of the hospital soon.

joeh said...

Comb your hair with the other hand, rest your throwing arm, do some strengthening exercises and in four or five years you'll be able to throw again.

Still prayers for Big Jay

Craig said...

Jeez, Sully, I thought you wuz gonna go out on top ('course, you could still do that, couldn't ya?) Just stay out of situations that require you to throw anything, and you'll be fine. Or, you know, you could go all Pat Venditte and just switch to lefty. . .


Still praying for Big Jay. . .

Shammickite said...

I'm sending Best of British Luck to both you in your baseball endeavours
and to Jay in ICU.

Daryl said...

your looking fit, the rest of it was like waaaa waaaa waaaaa xo

It' said...

Oh, damn, Daryl took the words right out of my mouth. Glad to hear Jay is improving!