Monday, July 16, 2007

The Monday Softball Diary - XII & 1/2

The Bombers are in trouble.

Reds – 12 BOMBERS – 6
Reds – 18 BOMBERS – 17

TEAM       W-L  GB To Play Bombers vs.

Titans 12-0 - 4 0-2
Dot Rats 9-3 3 4 0-2
Renegades 7-5 5 4 0-2
GangGreen 6-6 6 4 1-1
Reds 5-7 7 4 0-2
Moe Howard 5-9 8 2 -
Rockies 5-9 8 2 2-0
Bacon 4-8 8 4 -
BOMBERS 3-9 9 4

The story of this week: Not enough hitting in the first game and not enough fielding in the second game.

The defense played well enough to win the first game. Not that we didn’t make a whole bunch of bad plays. We did. However, we also made enough good plays to negate most of the bad ones. Trouble is, we didn’t hit in the first game.

This team can whale the ball, as you know if you’ve been following this diary from the beginning of the season. You also know that we have the shakiest defense in the league. When we play decent defense, our hitting should be able to pull us through.

Going into these games, I figured us to win them both. I saw them as perhaps 15 – 12 or 16 – 13 games, with us on the winning side of that. We have a better offense than the Reds. They have a better defense, excluding pitching. We have the better pitchers. As long as we limited our defensive gaffes and took care of the hitting, these games were ours for the taking.

We didn’t get the job done. We scored four runs in the first and then pretty much died. The middle of the order – the guys who have been producing big for us all year – went a combined 2-for-9.

Those guys might be feeling badly about that. Yes, a timely hit here or there would have been big, but this is a team game. Those guys bashed the ball all year. You have to expect an 0-for once in a while. It’s just human. And when it happens, the rest of the team has to pick up the pace. That didn’t happen enough, even though there were a couple of nice games at-bat by other fellows. In any case, you can’t lay the blame at the feet of the big power hitters alone.

We just didn’t get it done, as a team.

In the second game, we hit well enough to win. But, once again, we didn’t catch the damn ball. And when we DID catch it, we made some bizarre choices of what to do with it. Throws went to home when they should have hit cutoffs, behind runners that were just a step from the bag – stuff like that. Throws that maybe should have been allowed to go through DID get cut off. We tried to make fancy plays when we could have had sure outs instead.

In the second game, we had a three-run lead going into the Reds last at-bats. I could go over the downfall, play by play, but I won’t. The final play was an interesting one, though, so I’ll tell you about that.

We were down to a one-run lead. The Reds had runners on second and third, one out.

Youth Of America, Chris Moore, is playing left field for us. He has speed to burn. He had been inserted for his defensive range at the start of the inning.

The batter lofted a fly to foul territory in left field. Chris got to it and made the catch. Two outs. However, the path he took to get to the ball left him with his back half-turned to the plate, and he had to go a step or two before he could stop. The runner on third tagged up. Chris wheeled around and threw.

The runner scored as Chris’s throw went into the other team's bench area by third base. The runner on second was awarded home on the out-of-bounds throw. Game over.

It’s an interesting play because of the choices involved. I don’t know what Chris might have been thinking – whether he realized the possibilities - but he had a choice. He could have let the ball drop. That would have left the situation as it was at the beginning – two men on, one out, us up by a run. By catching that ball, you almost ensure that the man on third will tag-up. It gives you two outs, however.

What would you have done?

I know what I would have done. If I was 25 years younger, with speed and a decent arm - like Chris - I would have caught the damn ball and then tried to throw the son of a bitch out at the plate. I would have done exactly what Chris did.

Chris held his head in his hands and then walked in as though he were headed to a funeral. I say sleep soundly, Chris. For one thing, we all still love you and it IS just a friggin’ Sunday softball game, despite all of the crap I write so over-dramatically here. But, for my money, you made the right play. And you also want to remember that you were put into the line-up exactly for a play like that. You got to that ball, whereas most of our other outfielders wouldn’t have even been in position to have a choice at all.

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”…

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

from IF by Rudyard Kipling

Oh, did I mention that next week I become the Bombers manager again? The Attons are all going out of town, to Ohio, so Jack gave me the helm again. With four games remaining in the regular season, we need at least two wins to grab a playoff spot. We may need three. And, as I already mentioned, I’ll be missing all three of the Attons for the first two games. That doesn’t make my job easier, that’s for sure.

(I'll especially miss Jason. He struck out 11 of these guys in one game last year, which has to be a record for our league. Of course, he lost the game, 8-6, when his outfield dropped two easy fly balls, both times with two men on. The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

Of the three teams directly ahead of us, we own the tiebreaker on one and we play the other two the last two weeks of the season. We still have our fate in our own hands. If we win, we're in. If we lose...

For the Bombers reading this, all I know for sure so far is that Sandy will pitch game one and I'll be throwing in game two.

(Yes, I’ll pitch - and, considering this, I'll ask God to have mercy on my face.)

Chris can expect to play shortstop. Conrad and Dave will be in the outfield. Beyond that, guys, just prepare yourself and start thinking about how you can maximize your value. I'll let you know more as soon as I can. I’ll see you Sunday morning, by 8:30 at the latest if you please, at Smith Field #2, Harvard.

(For directions to Smith Field, put "175 N. Harvard, Allston" as your destination in MapQuest. That will get you to the parking lot of Harvard Publishing, which is where most of us park. It is right next to the diamond we will be playing on this Sunday.)


1 comment:

Jay atton said...

Im going to guess it did turn out well for you