Monday, May 21, 2012

It's A Team Game

That's what I have to keep telling myself, because the team I've joined at M Street is undefeated while I've been fairly worthless as a hitter.

QUENCHER - 12  Below Average Joes - 8
QUENCHER - 17 Clarkes - 2
QUENCHER - 12 Paramount Blues - 0
QUENCHER - 25 Stats Bar & Grille - 5
QUENCHER - 24 Stadium Stingers - 10

That's 5 and 0. We're in first place. And we deserve to be. Everybody is hitting a ton (except me) and the team defense has been good. We've gotten solid pitching performances. Everybody hustles, and I can't remember anyone making any bonehead plays. This team is definitely at least in the hunt for the league title.

Having said all of that, we haven't hit the tougher part of our schedule yet. The combined record of the five teams we've beaten is 9 and 12 (although the last win, against Stadium, came in a battle of undefeateds. They were 5 and 0 before we beat them.)

It's a good bunch of guys, personally, and they all know how the game should be played. I've only been with them for these five games, but I haven't seen any evidence of anyone being a major head case. Everybody gets along. And all of them have welcomed me aboard, despite my being a 55-year-old travesty of what I used to be.

Yes, I am now officially The Ghost Of Softball Past. I have been anemic with the bat. I've put one ball out of the infield in five games. I don't claim to have anywhere near the speed I once did, but now my baserunning just plain stinks. In the most recent game, for example, I was thrown out going first to third on what might have been a clean double from the guy behind me (Leo Evivriades, our CF, who was working on a streak of nine consecutive hits, by the way.) I felt like I was running in quicksand as I hit second base.

Enough whining. The team is undefeated. It sure feels good to be able to say that after the past two seasons of my managing The Swingers. They were a good bunch of guys, too, but absolutely the worst defensive team I have ever managed. If we didn't score 20 runs in a game last year, we had little hope. My poor pitchers had to count on inducing four or five outs almost every inning (one of them, Josh Lebron, who deserved much better, has joined me in moving to Quencher, going 3 and 0 so far.) This current squad can actually catch the ball, which is a good thing, and the lone bit of solace I can take from my performance on the field is that my work behind the plate hasn't been as hideous as my hitting. I've caught three of the five wins, including the shutout victory over Paramount (thrown by our other starter, Stevie Mills [2 and 0], who has six solid pitches in his arsenal - sinking fastball, riser, curve, screwball, change, knuckler.)

So, would I rather be batting 1.000 or be on an undefeated team? I'd have to be a total asshole to take the individual stats. I might be an asshole, but I'm not a total one, so there's your answer. I'll take the undefeated team, thanks. And if I go 0 for 50 the rest of the way, but we win the championship, I'll have a smile on my face while I'm slitting my throat.

Quencher Stats


Meanwhile, the Bombers season finally gets underway tomorrow (I'm writing this on Saturday.) I think this is the latest the Sunday season has ever begun in my 18 years in the league. I'd prefer starting in the first week of April and playing through October, but most of the rest of the league is sane so that won't happen.

Here's hoping we can get off to as good a start as Quencher. I'll be managing the Bombers for the first few weeks (Jack Atton has commitments, so back in the saddle for me, at least temporarily. I've been a sort of co-pilot for Quencher with Bob Carlson, so it's been a very busy season in that regard.) I've got little confidence as a player right now (can you tell?) so I'll likely just sit myself on the bench for the first game and (I hope) enjoy watching my guys win.

See you after the doubleheader!


BOMBERS – 14 Reds – 1
Reds – 14 BOMBERS – 11

It was an OK start, but we should have won both games. We completely blew up defensively in the third inning of the second game and paid for it.

Game one was never in serious doubt. We put two on the board in the first, two more in the second, and then a five spot in the third. Meanwhile, Robbie (a new pick up for us, and I don’t even know his last name) was pitching some lovely ball. He gave up one unearned run over five innings and we closed it out by slaughter rule.

Big Jay Atton took the mound in game two. He threw well enough to win, but he was totally abused by his defense.

It was a 3 – 3 game going into the top of the third. An error on a ground ball, a soft liner off a glove, a dropped fly ball, another error on a throw, a ball skipping under an outfielder’s glove, another ground ball misplayed… eight unearned runs later we’re down 11 – 3. We made a fair effort at catching them, but you can’t play ball like that and expect to win. Take away the unearned runs and we win going away. Oh, well. Unlike some other years when I knew our defensive lapses came about because the guys just plain couldn’t catch the damn ball, I know this team is basically sound. It was just one of those innings that comes out of the blue and causes a pitcher a nervous breakdown. I have no doubt this is actually a solid team and I’ll be extremely surprised if I see anything like this again.

For my part, I did nothing to make myself feel better as a player. I made the decision to not play a defensive position, letting Joey Baszkiewicz catch both ends of the doubleheader (I wanted to just manage game one, and then when it came to game two, with us having had such a nice first game, I decided to keep Joey behind the plate because Big Jay is a bit more comfortable with him than with me.) I inserted myself at the end of the lineup as a hitter only in game two. I’m still not making any good contact. I took three trips to the plate, popped up twice and grounded out once. I got a pity RBI on the ground out (that is, my fielder’s choice resulted in a run scoring, but I can’t kid myself into thinking that it was actually anything for which I truly deserve any credit.)

So, let me finish this up with a few props for good performances.

Billy Botting hit the lone dinger for us, a huge blast to right field in game one. He’s returning to us after a two year absence and it sure is nice to have his bat back in the games. This year, he brought his brother Jimmy with him, and I’m not sure which one is the better ballplayer. Jimmy had four doubles, displaying speed that will drive our opponents round the bend. They both have the good glove, strong arms, and great attitudes.

PK (Pat Kelly) had a couple of real clutch hits, including a laced triple. Fast Freddy Goodman had a four hit day. Joel Kershner reached five times – three hits and two walks. As I mentioned, both pitchers threw well. Hell, I’d like to go on and give everybody some love, but this is getting a bit long and I’ve got work to do. Suffice to say if I didn’t mention you by name, I still know the good things you did and I appreciate the effort. I’m going to have fun managing this group during the three weeks that Jack won’t be here. He’d better watch out – I might not want to relinquish the reins after a few more wins. It’s kind of enjoyable feeling I’m making some sort of contribution by making out the line-up card, and if I don’t start hitting, I might need the ego boost

Bombers Stats

Soon, with more better stuff.


Michelle H. said...

You are on two winning teams that have a chance at winning championships. Take the bull by the horns, look for that cloud with the silver lining, and pull up your big girl panties. You'll hit your groove and raise those stats.

(Just don't wear those girl panties on the outside of your uniform.) :-)

Jackie said... sounds like you guys are having a great beginning, and I hope that you have a wonderful remainder of the season. I looked at the stats, and noticed that you have RBIs...and that's a great thing. Knowing how hard the position of catcher is, I am proud of the job you are doing. Good luck on the game on Tuesday. Have fun (more fun)...and enjoy the comradery that the members of the Quenchers share.

notactuallygod said...

I wish I had the time to be bad at softball.
I'm spending my weekends doing things like finally draining the pool and discarding dead fish and 3" tadpoles (you can't call them frogs if they don't have hind legs, right?)

Craig said...

See, that's why us old guys in Michigan play slow-pitch. . . ;)

Man, I definitely get that 'how the hell did I get so freakin' SLOW?' thing. You've noticed how few 55-year-olds are running in the Olympics, right? Yeah, me too. . .

Gotta love a ballplayer named Baszkiewicz. At least, in the heavily-Polish town I grew up in, that would've been pronounced BASH-ka-vitch. Or maybe bash-KEV-itch. Either way, I hope Joey's a basher. . .

Suldog said...

Craig - Around here, it's BASS-ka-witz, but we usually just call him Joey Baz :-)

Daryl said...

Not saying smoking slows you down .. makes you feel like you're running in quick sand .. but I am implying it ..

Sueann said...

Great stats!! The Indians could use some pointers for sure. Got some spare time?

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

Abused by the defense WBAGNFARB

messymimi said...

Congrats and good luck. May the season stay great for your undefeated team, and grow better for you and the Bombers.

Shrinky said...

Cor blimey, Sully, if you don't quit on beating yourself up I'm tempted to come over and do it for you! Talk about glass half empty syndrome - you're team is on fire this season, what's the matter with you? Everyone goes though a personal bad patch, the more you mope on at yourself about it, the more you're likely to jinx yourself - gooness sakes, cut youreslf some slack here, eh?

Buck said...

QUENCHER - 25 Stats Bar & Grille - 5

No mercy rule, eh?

Suldog said...

Buck - Actually, there is one (12 runs) but it's after 5 innings. The last four have all ended by mercy rule!

Anonymous said...

Fast Freddy Goodman has apparently discovered the "Fountain Of Youth" and seems committed to spitting in the face of Father Time.

How on earth does he do it???

lime said...

i really think you should riff on that ghost of softball past thing and make a post out of it. i think it would be hilarious. ya know, instead of jacob marley rattling chains you'd just be creaking your knees as you crouch to catch.

Suldog said...

Lime - You mean something like this...

"If I could work my will," said Suldog indignantly, "Every idiot who goes about with 'Play Ball' on his lips, should be grilled with his own hot dogs, and buried with a french fry through his heart!"


"At this time of the softball season, Mr. Suldog, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the lesser players, who suffer greatly. Many are in want of at-bats; hundreds of thousands are in want of one or two innings on the field."

"Are there no slow-pitch teams?"

"Plenty of slow-pitch teams..."

"And the co-ed teams run by sports clubs." demanded Suldog. "Are they still in operation?"

"Both very busy, sir..."

"Those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Suldog, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus of rotten players I have to try and work into the line-up every Sunday!"

Craig said...

You say 'slow-pitch' like it's a BAD thing. . .

And I WOULD rather die than play on a co-ed rec-league team. . .


Play Ball, Every One!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I have certain relatives (by marriage) who continue to urge me to play co-ed rec-league softball, even after they have seen me run. I know it is because it will make them look better that they do so. I know what running in quicksand feels like and I am no longer even that fast. That said, I still have a pretty quick first step, just nothing to follow it with.

Suldog said...

Craig - Old Suldog became as good a coach, as good a manager, and as good a statistician, as the M Street Softball League knew, or any other league, team, or church picnic. Some people laughed to see his odd batting stance, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened in softball leagues, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the first couple of innings; and knowing that such as these would not draw as many walks as him, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have them bitch at the ump. His own team won more than it lost, and that was quite enough for him; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep the book well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Big Jay observed, "After the game we'll go to Liberty Bell for some roast beef!"