Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Softball is Back

Or I should say more accurately, I am back at softball. I played a fair bit in the Bay Area, for at least 5 or so different teams, at the end under the watchful eyes of coach (who is an interesting poker player indeed, playing as high as 30/60 online but as of yet unable to win at live 20/40 and therefore spending time playing in green chip games to this day....obviously his 20/40 losses can be attributed to run bad, and his existence makes me feel better about my own). Anyway, coach had been at it for like over a decade, and would send out email recaps of the games, routinely with a note that someone was approaching some season or career record, such as 500 hits or some other redonkulous total. You see in California you can play softball literally like 9 or even 12 months a year, and if you play 10 games per season and 4 seasons per year....well all of a sudden 500 hits doesn't seem like that many. As an aside I introduced coach to a couple of his current players, including his current star pitcher who routinely has 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and a dinger type nights.

Anyway I finally got off my ass down here and started playing softball two weeks ago. Why did it take me a full year? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all I'm pretty darn lazy. Second of all, it's hard to find a softball team to play for when you literally don't know a single person who, you know, plays softball. And finally I was hesitant because to be honest I'm not that good. I played baseball for 10 years growing up and was quite good right up until the point that I stopped growing and was no longer the biggest kid on the team (age 13 to be precise). The problem was that I am a natural second basemen....which is to say I am a presentable infielder with silly puddy where my right arm should be. I also have never really figured out exactly how to hit a softball, and certainly can't hit for enough power to knock the ball over the outfielders heads (in softball there are 3 kinds of hits....line drives over the infielders heads, home runs over the outfielders heads, and lucky ones).

So far I've played three games, the first as a sub, the second as a now full time player for that team, and the third just tonight as a sub again. My first game was...just...awful. I left 5 men on base. In the first two innings. I went 1 for 4. I made a mess of second base. I didn't know which side of the plate to hit from (I'm right handed, but spent most of my baseball career swinging from the left side, which enabled me to actually stand a chance at hitting a curve ball. But hitting right handed still feels a little more natural). And to boot, after finally getting a hit in the bottom of the last inning to knock in the tying run with 1 out, I managed to get called out at first base for taking an early lead (before the pitcher released the ball). The batter promptly grounded out to short and the man on 3rd obviously didn't score and the game ended...in a tie.

So after that piss poor performance I figured I was done with it. I wasn't going to go out of my way to play with anybody else, and that team certainly wasn't going to call me back for another go, so that was that. But lo and behold the moonshiners wanted me back the following week, and even asked me to join the team permanently. So I figured what the hell, it can't get any worse, right? Wrong. In my first at bat I strike out....looking. You start with a 1-1 count (standard) and any pitch of reasonable height that hits the rubber mat behind the plate is a strike. That much I knew. What I did not know, however, was that any ball that landed on the plate was also a strike. That is decidedly non-standard. So I took a pitch that landed honestly about an inch in front of the plate or maybe just barely landed on it and boom the ump in ringing me up and well it's just not good. So at this point things were not looking good, but I managed to turn it around by hitting solidly left handed and taking advantage of a second basemen with roughly the same UZR as a barca lounger. I finished the game with a walk and 2 singles, both of which were line drives past the aforementioned piece of furniture standing between first and second base, and the moonshiners claimed glorious victory by way of a mid-inning (the top of the middle of an inning no less) mercy rule invocation (humorously the mercy rule run was scored by the 2nd man on base when our clean up guy hit a towering blast over the left fielders head. He cruised from second base on and eventually was struck directly in the ass by the ball sailing in from third base in an effort to score a run which did not even count). So that was good.

And tonight I got a text around 5:15 asking if I could fill in for another team and I did so admirably, making no idiotic plays in right or right center and going 3 for 4 with a triple. You see, everyone else on the team was capable of knocking the ball over the outfielders heads, so they had to play way back. So my first two at bats I lulled them into....who am I kidding I grounded into a double play and hit a soft liner over the second basemen's head. So anyway after that they played me in and I smacked one over their heads and, am told, downshifted not one but two gears while rounding third base and was promptly thrown out at the plate to end the inning, with the ump helping me up saying "sorry man, that was a hell of a throw". But it was fun and we won, so it's all good, and I'm actually looking forward to playing tomorrow for my "real" team and the like.


bravos1 said...


BTW, our season got cancelled for whatever reason! Twin Creeks is not running the league on Tues nights for this upcoming season. IMR, wtf? The whole night is just gone?

Captain R said...

Nice blog post. I enjoy these types of posts more than the poker ones.

I believe Coach is back to crushing the 20, so good on him.