Monthly Archives: June 2005

June 30, 2005

SoftBall!: Game 1

Here's that picture of the field that I was hoping to show y'all last week. They've done an excellent job of keeping the actual field mowed this year; last season playing in knee-high weeds was quite an adveture. This season, we just warm up in knee-high weeds before taking the field. Notice the vantage point in this photo: directly behind the plate. Now notice where second base is: 10 degrees to the right. Since there is no mound, it makes it intensely difficult to figure out where to stand while pitching.

Special Olympics softball field

But, like I said last week, it's always available and it's free through the generousity of the plumbers and steam-fitters' union, and we are very appreciative.

When Jon and I arrived at the diamond yesterday, we didn't know what to think. The week before we had heard that we would be playing the Cardinals, the team that we like to think of as having a lower skill level even than ours, though we're probably fooling ourselves. When we rolled in, though, it was clearly not the Cardinals on the field but instead the Rebels, our ringer team.

I should explain the ringer team. In Special Olympics sports, you play a “season” of something like four games solely to determine your placement in the state tournament. Damar is a facility on the north side of Indy that, year after year, has fielded a team of people with no apparent disabilities and has always won the gold. Our county decided to make an effort to pull together a group of higher-skill players to give Damar a run for their money. Hence our ringer team.

You might think that this is an unnecessarily competetive attitude to carry into a Special Olympics sport, but it is far from the worst behavior you'll see on the field. The worst I've ever seen was in our own tournament appearance two years ago. Even though we were in the second-to-bottom grouping in the tournament, the team opposing us was huge. No kidding, their smallest person was bigger than our biggest person.

They smashed ball after ball past us in the outfield, even invoking this unusual rule in SO softball where if you hit more than one more ball out of the field than your opponents, it counts as an out. Eventually, of course, we were the victims of the mercy killing and the game was over as were our hopes of medaling. It was not just frustrating; it was totally demoralizing. Utterly humiliating.

We didn't find out until after the game that this particular team had used entirely different players during the season to get their placement in the tourney, then brought in these goliaths to smash us at state. We saw a few of the regular players, who were normal size, when they got a single at-bat at the end of the game when all hope was utterly lost for us, but other than that, they wouldn't even let the regulars play.

Makes you feel good about Special O, huh? Our team, of course, is about as diametrically opposite that as physically possible. Which is probably why we lose so much.

Like we did last night. Our pitcher again did not show up, which left us one partner short and having to borrow one of the athletes from the other team to fill the gap. Our first time through the line-up was pretty weak, but we got our big inning in the third with four runs, and tacked on two more in the fourth. Of course, by that time we should have already lost by the run rule, but whatever.

Highlights of the evening included:

  • A fantastically bizarre double-play by which Robert out in left-center actually caught the ball in the air and got it in to second to pick off the runner who had been on first and was past second when he finally noticed his team shouting at him to go back. He went back, but directly across the infield, skipping second entirely.
  • I went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI on a hit that went all the way out of the infield.
  • I pitched a shutout inning in the bottom of the same inning where we scored four. That was a good inning for us. I also had a few strike-outs. Well, foul-outs, anyway.

All-in-all, an excellent start to our season, and I sorta got to be the star. Next Wednesday we play at the real field in Indy. With the fancy scoreboard and all, I might even be able to bring back the proper score.

June 29, 2005

Dunn Gets ‘King’-Size Chair

ST LOUIS, MO -- After pushing down and sitting on Cardinals' reliever Ray King today, Adam Dunn called King “comfy” and had him sent to Cincinnati to replace his old massage chair.

Dunn originally intended to sit on King as an act of retribution for King's collision with Austin Kearns in May of 2003. The collision at home plate caused Kearns a torn labrum and rotator cuff, injuries that started a long series of health problems that have shelved the highly anticipated outfielder for the better part of two years.

However, the sitting upon turned from vengeful to cozy when Dunn realized how similar to an overstuffed armchair King actually is.

“He's soft and kind of bouncy,” explained Dunn. “And if you get him laughing, it's sort of like the vibrating chair was.”

But what of the long awaited retribution for injuring Kearns?

“We'll just have to destroy the Cards tonight for that,” said Dunn.

June 28, 2005

Listen To Your Mama

OK, everyone else in the world has said it, but just in case the Reds management has been waiting for me to make the final call, here it is:

Adam Dunn should be hitting higher in the order, at the very, very least ahead of Wily Mo Peña.

Let's try to get that right tomorrow, huh?

I'm going to bed.

June 28, 2005

Pujols Causes Panic With Claim of Falling Sky

ST. LOUIS, MO -- Minor panic erupted in the Cardinals' clubhouse this afternoon when first baseman Albert Pujols ran into the room hysterically screaming that the sky was falling.

Little Albie, as he's popularly called, told his teammates that he'd heard the sound of something shattering and had felt things falling on his head. Ol' Bert, the facilities manager, was called to inspect the overhead lights, but the lights were in working order. He then checked the windows, but found them intact. He even checked the television, but there was no evidence of anything having broken. That's when Ol' Bert remembered the high post-season hopes.

“I checked 'em out, and sure 'nuff, they were caving in faster'n you can say 'early-season aberration',” said Ol' Bert.

With the mystery solved, calm returned to the clubhouse and the Cardinals went back to preparing to get trounced by the Reds.

June 27, 2005

Almost Too Sad To Make Fun Of

Twice during the work day I make the rounds of the Reds blogs because, though entering the names of three hundred database tables and columns into a Visio diagram and an Excel spreadsheet, as I was doing today, is truly titillating work, it can get a bit intense.

It was in that frame of mind that I made my way onto Red Reporter to find JD's take on a story that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer featuring quotes from Danny Graves. If you haven't already read it, I recommend you go check it out.

The first thing that struck me about this story is how very much it sounded like something I would write. Of course, in my version, Graves would be constantly weeping throughout the interview, with frequent pauses to blow his nose. Then again, I guess we don't know that he wasn't doing just that.

I'm torn: on the one hand, this is exactly the sort of thing I'd make fun of; on the other, even if every word Graves is saying here is true, the fact that he would stoop to actually say it is so pathetic that all I can seem to muster is pity for the guy. So I guess I'll abstain; it's kinda funny without me making fun of it anyway.

In completely different news, my copy of Oh Say Can You Sing? arrived in the mail today. My son has dibs on the t.v. until the big hand is on the 12, so I'll have to wait to check out the DVD after he goes to bed, but I've been jamming to the CD. I plan to do a proper review sometime this week.

I also invested some time last night in Human League research on Adam Dunn, who, after my research, is rapidly rising on my list of favorite players. That being the case, maybe I'll find the motivation to finish that up this very evening.

And don't forget, tomorrow's game is against the Cardinals, which can mean only one thing: more snaps with Bellyscratcher! She's gotten a head start with her smack talking about Milton's bobblehead. How she managed to talk smack on smack I was already talking, I don't know, but I'll give her props for it. I'll also kick myself for not thinking of it first.

OK, now this post is starting to get intense. I need a break. Where the heck is a Visio diagram when you need one?