Monday, July 31, 2006

It's Coming

No one gets called out in this interstitial post. All apologies to Anna, who came through like whoa this week and who gave a very good explanation for her absence the week before (because all who are absent must explain their absence to me) and didn't deserve to get called onto the proverbial carpet. That said, Scott Snelling must explain this week's absence via a photograph of some sort.

Anyway, there will be more here tomorrow or the day after. Actual, overwritten and overwrought substance. Until then, here's a little bit of history to look at. I'm the guy holding the bat.

Our House, Baby, Our House: Buttermilk Softball Week Five

Longer and more time-wasting than Christopher Hitchens discoursing boozily on Mel Gibson's boozy discourse -- the Week Five recap is in the place.

Or maybe not longer. See, while it's nice that Captain Jeff saw my previous recap as "the Infinite Jest" of softball recaps, it's also worth mentioning that Infinite Jest is, by even the most charitable estimations, some hundred pages too long, and comprised in many parts of footnotes. I cannot do footnotes here -- hyperlinks to Scott Stahoviak's baseball reference page notwithstanding -- and I wouldn't if I could. My job is to tell you what happened, with as much extraneous profanity and unnecessary detail (and, if possible, alliteration) as possible. I (above) will, however, probably run long again, here. Even by our usual high standard of pulse pounding, smoking-in-the-outfield action, this Sunday was fairly interesting.

At first it was not interesting in a good way. It was interesting -- in an academic sense, mostly -- in more of a "how did all these random feisty Latin dudes (and one woman) wind up on our field, and how long are they going to keep playing for" way. I'll answer the second part of that question first: forever. Forever ever. They were playing when Jeff arrived at the field around 3:40pm, they were there when B-Milk season debuts Seth Nelson and Colleen Hooper arrived with me around 4. And they were still there -- talking junk, popping up, taking an extended, both-sides break to comb deep right field for either a softball or a contact lens -- when we left after 6. I checked back on Tuesday and they were still playing, slightly hoarser, perhaps a bit exhausted, but showing every indication of being there again this Sunday.

So the eight or so of us who were there by 4:15ish just warmed up. And kept on warming up. Finally our gaze shifted to the other field. You know the one -- it's in right field, got lots of trees, is sometimes home to profanity-laden boyfriend/girlfriend arguments? Yeah. So we went over there, only to find Jonathan -- a random no more and now officially a Buttermilk member in good stead -- along with his girlfriend and brother, taking BP alongside another lonely mini-team. The stage was set for the Buttermilk Softball annual extramural contest, and what Jesse correctly termed our first ever away game.

Luckily for us, we had a good squad -- balanced, deep, generally not-too-badly-hungover -- and were playing what amounted to a bizarro version of ourselves. The skill levels were comparable, but it was clear from the first pitch -- a piece of flaming cheese from your not-humble-when-comparing-pitches-to-fondue correspondent -- that Buttermilk was going to carry the day. Why? Talent, stupid. That's a stupid question. Seriously. Fucking embarrassing.

What kind of talent? Oh, good one, good question. Talent like an infield that read, at game's end: Ciprioni, J. at 3B, Ciprioni, G. at SS, Chehak, J. at 2B and Jonathan's brother Jason at 1B. Talent like a strong-armed OF featuring Seth, Colleen, Jonathan, former Oakland farmhand and resident baditude-farmer Carlos Salazar and ace flychaser/bartender Alex from Buttermilk. The pitching staff was a study in contrasting styles, with me eventually giving way to Jonathan for an inning, then to Anna (who also had a productive turn as my personal catcher, making the gutsy call for the slider that got the last out in an early inning), and then back to Jonathan for the save. In a comparatively low-scoring affair, Buttermilk prevailed 8-3. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the sterling defense in the last inning -- a Ciprioni to Ciprioni 6-5 putout that involved Jeff hanging in on a sliding player from the other team followed by a magnificent 6-4-3 Greg-to-Jesse-to-Jason double play that drew a totally unironic fist pump and "yes!" from your correspondent. Who has seen a few double plays in his day.

Not shown in this recap: the fact that the other team's best player was a girl, and probably as good as anyone who's ever played with us; me getting a line drive off my shin while pitching and not saying "ouch" (almost) until reaching the dugout; Carlos' shorts; unmotivated ragging of Jeff from his own bench on his batting stance and pale calves; me not running hard/well on another play and contributing to my personal blooper reel. Eh. I'll get 'em next week, when we take on D. Original Buttermilk Softball Team. Nice uniforms, but they look a little old. Yeah, I called you old, Ostwalt Huck, Jr.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Shirts, Gloves, Sneakers: Buttermilk Softball Week Four

After several days of heavy rain, I'll admit to doubting that Sunday's softball tilt was going to go off. After Sundays past in which good defense meant proper puddle management and smart hitting meant driving a ball towards the quicksand bog between short and third, I kind of expected a game defined mostly by people ruining their sneakers. But the rain yielded Saturday late afternoon, and by game time on Sunday the sun was up, the field was impressively playable know, some other stuff was fucked up, but nothing bad.

Good fucked up? Randoms. Still more, ever more randoms. Returning randoms from the previous week, new randoms probably unique to this week, and even the always enjoyable and seldom seen species of random known to connoisseurs as Older Man Stopping To Watch Until He Gets Depressed By The Quality of Play And Continues Walking Around The Park. What those in the know call OMSTWUHGDBTQOPACWATP. It looks awkward, but it's actually pronounced "Chesh-Law Mi-Loash."

(Bad fucked up? Jeff's 72-hour subway oddysey on his way to the game -- he somehow caught an H train, which I was pretty sure didn't exist; the group going without a bat until after 4:30; the continued irk of hangover attrition; me not running hard enough on a ball hit to center and being forced out at second base, then getting tagged as being a little too "Manny Being Manny" for Cap'N Jeff's tastes)

Anyway, we'll start with the Randoms, Long-Haul Division. Scott's pickups from Week Three returned in force, and were among the stronger performers on the day. Chris, the George Harrison-looking dude who had the Larry Walker moment in game one, returned mashing, fielding his position with panache and continuing to give every indication of being a guy we'll see again this season. He was joined by his buddy Jonathan, who homered twice and was the first Buttermilkman/Buttermilkmaid to reach the far field in right center. He'll receive The Scott Stahoviak Award at our annual awards banquet for the feat, joining such elite company as Scott Snelling, Seth Nelson, possibly Kevlar and Randy Milligan, who accomplished the feat a record 17 times. The Other Randoms were an interesting group -- one, David, left early after taking some gutsy turns as one of the sport's few left-handed third basemen; another, Max, stayed and fearlessly rocked thigh-high purple socks throughout the game. Max was by far the stronger (and, how to put this, significantly more butch) player, but he still got carried away by an admittedly pretty funny Dip Set joke and wound up in a baserunning snafu with my sister. Also participating were two girls who (I think) were there with these two: Lisa joined your correspondent (above, left) on Los Bodegas and pitched several strong innings despite being hindered by flip-flops and just the slightest hint of baditude. Her friend was on the other team; I didn't catch her name, but she handled some chances at first base expertly (and some less expertly) and generally seemed to enjoy herself. Notable in their absence were any father-son combos, shirtless beefcake-ass dudes who ruin my noble attempts at extra base hits, and bigoted Latin drifters.

But as may or may not be coming clear, some of the Randoms fared better than the others on Sunday. As did some of the regulars -- Jesse and Greg were uncharacteristically stifled, my sister's usually electric stuff was not at its best; Jeff and Scott and Chris Martin (and, you know, me) were slightly better than usual. New addition Amanda showed up and was immediately comfortable beating the holy hell out of the softball; another new addition, whose name I think was Garret and who is a friend of Scott's, showed skills but had a game-long run of bad luck. Good plays abounded, and were seen on both sides of the ball -- Greg Ciprioni played an acrobatic shortstop for the Blue Jeans, Ben Tausig cruised the outfield like a bearded, less attitudinous and considerably better-educated Andruw Jones for the Bodegas and Scott Snelling played the best shortstop imaginable considering that he was basically wearing an old (and small) pot roast for a mitt. But mostly the Blue Jeans just scored more runs and hit the ball better. As it turned out, the good days were all on one team and the bad days on another. The result was an ugly final score -- somewhere along the lines of 13-1. These things happen. And they will, thankfully, be happening again, this Sunday, around 4pm.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Please Wait...Buffering...7%

I've been busy working and blogging tirelessly (elsewhere) on the world's big questions. And thus haven't yet posted a recap of this Sunday's game. And, also, have not addressed the other great questions of our time -- is the totally anarchic shambles formerly known as Iraq going to blow shit with Turkey as well?; how did George Washington manage to fill his pocket with horses?; what the hell happened with Anna and Molly, whom I saw on Brooklyn's 5th Avenue mere hours before the game and who implied strongly they'd be joining us on Field Five? And what actually happened in the game, I guess. If anyone cared about that. Although I don't know why you'd be coming here to get a recap on Sunday's Buttermilk Softball game, honestly.

Good questions all. My only answer at present is: hold your horses, motherfuckerz. More to come tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

amanda about to crush the ball

There were many newcomers at this week's buttermilk softball game. Amanda turned out to be a ringer. She is shown here preparing to crush the ball into the outfield. On defense she single handedly turned a double play. And she's got an arm on her too!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Around The Horn: Jeff Ciprioni

That was quick. The Commish -- fuck Michael Chiklis, I mean the real deal -- has graced us with an Around The Horn. Here are Our Chief Boot-Knocka In Chief's responses to the Around The Horn queries. At the bottom: a link to all previous Around The Horns, so you can get to know your teammates. Jeff? You were saying?

What Position Do You Like To Play (in softball)?
In my heart, I will always consider myself a second baseman. Due to the paucity of fielding chances at that position in our mostly right-handed little Buttermilk universe, I have also experimented with shortstop on occasion. However, much like I came to realize toward the end of my baseball playing days, my true value to the team seems to be in center field. People hit fly balls, you see, and sometimes I can catch them. Other times I just try to run real fast and stop them from rolling all the way into Field 6. Sometimes I look for four leaf clovers on the ground. It's nice out there in center.

Who Is Your Softball Role Model (in softball)?
Goat Townsend, obviously. Expert game strategist, batting practice pitcher, hitter of fungoes, speaker of non-sequitors, both the Casey Stengel and Billy Martin of Whitehall Little League. I would someday aspire to lead the Buttermilk squad in the execution of the official St. James pre-game batting practice exercise. Then we will all feel like winners. The hitting will come.

What Is The Thing You Like Most About Buttermilk Softball?
There's so much to love. The fluid team names and final scores, the rotating cast of thousands, the fashion, the commentary, the beers. And getting to see my little brother swing the bat, which is as impressive now as when he was six. And that one glorious day each year when I prance about in white baseball pants.

What Is The Thing You Like Least About Buttermilk Softball?
Getting back to Williamsburg/Greenpoint afterwards, during periods when I have lived in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Also, when Brooklyn Industries steals our logo, which I stole fair and square from the Philadelphia Phillies.

What Do You Do In The Offseason?
I play music. Like Bronson Arroyo, but kind of the opposite. And I edit nerdy books.

Complete This Sentence: The Highlight Of My Buttermilk Softball Career Was When...
I was named the new Keeper of the Permit? No, not that. When I was nearly knocked cold after being tagged by a 13-year-old girl? Definitely not that. I would have to say seeing the look on David Roth's face every time I pull my Greg Colbrunn arm stretch at the plate, and then right after than when I rope a line drive into right center.

Previous Around The Horn Subjects:

Samantha Anders

Benjamin Polk

Jim Musil

David Roth

Let's Do Sports!

Blogs are comprised principally of two elements. Three elements, I guess: words, pictures and breakdancing. And possibly DJing depending on your perspective. Anyway, this has been all photos and popping/locking so far this season, so I'm going to do a little recap on yesterday's game and try to get the "Words" portion of the Buttermilk Softblog back on and popping.

Some words were expended on the subject of new recruits last season. And since I couldn't possibly improve on my own peerless prose (and allusive alliteration), I'm not going to try to fit Sunday's game-saving extra five players into the continuum of randoms who have graced Field Five during the Buttermilk Softball Era. There have been so many -- so many barefoot players, so many gloveless wonders and flip-flop rocking power hitters -- that I wouldn't know where to put the shirtless guy in blue jeans (above, left) who effortlessly gloved a big league pop-up off the bat of your author or the gloveless lefthanded right fielder who made a laser of a throw to retire Drew at home. Also I forgot their names. But Scott Snelling's willingness to approach an admirably motley group of wiffle ballaz brought us up to game strength -- and put a merciful end to my self-hitting clinic during "infield practice" -- and helped us get our game on on for one sweltering, clammy, lopsided hour. I'm using a lot of words here, but what I'm saying is: random Brooklynites showing up and playing with us is the lifeblood of Buttermilk Softball (that and Miller High Life); we can only hope that we'll have these players back sometime in the future. And that more shirtless dudes will show up to lay waste to my mightiest drives.

Highlights, then. The game itself was a rout pretty much from the jump, with the Bodegas (I think) posting a 4-spot in the first inning and continuing to stay ahead throughout thanks to some extra-physical defensive play from Greg Ciprioni and Drew and timely hitting from Scott Snelling, whose unique combination of inspirational leadership and all-fields power recalls both George C. Scott and Mariners prospect Chris Snelling. Also worthy of note: Molly's RBI single and my sister's flaming liner back through the box. Not bad for someone who had a breakfast involving three types of smoked fish and six distinct varieties of cheese. We'll tell you about our parents sometime.

On the other side, offensive ineptitude ruled the day. Jeff drove in a couple during a bat-around fourth, and our Randoms performed admirably. All in all, though, a fine debut pitching performance from Anna -- continuing to break barriers in her fledgling softball career -- and some solid outfield defense from Ben Tausig went for naught. Final score, 31-5. Or something. I don't know, I know the Bodegas recorded a safety at the end of the game.

Next week: a more detailed recap, hopefully a larger game and, participants willing, a few Around The Horn features. Details on that -- and on how we can get some more blog poster people up in this piece -- TK in an email.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Post Softball Refreshments

Post Softball Refreshments
Originally uploaded by scottsnelling.
This week's hot weather served to make the post-softball refreshments taste extra-refreshing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

softball power food

softball power food
Originally uploaded by scottsnelling.
Thanks for sharing drew

softball how-to

softball how-to
Originally uploaded by scottsnelling.
Tasmanian Connie incorparated a game of Buttermilk Softball into her year of round-the-world travels.

Ben is seen here explaining to her the intricacies of batting. Connie quickly grasped the concepts and got a hit.