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 and...you 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.