Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Scott Snelling Travelling All-Stars: Buttermilk Softball Week Six

Several days late, several dollars short: it's your week six recap of what was and wasn't in softball, several days ago. It's going to look something like the recap from the week before, but probably without another photo of David Foster Wallace.

The reason it's going to look like last week is that, once again, we arrived at the field to find forty-plus dudes going at it in a softball game of astonishing vehemence. As Colleen, Greg and I watched and waited, more of our less-vehement crew made their way to Field 5. By 4:30 there were eight of us sprawled in the shade of the right field tree in foul territory, just west of the rightfield power alley commonly known as Seth Nelson Cove. And when I say sprawled, I mean sprawled: everyone was lying down, Greg and I were still working off a hangover that had been born in the same seemingly innocuous bottle of Jim Beam, and Colleen was recovering from a day of devastatingly small-bore commerce at the stoop sale she and Kate (and me: I sold my VHS copy of Deep Blue Sea!) had held earlier in the day. Frankly I found it a little tiring watching the hundreds of players on our field getting after it. One dude, with a poofy ponytail and honest-to-God baseball pants, spiked his glove after every hit by the opposing team. His counterpart on the other team had to deal with the fact that Poofy P-Tail and Some Other Feisty Dude ran onto the field, and after him, after every ball he played. "Kick that nigga," they yelled, after he dropped a foul pop-up. (Reminder: he was not on their team) They proceeded to do so. I sat there and sweated bitterness. Softball?

Yes, eventually. We notified whoever listened on the squatters that we had a permit and were going to ask them to move once we got enough people to get out there and do our business. But we never did get enough people for our own game. We did, however, wind up doing our business when, after some rejections and vexations on our search for a spare field, we squared off with a group that had already been playing for some hours on a full-size (baseball) diamond on the other side of the basin. Once again, our opponents were a kind of bizarro version of Da Buttermilk Crew: people who knew each other and were comfortable mocking each other (in Carlos' case, during the previous game, very comfortable) and yet played hard and seemed to be around our skill level.

That field created some weird hops, offered a dusty shallow outfield, and a second base nestled in the green, green grass roughly 75 feet from home plate. But it was good enough, and since it was by then after 5 -- and since our opponents were very generous about sharing their Molson Canadian -- it was more than good enough.

But were we? Our personnel was limited to 9 (Drew's dog Buster, above, was physically unable to perform, lacking opposable thumbs) and, sadly, captain-less. I had been appointed acting field general, and was, as mentioned earlier, brutally hungover and not that fiery. Some comments were made on my lack of fiery-ness by Scott Snelling. They were ignored. Anyway, Jeff had jetted off to Memphis to collaborate with Three 6 Mafia after a triumphant and solo-tacular Metric Mile show at Union Hall (if you didn't make it, this random British blogger knows how you feel and would like to tell you about another band you might like). BA had been sea breezed away to the land where hangovers frolic gingerly. My sister and Ben were paying a $10 food minimum to watch Will Oldham get all Superwolf at 4pm. Our randoms were MIA, some of our regulars and semi-regulars were indisposed, depriving us of the depth that had carried us to our easy and inspiring victory a week earlier -- in short, the usual Dog Days of August attrition was in e-f-f-e-c-t. Those smooth operators left -- a triumphantly returning Chris Martin, Greg, Drew, Scott, myself, Colleen, newcomers and Naidre's of Carroll Gardens royalty Suvi and Jeanette -- did indeed operate correctly in the early going. Suvi, in particular, acquitted herself well considering that she is 1) from a Scandinavian country where softball is less prioritized and 2) hadn't ever played the game before. Timely hitting on our part and the other team's early inability get the ball out of the infield against my (if I may say) hellacious stuff lifted us to an 8-6 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. That was when the wheels came off, to the tune of a 6-run inning that featured me botching two plays at home (yeah, I was pitching, and yeah I was covering home unnecessarily -- I'm fucking sorry), Scott Snelling catching a throw at first base five feet shy of first base, Chris booting a few at third and some balls that either fell in or flew way the hell over everyone's heads. And then our bats went dead -- we pushed across only one run in the last two frames, and ended up losing 12-10. I think they put something in our Molson. Like...I don't know, alcohol. And failure.

Anyway, we'll be back this week. Hopefully on our field, but if not, we'll do what we do: grab the bag with the bases and softballs in it, and find some chumps to chump. This may be my last game of the season, so even if you just want to share a shot of Absolut Peppar with me and a similarly soon-to-depart Greg Ciprioni, you owe it to yourself to make it out.

Not mentioned: Mexican Wedding Dances; The return of Drake "Shirtless" Beefcake in the multitudinous game; unsupervised young kids throwing stuff at Drew's dog and being chastised by Colleen; Squeaking purple chew toys; the guy on the other team who batted and fielded with his hands-free phone set in; Colleen being nicknamed "Gorgeous" by the other team's catcher; The New York Nitros softball club, sponsored by HBO (apparently); The fact that I woke up smelling like a bar towel. There is always more. This Sunday, there will be.

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