Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting Kind of Hectic: Weeks One and Two, More Or Less

Having "the power" is not all about taking it easy and buying new Raiders hats and getting the high-top fade touched up when necessary and rapping from a podium. There are downsides to all that responsibility. Uneasy rests the be-faded head that has a lot of writing to do on short deadlines (click here to see some of it). Last year, when I was working at Topps, I could do my 1,600-word recap thing on the company clock. That might've had something to do with how long they were, looking back. Now, though, the freelance lifestyle has attacked...and trust me, you don't want that.

And so we find ourselves once again behind the times on the Buttermilk Blog. I mean, things are happening, games are being played, t-shirt ideas are being bandied idly about, all that good stuff -- but I hear you: where are the recaps? How can you prove to those who might care that you had an RBI groundout last weekend? Where is the reminder that an older dude with a wife and kid came, got two hits and five RBI, and then decided to leave? The answer is: it would be in this space. If, that is, it were still well-ensconced in my head.

It's not, totally. It's not totally not, either. So this will be rushed, maybe skimp on some details, maybe ignore an RBI or two of yours. It's nothing personal. Just mention it in the comments section -- "actually, I had two doubles and four RBI in that game" -- that'll make you look really cool, Jeff.

So: Week One dawned bakingly hot but clear in New York City, and some hours after that dawn Buttermilk's Finest raised their bedheaded heads, ready to put heads to bed. The Bodegas were open and the Blue Jeans ablaze. And when four o'clock rolled around...we took batting practice for a long-ass time. A quorum was not obtained for some time, but by 4:35 or so, a regulation-size softball game was ready to bump. Fan favorites Joel Meyer and Linda Moucha returned from a brief exile in Minnesota -- where they'd gotten married and co-founded The Brad Radke Institute For The Advancement of Poise -- and the familiar faces attached to the names Ciprioni, Coulton, Pitts, Bielinski, King, Nelson, Hooper and, yes, Roth were all ready to roll. Newcomers expected -- Jeremy Holmes, a highly touted Ohioan; Patrick Boniface Resing, an emerging video artist and versatile defender who came to one game in '05; Daniel May, longtime homeperson back in NYC; Andrew Bell, big-swinging, classy-staying San Diego-an -- and unexpected showed. The unexpected were, as ever, amazing: an extremely new to New York couple named Kelsey and Amber, who brought a sunny California outlook and impressive skill sets to the table were joined by Jasper, a very young dude who would have a hard-ish time seeing over this metaphorical table. Young Jasp rocked batting gloves, fundamentals, and a dedication to fitness that extended to him nailing a bunch of sit-ups between innings. He's awesome and we all love him. The cast was set, and the game was on.

And, surprisingly, it was pretty on point. Big hits came from the bats of Seth Nelson, Kelsey (got to get a last name, there) and Joel Meyer, stunning defensive plays came from Amber in the outfield and from...that one guy. You know him. Handsome one, writes too much? That guy made a play in the infield that was pretty much the high point of his life, period. Period. I'm going to put it like this: Dan May hit a grounder that bounced off Jeremy's leg and into the air. From which I plucked it bare-handed and threw to first base in time to retire the batter, thanks in large part to a great stretch by Seth. I could find a way to make SUVs run on hugs and positive thoughts and I think that will still be my finest hour. The game was a shootout, with a walk-off win coming for the Blue Jeans (I think? It was my team) on a Jeff Ciprioni infield single that plated Andrew Bell, I think. Ted Pitts somehow recorded both the win and the save for the Blue Jeans. Statisticians will puzzle over it for years to come. The final was 13-12. The player of the game was I AM AN AWESOME DEFENSIVE PLAYER. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

And thence to the bar, where good conversation was plentiful, one-dollar High Lifes were off the menu, and bartender Zombie Jeff Tweedy (right) continued to perplex. He gives us a bunch of songs: awesome. He's also weird and unfriendly and definitely was scheming on how to eat our brains: less awesome.

And then week two. Which dawned clammily hot and Philadelphia, for me. Our regulars were scattered across the nation: The Meyer/Mouchas in Blowing Rock, NC; Colleen in Delaware; Scott Snelling climbing K2 or some such thing. Rumors of rain in NYC proved just that, and by the time I stepped into the park it was, once again, hot as hell. The game once again kicked off late, but extensive practice once again made for a pretty well-played matchup.

My first turn on the mound was...anyway, based on those numbers, I'm probably challenging this guy for Worst Jewish Starting Pitcher Ever. Once your humble former Plesac Award Winner yielded the mound, though, the Blue Jeans (that's just going to be the team I'm on, going forward) began to cut into the 7-run deficit they'd been handed. To call the game a shootout is an injustice -- while there were again north of 20 runs scored, there was also stellar defense from Jorge (a friend of Jeremy's who made a couple of dazzling plays in left field), Kelsey (who at one point retired something like five straight batters himself), Jasper (thanks to a lot of coaching from Kelsey) and, in her first unassisted putout, Beth Ann. RBIs came from everyone but me, basically. Newcomer shouts go to The Family Man, who showed up, let his wife and kid watch him pwn us, and then bounced. Also Gabe London, a Pomona Sagehen from way back, and Darren Guyer, probably the second-best baker in our league and a long-awaited debut. This is going to be more detailed and shorter next week. I'll try to do it while I still remember what happened.

As ever: next Sunday. Guest stars (my sister, for real)! T-shirt talks! Postgame Gatorade purchases at the reasonably priced deli! Your suggestions on how I might edit these better! Catch that shit. It's softball season, and we play softball.

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