Friday, July 29, 2005

Final Game Revelations and Exultations!

What an honor to be chosen by coach Ando to report on the final game of the 2005 Bulldog season!

As many of the regulars were gone, I'll do my best to provide an in-depth review of arguably the best game of the season. My apologies to all as it's been over a week since the game was played, so my memory is a bit foggy on how things went down here's what I recall:

Inning One: Karl started the game off true to form shooting for the inside corner and letting the opposing bench know who was going to own the plate that night. In keeping with Bulldog tradition the first batter walked, but the puddle of sweat beneath our opponent's bench was a sure sign it was going to be our night! After putting down the two, three, and four hitters, it was the Bulldog's turn to run! The top of the order put on a hitting clinic and drove the stake of fear deeper into the opposition. The inning ended with Bulldog on top 5-0.

Inning Two: Karl once again went right at the first two hitters with his inside-stuff, and surprisingly drew a warning from the umpire. Zara, who was catching at the time, went ballistic and defended her battery mate. How and why she wasn't ejected escapes this poor writer, but needless to say we all breathed a sigh of relief when cooler heads prevailed and the game began anew. As can be expected, the episode had left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, and we later surmised the ump had accepted a five-dollar bribe from the opposing manager (which must have instigated the warning), but we'll get to that later. Because of all the commotion, the defense wasn't top-notch and nor were the Bulldog bats. At the end of two, it was a barn burning 5 - 4 slugfest!

Inning Three: This is when things got interesting! Bulldog had regrouped and forced two outs while loading the bases when the sound of twisting metal pierced the air and the dynamics of the night took a dramatic shift: the nightly train that graces an occasional game had derailed off the right field foul line spilling it's cargo of jet puffed marshmallows over an area stretching nearly to right center field. The Momars (having just completed their season prior to our game) were buried alive in the white mess and as far as I know have not been seen since. I later found out no rescue attempt was ever made as no one liked them anyway but that's a side note.

Back to the story. Our beloved Bulldog comrades all escaped injury, and hope sprung fourth that the game may be called with Bulldog victorious in a 2 ½ inning showstopper, but the ump insisted that ground rules stated that the field being inundated with marshmallows was specifically not grounds to halt a game according to Rule 34.758 B. As Brian Kelly (the team's rules expert) was absent pending child, what could we say? By the time the whole thing got sorted out, a semi-liquid goo had replaced the puffed mounds of marshmallows which made playing the right side of the field tricky to say the least. Damn the July heat! The next batter as could have been predicted sent what should have been a can-of-corn into right center field, but Liz had no chance at navigating the sticky landscape. Her full-out dive into the goo showed her guts and willingness to go all out for her Bulldog teammates, but alas she came up just short of the prize! By the time RBar got to the ball, the bases had cleared and we were facing a 5-8 deficit. Karl, pissed at having given up the lead, brought out his special stuff and got the final Village Idiot to strikeout looking.

Before the bottom of the third, we huddled up and strategized on how to use the mess in right field to our advantage when to our surprise, a Minneapolis Public Works clean-up crew was on the scene placing new sod over the mess. Boy was Karl pissed! The interim manager stormed the ump with a ferocity and lexicon that made Zara's attack look tame. Not surprisingly, he was immediately ejected and ordered to leave the premises. In the commotion of restoring the field, however, Chrissy & Meg slipped away and helped Karl disguise himself as our new pitcher Karla. Impressively, Karla pulled off the transformation into a woman with ease and played the part remarkably well. TJ had somehow been left out of the ruse, and made a pass at the newest lady Bulldog! We all chalked up TJ's strikeout that inning to the fact that he couldn't see given the dirt Karla had thrown in his eyes. Luckily, Cam came up with the big hit that inning when he cleared the bases with a triple. At the end of 3, it was all knotted up at 8 runs each.

Inning Four: Karla approached the ump prior to Bulldog taking the field in the 4th and apologized for the rude behavior of the previous pitcher. Luckily, the size of Karla's fake rack was distracting enough that Blue didn't catch on to the fact that Karla was sporting an Adam's apple. A flutter of the eyes and brief kiss on the cheek bought Karla three quick outs in the top of the fourth, and our suspicions were now clearly raised about the integrity of the ump. The two newcomers, Jeff and Rutherford (actually I can't remember the other guy's name, so we'll go with Rutherford) led the Bulldog charge in the bottom of the fourth as their bats generated three runs and a new commanding 11-8 lead!

Post Inning Four, but prior to Inning Five: A veteran softball player knows that games are actually won in-between the innings and not on the field. TJ was the first to notice suspicious activity between the umpire and opposing manager dating back to the first inning, but we had nothing to go on until then. As Bulldog was taking the field and Karla was tossing some warm-up pitches, TJ alertly pulled the knot in my shoelaces routine and hid behind the Bulldog bench. It was from this vantage point that he clearly saw the man in blue pocket a ten-dollar bill that was still warm from the grip of the Village Idiot's manager. Knowing that umps generally don't carry cash in their back pockets when working games, we plotted to expose the conspiracy by seeing if further bills were hidden in the blue trousers behind home plate!

Inning Five: With a three run cushion, we could afford to put the first two batters on base to crank our plan into motion. Karla then pulled out her Eephus pitch honed from years of training. As expected, the ball was grounded to Rutherford who waited just long enough to bait the lead runner into going home. Rutherford quickly seized the moment and gunned the ball to Zara at home. Concurrently, Karla was running towards home to back up the play (AND to take out his/her aggressions on the despot behind the plate). With the umpires eyes on Zara, he clearly didn't anticipate Karla's forearm finding a place along his jaw line. Two runs eventually scored, but once the dust cleared and the pockets had been emptied from the now unconscious ump, a five & ten-dollar bill told the story! The Village Idiot's manager, knowing the gig was up, quickly conceded her guilt and acknowledged it had been common practice all year against our Bulldog squad. She disgusted our team with tales of league meetings specifically geared to teaching opposing managers how to bribe the ump in games against the mighty Bulldogs. Clearly these tactics are what lead to our mediocre record this year! We all thanked our higher powers that Ando wasn't present for this revelation, lest it spurn the beast within our manager that was created by that high dose of gamma rays so long ago.

Having reached the one-hour deadline with the umpire unconscious and the opposing team leaving the field in shame, we celebrated and savored our end-of-season victory! Our only regret was not having two more innings of blissful softball fun.

Postgame: Was quite festive as we enjoyed some frothy beverages on the shores of the new marshmallow pond crafted by the Minneapolis Parks Dept.

That's all I've got folks. I know it was long winded, but this was one game that needed to be documented for the sake of our grandchildren! See you all at the awards ceremony!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Final Game/The Punchies

We take on the Village Idiot at 8:15 on Thursday in what will be our final game of the 2005 season. There is an end of year tourney that you have to pay to play. Maybe we’ll try this next year. I heard it’s mostly about drinking beer in the daytime.

Karl will serve as Coach in my absence. Mind him well. BK, Meg, and someone else will be gone too. If you have a friend that wants to come along, invite them to show up with a glove. We might need them.

I have the 2005 Punchies (Bulldog Softball Award Dinner) penciled in for Thursday August 11. Please let me know if this date doesn’t work for you. As an added bonus, everyone that attends will receive limited edition Bulldog softball trading cards.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Steal Your Soul/Interim Coach Selection

Team photo post-game this week. I'm going to bust out the tripod.

Thanks to everyone that showed up for the BBQ last Thursday. It was good times. Since then my yard has changed quite a bit.


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This Thursday we take on the Crappies at 7:15. We came out on top 4-3 in our previous meeting. I would love to run a victory lap for this my final game of 2005. I will be in Chicago for a wedding the following Thursday. So sad.

If you think you have what it takes to lead, holla at me. This week I will appoint an interim coach to lead the season finale.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

BBQ at My House/No Game This Week

If you feel a little dumb today after the long weekend, you are not alone. I went to work this morning only to discover I was the only one there. It turns out today was one of the “floating holidays” my company observes.

Heed my warning - don’t go to the field this week. We don’t have a game because of the 4th of July holiday. Instead come over to my house for a BBQ kicking off around 6:30.

I will supply a wide array of condiments. If you’re good, we can test my latest batch of homebrew. Bring something of your own to throw on the grill. I’ll make some snacks/sides. BYOB applies unless you are a fresh honey.

I live at 3607 Longfellow in south Minneapolis.
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If you need help, call me mobile at 612-735-1234.

Best Game Ever

If you weren’t there last Thursday, you missed our best game of the season. It’s fitting that we play our best after getting schooled and 10 run ruled the week before.

Everyone was hitting last week and we were making plays in the field at when needed. We ended up coming back to tie Mayslack’s 14-14 in the bottom of the 7th inning. Even though it was a tie, I am going to tally it up as a victory (tie does go to the runner).

I don’t remember many of the details from the game except that we had an army of players (or should I say playas), everyone hit well and Carrie Erickson hit a home run.

I finally found some iron-on stars to award to game MVPs. They should arrive in time for the next game.
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