Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Softball Carol

When last we left the Insider he was a tired man full of only resentment, hate, and disappointment of unfilled/unrealistic softball expectations. He swore not to blog again in 2010, and as the Holidays approached his softball spirit was still broken, full of only negative thoughts, and Bah Humbug, then after falling asleep watching MLB Hot stove he was visited by :

Lead SBI analyst John Sheppard
video

After that frightening visit, I just shrugged it off as drinking too much Bacardi and went back to bed when lo and behold :

The Ghost of Softball Past showed up as - Freddy Gonzalez
video

Disturbing

Could my bad John Sheppard's haunting prophecy be true? Nah. So I decided that tomorrow I would throw out that old bottle of rum and start drinking tea or something organic like that. I went back to bed and when my head hit the pillow I heard the following distinct voice from :

The Ghost of Softball Present - Jeff Marcus
video

I've watched episodes of Lost that where less weird than this, but Marcus's speech gave me visions of some of the special people

that I have been fortunate to meet b/c of softball. It made me feel ashamed of my most recent behavior. Visibly shaken I dreaded/feared the next visitor as he came with such eerie silence and honesty

Ghost of Softball Yet to Come - ?????
all he did was show me the consequences of my actions as he pointed to the following empty image

I wept and begged the ghost for a chance to change my ways. Please Spirit Please!!!!! I can Change!!!!!!! He said nothing and then a big white light flashed as I awoke on my bedroom floor.

I wasn't alone, dead, or benched, rather I had been given an opportunity by the softball gods at Redemption and vowed to enjoy the game again in 2011 and beyond. America loves a Comeback!!!!! In my second chance I vow to spend a little more time on more important things like :
Player development Enjoying The good times and appreciating the good life that I do have each and every day

Feliz Navidad !!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something Fishy in Inwood Present and Past

The Trojans and Westlanders "WL" resumed their infamous protest marred http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/inwood-falls-back-on-fall-back.html deciding game three and using a new source of hydration the Trojans were ready and held on to make the finals. With suspended owner Renso looking on from the street level above the Trojans rode their pitching and defense momentum to a 2-0 game one championship victory over the Marlins. The following boring video records the end of game one
video
Only the very end of this video is worthwhile to watch as lead Citysoftball softball analyst John Sheppard injects life into it by giving his professional opinion of Citysoftball's management. But as the day wore on the Trojans just didn't have enough pitching to hold down a deep powerful Marlin lineup and it was the Marlins who emerged as the 2010 Citysoftball Champions!!!!!!!!!!

Citysoftball congratulates the Marlins who lost game one in both the semi-finals and the finals and still came out on top with clearly superior play.

Ironically that a team with a fishy name won the Championship in Inwood this year as the leagues management was been very publicly criticized as having a "you guys fucked us" approach to handling things. So I decided to go back and take a special look at Inwood's 12 year history and uncover all the moments that we fucked over after teams and found the following:

Inwood's "You Guys Fucked Us" History

1999 - Lob Ball - The league fucked over a Bruckner Bulldog player by suspending him from the championship b/c he was coaxed into throwing a soda can at an umpire's face in the semi-finals. Hmmm .. proof #1

2000 - Lob ball - The league unfairly forced Spinal Tap to play the Championship even though their entire team was in Puerto Rico that late November weekend. Hmmm More Proof of the league fucking someone over. In addition, the league also fucked over the Bulldogs a second year in a row when one of their players was thrown out of the league for punching an umpire. Who made the guys running this league judge and jury?

2001 - Lob Ball - Management unfairly made Edgar Sr bat in a game even though their was no designated hitter rule in effect. Edgar Sr tirade almost got him thrown out of the league and made John Sheppard lose his mind. hmmm... again the league is up to no good

2002 - Two leagues
Modified
In a Knockout - Maniac opening round playoff game one of their players was thrown out of a game for telling the umpire to "go fuck himself" and the Maniacs blamed the league ... again more evidence

Lob Ball
After winning game one against Knockout, Riverdale Tavern complained that the Knockout players who showed up late shouldn't be allowed to play because they were playing games in the modified league. Cheaters. I mean who plays in more than one league in one day anyway

2003 - The league is only modified now so now all those lob ball teams have now been cheated. Moreover, KO didn't protest any blatant illegal Hustler players and they had a ton) in their 1st round match up which they lost in the bottom of the 7th inning in game three. The Hustlers then almost went on to beat West in a famous game where George Colon fell in a puddle in LCF. Obviously KO didn't protest b/c they wanted to the Hustlers to advance and beat everyone else.

2004 - After getting mercied in week three of the regular season and falling to 2-4, KO almost folded but Castillo recruited 4 new players in Week 4 and KO made it all the way to the finals. These guys keep finding ways to fuck everyone else over.

2005 - As is league custom all teams were notified of prizes before the season and that no regular season prizes were offered this particular year(as was the case in prior years), but upon winning 1st place key Padres players blatantly accused us of stealing face to face. Damn Citysoftball keeps fucking people over year after year - Where does all the $$$ go?????

2006 - League refuses to allow players from a folded Philly team to join Highlanders in week 6 of the season even though rosters are closed after week 4. That's ain't right and to make matters worse KO won the chip that year. Those guys are abusive

2007 - KO and West folded and the league goes out an gets a sponsor for both teams to merge and play for free. How selfish is that?

2008 - In a game three of a semi-final against the Criminals, WL ace Fran
"accidentally" tosses home plate at an umpire's back after the game was suspended due to darkness. Fran is allowed to complete game three and is suspended for only game one of the Championship. The league fucked the Criminals on that one and they never came back, thereby losing a top team.

2009 - Who could ever forget Danny Mac's manager
George's eloquent well thought out rant of
"YOUR THE COMMISSIONER!!!
YOUR THE COMMISSIONER!!!!
YOUR THE COMMISSIONER!!!"
after his team forfeited a makeup game in the regular season. The league clearly jerked Danny Mac by "only" notifying them 2 full weeks ahead of time of the make up game.

2010 - It is well documented who the victims are
http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/inwood-falls-back-on-fall-back.html - no need for further debate

After reviewing the body of evidence over the years, perhaps everyone is right and we should turn the league over to more honest commissioners
and qualified head umpires.
Search your feelings and you decide the truth as the 2010 season is over, time to fade to black and vaya con dios

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SB Inwood Prohibition Effective Immediately

From 1920–1933 the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States. In light of recent events http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/inwood-falls-back-on-fall-back.html Inwood has instituted it's own version of SB Prohibition as :"effective immediately drinking alcohol is banned from the Citysoftball fall league. Umpires who catch active players or coaches drinking on field, in the dugout, or anywhere near the playing area have the authority to eject that player. "

Please realize that just like the Prohibition had speakeasy'sthat illegally sold alcoholic beverages during the liquor ban, people will always find a way to drink at the park. However, by implementing this long overdue league rule we hope to improve the quality of play and behavior above 96th street.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inwood Falls Back on Fall Back

Early this past chilly Sunday autumn morning we all experienced "Fall Back" as we turned back our clocks by one hour. Later on that same day, the Inwood League "fell back" as well, but instead of losing an hour we lost something else, a great game and perhaps something more.

As previewed http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/11/championship-edition-inwood-final-four.html last week, Citysoftball's final four was scheduled to take place on this day and it did as legal modified pitching
video

and top player performances
were the feature story throughout most of the day.

In the first match up, the number #1 seed Marlins showed their championship merit by overcoming a game one setback to win games two (in extra innings) and three (blowing open a 1-0 game late) to earn a trip to the Finals. Citysoftball would like to congratulate their manager Joe on their hard fought and well deserved success.

The second match up WestLanders "WL" vs. Trojans also went three games, but the final chapter has not yet been written regarding this messy affair. It all started so smoothly as things went as expected in game one as new "WL" ace Flaco remained undefeated

video

in a blowout WL victory.

However the momentum shifted in game two
video
when Flaco mysteriously left the park. The Trojans seized this opportunity and hung on by the skins of their teeth to a 6-5 victory forcing a deciding game three where anything could happen.

Well anything did happen in Game Three as it had everything you could ask for in an elimination game :

  • talented players
  • great pitching
  • hitting
  • multiple lead changes
  • one of the greatest softball postseason comebacks video
of all time as WL rallied from 3 runs down with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. Simply Amazing. Eventually the time change would be a factor in this contest as the game was postponed due to darkness after 8 innings.

However, the Fall Back on this day would not be solely attributable to time, rather Controversy and Umpire Failure has forever marred/tainted this classic match up.

The following long Official League Letter explains the incident, protest, and league decision:


############
"These Citysoftball decisions are all final and binding.

The league’s number one goal for its participants is fair modified softball competition. Last Sunday the Westlanders “WL” and Trojans engaged in a truly outstanding semi-final playoff series that truly displayed excellent play and resiliency by both parties.

Unfortunately in the 4th inning of the third and deciding game, there was the following improper rules interpretation when “The Trojans improperly inserted a courtesy runner for a player that was not listed as courtesy runner eligible before the game.” After pitches were thrown and an ensuing play transpired which resulted in two Trojan runs scoring and the advancement of the ineligible runner to second base, the WL protested the illegal runner. The home plate umpire then decided that only the first run would count and the inning was now over because he declared the ineligible runner out. It should also be noted that after this incident players from both teams were ejected during the remainder of the contest which was postponed after eight innings due to darkness. Both teams have protested the umpire’s decision and because of the material impact of this Rule Interpretation by the umpire.


Citysoftball has done the following extensive review/research to determine the correct course of action:

  • Reviewed our League Rules
  • Reviewed the ASA Rulebook
  • Consulted with head Citysoftball Umpire Carlos Sahdala
  • Consulted with other head umpires officials in the Tri-State Area
  • Called the head ASA softball office in Oklahoma and NY for guidance

    In CitySoftball each team is allowed to list two hitters as courtesy runner eligible on their official lineup card that is handed to the home plate umpire before the game begins. It is the umpires and players responsibilities to adhere to those designations. If a playing rule is violated ASA Rule 9 regarding Protests states:

    Misinterpretation of a playing rule must be made:
    A) Before the next legal or illegal pitch
    B) Before the next play
    C) Before all infielders have left fair territory

Please note:


(1) WL did not protest appeal before the next pitch nor before the next play. However, they did protest before all fielders’ left fair territory

(2) The Trojans have also protested that the WL protest should have come before the next pitch or play took place.

The league in agreement with our head official, as well as other experienced head umpires in the tri-state area, has reached the following decision:

Protesting/Appealing an illegal courtesy runner should have been done either

(1) Before the 1st pitch (legal or illegal) and the proper runner would have been returned to the base and no out would be charged Or
(2) After the 1st pitch (legal or illegal) and then the illegal runner in question would have been called out.

Anything else would disrupt the normal course of the game and sequence of plays that follow. In other words, the window of opportunity to appeal is either immediately before or after the 1st pitch, anything else is too late.

In this instance this is exactly what happened as a play took place that resulted in the batter being recorded out and two runs scoring for the Trojans. Luckily, the Trojans illegal substitution had no impact on the outcome of this play.

As a result, the continuation of the WL-Trojan game three will take place as follows:

Situation:

Trojans batting top of the 4th inning leading by the score of 5-3 with two outs with the incorrect courtesy runner standing on second base. Lineups for both teams will be restored to the time of the above mentioned incident with the exceptions of anyone who was ejected.

All ejections that occurred in this game will count regardless of the cause and effect of the umpire’s decision because the working umpire felt these ejections were necessary to restore order to the game and aid in its completion. These ejections will be honored in this contest as poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated."

############

Needless to say WL's manager is not happy as he initially fought the ruling, then accepted it, and hours later ranted and bombarded the league with numerous threatening text messages. It appears memories are short when the game is on the line.

Regardless, I am very confident given the information and resources we had at our disposal we made an informed decision that not only embodies the letter of the law but also the spirit/intent. Looking at the play objectively, the rule timing for appealing the runner had past, a play ensued, and the home plate umpire made an erroneous mistake by taking a run off the board for the Trojans. I hate protests. I really do. Players make plays that decide games, not technicalities. Anyway you slice it is a fucking mess.

The league could have very easily done nothing just let both teams play on from the 9th inning going forward this upcoming Sunday, but that would have not been the fair/right thing to do. It's not going to be a fun four inning Sunday as tensions will be high, but this decision stands.

In the end, my gut tells me WL will rally and win this game, but you never know and more importantly this stupid controversy/protest/event has caused the league to briefly fall back into something other than softball on the field. Where it truly belongs

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inwood Final Four Preview: Nanny McPhee and Clash of the Titans

SBI would like to congratulate the World Series Champion San Fransisco Giants,whom Astrid and I visited in the spring,and their long suffering loyal fans like Big Apple Commissioner Jeff Marcus
who literally almost waited a lifetime for a Championship. While the MLB season is over, the softball platoffs aren't quite done yet as this weekend the Final Four will take place.

Inwood has been very competitive this fall and the cream has risen to the top as the four best teams have advanced to the semis - Westlanders, Trojans, Marlins, and Bizcocheros. Unfortunately, behavior in Inwood has been childlike this fall with a record number of suspensions and near confrontations so I will have to follow baby sitter's Nanny McPhee's
credo of "When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but do not need me, I will go" and go to the park and watch both series as a babysitter for 30+ year old children b/c quite frankly they can't be trusted to play nice alone.

Clear Message from Softball Nanny McPhee "Zero Tolerance this week for poor behavior and sportsmanship. Zero. We will send everyone to softball bed without dinner, if you can't act normal. No fighting. No inappropriate personal/racial remarks. That is not a threat. It is a fact. That warning is for all four teams involved"

Hopefully, all I will see is great softball and since the four teams remaining are all true softball Titans, it will be interesting to see which team climbs upon Pegasus
and slays the beast to championship glory.
Here is my Clash of the Titans Final Four Predictions and Analysis :

Marlins #1 Seed vs Bizcocheros #4 Seed

Much like Hades
the god of the underworld, the Marlins have have ruled the underworld of softball this year unmercifully unleashing beast hitter and pitching on the opposition. But I like the Bizchochers (cake makers) in this match up b/c this long time citysoftball franchise slightly wants it more and more importantly they have the amazing three fingered ace starter Miguel Batista on the mound. This series will definitely go three games, but in the end the Bizcocheros will have their cake and eat it to, as they earn a hard fought finals appearance.

Westlanders #2 Seed vs Trojans #3 Seed

Much like Medusa

the defending back to back champion The Westlanders "WL"are the baddest bitch on the softball planet and if you fall into their gaze and don't keep your shield up
they will turn you into stone. After losing top pitchers Fran and Edgar Jr earlier this fall a WestLander three peat seemed unlikely, but now it seems inevitable. The key acquisition of new ace Flaco
has reinvigorated their squad on both sides of the ball and has them on the verge of yet again another title. Lost in much of the WL's confrontational, controversial, and at times seemingly malicious behavior is a loyal, unselfish, and fundamentally sound club that rarely beats itself. The Trojans have a strong offense but with the suspension of one of their top starting pitchers
and their track record of not showing up for early games make them the clear underdogs. The Trojans have the talent to win, but my prediction is WL in a sweep.


The league was flourished again this fall and a strong final four weekend would go a long way to keep the progress going.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Untitled

Knockout demise last Sunday to the Westlanders didn't come with a bang or a glorious battle, but rather with a whimper, a sigh of relief, and worse of all apathy. Not even Blog worthy (that's why this blog doesn't even deserve a title), until I received the following comment from one of my best readers WestLander manager Dio Jackson (like a man he signs all his comments)

Comment from Dio Jackson

"Learn to fly again...Ozzie Dio comments that You went away from what made Knockout...Knockout.

You followed Gil's lead (recruiting) and it hurt you in the long run. Gubi is a better evaluator of talent. Blondy lost his fire.

The KO team that beat the Highlanders at Inwood in 2006 is the concept you need to rebuild with. Great chemistry, solid defense, good situational hitters, and guys who PLAYED TO WIN! That team was scrappy and played with HEART.

You may have had better "talent" this year but a lot of those guys don't know how to play TEAM BALL. Many of them were selfish and egotistical. Those were the same one's who burned you when you needed them to show up and perform. Guys showing up late for a playoff game drinking coffee is a sign of weakness, better yet...a sign of people who just don't give a fuck. Those guys were the same one's you invested all of your trust and loyalty in. Where was theirs?

I know my opinion doesn't mean shit, but it wouldn't be me if I didn't post a comment. Plus...I love Inwood and I like Knockout. I would hate to see that team fade away....... "

My response is simple. He's right. Except for his self serving semi-malicious comment of "Learn to Fly again".
Dio is 100 pct Correct.
#####################################
It may have sort of hurt my goddamn feelings, but he's right. That's OK b/c that was the last 2010 softball feeling I had and you have to be man enough to face the truth which is:
  • Gil is not a good recruiter. I was wrong to follow his lead
  • Gubi is a better recruiter and judge of talent. Not perfect, but better.
  • Blonde is done with softball. He's moved on to a better place - coaching little league in his neighborhood. I alienated him early in the fall and then when we patched things up he only came back as favor to me. His softball fire and desire is gone
  • Like the Mets 2006 is a long time ago for KO. The handwriting was on the wall in 2007 when loyal smart misfit players like Chris, Mike Peckins, Richie Lopez couldn't play and we folded the team. By 2008 Castillo was gone, and by 2009 Mikey, Aaron, Jose Carrion, and Richie Lopez were history. We had our problems over the years, but those guys were my friends and gave me their all
  • You said I looked tired on Sunday, Well besides being unable to get the bat head through the hitting zone on Flaco (like most of Knockout) I was tired, burned out, and completely fried. Deep down I wish we hadn't made the playoffs, and when you feel that in your heart you are already defeated before you begin.
  • Much like Tread Bike Shop in 2007 ( remember that merger distaster) Knockout was a failure in 2010. That is all on me, the manager and GM. We had 5 one run regular season losses and for the most part our team consistented of too many selfish, egotistical, and ungrateful bastards.

Knockout is over. Time to lick my wounds, learn my lesson, and move on.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Learn to Fly Again

Everyone loves the Etrade commercial with the babies talking. My favorite is one with the "Take These Broken Wings and Learn to Fly Again" song :


Well Knockout (KO) had lost 6 of 7 games (five by one run) and trailed game two of their Must Win doubleheader with Las Estrellas by the score of 4-0 entering the bottom of the 1st. These softball wings and some spirits were truly broken as many of us throughout the day openly talked about how hard it was to play a game that deep down we didn't know we wanted to win.

A funny thing happened in the middle of game two - we rallied and took the lead!!!! Then another fight involving KO broke out as Las Estrellas tied the game. But instead of things getting worse, they actually got better. This fight was the final straw for our team as we resolved ourselves to just play hard, have fun, and more importantly I could sense that the doubt inside us was gone - replaced with the spirit/chemistry to win. We did just that thanks to a very nice clutch catch by Gubi - yeah you read that right - Gubi showed defensive Leadership and propelled us to victory and an exciting playoff match up with two time defending champion The Westlanders.

They say losing doesn't build character - that it reveals it - and for the remaining Knockout players who fought along with me on this last day :

Jack, Gubi, Alex, Omar,Norberto, Juan G, Blonde, Gus and Gubi - I just want to say - Thank You - your character and resolve through our broken wings period is truly appreciated

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chaos Gets an Al Goldstein Salute

Before Internet and cable porn their was Al Goldstein. In the 70s/80s he brought porn to cable TV. He was vulgar..... He was nasty..... He was vicious.

During every episode of his show "midnight blue" he would have a Screw You segment

were he would give a long commentary that blasted someone unmercifully. Ending every rant with his famous "SCREW YOU" line

Well today Chaos earned a softball version of Al Goldstein Style SCREW YOU You see today was the final weekend in Inwood and there were many good match ups on tap on what turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous fall day. One non playoff match up pitted Citysoftball newcomers Arsenal (3-8) vs. longtime cellar dweller (4-8) Chaos at 2pm. While both teams were out of the playoff picture they still had a chance to play one last Sunday on a true treasure of a day. To the credit of Arsenal they earned softball honor as they had their entire team there on time. They love to play and were very enthusiastic all season. However, not one I repeat NOT FUCKING ONE Chaos player showed up. So fucking foul.

As a special thanks for their excellent sportsmanship the league has decided to pay the entire umpire costs for this forfeit b/c it would be unfair for a non playoff team to pay for a forfeit in a game that did not impact the standings. Sorry that Chaos screwed you guys out of fun today.

As for Chaos, league commissioner Juan Moreiras reached out to them Sunday evening and asked them why they failed to notify the league. Their response was "we reached out to your partner via text". For the record, Chaos never sent me a text or called. Don't fucking lie and try and insult my intelligence. Have some respect for yourselves especially since your lucky to even be in our league considering all the financial problems you have had with us in years past that we have "forgiven" and put behind us.

So if you want back in next year you have to pay the $100 that we ate today. If not stay home and as Al Goldstein would say SCREW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no honor and no class

Friday, October 22, 2010

Inwood Culpability All on Me

I am Softball Guilty as ChargedI made a key scheduling error this fall in Inwood as before the season began Bonao 's legendary manager Sabino
notified me that their team would not be able to play on the weekend of October 24th, 2010 b/c they would be in Santo Domingo playing softball and partying
As a result, their record is frozen at 7-5 and they are locked into a playoff spot based on their .583 winning percentage. This will effect the playoff bracket as everyone knows Bonao is a top team and a bye this late in the season is just plain unfair. This schedule quirk should have been addressed earlier this fall. It was not. That is on me and for that I sincerely apologize to the entire league.

I've dissed and criticized other leagues for late season byes and now it's time for me to admit that I have fallen on my softball sword and made a mistake in judgement. Unlike those other leagues I admit my mistakes, asks the softball gods for leniency , and promise to learn from my mistake in the future.

Again I'm sorry.

On a positive note the league is alive again this fall thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of all 14 teams and we should have a great ending to the season. Now let's see if Knockout can get off the canvas and make the playoffs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not Worthy

People often ask me how do you come up with your ideas and topics? Well,
being the Doctor Strangetype of guy that I am, before I decide to cast a softball spell over my audience I find it's important that I understand what's NOT worthy
to write about that way I can focus on real issues.

So let's go over my Top Ten Things in Softball that are NOT Blog Worthy
10. Anonymous Comments - I love my readers comments but Anonymous ones are like Johnny Drama and the rest of the cast on Entourage
just along for the ride and lack substance.

9. Illegal Pitching - yawn. Britney Spears is more interesting than this topic and that's so fucking bad b/c unless Britney is naked she's worthless to talk about

8. Wack leagues - you know who you are. Your days of getting free publicity on this site are done. So go softball ponzi scheme elsewhere

7. Requests to get on the Blog - These are usually selfish, egotistic, or mean. Thank you for reading, but c'mon the blog is like the hot girl at the club or school you can't ask to be on it. You have to be interesting to get on both.

6. Bashing Teammates/Friends. Unless your Scarlet "Black Widow" Johansson in Iron Man
spewing venom will not be shown on this blog. Bashing teammates/friends is tacky, leads to the softball dark side, and is Not softball god approved. If you want dirty laundry go elsewhere.

5. $$$$$ - there is no real softball $$$$ running Inwood plus we are not a public company even though in the softball community we maintain a triple A credit rating with our customers.

4. Next Year - Today is a gift that's why it's called the Present - got that from Kung Fu Panda

- love that flick. Sorry Next Year is for younger guys and after fall ball is over. Now will never come again.
3. Inwood Schedule Making Process - I have no control over it as the computer makes the schedule. So why complain or talk about it?

2. Personal Statistics - I've written numerous blogs on stats in softball and while we know numbers don't lie they are unquestionably skewed in softball and fail to tell the whole story. As we all know the blog tries to tell the whole story so I try and go beyond the numbers. So while I respect all my fellow Sabermatricians out there, I think most stats in softball are useless/boring. But I will do a future blog on what stats I would like to see in softball.

and the Number one Topic in Softball that is NOT Blog Worthy

1. Winning a championship in a Weak League - Winning a chip in a weak (no competition) league is like beating up the class nerd. Nothing to be proud of and just an act of a bully pounding his chest for self gratification.