Tuesday, May 31, 2011

8 Man Win - Always blog worthy

Today a new chapter
of my 8 man softball game history occurred. I improved to 4-1 overall while playing with 8 Men as today's victory belonged to the proud and resilient Old School squad
The other team started with 8 players as well, but added two members to strengthen their ranks. To compound matters they had a hard throwing slinger on the hill and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.

But that's when Old School put into action the Old Skool motto of "If you want something done right you gotta do it yourself" by rallying for 7 runs and doing some serious softball multi-tasking. Manager Jimmy Meyers played pitcher, 2b, and catcher all at the same time time and softball teamwork was used on this short handed day when outfielders helped infielders chase down a runner in a run down play and get out of a jam. It was a true team effort.

That's the way you do it - Old School

Monday, May 30, 2011

Softball's Lady Gaga

Last year http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-1.html Juan Parra wore the ugliest jersey in softball. and this year. He wore the ugliest catcher's mask ever
Lady Gaga
would be proud.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Next Time It Won't be a Picnic with West

With many leagues off because of the Holiday weekend many players packed up their gear
and were left standing around wondering how to spend the much needed time off. Luckily I received a very generous invitation to attend the West Memorial Day Picnic

It was good to get get out of the city
and spend time with the West family
Of course there was plenty of fine refreshments
and good food thanks to host Wil Enriquez and Top Chef John Albert
Edgar Senior reminded me about next week's West - Rangers match up and let me know he can still throw if needed

Next week will not be a picnic. That's for sure, but it will be a good game.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

This OJ won't try and squeeze you.......Interview from behind the Official's mask

About 5-7 years ago when O.J. Ruiz umpired in the Charter Fabric League I thought he was a bad umpire. I was wrong. So wrong. I'm sorry. He has improved and not only do I consider him a fair and competent official who I have the utmost respect for, I also consider him a friend.

OJ is a class act, solid umpire and overall good person who is always a pleasure to be around. He may not be perfect, but he is professional. It is appreciated.

Recently I interviewed OJ and asked him the following questions :

Play Ball!!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Give those Men a Cigar for Escaping a Trap

Undefeated Lawyertime escaped a trap game vs. 0-3 Lenox Advisor by hanging on to a 8-6 victory despite playing with only 9 guys. With Lou 22 away on his honeymoon, there was no belt to hand out afterwards. Considering that our performance was flawed and awkward, not having a belt was sort of symbolic.

Regardless, team captain Anthony came up with a replacement prize by handing out cigars to Freddy Hernandez (left) and myself for grinding it out.
Truth be told, we got out to a big lead but Lenox made a furious comeback and had us on the ropes until late arriving starting pitcher John Rosenmiiler got comfortable, settled in, and made adjustments to get big outs in the 6th and 7th inning. I could tell John was not going to be denied victory and pitched these innings with conviction. No fear.

Sometimes you just have to be mentally tough enough to win ugly. Today we did that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gubi Snack

When He's not play for New York's West

Gubi is playing 1st base in NJ for West NY. He's having a really good season and one of the keys for his success is his "healthy" pregame meal

Who says softball players are True Athletes?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New SB Ban List

Ban Lists are nothing new in softball, http://sites.google.com/site/inwoodsoftballleague/home as pitchers have been the number one target for a long time. But now a New Ban list has emerged that threatens our game as New York City's ban on smoking
in parks and beaches took effect on Monday. This has deep implications for softball players who light up before a big game

Do we need to ban players who like to light up before, during, and after games? Man if we did that we might not even be able to field a league
much less a team

They have options

but how will this ban effect them?
Will their performance be altered?
Will they stress out?
This will be interesting.

More importantly, I wish all these guys would quit smoking anyway for their own well-being.

Digging Through the Mud leads to Blogging for the Moment

Soul Searching and self expression are part of every person's life. Lately there has been a lot of stormy weather that I've had to deal with both on and off the field. There has been plenty of mud slinging. So what better way to deal with mud then use a rake?
To clear away the dirt
so that the games can go on www.jerseycitysoftball.com
Sometimes getting down and dirty
is good therapy. Who needs the PS90 workout when you can plow, scrap, and rake dirt for one hour on a goddamn field in the hood in North Jersey.

You don't have to use rake to clear away other types of mud. For example, the best way to softball cleanse yourself is to do things for others. Yesterday I also cleaned myself off by :
  1. Filled in as manager for Bravery and got everyone on our team in the game at my playing time expense. Anything for Bandanna Man
  2. Officiated a game in http://brooklynsbestsoftball.com/ weeknight league, where I also raked the field for the players and worked with a team with late arriving players to get the game in. I could have easily left at forfeit time, but then there would have been mud on my face for not doing the best for others.
Finally, let's get to the worse kind of mud - Critics. To do that I have to lean on music. I've always felt music is one of the most abstract and powerful thing in life. Perhaps, the closest thing to god I've encountered. Many of my blogs have been inspired by song. This one is no different as Eminem's Sing for the Moment drives this posting

Lately my blog have been a motherfucker, they can be great, or even worse, they can teach hate. Its like readers hang on every single statement I make. Critics crucify you, they want you to lose your mind every time you mad so they can try to make you out to look like a loose canon. It's all political, if my blog is literal and I'm a criminal, you Ignoramus. but my blog is reflection of self. That's why I seize the moment, and try to freeze it and own it.Squeeze it and hold it, 'cos I consider these minutes golden, and maybe they'll admit it when I'm gone, Just let my spirit live on, through out words that you read in my blogs.

Mud is gone now, play ball.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do the Crime... Do the Time

Do the so called Crime
http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2011/05/ozzie-is-to-twitter-as-ricky-is-to-blog.html http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2011/05/answering-animal-farm-critics.html
Do the "drum head" Time
While others go unpunished, without judgement
I paid the price for my behavior
and blog (so much for freedom of speech). Regardless, I was there for my teammates, like reading the lineup
or keeping score
It's over now.

My goal is to prove that I am the better man. I will

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sad Insider Loses a Childhood Hero

Most of my heroes growing up were flawed, Randy "Macho Man" Savage was no different. He was my favorite wrestlers growing up in the 80s. He was flashy, a good athlete, and I thought his Oooh Yeah!!!!” catch phrase was cool & funny.

What I liked most about the Macho Man (and what most people didn't know) was that he was a ball player and that made him my favorite wrestler. He played minor league baseball for about four years in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds organizations, mainly as an outfielder. That made him different, to me anyway, and I connected as a fan.

A sad insider feels a bit of lost childhood with the passing of the Macho Man. I salute you with one last Oooh Yeah!!!!” ... as you gave me a lot of fun times growing up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sobering Pill for any proud Vet to swallow

I've always liked ball players, politicians, actors and musical artists with edgy personalities. Now while I know that most pop star aren't edgy, but I think Pink is the exception. Her music is at its very best when it is provocative, edgy and introspective. Only my sick mind could connect the lyrics from two of her more deeper songs:

#1 Sober
about substance abuse

I don't wanna be the one that has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth

Please don't tell me that we had that conversation
'Cause I won't remember, save your breath
'Cause what's the use?

Ah, the night is callin'
And it whispers to me softly,
"Come and play"
But I, I am fallin'
And if I let myself go I'm the only one to blame

I'm safe up high, nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain inside, you're like perfection
But how do I feel this good sober?

#2 Like a Pill - about frustration and dependence

Run just as fast as I can
To the middle of nowhere
To the middle of my frustrated fears
And I swear you're just like a pill
Instead of makin' me better, you keep makin' me
ill You keep makin' me il

to the Jorge Posada - Yankee controversy.
By now most of you know that a struggling Posada was pissed off & offended when he was slotted in the 9th (last) hole in the batting order so he asked out of the lineup last Saturday . He was wrong to react this way and later apologized. As a loyal championship player and possible Hall of Fame candidate he deserved and got a mulligan from his teammates and fans for his mistake.

Now the real issue here isn't why he's batting so low b/c we know only small minds think that way,
http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/05/most-obnoxiousselfish-sb-question.html . Rather the deeper, edgier, more sensitive issue is how to treat a great player who is winding down his career. In MLB & softball this is tricky because of loyalty and sentiment. In a word, Legacy.

The frenemy called Time cannot be denied and an athelte can only intoxicate himself on a pill full of pride and ego for only so long before the sobering reality of change hits. They have to find a way to feel good sober without baseball/softball even though the harsh reality pill is tough to swallow. There is something said for leaving the game while you can still play b/c it not only makes you look good but also eases the pressure placed on friends, fans, and management. No one wants to be the one to tell you to hang em up.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

22...for better or ....

The Lawyertime "LT" Mojo kept growing and vibing this week as we swept a doubleheader. In game 1, LT rookie Rick "Captain America" Swartz paced the attack with a 2 run blast to fuel the 5-1 Victory over defending Champ Weintraub & Haber earning the championship belt as the LT player of the game.

Rick (faded left)
had to pass the belt on after Game 2 as living softball legend Lou "22" Gonzalez
dominated on both sides of the ball. Worth noting, was that on the hill Lou unleashed his new backdoor curve ball. Filthy. Simply filthy.

On a non softball note, SBI would like to congratulate Lou 22 , Lou has the #22 on everything, so why not get married on May 22nd, 2011. He will marry longtime love Nancy .. for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

God bless Commish and good luck

Saturday, May 14, 2011

SB Drumhead Court Martial

"The jury" is in - 2 game suspension as a result of :
http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2011/05/ozzie-is-to-twitter-as-ricky-is-to-blog.html http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2011/05/answering-animal-farm-critics.html

I experienced no joy or satisfaction from this incident as my focus has always been towards good softball and excellent sportsmanship. I disagree with the league's decision, but I will respect it and comply with the verdict. They say "Do the crime, Do the time", too bad only one party got punished this time around as I am deeply disappointed that no formal action or warning was given to umpire Mr. Johnson for his repeated unprofessionalism and poor officiating.

As for the whole investigative/judicial process, it started out on one path and ended on another. Initially I was given a chance to give a thorough written statement and speak to committee members on the matter. Very standard. Very fair. No further questioning was needed, then something changed as via email I received the following "Coerced Confession" framed styled questions

1. Do you feel that your actions were inappropriate or constitute Unsportsmanlike Behavior? What should your punishment be?
2. Do you think you handled the disagreements you had with Mr. Johnson's " unprofessionalism" in the correct way?
3. Is Mr. Johnson responsible for your actions on Sunday because he "goaded" you and acted unprofessionally?
4. Is there a different way of handling your complaints about Mr. Johnson's " unprofessionalism" that you can suggest aside from how you handled it on Sunday?
5. In retrospect, do you wish you had acted differently in any way or have any regrets about your own behavior and actions?

At this point, I sensed the investigation was resembling a drumhead court-martial.These were held in the field to hear urgent charges of offences committed in action. The term is said to originate from the use of a drumhead as an improvised writing table and a traditional gathering point for a regiment for orders or decisions. The term sometimes has connotations of summary justice, with an implied lack of judicial impartiality, where appeals were always denied.

In these questions, I sensed a Salem Witch Trail judicial approach based on an agenda focused on provoking me to admit guilt and punish me for publicly campaigning for the firing of Mr. Johnson on my blog. This type of questioning and judicial style represents an ever-present, but subtle, danger of those who
in the name of righteousness manipulate the system. In extreme circumstances it could spread fear, paranoia and/or suspicion. I would be remiss if I didn't remind the committee that next time they ask questions make sure you remember not to frame them to get the answers you want. Rather seek the Truth.

I promptly answered all these questions with the same skill as they were constructed and in the end I accept the verdict and look forward to moving on from this incident and proving that I am the better man.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tie = Kissing Your Sister

Ties are relatively rare in baseball, since the practice dating back to the earliest days of the game is to play extra innings until one side has the lead after an equal number of innings played. For example, the only non spring training tie I can remember was the 2002 All-Star game when both teams ran out of pitchers.

In softball ties are also very rare, and usually only happen when either the lights go out during a night game or a time limit expires. The latter is what transpired last night as Turner and Charter Fabric "CF" squared off to a 2-2 tie called after the one hour and twenty minute time limit expired. that was so wack.

Charter Fabric games rarely make this blog but last night's game was the exception as pitcher and play director Chris Lutkin
again continued his masterful pitching by matching legendary hard throwing CF ace Cedric out for out. Turner is to be commend for grinding out runs while hitting in a very dark home plate area and specifically for tying the game with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th with a long home run. Now that's good softball.

Unfortunately, all that excellent pitching, defense, and late inning drama was kind of wasted as nobody won the damn game. As the old expression goes "a Tie is like Kissing Your Sister". You get no joy, pleasure, passion, or satisfaction from it. (like if you were 'kissin' your sister"--blechhh/disgusting!).

Ties and time limits don't belong in softball. and this game is evidence of that. It took an instant classic and made it obscure footnote

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dressed To Impress

I would like to recognize the best dressed team in softball:

The Gentlemen
who wear Tuxedo's uniforms while they get down to business. Their classy look is matched only by there spotless 8-0 start in http://brooklynsbestsoftball.com/

Frank Sinatra would be proud.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Egg Project runs on Premium

After hurling a masterful 3-1 complete game victory over the previously undefeated Rangers last Sunday, avid Central Park pitcher, player, and overall wonderful guy Chris "Premium" Lutkin
is now displaying his professional skills by directing a play called "The Egg Project"on May 20,21,27 and 28th @7:30 pm at the
Dixon Place Theater
161A Chrystie Street
New York, NY

No need to ever walk around carefully like your on egg shells around Chris b/c he is one of the nicest and best overall guys you will ever want to meet, play with, and play against.
Give his production a shot b/c nice guys don't have to finish last - This guy is a winner

Friday, May 6, 2011

Softball Diary : Street Game on Cinco De Mayo

I had had enough of softball politics yesterday and was determined to get my softball Independence back on Cinco de Mayo. Even though I didn't have a game schedule, I still had to get back on the softball streets and help others b/c sometimes in softball you have to follow the JFK saying of "Ask not what your softball country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your softball country".

First item on my agenda was to make sure the Jersey City league could play their regularly scheduled game. The heavy rains had damaged the Gateway field,
but with some hard work and assistance from my partner Pat Ryan the field was good to go and everyone was happy.
The Jersey City league has been my own little personal project as I look at it as a neglected abused animal that only needs a little love to grow and flourish. So far, we are off to a promising beginning.

Later in that day, I had to ride the softball style 8 mile bus
( and train) to go to Inwood Hill Park and assist Yoda with player development

I snuck in a workout in Inwood as well and for one day at least I had my independence while helping others.