Tuesday, August 23, 2011

True Grit needed

It's a been a rough last week or so : Softball Low lights include:
  1.  Undefeated Regular Season Team West NY - goes 2 and out on the playoffs. Pathetic
  2. After Winning the Bum Rush league Championship in Back to Back Seasons - My team the Westies failed to make the playoffs after getting off to an 4-0 start. First time I can ever remember missing the playoffs. Ever. All good things come to an end. Pathetic
  3. Undefeated Regular Season team Charter Fabric blows a 1-0 lead in the 7th inning to lose game 1 of the finals in extra innings. Trail the best of three. To make matters worse the team had an ugly on field fight among themselves. Pathetic
  4. My Monday Performing arts team Bravery eliminated defending champion RJK in the semi-finals but then blew an 8-5 lead in game 1 of the chip to local 802. Trail the best of 3, not pathetic but Tough.
  5. Injuries
  6. Dealing with bitch ass players & gossiping manipulative fools/leagues. Waste of my life force.
Throw in hard hit balls getting caught, getting thrown out at home, playing too shallow, diving plays just off my glove, etc .. it's been tough but the facts are no one feels sorry for you and no one cares.

You just have to have True Grit 

Besides a great movie (highly recommend), What is True Grit? True Grit is having Guts, being bold/brave, ignoring superior force, and most importantly fighting through all of this adversity.
Easier said than done, no es facil,  but possible.
Just gotta do it yourself.

Jersey City Championship Set

My personal league reclamation project http://sites.google.com/site/jerseycitysoftball/team-announcements has reached it's championship. While my team West NY lost the softball battle on all fronts, at least I saved this league and won the softball war.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lucky Number Slevin .. I mean 7 ... Ego Threshold

Lucky Number Slevin
is a pretty good and complicated movie about mistaken identity, luck, crime, murder, scheming, plotting, revenge, and a mafia feud/war. The main character name is Slevin and the sound and similarity of his name to the number 7 is a cool attention grabbing twist when you see that the character appears to have a run of bad luck. Everyone knows that the number 7 is associated with good luck in gambling and sports where many athletes wear the number 7 for good luck or to honor their hero.

The number 7 comes into play quite a bit in softball. For example, if you hit a ball to the left fielder for an out, it is recorded as a 7 in the book as that number is associated with the LF position. Another common way the number 7 appears is in the 7th slot of the batting order. It's no secret when creating a batter order that you want a certain type of hitter in each slot in the lineup. The number 7 hole is no different as you generally want a good consistent RBI guy . This hitter is generally regarded as OK for the given team he plays on and clearly a notch below the first 6 premium batters in front of him.  In truth this is all relative to the overall talent of your team as one man's 7 hitter hitter could quite frankly be another man's 3 or 10 hitter based on needs, match up, skills, politics, etc...

However, over the years as a player and manager, I have noticed that the 7th position in the batting order also holds another unspoken meaning. It is the Ego Threshold spot as players who generally bat lower than 7th are regarded as weaker,  bad, or  "bottom of the order" hitters by the opposition. Again in truth this is all relative yet the facts remain certain players just cannot bat lower than 7th b/c they view this as the Ego Threshold spot for various reasons like:
  • I can't bat lower than 7th - head case
  • I should be batting 3rd - delusional
  • I am the best hitter we have - ego tripping baby
  • Care about what others think - derive confidence from others - needy
  • They are just a whining bitch
  • Asshole, Dick , etc...
  • Selfish
  • Petty
  • All of the above and then some
The other night when made a lineup I took the Ego threshold into account when making the lineup. The player in question had missed several games and is generally better off batting in either the one, two, or last spot in the order, but I knew this player was a head case and ego maniac so I took the weak safe political correct road and batted him 7th to satisfy his ego and avoid controversy. This was a mistake on two fronts
  1. unfair to the team - other players
  2. unfair to that player - batting him in a spot that didn't give him the best chance to succeed
Of course we lost. My fault. This all happened b/c I succumbed to the 7 hole Ego Threshold theory. It's a mistake I will never make again at playoff time.

SBI plug .... ARTISTIK .. true softball passion

Ralph Serrano is a talented & passionate softball player

and a talented & passionate artist called ARTISTIK


who combined his playing & artistic talents to remember the 2010 Uptown Chiefs championship in this short but cool video

Nice Job Ralph, maybe the team/league should also have hired you to design better shirts for that squad. If anyone needs an artist or softball video of themselves or their squad please contact Ralph at artistikz@mac.com.

P.S.S. That was a good team too bad when we won that league never took care of us, or at least as of today I know I wasn't notified of our prize. Then again what we didn't really expect much going in anyway. Se la vie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Buster Mysholowsky

Mike Tyson

ran into Buster Douglass and now previously undefeated West NY ran into Buster Mysholowsky!!!

as they used pitching, defense, and scrappy hitting to defeated the #1 Seed 7-3 in dramatic fashion. The Jersey City Softball league is wide open  http://sites.google.com/site/jerseycitysoftball/

The Bombers lead the best of three series 1-0 and will look to put away WEST NY on Monday night.

Will the bullies go down easy or will they DIEHARD????

Monday Night Softball will be on this week!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Name is .. My Name is .. My Name is ... Advisory Sticker Needed on Hidden Agendas

Can I have the attention of the class for one second? 

Last week everyone knows that the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by S&P could have been entirely avoided if there had been a willingness to compromise in Congress. Moreover, this special never before seen insider video

of the decision making process by those Hampton weekend home owning privileged yuppie sweater wearing around the neck snobs at that rating agency, that those IVY league fools/hypocrites are trying to get their head straight by coming down hard on the US only b/c they know they missed the boat on mortgage crisis and NOW are getting involved. A little too late there Bob, as we know this downgrade is bullshit and has a hidden political agenda.

I wish I could just place some sort of warning like a Parental Advisory sticker

on this whole fucking mess.  Hidden Agendas are just wrong. They exist everywhere. They are dark, evil, and manipulative.What needs to happen is Americans need to tell their elected representatives in Washington to pass bills that will create jobs. Obama feels "There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics,  Washington doesn't have the capacity to come together and get things done.The only thing preventing these bills from being passed is the refusal of some in Congress to put country ahead of party," Obama is frustrated. Can't blame him.

Hidden Agendas don't allow things to get done properly or for "the Greater Good". After the events of August, Obama must now struggle to contain the wild fluctuations of the stock market and growing fears about the effect of the deficit on the stability of the nation. The overall economic security record of the administration has not been good. Republicans have not done much better. Upon announcing his candidacy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made clear that economics would be his focus. "One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job," he said, "that is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster." and the ugly political mud slinging has only just begun

But like most politicians his speech said nothing on what his solution would be. Republicans have not provided much of a vision of how they would restore economic security for the middle class. They have focused on the traditional conservative magic bullet solutions of deficit reduction and government spending cuts -- without tax increases -- neither of which would have any major impact on the current unemployment rates or address the underlying challenges that the economy has been facing for over a decade.

Bottom line, the real hidden agenda in all of this is everyone positioning themselves for the 2012 presidential election where the candidate/party who can offer a more compelling case for the economy is likely to end up in the White House.

Most non politicians, like myself, like to think of ourselves as better than politicians, b/c we are not the back stabbing, snake in the grass, types who try and get things done without all the mudslinging and positioning wrestling. There is some truth to that, but the reality is that we all fall prey to hidden agendas either by choice or convenience. .. especially in softball. You see in softball the hidden agenda is even uglier, even worse than politics,  b/c it is only a game, a diversion from the real world world, but hidden agendas ruin leagues, ruin your focus b/c they are a selfish distraction, and worse of all they ruin your enjoyment of the game. Don't fuck with my softball swerve.

Do you know of a league that needs a Hidden agenda advisory sticker? If so don't be afraid to let them know the good of the game always comes first. Always.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

365 Days Later ... Howie Dixon ... Mr. Birmingham Black Barons

It's been a year since Howie Dixon passed away, http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2010/08/remembering-howie-dixon.html , but yesterday his friends, Los Locos,
got together

 as he was not forgotten

and proudly/fondly remembered him

for all of his on and off the field magic

It's appropriate that today is a sad rainy day, as we pay homage to our lost comrade. As I mentioned in my interview above, Howie had a true love of the game and I'm sure the Birmingham Black Barons

biggest fan would be so proud of his friends b/c even though they may be Loco, they do have heart.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SB Bohemian Rhapsody ... Ricky's World

The late great Freddie Merecury died of AIDS. Very sad and a tragic loss of a brilliant talent as the lead vocalist of the amazing rock band Queen he was known for his flamboyant stage persona
and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. As a kid living above 96th street, I always liked their songs, but never saw them perform, I had no idea he was gay. I feel so stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical so many years later for being homophobic, as it took me a long time to learn that you shouldn't hold race, sexual connotation, looks, etc against someone... you should just give people a chance and let their actions dictate your opinion/feelings toward them.

Probably one of Mercury's best songs was "Bohemian Rhapsody" which became very popular for a second time in the early 90's thanks to it's being prominently  featured in the goofy Wayne World movie

Everyone associates this song with that flick, but if you pay close attention while listening, the song is a masterpiece as it has no chorus, instead consisting of three main parts: a ballad segment ending with a guitar solo, an operatic passage, and a hard rock section. In addition, the  lyrics are out there and kind of fatalistic. Very Interesting. Gotta give Mercury credit for Originality. That's True brilliance. When asked about the song Mercury commented "It's one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them... "Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't just come out of thin air. I did a bit of research although it was tongue-in-cheek and mock opera. Why not?"

I can really relate to his creative thinking regarding this song b/c when I write a softball blog http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2007/04/where-does-blog-come-from.html I try to research and mix different elements of people, softball, music, business, and life together as I write something and then let my readers make up their own mind as to what it says/means to them. A true modern softball Bohemian Rhapsody b/c
"Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality"

Enjoy this classic

and remember Open Your Eyes

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with Top Step Human Bullseye

As previously reported on the classic post , http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2009/01/dogs-chasing-cars.html, Charlie "Top Step" Bailey
serves as the umpire for "Los Locos" Central Park pick up games.

Charlies also helps manage and general manages softball teams and has earned the nickname Top Step b/c he manages the game from the On Deck Circle .. ... AKA Top Step of the Dugout.

Recently insider field reporter Jimmy Bitros caught up with Top Step

Give the guy credit - he is a human bullseye for Los Locs

not an easy job, but someone has to take the slings and arrows of outrageous softball fortune.

Great Lawn Must See "The Obelisk"

Next time your playing at the great Lawn look beyond the beautiful ball field and checkout NY's Hidden Treasure "THE OBELSIK"
Nerdy but cool -

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Leading from behind .. a mistake

Earlier this week the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's stripped the US of its top-notch AAA credit rating, downgrading it to AA+ and warning of further future downgrades because of political and economic uncertainty.

Really??? I mean really??? 

It's the first downgrade in modern US history, the justification used by S&P – blaming the dysfunctional US political system for being unable to make significant fiscal reform – will set off another debate about US government spending and the ugly process used to raise the debt ceiling. "It's not that you don't have the economic capacity to pay your bills, said S&P; we're just not sure you have the political capacity to pay them."  

Really??? I mean really???  

Through this whole mess I haven't heard anyone ask "Where the fuck was S&P four or five years ago when they were improperly rated sub-prime securitizations that eventually lead to an economic crisis/recession in this country.  I guess all those 60 plus delinquent loans would just go away huh? How did that work out S&P ? They knew something was wrong but just looked the other way.

This is a classic case of leading from behind. The damage has been done, what the fuck is the point of S&P flexing their "muscles" now? Who can take confidence in that? Trust me I have worked in the mortgage industry since 1998 and S&P and their rating agency brethren completely missed the boat when evaluating securitizations years ago and NOW they decide to be proactive when really no action was necessary.


This downgrade is stupid, we can still pay our bills, It's just S&P's way of covering their ass,but the damage is done in international eyes. Gloom is thick across the waters. A lower credit rating means higher borrowing costs for debtor nations. But because of the size of the US and its deep capital markets – and its crucial role as cornerstone of global finance -   the stock market has been violent roller coaster all weak. Fucking A

S&P needed to keep Stay Calm and Carry on instead of down grading our credit. In other words, S&P made a difficult situation worse. The US needs to focus on the future by setting clear spending and tax goals, thereby marching out and leading in front - instead of reacting from behind. S&P leadership is late. Reactive rather than proactive.

True leaders in business, politics & softball stay calm, confident, and classy in the face of adversity as they anticipate issues ahead of time for the greater good instead of interjecting themselves needlessly for attention.

Swimming/Playing with Sharks

Earlier this week, Diana Nyad, 61, braved shark-infested waters to try to complete a 103-mile swim from Cuba
to Key West, Fla.,
to prove you’re never too old to go for it.
But early Tuesday, she had to quit after 29 hours in the water battling ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma, as she was vomiting when she was brought aboard a support boat at 12:45 a.m.

Nyad had tried this swim before, in 1978, but had to stop after 42 hours in the face of huge waves. She  started out Sunday with high hopes -– and without a shark cage.Although she shunned the cage, she did have some protection from the sharks that patrol the warm waters between Florida and Cuba. Her support crew included kayaks with underwater electrical shields that emit a frequency intended to shoo the sharks away. If that failed, divers were ready to intervene. When Nyad announced her plans for the swim, she received a deluge of warnings. "I get emails from people saying they are shark experts,” “They say I will be like a dinner bell out there. I’ve started deleting those immediately.”

Wow Nyad is ku ku for coco puffs, - I mean c'mon no shark cage? That's insane. But you gotta give her credit she went for it  - she has prepared to go swimming with sharks. She wasn't afraid. In softball we also have to be prepared to swim, I uh mean play, with Softball Land Sharks,
as they are prevalent in the game, but like Nyad we can't be afraid of them or let them get in our way.

Their are many different Breeds of Softball Sharks .. here are my Top Ten

10. Great White - you know the type, everyone on their team looks the same, acts the same, is the same
9. Stat Shark - this breeds spews statistics constantly when facing the enemy
8. Hammer Head Shark - dumb ignorant player/coach/person
7. Tiger Shark - cut throat player/coach who will do anything to win - cheat , wringers, lie
6. Whale Shark - Has the most power/size in the league - biggest fish in the pond.
5. White tip Reef Sharks - players/coaches who look scary but are rarely aggressive
4. Two Face Shark - Softball commissioners who have no honor and never keep their word
3. Dormant Shark - Player who has a long history with an umpire or other team and is ready to attack at any time. Very dangerous.
2.  Jaws - Softball player who never shuts up , always causes problems, no one can stop, and your afraid to go into the water, I mean get on the field, because he's around

and my number one type of Softball Shark

1. Recruiting Shark - this is the coach/manager/player who is always on the look out for new players and steals players away form other teams all the time behind your back. Ruthless

LT almost dooms LT

Last night LawyerTime (LT) began it's post season, championship, and perfect season run with a 1st round playoff match up vs. the WallBangers under difficult circumstances.  At forfeit time the team only had 8 players as I was stuck in the god damn fucking Lincoln Tunnel (LT) for over an hour
Fucking Miserable traffic
after finally getting through that tunnel mess, I broke every major tarffic law but still got there late,
( bottom of the 1st),  by then the WallBangers took advantage of our 8 man defense and put two early runs on the board. However, once we had nine players we settled down to play good old school softball and swept them convincingly thank to the yo-man pitching effort of Lou 22

It was a good night for old school wrestling fans like Anthony and myself

as we dedicated the LT Championship belt for this evening to the late great
Randy Macho Man Savage

On a pathetic side note, the WallBangers protested our shortstop Ramon "Sito" Baez

who was played at least 9-10 games this year. I guess he looked too A96 for them. 
They eventually dropped their protest. They knew it was petty,  weak, and had no basis.

Mr. Clean .. for now

Has anyone noticed that NYC umpire Mark

and Mr. Clean

resemble one another. In fact for some unknown reason Mark has a Mr. Clean tough guy image as he often umpires modified games without a mask. Tough but not safe.

I like and respect Mark. Many players actually prefer when Mark umpires b/c he hasn't been around as long and doesn't interject himself into the game.

Stay Clean Mark as you are on the road to becoming a good umpire. Just start wearing a mask.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rivalry - a lost softball genre?

Rivalries are a big part of sports

as they bring out powerful emotions in everyone involved.

While the will to win is still very prevalent and the essence of competitive softball, I have noticed fewer and fewer rivalries forming recently. Maybe I've been around B96 a bit too much, or maybe it's because everyone knows one another and familiarity isn't breeding contempt, maybe everyone is just too damn politically correct/conscious, but there seem to be less true Rivalries around nowadays. Too bad. That let extra Rivalry x-factor in a game always adds a special meaning to a game. Here's hoping more out of the closet rivalries come to the forefront at playoff time, otherwise playing the game is like eating barbecue without the seasoning - less flavor/taste

Till Then here are some of my favorite Rivalries
10. Bragging Rights - Yeah winning money is nice but having the memory/knowledge of beating someone fair and square on the field is awesome. They will never live it down
9. Asshole/Bully Rivalry - nothing like beating up on a asshole/bully. Nothing. You can throw whiners and complainers in there. Same thing. Deserve an ass whipping. No honor
8.Talent Rivalry - The challenge of facing a worthy foe is always exciting and really the best reason to have a rivalry as the corny cliche "You have to beat the best to be the best" is your motivation
7. Goon/Trash Talking Rivalry - Always tense. Always edgy. Very Personal. Love beating goons and not saying a word all game.
6. Revenge Game - Pay back bitch
5. Racist Rivalry Game - love playing against a racist and beating them. Best racists to beat are the ones who don't even know they are racist. Arrogant bastards.
4. Hell hath No Fury Like a Player Scorned Rivalry game - playing against a former team is very cool. This could fall under #6 above as well
3. Cheater Rivalry - love playing against known cheaters and beating them.
2. Money Game Rivalry - Winning money is nice. Let's keep it real.

and my Number One Favorite Rivalry

1. Jealousy Rivalry - Jealously is good in softball, as long as you handled it the right way. If someone else was won or always beat you then they have something you want. These games have extra meaning. Time to go after it on the field. Not by whining, not by crying, not by complaining, but by going out there and doing it yourself - Playing good ball. That's what a rivalry is about. Competition.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Softball Animal Planet Rescue

Jimmy Cohen is an avid hard core softball player. The guy brings his own batting tee to the park and works on his swings between innings. He basically lives, breathe, and eats this stuff. But there is more to Jimmy than softball, I noticed that he frequently brings his beloved Bogey to the park with him so I asked him a few questions about his special connection with his dog

Very touching - good stuff Jimmy

1 Leg is Better Than 2

Flamingos often stand on one leg,
the other tucked beneath the body. Recent research has indicated that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. In the http://www.ppwsl.org/ a team with the same namesake

as has been staying red hot on the field with a 10-3 record.
The Flamingos are an intense, hard core, tight knit, and well organized team

that comes to play hard, smart, and with unmatched enthusiasm every time they take the field.  It's been a hot summer and they intend to stay hot all the way through the playoffs.Of course, they find ways to cool off afterwards

Good luck Flamingos

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Band-Aide on a Quiet Crisis stab wound? .. Politics is a dirty game in Washington and in Softball

Like many Americans, I was completely pissed off and fed up by all the political squabbling regarding the U.S. debt crisis issue http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2011/07/greater-good-endangered-by-veil-of.htm . I was really concerned that all this partisan political wrangling would further harm an already struggling recovery. Then after much ado about something, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders finally reached an agreement after weeks of bickering on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps.

The way I understand it is that the agreement proposes a two-stage process.
  1. In the first stage, it includes $917 billion in spending cuts and other deficit reduction now, as well as a $900 billion increase in the debt ceiling.
  2. The agreement would slow the growth of government spending over the next decade by $2-$3 trillion and allow enough borrowing to put off another vote to raise the ceiling until 2013, after the next election of course. Typical political bullshit
In other words, we can pay our bills. Check that for now, as we have applied a financial band aide to a spending stab wound. This whole thing seems kind of surreal and mishandled by congress by me. I mean dude, if you borrow and commit to a lot of obligations, then you must make good on paying off your bills. If you don't pay back money you borrow, then people will charge you more interest to borrow and then you end up owing even more money.

What's done is done, that money is already spent, we should be concentrating on the right pace of future spending for our country. The deficit reduction debate is about that future path. The future path as Obama mentioned in his speech above,  is creating jobs. Yet we just heard that the rate of economic growth the past two quarters has been incredibly low, and we have nearly 25 million Americans either unemployed or stuck working part-time. Here's what is so truly absurd: We wouldn't have a deficit crisis, if we had more people working. The revenue that would come from halving our unemployment rate would reduce our long-term debt to manageable levels. Seems to me that's the sort of policy debate Congress should be having right about now: What's the best way to get more Americans working?
When was the last time you heard a peep out of Washington about that? That's what Congress should be focusing on

Bottom Line : Politics is a dirty game 

Softball should be an escape from all of this, but unfortunately it is a reminder that many leagues suffer from the same misguided selfish political squabbling among its own "tea party" members who manipulate, control, and twist quiet crisis issues like:

  • Playoff Systems
  • Illegal Players
  • Pitching Rules
  • Money
instead of focusing on competition. The only thing that should be dirty in softball is your uniform.

Game Time Rain .. pain

We have all prayed for rain at some point in our softball lives, but in general we accept rain outs as part of the sport. We all cope with them in one way or another http://softballinsider.blogspot.com/2007/04/rainouts.html ,but any true player will tell you that the worst kind of rain out is the dreaded
Game Time Rain Out.

 Top Ten Reasons Game Time Rain Outs Suck
10. You look forward to playing all day just to escape your menial existence, then at game time that fucking Bitch Mother Nature softball cock teases you by having it pour and cancelling the game. Time for a softball cold shower.
9. Waste of Travel Time - waste of fucking time in general. Sucks
8. Softball Walk of Shame him - no game and you don't want anyone seeing you go home in your softball outfit soaking wet and frustrated after getting no action
7. You used up a lie to a boss, spouse, girl, babysitter, or mom to go to the game and now the god damn game never happened - ughhhhhh  - that was a good lie wasted now I gottta think of other shit to lie about so I can go play and we all know we nly have some many lie bullets in our chamber
6. You sit in Traffic for over an hour going home

- Drive of shame - where you think of how your life has gone wrong
5. Not only are you rained out but the baseball team you follow is probably cancelled and your forced to watch the Lifetime channel at home. Lifetime... my god .. you not even a man anymore
4. You knew it was going to rain and like a sucker you went to the field anyway - should have trusted your instincts but you were too much of  loyal softball whore to stay home - sucker
3. Waste of money - gas, toll, transportation, time spent at bar, purchase of drugs to easy pain, etc
2. Your manager and teammates won't remember/appreciate you showing up for fucking nothing

and the Number one Reason Game Time Rain Outs Sucks

1. They just fucking do and you can't do anything about it - powerless

Softball Things that make you go hmmmmmmm .. Ninga Turtles

Is it me or are a lot of softball players wearing funny looking softball glasses

that make them look like Ninga Turtles

Makes me go ...hmmmmm

I may run like a turtle but the funny glasses definitely bear a resemblance ... hmmmm ....

They Don't Make Men Like they Used to

Fellow softball enthusiast and blogger Johnny Spin remembers the great late Thurman Munson
http://johnnyspin.blogspot.com/ , nice piece. I like this and I am a Met fan.
Great player. 
Left us way too early.
RIP #15 - gone but not forgotten