Monday, January 21, 2013

Notice more than No Sleeves ...Look beyond the Stereotype

Score another well earned victory for the warriors with no sleeves on yesterday.

But look beyond the hard hitting crazy wild thug stereotype and you will see a team with a good soul

Ray Lewis is crazy

and made a bad mistake and has changed since then. He is a leader. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Season Review : 8 of 10 ... LT - Psycho Email Works

In 2012 I was committed to and played on 11 softball teams. Yes 11 you read that right. This is the eighth of an eleven part season review series that provides a review of their trials and tribulations

Season Review : Lawyertime

Regular Season Record : 15-7 5th place
Final Standing: NY Fast Pitch League Champion 

Insider Analysis: They say there is no I in team, but every team has a soul and the soul of Lawyertime  "LT"  is
 Lou “22” Gonzalez

(ironically the word Lou can be found in the word soul if you re-arrange the letters). 

A team's soul can be many things : kind, evil, good, goonish, social, care free, driven, etc...After a mid-season loss where we played terrible in all phases of the game and even worse got dirt kicked in our faces by a mostly classless NY Knight squad, the soul of LT, specifically Lou 22, became driven.

As most of my readers know I usually hate mass emails , but after that embarrassing loss, Lou sent out a long passionate psycho team email that started it with : 

"I tried to pin point why this team is no longer a Team that cares or even tries . After some more thought I came up with the answer. I am to Blame for the team’s Lack of Dedication and Respect"

That's what I'm fucking talking about. 

This captivated my attention as when your best player and by the most polarizing force on your team takes ownership, then you know there is hope. Whatever Lou wrote after that  didn't matter to me, as I knew all the excuse making and wishy-washy bullshit was over. Lou may be a self admitted cut throat softball bastard, but he's fair and will reward you with good play. I came back from the dead to crawled out of his forfeit avoiding softball dog house years ago and knew changes were coming.

While Lou's play was nothing short of exception the rest of the season as he almost single handily led us to a 6-1 finish, the team was far from perfect as :
  • Personal tragedy struck to a key team member
  • We still struggled to field 9 players. Forget 10. I really mean it 9
  • Lou at times cared almost too much and tried to do too much, especially at plate. He couldn't find that balance point between serenity and rage , then again if caring too much is a crime then arrest him. Like he said in the video above "It was the hardest season ever"
  • The offense struggled to consistently hit. Players with reputations were struggling and legacy players were not consistently hitting. We won a lot of low scoring games.
  • Players quit. Players complained about playing time at playoff time. At times it was an annoying distraction.
As the playoffs approached I knew Lou could not do it alone. He had got us here, but needed help.

Season Highlights: The Entire Post Season

Every series went down to a 3rd and deciding game. Talk about getting your money's worth

Round 1 : Opponent Staten Island Bombers - Very good hard nose team. 

Sloppy play blew game one as we lost 4-3, but little things like backing up bases, bunting, and playing solid defense helped us even up the series and force a game three. Game Three was no picnic as LT faced elimination by being down a run in the top of the seventh before blowing the game open. Whew

Round 2 Opponent Weintraub - An old respected rival. 

Game 1 Lou threw a dominant 5-0 shutout as we had Weintraub on the ropes. 

Game 2 - I was confident we would sweep the series until Weintruab ace Ramon brilliantly shut us down for 9 innings. We would eventually fall 1-0, as Lou pitched with a broken finger. 

Game 3 Perhaps the key point of the whole season came when was we blew a 3-1 lead, thanks to a terrible misplay of a routine fly ball in the outfield. Now trailing 5-3 in the top of the 4th, Lou came in and started slamming bats (showering me with dirt) and seemed to be out of control. 

In that same inning Lou was up with 2 outs and a man on first.  Someone in the dugout mumbled here goes a fly ball as he tries to hit a homer. At that point,  I don't know why Lou decided to bunt for a hit. But he did. Normally a 3 hitter bunting with 2 outs is not the norm, but it worked. I guess he found that balance point I had been spoke about above. 

That unorthodox strategy worked as it keyed a furious two out six run rally highlighted by a grand slam by the same player who blew the fly ball the inning earlier. Lou was now getting help. I knew we were winning.

Round 3 Championship - Opponent Lenox - nice scrappy under the radar team. 

Game 1 : I showed up at game time for the championship and saw we had 12 guys and was asked to sit by co-manager Anthony.

I was unhappy, but understood and kept my mouth shut as I had love and respect for Anthony, who had sat numerous times down the stretch. He deserved a shot, but what I was really upset about was the fact that Lou and Anthony used the dreaded 12 man lineup 


These guys are two of the very best softball minds I know and even they made that made fatal mistake.  I was shocked and it would hurt us as in an extremely well pitched and played game by both sides, we lost 1-0 (again). Afterwards Lou exploded and changed the entire lineup going with his best 10. 

Game 2 - Lenox hit our starter, John Brown, well enough to put up two very solid clean runs and we trailed 2-1 heading to the 4th. That's where Lou got more help as three two out clutch hits in the 4th and 5th innings gave us a 5-2 lead. After 5 innings the game was stopped due to darkness setting the stage for the last day.

Game 2/3 - leading up to this game on Tuesday September 12th 2012, three teams that I had been on all lost on consecutive days : The Rangers, Bravery, and Old School and I ain't going to lie as my superstitious nature knew bad news came in 3's. Now that the bad news was over I could focus on "LT" and we sent a dominant message by tacking on 5 more runs in the 6th inning to set the stage for Game Three.

Game 3 - The score was only 4-0, but he were dominant in all phases: pitching, defense, and hitting. It should be noted that we won a third and deciding game two years in a row at Hecksher, by the same score, with John Brown throwing a one hitter. Crazy.

The softball gods rewarded me for keeping my mouth shut as I finished the series with 5 straight hits and a mock chant of "MVP" turned into reality (I think, not really) as I was rewarded with a cool game ball

(still need your signature on that Lou)

Next Season: Good ending, but this team has definitely jumped the shark and won't be back. However, never say never as rumors have it that Anthony and I will try to bring a team and recapture some of our old Bomber spirit.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You Can Never Have Enough Pitching, but you can have enough Arms.

Somehow someway every season the old saying "you can never have enough pitching" always rings true. The demands of a long season in baseball/softball strain a staff via injuries, performance (bad days), and schedule conflicts that require a team to have plenty of extra arms around to handle the crisis.

While extra arms are useful in our sport are they really necessary in real life? The Second Amendment of our great country, The United States, protects the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. Make no mistake arms means weapons, specifically guns. Guns are dangerous. People are more dangerous. There has to be some common sense limit to controlling the access to weapons.

The tragedies that we have experienced a society prove that existing policies are not working yet the two sides of the gun control argument remain deeply divided.

Side #1 - Anti-Gun Control 

Led by The NRA, National Rifle Association, which seems to be taking advice from classic ignorant TV character Archie Bunker,

proposes more guns and instead point to media sensationalism, violent video games, gun-free zones in schools, the failure to enforce gun laws already on the books, issues with the nation's mental health system and other societal problems as feeding the spate of gun violence. 

They also announced a new national program to train and arm thousands of armed security to be stationed at each of the nation's nearly 100,000 public and 33,000 private schools. They point to the fact that Sandy Hook Elementary School -- and most other schools in America -- are considered gun-free zones as a reason why it was easily attacked. The basically feel “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"

OK John Wayne

They offered no willingness to consider any of the proposals offered this week to amend gun laws including limiting access to assault weapons, requiring universal background checks, limiting sales at gun shows and increasing the use of trigger locks. None.

It's obvious they represent gun manufacturers, not gun owners, as they are now value Capitalism at the expense of public safety

Side #2 : Pro Gun Control

Lead by our commander and chief

Hey the man is genuinely trying. That's why I voted for Obama as social change and improvement is harder to enact than fiscal change. More guns are not the answer. Limiting them is. 

Even Mayor Bloomberg, who I have heavily criticized and don't even like, agrees as he blasted the NRA's approach "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing the country. “There are lives involved here. And if you can save one life, isn't that worth trying?" "And I always thought that you should address issues when they're on the public conscience, while they're being covered by the press, and you should try to do a complete job so you don't have to go back again and again and again."

Ironically because of possible legislation gun sales and stocks have increased lately, but enacting these new laws will be difficult as political lobbying pressure (hint money) by the NRA is a reality. Make no mistake the NRA is a bully. They not afraid to get down and dirty 

However, these repugnant, classless, tasteless, and cowardly ads will "backfire" (also ironic) as you can overpower the extremists with intelligence and common sense.

Leave the extra arms on your pitching roster, just get guns off the street.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Most men have some sort of dream girl
Now whether they hook up with or meet a certain her is another matter. However, unless they've only see her in their dreams they at least know she exists. Moreover, while obsession and infatuation are always a possibility, most men wouldn't call a woman "a girlfriend" if they never even met her. That's what makes the Manti Teo's case so bizarre.

Manti Te'o is a star Notre Dame player

whose "girlfriend" allegedly died last year. However, she never died. Why? Because she never existed. 

Very weird. 

I could understand if he got hustled over money on-line, but how can you get hustled on a girlfriend? Anyway, the whole situation is perplexing and has led to the phenomena called Te'oing where people take a picture with their arm around an invisible girlfriend on-line

Let's do our version of Te'oing and call it SB'ling, and compare. SB'ling refers to a non-existent softball team that exhibits all the qualities that an imaginary girlfriend might posses.

Top Ten Te-oing and SB'ling similarities

10/9/8. Commitment, Trust, and Loyalty. You wouldn't call a woman an imaginary girlfriend if she was sleeping around. You would demand commitment/trust/loyalty from her and give it back in return. The same thing applies in SB'ling as you never miss games, never forfeit, never get passed over for a new player even though you are doing the job. Now your understanding why this is a "dream" team.

7. Talent - While chemistry and personality are important in a Te-oing lady, she's still gotta look good. The more stacked the better. Your dream Sb'ling team has to be able to pitch, make all the plays and produce runs. Your stacked with play makers up and down you roster.

6/5/4. Chemistry/Education/Connection - Now that we established that imaginary girl is fine she also has to be fun, witty, and smart. You connect with your partner on an emotional and intellectual level (Soul Mate). 
When Sb-ling it is very important that everyone is 
  • focused
  • on the same page softball wise
  • plays smart unselfish team ball, and 
  • feeds off each's other's energy. 
The softball mental connection aspect exists, even though it is non-existent in many environments.

3. Dressed Appropriately - Your Te-oing lady friend needs to know when to wear that sexy black dress showing off all the goods and when to button up. On your Sb-ling squad everyone brings their cleats, gloves, bats, and wears their team shirt to all the games.

2.Support - When times are hard and you hit a slump it's good to know that your Te-oing hoochie mama girl will be there for you. No excuses. Sb-ling teammates don't back stab, gossip, complain, or whine when things go wrong.No excuses.

and the Number One Te-oing and SB'ling similarity

1. Rich  - A Te-oing woman has a career, is independent, and well to do. Sb-ling team have tremendous resources and are fully sponsored.

Sb-ling teams don't exist as they are made up of imperfect people playing an imperfect game, but if you find a team that exhibits most of the qualities I listed above don't be afraid to put your arm around it and call it your own.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

No Weapon Shall Prosper against No Sleeves

After the best NFL game of the year Ray Lewis quoted the following Bible Passage 

Isaiah 54:17
"No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,
Says the Lord." ...
Words like : Talented,  Crazed, Fast, Heart, Vicious, Goon, Smart, Team Player, Thug , Leader, Bully , Inspirational , Intimidator, Family Man, and Warrior all describe Ray Lewis. People never look beyond the very serious fact that he was charged with obstructing justice in a double murder trial in 2000 when he tried to cover up the crimes of "his two friends".  That incident mars the fact that he is deeply religious family who is a leader both on and off the field. 

I went to catholic school for 13 years and am not deeply religious, but I also recognize the fact that in sports every person has their own inner source of motivation. For some like Ray Lewis and Tim Tebow that source is religion. What frustrates me is that Tebow is praised and commend for his religious values yet Lewis is just written off.  Is it racial? Is it the position they play? Is it media hype?  Probably all of the above. They are both called leaders and winners, yet we all know that Ray Lewis can play linebacker and Tebow cannot play NFL quarterback.  Sorry but when character is equal, then ability is the determining factor on who I want on my team. That being said I always Ray Lewis on my football team (hell even softball) as he can play and has the ability to make others around him better.

A sign of Lewis leadership came in yesterday's thrilling victory over the heavily favored #1 Seed Denver Broncos.

when he and most of his team wore NO SLEVEES in sub-zero temperature

while his opponent's body language looked cold and uncomfortable

During the broadcast the announcers commented that during their conversation with Lewis before that game they asked "So Ray are you going to wear long sleeves in the zero degree tempetures. Ray only looked at them like you’re kidding right?" Lewis believes in that tough focused no sleeves in cold mindset and so do I. No sleeves in the cold is a mindset that the weather is not going to stop you. 

Baltimore had that yesterday and Denver did not. As for softball, there are very few Ray Lewis types out there that combine ability and leadership, but I can think of one

whose team's journey will be told next edition of the insider.