Thursday, May 14, 2009

Your Weekly Softball Report: The First Three Games

Ah coed softball, amateur sporting at it's most mediocre. A game that requires very little athletic prowess--just a $50 check, a pair of cleats and glove, and a willingness to subject yourself to the ridicule of others. Granted, Rickey has joined a beer league and the stakes are completely nonexistent, but that doesn't preclude him him from taking this venture quite seriously. Now, you'd think that hours spent watching professional baseball on television would transfer over into some sort of knowledge of how to actually play the damn game. And in Rickey's case, you'd be completely mistaken. Rickey is... how do you say... well... very not good.

The good news for Rickey's struggling softball team is that they haven't yet played a game that has necessitated the umpire to invoke the mercy rule. But at 0-3 with 9 games remaining in the regular season, there's still plenty of time for that. Below follows a brief summary of the relevant events from the first three games in which Rickey's softball team has participated.

Game 1: In which the season gets off to a most inauspicious start. Rickey, completely unaware that his team's color is red, shows up in a white logoed t-shirt. No jerseys are worn--everybody just wears red shirts like a motley crew of expendable Star Trek characters. Amongst the team members, there are murmurs of some season long ago when everybody was organized enough to design and purchase nice jerseys with their names on them, but those halcyon days are apparently long gone.

While creating the lineup, Rickey's coach had a complete lapse in judgment and decided to put Rickey at third base. For most of the game, Rickey channeled his inner D-Wright and performed reasonably adequately. The highlights of the game include Rickey expertly fielding a ground ball on a hop and proceeding to throw it 25 feet to the right of first base directly into the woods, resulting in a double, and another play in which Rickey deftly stopped a bullet of a hit by placing his upper torso directly in the path of the oncoming ball, with complete disregard for his physical well being (and the fact that he was wearing a glove on his left hand). Apparently the sternum makes a loud hollow thumping noise when hit with a ball travelling at 45mph. Rickey had every other part of the play right -- charge the ball and get your body in front of it -- but had simply forgotten to catch the damn ball, instead opting to bring it to a complete stop by blocking it with his chest like it was a soccer ball.

Judging by the complete silence that overtook the field following this play, we can tell you that Rickey's patented "sternum blocking maneuver" is a helluva great intimidation technique if you're trying to convince people how much of a softball badass you are. Next Mets game, we'd love to see Ryan Church pull this move on a hard hit ball and then let loose a sustained primal roar.

At bat, Rickey performed surprisingly well, even getting a nice base hit resulting in a single. With one out and his team trailing in the bottom of the seventh inning, Rickey realized that this was his time to pounce. Choosing to interpret the first base coach's advice to not get caught off base on an infield fly ball as "take 10 steps to second base and remain perfectly motionless between first and second base when the batter pops out" Rickey got caught in an embarrassing game ending double play. In Rickey's defense:

1) Even without that error, there's absolutely no way his team would've overcome their seven run deficit, and,

2) Were a tyrannosaurus rex to suddenly appear to the field, Rickey would've been perfectly safe (their vision is movement based).

Game 2: Citing a "conflicting obligation," and then gazing distantly away, Rickey weasels his way out of the game. Reports come in that the game was a close one, with Rickey's team losing 8 to 9. Under no circumstances are we willing to attribute the team's improved performance to Rickey's absence.

Game 3: This game showcased some marked improvement on Rickey's part as he landed a solid hit directly to the pitcher and somehow managed to beat out the throw to first base. The ump, apparently perfectly content with calling the play from behind home plate, yelled "safe" and lo and behold, Rickey was standing proud at first. Several hits later from his team and Rickey was sent scampering home, deciding curiously to not stop running until he had made back it to his team's bench. Rickey's time spent in the highly coveted and physically demanding position of right field was mercifully uneventful. Rickey's second at bat before he voluntarily removed himself from the game consisted of a weak dribbler following by the opposing team sarcastically congratulating their pitcher, "way to squeeze him, Jerry!" Ouch--that's gonna make Rickey drink extra tonight.

Then, following a barrage of runs from the opposing team, their coach pulls the ultimate indignity: he pulls the pitcher and replaces him with a ringer (because tossing underhand is so physically taxing). For a moment, some poor pitching from the opposing team's bullpen looks like it just might let Rickey's softball team back in the game, a development that Rickey sagely commented on while sitting on the bench and removing his cleats and getting ready to head towards the parking lot. To the surprise of no one, the rally is short-lived and Rickey's team loses the game.

And this recaps the first three softball outings of the season. As you can imagine, Rickey has yet to ask Ms. Henderson to attend one of his games. We'll be back next week with another edition of ...The Softball Report.

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Bob said...

I am so bad at softball/baseball that even my ninth grade gym teacher ridiculed me…in front of the class! I haven’t attempted the game since.

Now that I am about 75 lbs heavier, I am going to kick that teacher’s ass if I ever see him.

Toasty Joe said...

Well played, sir. And by the way - this fellow's style of writing reminded me very much of Rickey's. In other words, hilarious:

Bob said...

"Apparently the sternum makes a loud hollow thumping noise when hit with a ball travelling at 45mph.Very funny. Sounds like one of my ninth grade maneuvers.

Rickey Henderson said...

Amen, Toasty--Rickey's a big fan of Jamberoo as well. KSK and Drew Magary are pretty much the only reason Rickey maintains an interest in football.

Adam said...


I heard Freddie Mercuty singing "Under Pressure" when reading this post.

I give you a lot credit for going out there. You're a gutsy sunovagun. I would be (and am) sitting inside safely, popping my allergy meds and photoshopping silly pictures. You're out there chopping wood. Hats off.

Smitty said...

Mrs. Smitty and I are looking into a coed softball league this summer as well.

The last time we did one was before Smitty Jr. Mrs. Smitty was a softball player in highschool. She has some skills, and a wicked arm from the outfield.

I am like Cecil Fielder. I can hit the ball hard, but am really too slow to be of any use anywhere except maybe as a speed-bump at first base.

George said...

We could organize a league of piss-poor bloggers. Of course, we'd have to play all the games virtually.

Bob said...

"Mrs. Smitty was a softball player in highschool."Huh.

And she still married a dude.

waitingforthealiens a.k.a. wfta said...

I'm not usually one to advise rash behavior, but I think you should go ahead and quit the day job and really pursue the writing career.

Dave Berry and Andy Borowitz make good livings I'm sure. And you are there at a minimum.

Mike said...

I second WFTA -- you make suck at softball, but you can write.

Now get to work on that HOF induction speech.

Bob said...


I heard a rumor that you wrote the first draft of Obama's Notre Dame speech. Can you share a few tidbits?

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