The Wrecking Crew’s defense of the C Bracket Consolation title got off to a solid start last night as we won 8-4 or 7-3 or something. All I know is that we won by four runs. It wasn’t pretty, but true to that oldest of sports cliches, a win’s a win.
Since I no longer have unlimited financial resources like I did in my early 20s, the only thing I allowed myself to celebrate our team championship was this Nike Pro Combat compression short. I got it from Ross for $15. Win. It’s got these tiny red foam pads that are meant to protect my thighs and hips. Anyway, it’s an upgrade in just about every way over the previous set I had been using, a lesser version of the Nike Pro Combat compression shorts. The old one was really ill-fitting. For those of you not in the know, I have a fat ass with thick thighs that taper off quickly towards the knees. The general result is that the shorts are super-tight in the waist/ass/crotch/upper-thigh regions, but loose near the knee. Not exactly built for battle. Also, the last pair of shorts were so tight in the crotch area that even with the cup on, it compressed my delicates to the size of a ping-pong ball (down from their non-compressed golf ball size). Summary: my new shorts are amazing. My junk has requested Tony Braxton’s “Breathe Again” prior to every game.
Our game started promptly at 6:15, which is remarkable considering 75% of our team showed up at 6:14. This drives Matty and I absolutely insane. One of the things our father instilled in us is promptness. It’s not just being on time, it’s being inexplicably outraged at not being 15 minutes early. I don’t know. I didn’t get my father’s work ethic, but I did inherit that thing where he sets his alarm clock half-an-hour ahead of real time. But yeah, it was 6:05 and only the two of us and one other guy were sitting in our dugout watching the other team warm up. Matty started to turn into Baseball Matty, the guy who punctuates his sentences with f-bombs every other word. I was getting pretty anxious as well. Two more guys sauntered in, and then in the distance we could see the rest of our team slowly making their way down from the parking lot. I cannot express to you how crazy this makes me. Chalk it up to years of playing baseball and having to show up hours before game time. I try to get to the park at least 45 minutes before the game so I can relax, stretch out, get all my gear on, and be ready to warm up before the game starts. Not so with most of my teams. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to think that I can roll out of bed – or my car – and play decent softball, only I don’t really ever want to have to.
I had a solid game last night. I made the play on the one ball hit to me at second base, but narrowly missed the one hit to me while I was playing first (more on this later). I had a good day at the plate, going 3-4 with 2RBI. I don’t have much power anyway, but the team we played against last night aligned their outfield pretty deep, so I never even considered trying for extra-base hits. On my best night, I can hit a ball as well as I can and it will only chase the outfielder back a few steps if he’s playing a normal depth in the outfield. It’s just one of those things I’ve come to accept. Like how my bat speed is likely impeded by my stomach. Anyway, all I try to do is hit the ball back up the middle; if the pitcher makes a play on it, I tip my cap. Two of my hits went right back up the middle. The most important at-bat was my last one. We were only up by one run and in the middle of a 7th inning rally. Since we were the visiting team, it was our last chance to pad our lead before the last at-bat for the other team. I waited for a pitch middle-out and smashed a hit between the first and second basemen for a run. That’s clutch.
We headed into the bottom of the 7th inning with a four-run lead, and if there’s anything I’ve learned about our team’s defense, it’s that no lead is safe. The first batter knocked a clean base hit through the infield, but foolishly tried to stretch it to a double. Our left-centerfielder gunned him out at second. That was huge. The next two batters went down without incident and our game-winning cheer – which is really just a sigh of relief – was heard across the field.
We play at 6:15 again next week against a team that looks young and athletic. They also have legit jerseys. These are three huge red flags. Historically, our team doesn’t fare well against young, athletic teams with legit jerseys. That usually means that most, if not all, of them have played baseball at some point in their lives, and probably recently. Also, I’ve learned that two former students of mine are on a team in our division, and while they do not have legit jerseys, they are very young and super-athletic. It ‘s going to be difficult to defend the title, but who the hell wants easy?
I only had once chance on a grounder while I played first base. It was a smash down the line. I took two steps and dove. The ball ricocheted off the tip of my glove into foul territory. The result was runners at second and third, but also two torn up knees. Since I refuse to wear pants, I’ll probably have to pick up a second knee pad at this point. I forgot the one I already own at home last night.
Matty and Tanya and I had dinner at Taco Bell after the game. My stomach started making complaints soon after. On the ride home, I had 90% of my energy focused on keeping my waste inside of me. The other 10% was spent trying to drive. And this was one side of my dilemma.
I knew that we didn’t have large band-aids at home. I had planned to pick up a box from Longs on the way home. The equation had changed, however, with this uprising going on in my stomach. As I sped up H2, I ran the scenarios in my head. I knew I could comfortably get home and unleash the fury. Doing so, though, would put me in the unenviable position of having to sleep in my bed with two bleeding knees. In a few hours, I would have to put on dress pants over these bleeding knees.
I tested the fates and pulled into the Mauka Longs. I got out of my car and walked across the median. Because it was dark, I could not see that the median was a swamp. I landed in a mud puddle roughly three inches deep. I could only do one of those “Arrrrgghh!” things because a mom and her kid were sitting in a car nearby. My stomach was still in turmoil. I briskly walked into Longs, located the band-aids and u-turned towards the front of the store. Just the one check out line was open. There were two people in front of me. Oh, no. I stood in line while doing that one thing where you twist one leg behind the other. I think I might have even closed my eyes to focus my chi. When it was finally my turn, I handed the clerk the band-aid and she said “Give me one second.” SHE HAD TO CHANGE OUT THE PAPER ROLL IN THE REGISTER! I did that one thing where you are so irritated and frustrated that you slowly lean your head back while closing your eyes and gnashing your teeth.
I got the band-aids, got home, then hastily pulled a Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber. It wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win.