Thursday, June 26, 2008

Señor Smoke

I found this old scrap of index card inside the cassette tape case of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" while digitizing some old cassettes recently. The writing is in the adolescent hand of a baseball fan I know, who was 15 in 1984 when her team, the Detroit Tigers, obliterated the rest of the American League and won the World Series in a sweep against the Padres.

She had wanted to be able to remember the lyrics to a promotional song about the Tigers that was produced that year. The song was based on "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" by McFadden and Whitehead, and featured a voice-over narration / old-skool rap extolling the virtues of the Tigers' impressive lineup.

The song streams here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June Swoon

The scribes were wrong, all right? THEY WERE WRONG. Alert the media. What else is new? When were scribes right about anything? They're scribes, after all. Employed for their scribing abilities, not for their prognosticating.

The Loan Sharks have lost five (5) in a row. Swept in a doubleheader by the W'peckers. Humbled in a single game by Midway Rebellion. Swept out like yesterday's detritus in another doubleheader by Jah Energy. Jah Energy??? The Jah Energy with the pitcher with the bionic left knee?

Yes. That Jah Energy.

Mercifully, the Sharks' two games this week were cancelled by weather/carnival equipment on the field. Next games are a doubleheader June 30 vs. Ron's Auto.

It all feels like the Crimean War at this point. Totally pointless, and yet honor is involved somehow.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Loan Sharks Walk All Over Jah Energy, 13-12

Another warm, sunny evening for softball at Shattuck as the wily Loan Sharks led for most of the game, lost the lead in the top of the 7th, came back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh, and then, in bottom of the 8th, patiently allowed Jah Energy reliever Ronnie to walk home the winning run, giving the Sharks a 13-12 victory. It was their second victory in two days, both by one-run margins, and the Sharks improved to 3-4 on the season. The scribes in the press box were unanimous: the Sharks are now clearly the hottest team in the league, going two-for-June so far.

The Sharks jumped out to an early 8-1 lead after two innings via productive at-bats up and down the lineup, including a 2-run homer by Matt Henzy in the first. The Shark bats fell silent, however, in innings 3 and 4, as Jah crept back into the game, tying it 8-8 after four and a half innings.

Then, for some reason, Jah manager Seth replaced his pitcher Dewey with Ronnie, who normally plays in the outfield when he’s not causing havoc on the basepaths. Immediately, the Shark bench noted Ronnie’s control problems. He tried to throw the cutter, the slider, the curve, the slurve, the changeup, the circle-change. He featured the 4-seamer, the 2-seamer — and once in a while, the 3-seamer. But he could not find the plate. Three walks in the fifth to the bottom of the order led to two Shark runs and a 10-8 lead.

But Jah came back with one run in the 6th and three more in the 7th to move in front, 12-10. In the bottom of the seventh, the bottom-of-the-order Shark batters again kept their bats on their shoulders as Ronnie’s control problems resurfaced. The Sharks drew three more walks, setting the table for Stewart Wolfe's dramatic bases-loaded, two-out, two-run, game-tying single that sailed just over the shortstop's glove into left field. On to extra innings with the game tied at 12...

After holding Jah scoreless in the top of the 8th, the Sharks remained patient at the plate. With one out in the bottom of the 8th, Peter Holladay walked. Jess Rousselle followed with a hard single up the middle that tied up the Jah fielders, allowing Holladay to advance to third. With the winning run at third and one out, the Jah bench spied Catfish Hartman loading up his bat with pine-tar and opted to intentionally walk him to load the bases, rather than give him the opportunity — for the first and possibly the last time in his Walter Mitty existence — to hit a glorious walk-off game-winning RBI. No matter. With the bases loaded, Naomi Shelton strode to the box and expertly appraised six of Ronnie’s pitches: a ball, a ball, a called strike, a ball, a called strike...and another ball. Ballgame.

Jah Energy 104 031 30 12 19 3
Loan Sharks 440 020 21 13 15 3

Monday, June 02, 2008

Loan Sharks Repossess Ron's Auto, 12-11

It was a beautiful evening for softball, and a beautiful evening for the Loan Sharks, as they held off a late charge from Ron’s Auto to prevail, 12-11, at Shattuck Field at Franklin Yards on Monday. The Sharks took a 12-7 lead into the bottom of the seventh, gave up four runs to make things interesting, and then stranded the tying run at third and the winning run at first to preserve the victory and improve to 2-4 on the season.

The Sharks posted 3 runs in each of the first two innings on the strength of timely 2-out hitting. Mize Jonas delivered a 2-run triple in the first with two outs, and in the second inning, all four hits came with two outs as three more runs crossed the plate.

Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the third, Ron’s began to organize a comeback by scoring two quick runs, but after Automaton Ron hit a triple into the trees, he got greedy, and Mize Jonas and Jonathan Spack caught him in a perfectly-executed rundown between third and home for the second out of the inning. The putout would prove decisive as the next batter hit a home run which would have scored Ron had he stayed put at third. That extra run would turn out to be the difference in the game.

For the Shark bats, the pivotal inning was the fifth, when the lineup batted around, scoring six. Stewart Wolfe started the proceedings with a single, and then Rachel Carlson reached base on a Ron’s infield mixup. Jonathan Spack singled Wolfe home from second, and after Naomi Shelton reached on a fielder’s choice, Matt Henzy delivered a 3-run homer. With the bases again empty, Kevin Whalen contributed a single, and Kenji Foster followed with a double, and David Spack knocked them both in with a double. The big fifth inning gave the Sharks the cushion they needed to hold off Ron’s seventh-inning rally and pay back their 28-4 shellacking at the hands of Ron’s Auto earlier this year.

Loan Sharks 330 060 0 12 17 2
Ron’s Auto 203 110 4 11 20 1
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