Saturday, May 02, 2009

Malachy's 15, Goal Post 10

The 11 runs they scored in the first two innings were really all our opponent would need on Thursday night to hand us our first loss of the season. But, trailing 11-0 after two innings and making a game of it is a bit of a moral victory, in that we showed—to ourselves, that is—that we weren't going to allow a rough start to completely frustrate us. Personally, I was a hard-luck 1-for-4, bringing my stats to 6-for-11 with three walks on the season.

In my discussion of our last game, I touched on the subject of strikeouts, which turned out to be a pretty significant issue in this game. After I grounded out to start the game, Ryan suffered the unfortunate indignity of striking out looking...and he knew it. In fact, he said he thought the pitch was going to be inside, and I recalled that, only a few pitches earlier, a gust of wind had blown a ball outside that looked like it was going to be in the strike zone.

The penalty for striking out looking is to buy the team a case of imported beer, which is supposed to be an upgrade over the usual 30-pack of Bud Light, but isn't necessarily in my book. I guess, if you put a gun to my head, I'd choose 24 Heinekens over 30 Buds. I'm considering looking at a strike three myself so that I can buy a case of Dogfish IPA, which isn't imported, of course, but I'm sure would qualify, although I'm not sure that it would be a huge hit.

We're going to have our work cut out for us when the weather gets better and the team starts hanging out in the parking lot after games, because Ryan's backwards K wasn't the only strikeout of the night. In fact, one teammate struck out twice, although it was swinging both times, and another fouled out to the catcher...which is considered on the same level as a strikeout. So, that's three 30-packs and one imported case that we have coming to us.

I was involved in another double play tonight, although it was more a case of good fortune than anything else. There were runners on first and second, with one out. I was playing second base—the only position I've played so far this year despite the utility role I've filled in years past—when a sinking line drive was hit towards me that I gloved, but didn't catch cleanly, just a few inches off the ground. I immediately threw the ball to our shortstop, who was covering second. The runners were really confused, as was everyone else, including the umpire. Rhino caught the throw—I believe while standing on second, a very important detail—tagged the runner who had returned to second thinking I would catch the liner, and tagged the runner coming from first, for good measure.

Like I said, everyone was confused, including me, to be completely honest. But, I pumped my fist and tried to sell it as a double play as I started to run off the field. This may or may not have worked, but the end result was that the umpire called both runners out.

Now, here's the important part of this lesson. If Rhino is standing on second base when he receives my throw, the runner from first is out, and the runner from second is no longer forced to go to third. So, if he's standing on the base when tagged, he's not out. But, if it happens the other way around—that is, if Rhino tags the runner from second, whether he's on the base or not, then tags the base—it’s a double play.

Personally, I think the umpire got this call wrong, and probably could have figured out how to get it right if he had taken a half-minute to think about what had just happened. But, even Rhino couldn't remember the sequence of events a few minutes after the play was over, so it was somewhat understandable.

I never thought of it this way, but our sponsor really has a vested interest in our success. No, I don't mean the huge trophy that would be displayed in the bar if won the championship, but the fact that the more times we go down on strikes, the less time and money we spend at the Goal Post.

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