“Wool Suits With No Underwear”

As I mentioned in my August 18th post, Jah Energy (my community coed softball team) was about to play the Number One team in the league, Ron’s Auto, who had won the past three championships. They are a team chock full of young firemen (who have yet to succumb to firehouse chili), mechanics, and powerfully athletic women.  Jah consists of graphic artists, writers, teachers, clerks, the unemployed, and oldsters.

Still, we had fought hard to win our “one or done” play-in game to face Ron’s in the semi-finals.  And we didn’t plan on quitting before the series started, even though our team knew we only had our best pitcher for the opening game.  He and his family were going on vacation.

The season runs from April to September, so it’s hard to begrudge anyone taking time off.  It’s part of every team’s yearly expectations.

And pitch that opener he did.  Jim’s a southpaw and he chucked a beauty.  It’s not easy to make an arc ball do tricks but he had that softball curving in both directions and floating over the plate.  When Ron’s did manage to get their bat on the ball, it usually flew high into the outfield where our team made dramatic catch after catch.  Our infield played tight and solid on every ball that came their way.  Add to that our first baseman’s picks, and Jah held the schtarkers (“bruisers” in Yiddish) to six runs while we eked out eight with the lower end of our lineup tablesetting for our best hitters.

First game to Jah, 8-5.  An incredibly low scoring game in our league.  It was a happy day in Mudville.

But then there was the next game.  Either we came out flat or they came out lusting for revenge, or both.  The game was over by the third inning. (We play seven.)  Our outfield is surrounded by trees—except in right—and it seemed like every ball went over or in them.  One of our women pitched the first half and did a decent job, but it didn’t matter.  They clocked anything and everything they could reach and they seemed to reach ’em all.  We had no choice but to bring our best player in to pitch the second half, though that left our outfield even more vulnerable than it had been.  It seemed like they spent that entire game running up the slope to get balls hit behind the trees. Ron’s players wheeled around the bases like a merry-go-round on speed.

Second game to Ron’s, 28-8.  Well, we were consistent in our run scoring, but there were some seriously long faces in the bar that night.

We had a day between the second and third game and it helped.

Both teams came to play in that third game, but Ron’s were the home team and jumped out to a quick five run lead by the bottom of the first.  We fought back and tied it up, but only momentarily, since they thumped right back with three more.  And that was the rhythm of the entire game.  We never led, tho we never for a moment quit and made run after run–but still lost.

Third game and series to Ron’s Auto 15-11.

The first game of the championship series (which was the only one I was/am able to attend) ended with Ron’s crushing The Wanderers 28-1.

So I look back at my first season of co-managing with mixed feelings.  The team played hard; interpersonal issues were effectively dealt with; playing time gripes were minimal; and, people enjoyed playing with each other.  Still, we ended up in fourth place–a bummer.  At the bar after losing the series, Sara (co-manager) and I had a long talk about whether we wanted to stay on for next season.  I guess we’re gluttons for punishment or believe in glory,  but we both made a two season commitment to manage the team.  And despite our fourth place finish, I think everyone will be pleased.

A few words on another subject:  This Thursday I’ll be flying out to the Midwest for another trial that begins September 6th.  Once again I will try to report in on the “hey kids, it’s not really like Law and Order” process as the trial moves along and buttress my typically ‘only Monday’ posts whenever I have time to write.  As usual, I’ll send out individual notices to those on my mailing list (if you want to be added, just send your email address to zacharykleinonline@gmail.com) and place my usual notices on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

So keep an eye out for dispatches from the hinterland.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss
of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill