Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Post-game press conference - vs. Pregnant Cheerleaders

In case you missed it, here are highlights from Ninjas coach Scott Jones' press conference following Monday night's game against the Pregnant Cheerleaders:

A painful victory

The good news: We beat the Pregnant Cheerleaders 12-0.

The bad news: Michael broke his ankle in the second inning and is out for the rest of the season. Mr. "More Heart Than Brains or Sliding Ability" decided to slide into third base in an attempt to beat a throw that wound up beating him by about two or three steps. Actually, it beat his foot by a few more steps, as that stuck in the ground as the rest of him kept moving forward.

The ump said that he "could hear something pop" from home plate.

The best part is that Scott and I were coaching the previous kicker on first base when everyone started heading over to third once they realized Michael was hurt. The home plate ump told Scott that "we need you help because one of your players is hurt". Scott's response? "I'm not a doctor..."

On a personal note: The worst individual game I've played in some time. I went 0-2, including popping out to god damned Shirley to end the first inning. I'm not kidding that this might have been the first out she's ever recorded in a game. It's like having a two-year old steal a basketball from you.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Game Day: Week 4

We play the Pregnant Cheerleaders tonight. They're a nice group of people, albeit a bunch of dorks. And not dorks in the "using an excessive amount of smoke bombs and shooting model rockets into the trees" type. Apparently, at one of their practices, they did "trust falls" to establish team unity. So, more of the "never got over being a camp counselor" kind of dork.

They were the worst team in the Division last season, including losing 13-1 to us last season. They won their first two games this season, which caused them to suddenly get a little cocky and smirky at the bar. Which is interesting since both teams they beat were playing their first-ever game of kickball. Needless to say, they lost their last game to one of the new teams (The Bookhouse Boys), who at least had a couple of games under their belt.

I want to score 20 runs against them. Seriously. Nothing against them, but I want to really send a message tonight. Kill. Crush. Destroy.

The latest team project? Do you remember how sports teams all seemed to have their own music videos back in the 1980s? Some, like the Super Bowl Shuffle, were supposed to be by the team, talking about how good they are. The other kind was a music video of the team's official theme song, complete with a cheesy 1980s rock song that was usually "Go TEAM NAME, Go!", interspersed with highlights of the team on the field, acting goofy off the field, and the occassional cameo by a celebrity fan. The perfect example would be the 1986 Mets' theme song "Let's Go Mets". So much 80s cheese in there, it's amazing.

So, I discussed this with Scott and Ashley, and we're going to do this for the Ninjas. I'm going to work on a song this week, and hopefully we can get Behn (our videographer) to help us shoot some additional footage to go with our already existing game footage. Expect awesomeness to ensue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Am I a jerky jerk?

I pitched one inning during the game. It was the fourth inning, and we were up 10-2. With one out, one of their female kickers came up. She looked at two pitches over the plate for strikes, and then one ball way outside. I then threw kind of an overarm pitch that breaks left-to-right instead of right-to-left that, if you've never seen it before, doesn't look like it has a chance to curving into the strike zone until it skips across at the tail end. She stood there and watched it go by for strike three.

The question is: should I have thrown that pitch, knowing that there was a good chance she would strike out? Being up 10-2, should I have just thrown normal pitches over the plate and given her a chance to kick? My feeling is no: the only way they are going to learn is by failing, and the lesson there is to a) not let two kickable balls go first and b) you have to try and kick it if it's close with two strikes.

Also, does this mean that I'm going to be a "tough love" kind of Dad? Like, "the only way Figgy will learn to not jam something into the electrical socket is to do it once."

Game 3 recap

We played Legs of Fury, which is another of the new teams. We scored 7 runs in the first inning and that was pretty much that. Final score, Ninjas win 12-2.

Perhaps the most remarkable event of the evening was the continuing transformation of Scott Jones from wacky coach to motivational, hard-ass, Bill Parcells-type head coach. I mean, one of our players kicked a fly ball that was misplayed by the outfield into a home run to make the score 10-2, and Scott was complaining about it, because we stress kicking ground balls with no runners on base, and the fly ball should have been caught.

And you know what? Scott's absolutely right to do this. We've played three games this season - one game against a veteran team that we lost, and then two against new teams that we won in blow-outs. And frankly, those wins don't count for much. As far as I'm concerned, it's almost like there are two Divisions taking place at the same time. One four-team Division for the good, returning teams (us, Redrum, Valley Girls and Uno Mas) and one five-team Division for everyone else (the four new teams plus the Pregnant Cheerleaders, who are great people, but aren't in the same league as the other returning teams.) Playing these new, weaker teams is only going to reinforce bad habits (going for home runs instead of just worrying about getting on base being a big concern) that is going to come back to haunt us when we play a good team at some point. Those fly ball home runs we kicked last night are only loud outs against teams like Redrum.

In fact, I'm making a prediction that we lose to Redrum in the regular season when we play them next month, based on our schedule. We'll have played two (what should be) easy games, and have had a bye week right before it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I see us hitting a lot of fly ball outs in that game, and being surprised that they can catch everything. I'd like to be wrong about this, though.

On a more fun note, Michael and I umped the early game. Michael brought yellow and red cards (actually yellow and pink index cards) that we issued to players for made up infractions during the game. We also ended up giving each other red cards while umping, which was nice.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One factoid from Monday night's game

I currently lead the league in number of times humping home plate when scoring, at 1.

I was on third base, and Ashley was on first. Tyler kicked a fly ball over the left fielder's head that wound up going for a triple. I jogged home, and then realized that I had plenty of time before Ashley was going to make it home (not that she's slow, just that I had a two-base head start). So, I did what any sane person would do: dropped on the ground and began humping home plate.

I don't consider this "showing up the other team", since it wasn't like I was doing anything directed against them. I was merely showing my enthusiasm and excitement over scoring.

By humping home plate.

Also, odds of me becoming the most hated man in the Division by the end of the season: now up to 8:1.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Finally a win...

We took an "easy" 7-1 victory over the Trey Stafford Explosion last night. I say "easy" because we were only up 2-1 before we scored five times in the bottom of the fourth inning to break the game open. I pitched the first two innings and the final inning - which I haven't been doing lately. But thanks to some advanced scouting, we had a good idea that they wouldn't be bunting a lot, and that my curve ball pitches would cause them a lot of headaches.

We played a lot better, overall, and I was happy to have an outlet for my anger after the US National team absolutely piled it in against the Czechs.

I think I'm going to hop on a motorocycle without a license or a helmet and plow into a Lincoln...

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Trey Stafford Explosion

They are one of the new teams in the Division, and they think they're pretty awesome. They have their own logo and MySpace and everything. And, they claim that they are going to "outshenanigan" us this season. We play them tonight, and we're taking it as a personal mission to out-everything them. Also, the US choked against the Czech Republic, so I'm extra bitter with a side of pissed off.

My prediction for tonight's game? A whole lotta this:

And by that, I mean "a whole lot of oral sex performed on ninja dolls by flaming, disembodied heads". Oh yeah!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I've been slacking off on coming to practice the last few weeks. Mainly it's been because I've been either sick or out of town. I'm definitely going to be there this week, and I certainly hope that after our poor display on Monday, any teammates reading this come out as well.

3 p.m at the North Hollywood Rec Center. We'll scrimmage, and go over kicking, fielding and running. And then maybe we'll go out for ice cream. Or play some pinball. It's not mandatory, but if you don't show up, I hate you.

Opening night...not so successful

- The model rocketry launch was a qualified success. We had one rocket, and Scott and Michael tested it about 30 minutes before opening ceremonies. It worked great. Unfortunately, they tested it near all the trees at the park so...yeah. Right now the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas rocket is about 50 feet up a tree at the North Hollywood Recreation Center.

- As expected, the launch of Awesome Helicopter Ninjas: Scary Ghost Edition was met mainly with confusion from the other teams. I don't think we did a good enough job of getting the whole "ghost" theme across to the other teams. But next week, the Space Ghost costume will be in full effect, and Michael will hopefully have time to tell the team a scary ghost story, so that should help.

- The raising of the championship banner and the handing out of the championship rings was pretty damn sweet, however. Everyone really seemed to appreciate it, and we all enjoyed showing them off to the other teams after the game to remind everyone that we are the defending champs.

- Which was good that we had that, since we lost 4-1 in the season opener to Uno Mas. Which frankly isn't that surprising because a) we always lose to Uno Mas (the only time we beat them was in the first season playoffs when they only had four girls, then had to forfeit after one of their girls was hurt during the game); b) we are always "slow starters" and c) out of 21 people there last night, around 2/3 were new players, while Uno Mas is almost entirely the same team of veterans from last season.

We gave up three runs in the first inning, which were pretty much attributible to new players making poor decisions. (Or in some cases, veterans who really should know better making poor decisions, but I won't name names.) Some of the new players are going to be really good once they understand the basic fundamental concepts. Bill (who we usually scrimmage with on Sundays) in particular is a beast - he was all over the place on defense, and led off the game with an infield triple a la Scott Jones.

I can't compare this team to the team that won the championship last season, because even though that was only a few weeks ago, it is a very different team. I think we're better now than we were at the start of last season, and that's encouraging. If we had been playing one of the four new teams instead of a veteran team like Uno Mas, we would have won pretty easily, I think.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Opening Night, Take II

Finally, it's opening night for the Spring 2006 season. Other than the super-secret surprise that I can't even talk about here, there is the usual percentage of Ninja hijinxs. Scott should have the AHN model rocket ready to go for an exhibition, and I have the championship rings ready to go for a ring ceremony before the start of the game. It should be a first-class display of ridiculousness - expect pictures tomorrow.

Then again, we might wind up forfeiting this week. We were already very short on females for tonight's game when Ashley decided it would be a good idea to sprain her ankle on Saturday while dancing in Santa Barbara to an 80s cover band. Cuttin' "Footloose" indeed - if by "loose" you mean "loosening the ligiments that connect her foot, ankle and lower leg".

But Ashley will play tonight because a) she's tough; b) she's as committed to the Ninjas as anyone and c) if we need a fourth player to be legal I'll force her to be out there, even if she has to use Scott's crutches from "The Miracle Play" and just stand in the field as a stationary target.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Unfortunately, it looks like we won't be able to field a team for the WAKA Regionals in Los Angeles on June 10. Several of our females are out of town that weekend, and we can only get commitments from three females to show up for the Regionals. So, no Ninjas shenanigans on cable television. Oh well, that's how we like to do it anyway - underground. Also, it's kind of lame that we would play in Regionals, since we already clinched a spot in the World Championships by winning the Division Tournament. However, the Regional winner gets a $1,500 travel voucher to go to the World Championships (in Miami) while we get diddlypoo for winning our Division.

Sounds fair, right?