Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Playoff Begin on Monday

Our last game of the regular season was Monday, against Smurfageddon. The winner took second place in our Conference for the regular season while the loser finished third. It was a very, very good game, probably the best I've played in or seen all season. We, being us this season, spotted them a 6-3 (I think?) lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. We then managed to close the gap to 6-5 and load the bases with two outs and yours truly at the plate.

What happened next was the Grand Bull Moose Award winner of mixed blessings:

- I lined a single to left-center field, in front of their best defender.
- He almost fell while trying to field the ball (I put some spin on it, and it sliced away from him), which would have won the game.
- He kept his balance and his composure, and had the presence of mind to run to second base (none of his fielders were covering the base) and step on it about a quarter step before our runner from first could get there.

So, we lost 6-5, but the last play was basically what good kickball was all about - I did what I needed to do and our runner ran as fast as she possibly could; their fielder just made exactly the right play.

Final regular season record: 5-3, and the overall No. 6 seed (of 16 teams) for the playoffs. Since two of our three losses were by one run each, I actually think we can go very far this postseason IF (and this is turning out to be a big if) we can play with focus and intensity for five full innings. We seem to sleepwalk through the first three innings or so, believing that we can just "turn it on" when we need to. Sometimes we can, and sometimes (like on Monday) we can't.

We play The Mean Girls 'N' Boys Next Door on Monday at 8:05 p.m. in a rematch of one of those "flip the switch" games where we needed a late comeback to avoid losing to a team we're much better than. If I need to be more intense and focused myself to make sure the team is in the right frame of mind for the playoffs, so be it - I don't care if Kareenah thinks I'm "angry" when I play like that. We're too good not to go far in the playoffs this season.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Don't Fill Up On Bread

There is a moment that happens at buffet restaurants. It's a turning point. See, at first buffets are nebulous experiences. You're assaulted with steak and pie and maybe Cap'n Crunch. This is a metaphor, usually nobody throws food at you. But like a food fight, it's coming at you from all angles and you've got to decide where to start. Pace yourself and try a little of everything just don't fill up on bread.

If you pace yourself too long you'll reach the paradox of being full yet unsatisfied. It's like you've made so many good friends with cornbread, pasta salad and mashed potatos but never found that deep connection with barbecue ribs. Your experience is incomplete.

The same thing happens on pub crawls or in Las Vegas when you keep saying, "Oh, I'm going to have a drink later." Before you know it, it's Sunday morning or the last Redline train is heading back to North Hollywood and sure, you saved a couple of bucks, but you never got to that make-an-ass-of-yourself-in-public point that makes the experience worthwhile.

You've got to locate the moment right before the enormous nature of the experience lulls you to sleep. That's where you end your sampling and moderation. Kick the opening act off the stage and get to the main event. You've got to stand on a bar stool and say, "I'm having a shot of Goldschlager AND a Pabst Blue Ribbon, RIGHT NOW! (please)". Then head out onto Hollywood Boulevard to make some questionable decisions because that is the recipe for a moment worth remembering.

Take that as you will.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Being a Pussy

I have terrible manners. Several kickballers know this, even friends like "Smidty" from Hollywood's Little Lebowski's, Christian on Redrum or Kevin from Dogtown's Pregnant Cheerleaders.

Rarely, I'll go an entire game without even saying a negative word to a teammate. Last night, I didn't say much. Cameron and I quietly corrected a misapplied rule, otherwise nothing happened.

Then there was the 5th inning. We've already got a 3-0 lead and I made the questionable decision to run home after a caught pop fly caught 7 feet from where I was standing. The outfielder had subconsciously given me the "go ahead and run because I'm not going to do anything about it" look. So, I did and was called safe in a close play at the plate. No argument from the opposition. The next kicker comes up. First base ump whispers to home plate and I'm called out. A brief perplexed look and protest followed. Especially telling was that the opposition didn't fight for the new ruling and quietly accepted it.

After the game, I pointed out to the home plate ump that he rules home plate like the heroic ump signaling "safe" in the Norman Rockwell painting. He asked if I felt the first base ump "could not see the play from 60 feet away". I said I'd prefer to be judged from 5 inches away. Yes, the game's over and we won. Not the point.

Next, I learned what unconvincing hearsay I was called out on, "I said I THOUGHT it hit you." the 1st base ump said, then added, "I didn't know if it was before or after you touched the base though." He said he couldn't quite see where the base was. He WAS 60 feet away after all.

This isn't even "reasonable doubt" to overturn the call. This was reasonable doubt's retarded cousin "Unreasonable Belief". Nonsense.

So, naturally, instead of leaving the field with a "whatevs". I mumbled for the ump to fornicate himself. He returned the wishes. I told him to perform the act with extra enthusiasm on himself, which he advised me I would probably enjoy too much. I lobbed the whimsical suggestion of using his face and an icicle. He chose to end the discussion.

Towards the end of the exchange, I obviously realized I was being a douche and hinted at that with increasingly ludicrous ideas. Naturally I felt bad but enjoyed the creative exercise of taking insults into unusual territory. My opinion on the non-ruling is pretty solid but my behavior needs adjusting. I took the first opportunity at the bar to tell the ump "I have terrible manners. You're a good guy. I'm sorry, it's just what I do." Now, I'm not resigned to the way I act or always proud of it but I do like having a little fire and passion. Listen, if the ship's sinking, you'd want me on the crew. I'll never lose that but I'm always trying to apply it more positively. It'll take a lifetime but I think I'm getting better.

Game 7 vs. Hype

Everyone played really well. There wasn't much to say. But i'll try anyway.

We opened up a 1 to 0 lead in the first on some fancy base running by myself and Adam J. I kicked a single, just over the head of the 1st baseman (what we were practicing in...well, in practice) and while they were diddling themselves with the ball, I ran to 2nd before they threw it back to the pitcher. Horray!

Adam J. ran the bases well, and frigg'n booked to home. I forget which kick it was on, but he caught 'em not looking.

Hype had good defense and got on base a few times, but never took advantage. They are an athletic team that really needs someone that can drive the ball far to bring in runs.

Cameron kicked a great line drive that was caught by fingertips at a girl's feet. He was bummed.

Tyler kicked a MONSTER fly ball, that was also caught by the same girl. He was bummed.

Scott kicked a ball, that I don't think he realized he kicked. It went fair, and he booked to 1st. Later on, he was also sneaky, and while on 3rd base, took advantage of a Hype player whose back was turned and he slid into home. He was totally safe. The ump at home thought he was safe, but the 1st base umpire said he "saw it hit him". Needless to say, it was kind of B.S. And well, ask Scott about it. Lets just say the words "fuck you harder" were said. And maybe "fuck you with an icicle".

Oh, Adam G. and Joe turned a double play to end the game, that was totally NOT a bummer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Week 6 Game: AHN vs. MGBND

On Monday, we played a team called the Mean Girls 'n Boys Next Door. I'm a big proponent for calling a team what they are named. I get my knickers in a twist when we're referred to as "the ninjas". Oh, also, there is a guy on Uno Mas who ALWAYS asks me "What team are you on?" and I ALWAYS say "Awesome Helicopter Ninjas" and he says "I thought you were just 'the Ninjas' " and...well, on and on.

ANYWAY, so yeah, we played the Mean Girls 'n Boys Next Door. They are one of those teams that play better than you think they will play. Good kickers. Good base runners. Good defense. We beat 'em, but it was in the bottom of the 5th, when we were down 3-2. We managed to load up the bases on great kicks by Scott P., Adam G, Megan and Joe. Someone else too. Joe ended up kicking in the winning run, so big "ups" to Joe.

But this is about ME! So, fuck you, Joe. I had the idea that we all play the first inning blind folded. This idea was probably very very...very poor, you embryo, so it was nixed. So I convinced Scott to let me pitch the first inning blind folded. That is called 'compromise'. Look it up.

Yeah, it didn't go so well. Well, it didn't go BAD, it was just a pain and slowed things down. In hindsight...I should have kicked blind folded as well. But you know, hindsight. I think the problem we've had this season is that we've been wanting to do a lot of shenanigans, but keep getting bogged down by winning the game. Or at least, get put into a position early on where we're down, so our heads are not about the stupid, but about the kickball. I know, weird.

We also had some bad overthrowing mistakes. That seems to be the theme of this season. Forget the Rise of the Machines. It's 'Awesome Helicopter Ninjas and the Overthrowing of Azkaban'.


Also, Jack and I umped the next game: Redrum vs. Trey Stafford Explosion, and a girl got a ball to the face. And that was fun. First one I've seen all season. Horray!

Next week we play "Hype" and I know jack about crap about them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Ha, Richard! I got here first!

This image was just about 100% Richard. I just cobbled it together for the Studio Newsletter. Why am I posting it here? Well, lets just say there may be a chance that WAKA brass may "frown" upon it.

Ok, a little backstory: Once upon a time, I decided to write the newsletter, then went all crazy, and turned each into a magazine of sorts. This lastest one was Electronic Kicking Monthly (I think I mentioned it in an earlier post, but I digress) and was video game themed. Richard, was all "have you ever heard of Wall Street Kid, also, lick my nuts". And I said "No.", to both. The end result was this. A fake advert for a shitty video game...

(Editor's Note: Click to see full-sized version)

Methinks it may cut a little to close to the bone for WAKA's liking. But you know, if they say "yeah, we don't want to put that in there" they should remember that because this is a social activity, we are friends with oh, EVERYONE.

Monday, April 02, 2007

No Game Tonight

It's Seder, so happy Seder to all of the Ninjas' Jewish friends. This means that we don't have an official game, although the Gentiles amongst us will be practicing at the park and probably working on some other stuff.

To hold you over, here's an appearance by Scott on NoHo Tonight (I think it's either a cable access show, or something on The CW) last week in advance of our game against Redrum. As you can see, the tips didn't help.

At any rate, watch and enjoy!