I can think of nothing better for my 60th post of the year than this.
After a long winter, my friends and I will be taking to the fields at Momma Johnson Park in Hoboken once again next week for a season of kickball. This twisted entertainment has been going on for over a year now, and the stories from kickball alone would be enough to power this blog. I am simply itching to get back into the action.
To get you primed for the spring season, faithful readers, I offer you a detailed analysis of our roster…
Volpe (1B, Team Muscle): Volpe is our team’s Jason Giambi: hairy, a fixture at first base, and prone to the occasional fit of ‘roid rage. Volpe went down in infamy during last fall’s play-offs when he became–justifiably–one of the two primary combatants in what may have been the league’s first recorded bench-clearer. Also known as “Twinkle Toes” for his curious kicking mechanics, Volpe likely has another excellent defensive season ahead of him. But can his propensity for punting pop-ups be prevented?
Scott (P, GM, CEO, Whipping Boy): If anything is going wrong during the game, Scott’s the one to blame. He might not be at fault. Hell, he might not even be at the game. But it’s still always his fault. In his defense, he has had some solid outings from the mound. In the fall, on certain nights when the moon was full and the stars were properly aligned, Scott was bestowed with the power to defy gravity, making outstanding leaps to snag line drives that any other day would have sailed hopelessly over his head. His league-mandated tests never came back positive, and that’s the story we’re sticking to.
Josh (OF, Black Sheep): Josh cemented his status as the team’s pariah long ago, when he was just subbing on a night we were short a few players. Josh became the first person that we ever witnessed striking out on swings in kickball. The fact that we ever let him actually join the team as a regular speaks volumes to how kind and forgiving we actually can be. Josh had some solid outings in the fall, so perhaps his redemption will continue this spring.
Kish (LF, Asst. Dance Captain): Always a reliable presence in left field, Kish has a strong arm to throw it in, the unexpected speed to take two bases when others would only go for one, and the dance moves to put most professional bar mitzvah dancers to shame. When he isn’t shaking it like a Polaroid picture, he’s giving the game 110%, which is to be admired every bit as much as his skill.
Spitz (P, Designated Bunter, Batting Order Diva): Our other ace, Spitz commands the field from the mound. Her pitching knowledge comes in mighty handy when facing down opposing hurlers. Spitz is the Queen of the Bunt, and you can see her analyze each pitch as it rolls towards her, anticipating how best to execute that dastardly tap-and-run she’s known for. It is now accepted pre-game ritual that Spitz makes the batting order. She has yet to divulge her methodology, and we expect she never will. But if you want to try your hand at it, by all means just ask her…
Rachel (2B, Drill Sergeant): Perhaps our most dangerous female player, noted for her tenacity both on the field and in the dugout. Good hands, excellent play-making instincts, and a complete and total unwillingness to back down from an argument. Well-known by both league officials and opponents for her “enthusiasm”, Rachel can’t be faulted for her forthright demeanor because she always backs it up at the plate or in the field. Career best: Accusing the ump of taking phone calls from his mother, not his girlfriend as was claimed.
Erin (C, The Mouth): Much like her fictional comrade-in-arms, Hamilton Porter of The Sandlot, Erin’s mouth is perhaps the part of her body that gets the most exercise while she’s behind the plate. Whether disputing an ump’s call, sassing an opponent, encouraging her pitcher, or just talking to someone in the dugout, she’s never quiet. Originally, we feared she wasn’t paying attention, but it does not appear to be that simple. Some smart plays at home, and a surprisingly solid stint in the infield, show that there is more going on here than meets the eye…or ear.
Stacy (CF, Dance Captain, Resident Mixologist): Stacy, known of late as Ol’ Whiskey Lips, never stops being an educator, even when she’s left the classroom and come to join us at Momma Johnson Park. She’s instructed us in the hippest dance moves she’s learned from her students. She’s shown us the true versatility of Caucasian hair, after letting her students try out their budding beauty school skills on her. She’s taught us the best ways to sneak your booze into games and remain relatively inconspicuous, though that bout of disembodied voices telling her to take third on a tight play almost necessitated a team intervention. Suffice to say, we expect to learn a lot more from Stacy this season.
Karl (OF, Bad-Ass): Though he’s not the only person on the team who owns a motorcycle, he is the only one who ever showed up to his first game on one. The boy knows how to make an entrance, and that I can respect. Also respectable are his slugging skills. He had the audacity to call an inside-the-park home run last fall as he stepped to the plate, and then had the cojones to see it through.
Pete (3B, Perpetual MVP): I can’t think of any other way to describe Pete than the horribly-connoted “silent but deadly”. He lets his iron boot and catlike reflexes speak for him. We’re never more than two innings into a game before chants of “M-V-Pete!” erupt from the sidelines. Stoic and reserved (unlike the rest of us loons), Pete still manages to give opponents pause. Outfielders immediately back up and pitchers hesitate when he steps up to the plate. Is another excellent season on his horizon? Hey, is the Pope against safe sex?
Julia (Utility, Pam Beesley): Julia is the consummate team player. Her energy never dissipates, whether she be in the field or on the sidelines. A model of consistency, you can find Julia at every game with her black sweats, pony tail, and encouraging grin. But don’t be fooled–she can be forceful when she needs to be. Mama Bear will let you know if something’s rotten in the state of kickball, and you’d do well to heed her warning.
Nate (SS, P, Jim Halpert): Endlessly reliable as a player, Nate gave the team a bit of a scare last fall when he had to sit out a few weeks with a groin injury. He cites roller hockey; we blame Julia. We barely stopped the bleeding by rotating many substitutes through shortstop. Ever eager to get off the DL, Nate returned just before the end of the regular season to try his hand at pitching, a position less taxing on his lower body. Perhaps that groin pull was divine intervention, because Nate threw some serious heat. Not sure where he’s going to be starting this season, but it’s bound to be interesting.
Jenny (Utility, Acting CFO): A former Rookie of the Year, Jenny is not afraid to give her body to the game. Grass stains, scrapes, and bruises have been abundant in Jenny’s career…and that’s just from social events after the game. Jenny is bold in her base running and fearless in the field. Put her anywhere, and her defensive game will be on. Her continued rise through the murky and nearly unnavigable team hierarchy should come as no surprise. As the current team money manager, Jenny at least had the brains to try to turn all of us paying her our share of the league dues into a night out on the town. Too bad the rest of us are too lazy to follow through.
Jill (Utility, Cap’n Clutch): Jill deserves special recognition for her ability to always remain calm in the clutch–and, quite strangely, she finds herself in clutch positions more than anyone else on the team. I’ve lost track of the number of times she’s come up to bat with two outs and one or more runners on base. It doesn’t always end in success, but there have been some well-placed bunts and surprisingly powerful base hits from Jill that have put us ahead. A former team CFO, Jill is now branching out into recruiting, by signing…
Jeff (N/A, The Rookie): Virtually nothing is known about Jeff, except that he’s Jill’s recruit. We trust her judgment, and hope he’ll prove a worthy addition to the roster.
T (RF, Team Parent): Yours truly. While I was weak on the offense recently, I’d like to think I still have some of the best hands in the outfield–no matter how awkwardly I may catch the ball. I’m always supportive of my wonderful teammates, vociferously encouraging them at whatever it is they’re doing at any given time. Can I help it if I have enough enthusiasm for an entire team bottled up inside me? Pete and Nate teasingly asked where the orange slices were after one game. Just wait, boys. Just wait…
Our first game is Tuesday at 9:20. A detailed report will follow.