Summer Kickball – Week 1 – Back to Square One

Good evening, sports fans.  It’s your faithful blogmaster here, with a full report on the start of the summer kickball season.

Wednesday was the kick-off of the next round of competition.  The ZogSports administration wasted no time in getting down to business.  There was little time for us to rest after the protracted spring season.  Furthermore, the field of competitors is significantly larger this time out, which has seemingly tightened the collective sphincters of the Zog Powers That Be.  Games now begin as early as 6:45, which makes perfect sense for a league populated by young commuting professionals at the mercy of humorless superiors, and bitter chastisement awaits you should your team be slow to assemble.  Yours Truly abandoned an all-too-rare flurry of activity in the office and hauled ass through Hoboken to make it to Momma Johnson Park in time.  Save the wagging finger for the slowpokes, of which there were many, okay?

Also new this season is a limit on bunts.  Each team may only bunt three times an inning.  This was seemingly done to help rehab a league’s worth of exhausted infielders, and to begin the gradual depussyfication of many of the more obnoxious male participants.

We’ve retained our team name (Vincent’s Drug Store) from the past few seasons, but the make-up of the team has changed rather dramatically.  Had I the time to construct a full pre-season prospectus, I would have (Erin…); but for now, here’s the skinny:

Gone are Todd/Caleb and KarlStacy remains on the DL, though she is willing to suit up if our female quota is in danger of not being met.  Perhaps most perilously, Rachel is sitting this season out, citing overwhelming obligations at her job, making her the only person aside from your local lifeguard who is busiest in the summer.  All your other favorites are back: Volpe, Scott, Kish, Josh, Nate, Julia, Jenny, Jill, Erin, Spitz, Pete, and Me, of course.  We have three rookies this season.  They all showed up, which already makes them better than last season’s rookie Jeff.  There’s Joe, one of the men behind ZogSports’ official post-game watering hole, the legendary Lounge 11.  Stunningly, his inclusion on our team was not ruled a conflict of interest.  We also have two Erics joining the team.  Since I knew one of them prior to Wednesday’s game, he will be known as Er1cEr1c is a college classmate of Spitz and I who is now living in sunny Hudson County.  A self-professed kickball veteran, he came prepared, with cleats and batting gloves.  The second Eric, hereafter known as Er2c, was a recruit of Scott‘s.  Tall, quiet, and hidden largely behind a pair of solid black sunglasses and a tuft of chinderpubes, Er2c remains a bit of a mystery for the moment.  I anticipate great surprises as the season progresses.

For our first contest, though, we were without some of our seasoned starters.  Nate was out of town on assignment, Josh apparently had something better to do, and while she was in attendance, Jenny shared the news that she’s currently battling walking pneumonia.  Dressed in black (mourning her inability to play, no doubt), she fulfilled the role of manger from the sidelines.

Our opponents at this early hour proved to be one of the most insufferable collections of frustrated frat boys and wiggers this side of The Real World.  With their over-sized shorts, headpieces, and threatening gesticulations, they inspired respect in no one.  Their demeanor perfectly reflected their lime green t-shirts: tacky, loud, and irritating.  Sure, I suppose the same could be said of our squad–but we’re an endearing kind of tacky, loud, and irritating.

The game got off to a momentous start.  With the new bunting rule in effect, both teams were by and large swinging for the fences.  By the top of the second, we led 6 – 4.  The score continued to climb, but our defense began to fall apart.  The outfield couldn’t find their cut-off men; or sometimes they found them too well, as when Kish inadvertently drilled Spitz in an attempt to catch a greedy baserunner.  Communication in the infield broke down completely by the fifth inning.  With each attempt at a double play came an overthrow, and thus the inning continued.  The Lime Green Losers used their bunts wisely, almost always making it to first off one of their whimpy little taps.  With time running short and many other teams waiting for field space, umpire Ryan called the game at the sixth.  We were trailing by at least three runs, the final score unknown to me.

Not the best way to start the season, but after our incredible run to the finals in the spring, perhaps a slice of humble pie is just what we needed.  Most importantly, our rookies all impressed in their debuts.  Here’s hoping they continue to fill those big shoes left behind.

Stay tuned for more action next week.

Game 1 Brief

Record: 0 – 1

MVP of the Week: Er1c – For the strongest debut since Pete joined the team.  In addition to an admirable start in center field, Er1c launched the ball across Momma Johnson Park, driving in at least two runs (my memory fails me at the moment) in his first home run.  Er1c also got a quick introduction to our, um, competitve nature when he found himself the focus of a controversial call crossing the plate on another trip around the bases.  He handled himself just as any of us would: with appropriate but obvious indignation towards the ref, and dismissive bitchery towards our opponents.

Weekly “Not En Fuego” Award: Erin – Even though she made a few impressive throws from behind the plate, her mouth got the most exercise of any part of her body in our season opener.  We love you, darling, but it’s time to put up or shut up.  Your affirmations about bunting won’t mean anything unless you stick to them.

Quote of the Week: Scott (to Er1c): “We have a blog.”  Me: “Correction: I have a blog.  You read it.”

~ T

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