The last time I managed a softball team, it was in a fall league, and I wasn't actually supposed to be the manager. My ex-landlord had put the team together, but he didn't feel like doing the game managing, so he left that all to me. It was a terrible team, made even worse by multiple defections as the season progressed. Who wants to play for a losing team in cold, miserable weather? By the end of the season, it had gotten so bad that the league actually let us add a woman to our mens league roster. We'd pulled her out of the stands one night so we wouldn't forfeit, and the PTB just went with it. She was the daughter of Ronnie Locke
, who'd pitched briefly for the Mets in the mid-sixties. (AFAIK, Locke is the only ex-major leaguer I've ever played against.) Anyway, we'd lost every single game going into the last game of the season, and in the final inning of the final game I found myself at the plate with two outs, men on second and third, and us down a run. The pitcher threw me a ball that was a little outside, and I took it the other way, ripping a line drive down the first base line. The two runners scored easily, and even though it was a sure double, I stopped at first because the game was over and the team was already celebrating our only victory of the season.
Or so we thought. It turned out the scorekeeper had forgotten to put one of our opponent's runs up on the scoreboard, so we were actually down two runs, and I had only tied
the game. By the time that got it straightened out, most of the players had left, so the game officially went into the books as a tie. Feh.
Two nights in a row, Nomar Garciaparra has driven in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The games were eerily similar. In both, Baez blew saves, and in both the Brewers' manager elected not to go with his closer in the ninth because the score was tied, leaving the game in the hands of lesser pitchers.
Friday night's result was pure, dumb luck. With Furcal on second, Nomah hit a little cue shot off the end of his bat that scurried down the first base line, looking for all the world as though it would eventually tick foul. Instead, it hugged the line long enough to nick the corner of first base, where it skipped up and over the glove of a diving Prince Fielder, who'd been playing way off the line. Furcal scored the winning run easily.
Last night it was Lofton on second, and again, for whatever reason, Fielder was again playing about thirty feet off the line. Now if you're going to set up your defense on the assumption that the batter is going to pull the ball, it would make sense not
to throw the batter a pitch that he can take the other way. Instead, the Brewer pitcher threw Nomar a soft breaking ball that drifted over to the outside edge of the plate, which he promptly hit into the enormous hole between first base and Prince Fielder. Game over. Really bad baseball by the Brewers.
I sort of listened to the whole game. I had it playing on Gameday whilst I was curled up on the couch drifting in and out of napitude in cadence with the rising and falling of the excitement in Charlie Steiner's voice. Didn't miss a single play that mattered. The game ended around 2 am here, and thanks to the napping, I found myself wide awake. So I fiddled around on the computer until around four, when I finally felt sleepy enough to try again. I'm going to try not to do that in the future.