This is an homage to slow-pitch softball. I’m on vacation and I’m not particularly thinking about major sports, although Kawakami did a nice blog on the possibility of the Warriors getting Nene. To read it click here – and yes, TK, Grant and I owe you a pizza.
Back to slow-pitch softball. Grant played in an Oakland slow-pitch league the past few months. Wednesday night his team – Chicks Dig the Long Ball – played two games. They won the first, a sudden-death playoff, and qualified for the championship game, a 9:00 p.m. start under the lights, almost under the freeway overpass to the Bay Bridge.
Grant invited me along – I’m blissfully killing time these days – and on his team were so many of his friends from Little League and Bishop O’Dowd. I’m talking about Kevin and Milt and Dom and Ron and David, and a newcomer to the mix, Alfonso.
They all called Grant Iggy because they knew him when, and that made me feel comfortable sitting there inconspicuously in the visiting dugout for the championship game, being with people who knew me when.
I was rooting. This is rare for me. As I’ve explained I don’t root for teams. I’m distant from that, have lost that feeling. I root for something dramatic to happen in a game I’m covering so I can write about it because, finally, I root for me and my writing.
So, I was rooting and it felt great to meet that old feeling again. Iggy’s team was so far superior to the others. Defense really counts in slow pitch and his bunch was pulling off double plays all over the place. I saw one 5-2 DP and they won the game (14-11) on a nifty 5-4-3 DP.
I’ll mention one thing Iggy did. With two men on, he hit a grounder that kicked off the third base bag. The two runners scored and he made it all the way to third – a ground ball triple. Alfonso got the big hit of the game, an inside-the-park job that put away the game.
Anyway, I love slow pitch, the politeness of it all, how it makes every civilized concession to older players just having a good time. A few civilized concessions are good.
Every pitch is a hittable high lollypop.
The distance between bases is short – i.e. hardly distant – so runners who work at jobs all day don’t go into cardiac arrest stretching a single into a double.
When a runner “crosses” home plate the runner doesn’t cross the plate at all but runs past a line behind the catcher. This eliminates Buster-Posey crashes.
Each team is allowed one courtesy pinch runner per inning to help old/fat/halt players.
Every out at the plate is a force even if it really isn’t a force.
These rules allow for the realities of life and they promote a polite, convivial atmosphere.
Chicks Dig the Long Ball got a big trophy for winning the whole thing and took it to George and Walt’s bar on College Avenue to celebrate. I took myself home to bed.