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Tag Archives: softball

Honey/Sweetheart

13 Nov
All American Girls Professional Baseball League: Rockford Peach for Halloween

All American Girls Professional Baseball League: Rockford Peach for Halloween

Last Wednesday was the final game of the 2014 softball league I play in. The MTA conspired against me and both the trains I took to the field were running late. I showed up to the field as the first inning was starting, running to our dugout in time for my teammates to tell me that I was next up to bat. I try to stretch my arms a bit before stepping up to the plate.

I knew the team we were playing was undefeated, and since I was late I wanted a good look at what the pitcher was throwing. So I let the first ball fly past me.

“Strike 1!”

It was. But now I knew what I was looking for, that same smooth pitch over the plate. But the next ball she threw was a bit outside, and I don’t like to reach. However…

“Strike 2!”

Hmmm, didn’t agree with that, but whatever. Deep breaths, Wilson. Wait for yours.

“That bat is made for swinging, honey.” I hear from a gruff voice behind me. I turn around in horror, expecting this snide remark to have come from the opposing team. Instead I saw the elderly umpire snarling at me in a creepy smile. Furious, I try to lock back into the pitcher. She throws a ball, which again, looks a bit outside. Yet…

“Strike 3!” I was out.

I walk to the dugout and ask if I can play at second as I’m a bit ticked at the umpire and don’t want to play catcher and be in his proximity. The following inning, I did play catcher though, firmly resolved to not speak to this umpire. After two outs, one of the team’s best players comes up to bat. One strike. Two strike. Third pitch… he hits it foul. I extend my arm to my left and dive into the dirt, using my other hand to lock the ball in my mitt.

“OUT!” I hear the roar of my teammates cheering for me, and I smugly think to myself, “How’s that, honey?” But I say nothing and jump around in excitement with my teammates telling me how proud they are.

A couple of innings later, I’m back up to bat. I’m one and one at this point. After my questionable strikeout, I hit a good single. You see, I’ve been doing a lot of kickboxing lately. My body is stronger. My upper body, my core, my legs. I can feel the strength growing in them, and it feels amazing. My hitting has improved so much. I’m making good contact, and I finally finally have a wee bit of power behind my hits.

So there I am. First pitch is a little high, but I swing and miss.

“Sweetheart,” I hear behind me. “You need to step with your front foot. Step with your front foot, okay?”

I don’t turn around. I just face the pitcher and silently scream in my head. I don’t need this stranger to tell me how to bat. I don’t want him to tell me how to bat. All in all, I’m doing just fine on my own. I’ve gratefully accepted advice from friends, boyfriends, flings, first dates in the past, but all solicited, all with me starting the conversation of how I can improve my batting. This man doesn’t know me.

Finally my pitch comes. I hit it hard. I make it to first, and in a perfect yet imaginary world I hit it like Ken Griffey Jr., running to first base with bravado, looking over my shoulder to say “Don’t ever call me sweetheart again.” But in the real world, I keep my chin up and run as hard as I can focusing on making it in plenty of time.

Later at the bar, my teammates congratulate me on a good game. I tell them about the comments from the umpire, and they likewise respond with disgust. But they also claim that maybe a bit of that rage was good for me, they joke about calling me honey/sweetheart before every at bat. I laugh.

But I’d prefer they not. Unless you’re someone I’m romantically involved with or you’re my mother or a good friend comforting me in a difficult time or someone who has earned that familiarity with me in some way or another, please don’t.

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Moneyball by Michael Lewis

25 Mar

moneyball_book_cover_01_custom-ea36630e47960157244ed4290140853c60db41a8-s6-c10 As a general rule, I try to not read books when I’ve already seen the movie version.  I’m more a fan of books than I am of movies, but once I’ve seen a movie, I have a hard time enjoying the book, as I’m comparing it to the movie, seeing specific scenes in my head. It taints the whole experience.

“Moneyball” by Michael Lewis was something I read to alleviate the constant itch I’ve had the last month for baseball season to start. 7 days. 7 DAYS!! Can you believe it? I’m actually nervous for the season to start, because I have been so overwhelmingly busy the last couple of weeks, I’m stressed about how I’m going to squeeze my requisite baseball watching time into an already tight schedule. What’s a girl to do?!

Anyways, this book , amazing. Michael Lewis is my personal nonfiction hero. The first book of his I read was “The Big Short” which was about the financial collapse. I personally have no interest in finance or the economy. But Lewis is tricky, interweaving what might seem dull information into personal human interest.

With “Moneyball,” the success of the movie was a lot about dramatizing the human interest aspect of his writing. The book, though, goes so much deeper into sabermetrics, the history of it and how it can be applied to evaluating players. For me, I’ve heard so much about sabermetrics and have a basic understanding of it, this book functioned as a good introduction into how it can be applied to the game.

Really, though, I’m just hungry for baseball. My first softball game of the season is Thursday, next Monday is opening day. I’m exhausted from a hectic couple of weeks. All I want to do is curl up with a ball game. Until then, I’ll just be listening to this song on repeat. It gives me chills every time. Does your baseball team have a rap song? On the off chance you said yes, there’s no way it as good as mine.

Volleyball

13 Mar

Odor In The CourtSo, this is one of the most awkward things that has ever happened to me. Naturally, I must write about it.

I’m pretty active in sports here in New York. I’m close to both my softball and soccer team, and it is how I’ve made my closest friends in the city. However, it’s winter which means no softball, and my soccer team took a season off due to varying personal reasons. I was somewhat relieved to take a couple of months off the sports scene.

In comes my co-worker, her and her boyfriend are new to New York, and I recommended joining an intramural sports team as a good way to make friends. So they joined volleyball and loved it. They loved it so much that they asked me to join another volleyball team with them. I wasn’t enthused, but I wasn’t doing anything else, so I figured why not.

The three of us are assigned to a team, “Odor in the Court.” We were paired with a group of people that have been together for many previous seasons. They were so much fun. So much fun! I spent many a Wednesday night at the bar till 1AM, drinking shitty beer, sometimes rapping along to the theme from “Fresh Prince of Belair.”

But, you know, something was always off. They’d been together for awhile, and I always felt like the new kid. Every time they happily cheered, “Odors!” I cringed a little. But they were an awesome group, and I had that weird sense that I wanted to be a part of the popular kids group. I spent my weekends with my soccer team (my favorite people in the city) and my softball team (like a weird, drunken family), and on Wednesday nights I felt just a bit out of place.

So Spring is around the corner, the soccer team and the softball team are back together, and I am beyond excited for both. My cleats and my mitt are ready to go. So where does that leave volleyball? I really wanted to stay friends with them, but shit, that’s a lot of sports in one week, and I have to study, and I’m going to Paris, and I need some me time.

No worries, though, I promptly received an e-mail from the volleyball captain entitled “Next Season.” It was sent to me, my co-worker, and her boyfriend. The main line to read is this:

“I really do like you all and hope that we can arrange to hang / go out in the future, but I don’t think we’re going to have room to accommodate everyone for next season :-\”

It was followed my a lot of nice things about how we should all be friends and everything. But I still stared slack-jawed at my computer screen and thought, “What the piss? My volleyball team is dumping me!”

I nervously giggled, re-read it, and just didn’t know what to do. I quickly got a text from my co-worker saying, “Well, that was awkward.”

What do I do? I wanted to write back with something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m already busy with my OTHER teams. Didn’t want to be on your silly old team anyways!” But that sounds pathetic. Plus, there really are no hard feelings. I really didn’t want to play volleyball again! But, oh my God, what an awkward situation. I just..I don’t…what can you say to that?! Who gets dumped by their volleyball team? Me, I get dumped by my volleyball team.

Honestly, other than the natural sting of blatant rejection, I don’t care. I love my other teams, and I get that it’s tough as an established team to fit new people into the dynamic of the group. Besides “Mayan Apocalypse” is a far better team name. I’ll never be an “Odor.” I never was.

26 Before 26: Do Batting Practice

1 Jul

Just like Matt Kemp

In my 26th year of life, I am attempting 26 new things that I’ve never done before. Full list here.

Boy oh boy, I needed this.

One of the best and most pleasantly surprising things about my 26 before 26 endeavor has been the eagerness and enthusiasm of others to hear about it and to help me. I keep a copy of the list on my phone, and anytime anyone hears about it they immediately want to see it. They go through the list, laughing at some of the items and becoming overly excited about others. I haven’t been as diligent about my list, because life gets in the way. But a new friend from my soccer team, Dave, saw this on my list and insisted on taking me to the batting cages at Chelsea Piers. I was happy to go.

We went on a Wednesday night, after a crappy Wednesday day. I went into work slightly hungover and proceeded to have a bad luck day. I was mainly having issues with catheters. Catheters were so scary to me for such a long time, but once I got the hang of it, I felt so proud. But Wednesday, every catheter I put in would kink and I would lose the flow. It’s heartbreaking, to see the flash, to slowly insert the catheter, to pull the stylet…nothing. No blood. I’d pull the catheter out and see it had bended all weird. Everyone kept telling me that it sometimes just happens with catheters, but I would look down at the blown vein and beat myself up. I was having such an off day with those effing blue catheters.

So I headed to the batting cages to meet up with Dave. It’s a pretty good deal, really. $2ish for a token which gets you ten pitches. Dave went for the medium pitch cage, but I wanted to take whacks at the slow pitch softball cage since that is what I encounter in my Pac-12 softball team. There was a pair of girls who had rented the cage for an hour. They were dripping with sweat, taking turns in the cage. We got to talking with them, and they make it down to the pier once a month to rent the cage for an hour and go to town.

“We’ve got a lot of rage,” one of them told me breathlessly.

Once they left, I took my turn in the cage. It was much easier than actual softball. I knew exactly when the ball was coming and where it would be. I also didn’t have rows of Pac-12 dudes cheering me on. I love my Pac-12 dudes, but I want to do so well for them, I stress myself out. This time, it was just me and a machine. Somehow, nothing feels better then making contact with a bat, hearing that pop, imagining where that ball would go on a real softball field. Such a perfect stress release, and I made a mental note that I must rent the cage out sometime for myself.

Afterwards, Dave and I grabbed a beer at a bar next to the golf driving range. It was perfect weather down my the water, and it was hypnotizing to watch those golf balls sail out towards the water, like a meteor shower. A couple of Dave’s friends showed up so they could practice their golf swings for a tournament they put themselves through, known ominously as “The Cup.” It’s an epic battle amongst old college friends which never fails to entertain me when they start talking about it. There’s even a draft.

I told them that I’d never actually gone to a driving range, and maybe I should put it on my 27 before 27 list. But why put off until tomorrow what you can do today. They invited me to come along and hit a few. I was pretty horrible, but after they gave me a few tips, I don’t think I was so bad. It took a couple of swings before I finally hit the ball, but when I did, one of Dave’s friends Adam said something along the lines of “Yay bucket list.” It took me far away from the worries of a 22-guage catheter.

The next day, my shoulders were so, so sore. But I was relaxed, and 15 minutes into work, I had to place a catheter into a squirmy King Charles Spaniel. I got it right away.