Week 5: Captain's Note

Greetings Hippos!

It's Week 5! We're officially on the back nine of the 2009 Patriot Summer Season and, frankly, things are looking up.

We're on a two game hot streak and I really like what I'm seeing out there. The recap for last week's tragi-comedy is up on the Munt and Flip.

This week, we play "Key Lime Killas" (Formerly "Warriors are Back!"). Frankly, I don't like either of their chosen team names, so we're going to have to put it to 'em.

Game time is at 7:15 on Field 2 (grass), so let's try and gather by around 7:00.

Let me know if you're in or out.

If it's after about 4:45 on Thursday and you find out you can't make it, shoot me a text or give me a call. My phone number is: 508-789-9282.

We also have reffing duties this week at 6:30 on field 2. I'd love to have some volunteers.

Anybody wanna come out and officiate Gettin' Cider? (he asked, knowingly)

They're playing "Where My Pitches At", who've proven themselves a fun team this season. Let's make sure the game is clean.

All right ladies and pachyderms: Let's GET IT ON!

Captain Big
King Hippos

"Don't switch the blade on the man in shades, oh no."

Hippos are Streaking!

The King Hippos pulled together for their second-straight victory, vanquishing Blue Steel 4-2.

A rematch of the 2008 Patriot Summer Division Finals, Steel vs. Hippos was the game of the week.

In their previous outing, the then-Green Team defeated Blue Steel with a walk-off kick in the Cambridge twilight to take the Division Championship.

The two teams respect each other and their histories, and approached this week’s match conservatively.

Both teams struggled to find a groove early on, though the Hippos’ offense managed to put together a string of base hits and drove in a run in the first and second innings. Aimee and Pete came through with each of those RBI strikes, driving in Brow and Colin respectively.

The Hippos then broke it open in the third inning, plating two runs off kicks by Rachael and Zach, driving in Seamus (with an run-saving home plate slide) and Ray.

Blue Steel’s offense kicked it into overdrive in the last two innings, however, plating a run in each. They also managed to consistently put runners on base, making things interesting. Fans of the Orange Tornados held their collective breath.

The Hippos’ defense came up huge, however, thwarting two Blue Steel rallies which could have snatched victory away from the up-start Hippopotami.

Game MVP Lisa channeled her inner Pedroia, standing up to a large, on-rushing baserunner to hold onto a throw from third for the put-out at second. She was also involved in a number of other plays at second, proving herself a plucky infielder who we’ll enjoy watching throughout the rest of the season.

The outfield play of the night went to last week’s MVP, Tangerine. Her Ken-Griffey-Jr-esque snag in Right Center, not only took away a number of Blue Steel runs and, at the very least, extra bases for the kicker, but is also worthy of a spot on the season’s highlight reel.

A third close play prevented another Blue Steel run when Kevin managed to peg a runner a bare step from home between the shoulder blades. After the match, the runner, who had slid safely into both second and third that inning, wondered aloud why he didn’t do the same at home plate.

In spite of some… adventurous officiating, this match lived up to the pre-game hype and is definitely a highlight of the season’s first half. As the Patriot division moves past the All-Star Break, however, the Hippos are looking forward.

“That win puts us back at .500 -- the first stop on our march to taking the championship in this league two seasons running,” said BK, the Hippos’ veteran center fielder and all-around nice guy. “After beating Blue Steel, I feel that we're hitting our stride. These Hippos are hungry, hungry and repeat words words. Watch out.”

Celebrating Diversity!

Given the diversity of kickball in general, and our team in particular (two asians!), I felt that I should share this important message from the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Seriously. They actually published this.

Comments you never want to make to a coworker

Week 4: Captain's Note

Greetings Hippos,

It is Week 4 of the Summer Patriot Division and you know what that means:

We play Blue Steel!

Blue Steel is the team that the Green Team defeated in the 2008 Summer Division Championship. Not only have they held on their same old boring name, they've also held onto the grudge of last year's defeat.

We've got our work cut out for us, Hippos. Evidently, the Steel gave Charity Case a pretty good drubbing last week. But you know what? I have faith in you. Each and every one of you. Because you know what? You got heart. And you got pride. You're not afraid to get your socks dirty but keep your game clean. You're already champions in my book.

Let's win this one for those who couldn't play with us this Thursday. The Yuvals. The Hinses. Hell, let's win it for a Weintraub. Let's do
em all proud.

Game time is at 6:30 on Field 2. We've been pushed back to the grass this week, but at least we don't have to worry about reffing or equipment this week. Let's beat em on the field and then beat them to the bar.

The weather forecast, currently isn't too good. But you know what? We're tough. We come to play and, I've been told, Frey and FBJ will be providing warming refreshments. If you still doubt, just listen to Brow-han. He's lived the nightmare of the canceled game. If that doesn't give you the willies, I don't know what will. So let his inspiring words warm your heart and put some pop in your step!

Finally, the Recap for last week's victory is up. We're on a roll, Hippos! Let's keep it goin'!

Captain Big
King Hippos

"I play Golden Tee better when I'm wasted! I want another shot at the Fox!"

The Munt for Cold October

As you may know, I play in a Sunday league as well. I am nothing if not adulterous. After our Thursday game, I had to conclude that this new breed of sportsman; the Kickballer, was made of tougher things, a throwback to the greatest generation, we were tight with our trophies, the rain wasn’t an obstacle it was an ushering in of new strategy. (Rain = kickaway). But Sunday I was inches from the park when I received a text message. It was one of our own, retracting her lament of absence because the games had been cancelled due to weather.

Frustrations aside, I had time to contemplate my positioning in the athletic world, and what it meant to play Kickball, or any co-ed recreational sport for that matter. There was a time where I thought to play seriously, you had to admit a few things: you were never getting a professional contract so you were playing for fun; you risked injury, roughed work on 3 hours sleep hungover for the love of the game. That you played co-ed sports, and with the patriarchy being what it is, no Basketball-dream was ever going to pull you to the promised land of professional sports. And that because of this love, come hell or high-water, snow or rain, 90-degree heat waves or the 5 day mist-storms that give everyone the flu, you were going to play regardless.

But Sunday was cancelled. Sunday, unlike Thursday, plays on two grass fields. I’m no Botanist but does grass absorb the water? Shouldn’t our fields be resilient like we were? I will concede some points. For those who aren’t aware, I should point out two things:

1. I am a die-hard Yankee. I feel that being born here means we’re of a higher bloodline than most other people. And if you’re not from here, take heart that you had to good foresight to move here. We live through shit weather on a regular basis. We eat seafood, we have basements. American runs on Dunkin – think of that arrogance. New England runs on Dunkin, we just believe the rest of the world should be like us.

2. Our league rep (who shall remain nameless) is from CA. I’m sure every day here looks like a “call the game, the weathers miserable” day.

Can I fault a man of such dimensions? Being the open locationalist that I am, I’ve come to expect as much from those who think 70 degrees demands a sweater. But we’re talking about a national interest here. There’s an honor is reefing with a solo cup, there’s a pride in walking through commercial traffic in sherbet-colored knee-highs, and who wouldn’t want to walk around with the MVP belt this season. I know I certainly aim to in all aspects of play.

But if we’re prepared to defend our way of life and culture in the herds in Harvard Square, I believe we should too defend our right to damn the weather patterns attempt to prohibit us from play. We’ve been resolute in our determination to never go another week without something to look forward to, we’ve been stalwart in circumventing the prohibition that still lingers in PC-Cambridge’s public land, and here too we should take a stand. A stand against perfect conditions and manicured fields, a resistance to government intervention for our alcoholism, and a stand against giving up the only thing that gives us hope in our otherwise miserable so-this-is-the-real-world lives.

Stay hungry Hippo’s, and kick away.

The Brow

Hippos Get First Taste of Victory

As the rain drizzled on Thursday, many wondered if the week's matches would be happening.

"Games are a go!! Good Luck!!" was the word from the division's Twitter account, however, and the adventure began.

The noble Hippos were ready for a win, by golly, and they'd play in the rain and mud to get it. At the end of the day, their soggy resolve was rewarded as they defeated Where My Pitches At 5-0.

The defense held strong all day, frustrating the Pitches' offensive efforts at every turn.

Brow started off the on-field heroics with a great catch in right field and then a heads up throw to first, leading to a key double play.

Spartacus showed her inner-Pedroia, fielding a sharply kicked ball and getting the put-out at first.

Game MVP Tangerine used arms and face to reel in a line drive up the middle.

Offensively, the Hippos brought their A-game. The bottom half of the lineup rallied for two runs in the third inning. FBJ and Ray combined for the game-winning run and RBI.

Big then connected for his first hit of the season, a three run homer in the fourth that slipped through center field.

As a team, the Hippos combined for 14 hits. Tristan, Asian and Frey's hot streaks continued as they've maintained 1.00 batting averages through three games.

Overall, it was a very satisfying win for players and fans alike.

"It was nice to get a win under our belts," said manager and team bookkeeper Asian. "I think we just needed a couple of weeks to warm up. Victory is mine!!" She then shuffled off, legs churning like Stewie Griffin's.

Week 3: Captain's Note

Hello Hippos!

I hope you're ready. I hope you're hungry. I hope you're thirsty.

Because, once again, it's week 3 of Patriot Summer Division Kickball.

This week we're playing at 7:30 on Field 1 (DIRT! YES!) against "Where My Pitches At".

Aside from being a new team with a completely unoriginal moniker, these guys also aren't perfect. They lost to Spanking Machine during week one play, 1-2. They are eminently beatable, as long as we play our game. So I want you guys pumped up for some Killer Kickball (tm)!

We also have equipment and reffing duties this week. So I could use some help in the form of corner refs at the 6:30 game, and if anyone is willing to grab the equipment gab from Tommy Doyles, that would also be awesome.

In other news: News!

Both Tristan and Colin posted entries to the team blog. Tristan has offered us insight into a world where drinking games aren't limited to just ONE table. Nay, Tristan writes, let us play a game with not one, not two, not three but FOUR tables! It's Epic.

Colin has contributed to the madness not Once but Twice! Come see the infamy!

Finally, the recap for last week's game has also been posted.

SO, lemme know if you're gonna make it to this week's game! And lemme know if you are willing to help out with equipment and/or reffing duties! Let's get ready to run on the dirt!

Captain Big
King Hippos

"I met a kitten on the penthouse deck / into my ear he whispered kill me kill me / I walked straight over to the penthouse ledge / but then a crowd began to gather round me "

Hippos Foiled in Last Second Rally

It was Mustache Day at the park this week, but the Hippos’ early season woes continued on Thursday, when they fell to the Spanking Machine, 3-4.

The Orange Shirts’ offense came alive this week, plating runs in over half of the game’s innings. Though the score might not be impressive, only a few unlucky bounces prevented the Hippos from breaking the game wide open.

Tristan led off with a single in the first inning, and came around to score on a well-placed RBI bunt by Asian. Bold and heads-up baserunning by Frey almost cherry-picked a second run on the same play, exploiting the Machine’s confused fielders. However, she was tagged out at the very last second.

“She ran like a gazelle,” beamed Captain Big. “A little dancer’s stutter step at the end is the only thing that gave the Machines a chance to recover. She may have been tagged, but she went out with undeniable style. Only an alumnus of the Jeanette Neill Dance Studio could almost cross home with such grace.”

The defense held strong during the game, with continued solid play at the corners. The games’ Webgem, however, came in the fourth inning when game MVP Catie, the Hippos’ diminutive left-fielder, reeled in a high pop-fly that might have eaten up a lesser fielder.

“I've spent three seasons just looking cute in the outfield,” Catie said. “I'm glad I could finally contribute to the team!”

In the end, however, The Spanking Machine were able to take advantage of some lucky bounces and produce just enough offense to eek out a victory over the home team. The King Hippos remain resolute, however; confident of their destiny as Division Champions.

Veteran Hippos First Baseman Colin "Paul Konerko" Steele said, “It's not how you start. It's how you finish -- that's what she said -- and I'm sure the King Hippos will finish strong."

Week 2: Captain's Note

Greetings Hippos!

Welcome to Week 2 of Summer kickball!

This week's opponent: Spanking Machine! (Boo! Hiss!)

Game time is at 6.30 pm (again) on Field 2 (again).

Let's enact some Corporal Punishment on Spanking Machine! Can we do it? Yes we CANE!

Sounds like Squints and Kern are on booze duty this week, so make sure you have something in your stomach. These people are reckless!

The weather says it's going to be wet, so bring something waterproof. If you have cleats, bring 'em. If you thought the grass was slick last week, it'll be even more so in the wet.

Once again, please let me know if you'll be able to make it this week so I can put together the lineups!

Captain Big
King Hippos

"Mr. FAY: Yes. The flogger tested the cane a few times, to make sure. He would whip it. Yeah, whip it in the air. "

Week 1 videos

Here are some highlights (and lowlights) from the King Hippos' first game of the season:

Captain Big's pre-game interview:

Shookie's "shoes":

Ray at bat:

NuJu at bat:

NuJu and Ray in the field:

Preseason Practice Videos

Better late than never, here are some of the King Hippos' best preseason practice videos:

Big's helmet-cam single:

The trolley zoom:


The tip drill:

That's going on YouTube!

You can watch all the King Hippos' videos at the Official King Hippos YouTube Channel TM R (c) 2009.

Thirsty, Thirsty Hippos

Howdy Hippos!

Allow me to extoll the virtues of one of the most fun, rambunctious, hippo-themed drinking games of all time: Thirsty Thirsty Hippos!
No it's not Hungry Hungry Hippos with drinking penalties (although that would be awesome and should be seriously considered.)  Rather, it's fast-action beer pong on steroids.

Required Items:
  • Four small tables of roughly equal height. Living room end tables or elementary school desks are the ideal size.
  • Three ping pong balls.
  • Lots of plastic cups and cheap, drinkable beer.
  • A large open space. Basements, rec rooms, and grassy meadows work well for this game.
The Set-Up:
  1. Arrange the tables in a square, approximately 6-10 feet apart. If there are only two small tables, you can use a standard folding table as one side of the square.
  2. On each table, place six cups in a standard beer pong triangle formation. Fill 'em up.
  3. Try to remove all breakable items from the immediate vicinity of the arena. Things tend to get a little rowdy.
  1. One player stands behind each table. They stay in the game until all their cups are sunk.
  2. Players shoot at the cups of any of the other three players. If you sink a cup, that player has to drink. You must shoot from behind your table.
  3. Balls are live unless they are in a cup, in a hand, or heading towards a cup. Miss a shot? Chase after it. See someone carelessly set a ball on their table. Snatch it away from them! Ball on the ground? Body check an opponent out of the way and dive for it! 
  4. If your cup is sunk, you have to drink it all before you can chase after or shoot any balls.
  5. Normal beer pong rules apply. No swatting before a bounce. Bounce-in = two cups. Double-sunk cup = immediate loss. A spilled cup is a drunk cup.
  6. Mandatory re-rack at 4 cups.
  7. If you sink a player's last cup, they lose. Play pauses as a new contender takes their place. For sinking the last cup, you get three bonus cups added to your rack.
  8. If you have possession of all three balls, you can only hold them for 90 seconds before a delay of game is called and you forfeit the balls to the other three players.
  9. Try not to seriously injure anyone. Minor injuries are fine.
Hope we get a chance to try it out some time! It's a blast!

Jubilant Hippos Drop Opener in a Nailbiter

The King Hippos were victims of some bad bounces on Thursday that led to their first loss of the season to the upstart Scoregasm squad.

Resplendent in their traffic cone orange shirts and tornado socks, the Hippos were a sight to behold.

It was a pitcher’s duel as both teams struggled to put together rallies. The only scoring in the game came in the bottom of the second inning. LCF Jeremy found a slick patch of grass which knocked him off his feet, allowing a high kick to drop in.

The Scoregasm’s runners were able to exploit this piece of luck by plating both runs, though the kicker only touched home after narrowly avoiding a (surprisingly) accurate seam from Big.

Jeremy later got revenge, making a key catch in the fourth inning on a kick that could have easily fallen in front of him.

The Hippos’ kicking feet were quiet on the day as the team acclimated to the grass field. Captain Big, however, is not discouraged:

“I’m not worried,” he said. “I saw some good things today. I think we have some good power in this lineup, we’re just going to have to work on applying that power at the right times. I also like our speed on the basepaths. With smart heads, we’re going to produce a lot of runs.”

The MVP award went to Kevin Reilly, who showed impressive composure at third base despite the slick surface and recorded a handful of important put-outs.

Spirits were high on the Hippos’ squad after the game, despite the result. This was partly due to a surprise guest on the field. A bright orange garbage truck, inexplicably driving through the Cambridge Common was gracious enough to stop and play the back drop to a first day team photo.

A raucous night at Tommy Doyle’s followed with much revelry and a sprinkling of debauchery.

Loss aside, the King Hippos’ 2009 Patriot Summer campaign started on an extremely high note.

Week 1: Captain's Note

Greetings Hippos!

If you guys are one tenth as pumped as I am for today's opening day festivities, we may incinerate Cambridge. The season's late start has been building up the Dr. Frankenstein antici..... pation to a near fervent level. Today has been a long time coming.

So, first question: Who on the roster will be waiting even longer because they can't make it tonight (due to missing limb, house inexplicably exploding, your inconsiderate prick of a boss)?

I'm putting together tonight's fielding and kicking lineup, so I'd appreciate you letting me know who's IN and who's Not IN (for today).

As I said in my previous email, today's game is against Scoregasm, a team captained by one of our (friendly) rivals last season. Today is our first chance to continue reminding him how much cooler we are by schooling his club on the kickball field.

And speaking of fields, today we play on Field 2, which is the grass field in the opposite corner of the Common from the dirt field. We are, in fact, slated to play five of our eight regular season games on this field, so we'll need to get used to the way the grass slows down pitches and can be slippery for those wearing regular sneakers. If you have soccer cleats (no metal studs), they will help immensely here. Baseball and Football boots are okay as well, but they can make it tough to kick, since that's not what they're designed for. Turf shoes can be effective both on the grass and on dirt. Obviously, I'm not going to demand that my players go out and buy boots, I'm just sayin', they can be very helpful.

Ok, that's all I'm going to say now. Let's get buck wild tonight! If you can't make it, lemme know!

Captain Big
King Hippos

"You know, there are many people in the country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane... It is up to people like you and me who are out of our tiny little minds to try and help these people overcome their sanity."