The Team Your Team Could Smell Like’s 2010 Playoff Campaign started on a friendly note as the captains exchanged gifts before kick-off. By exchange, that means that Mark gave Big a Bafana Bafana South African soccer scarf straight from the recent World Cup. Thinking quickly, Big gave Mark one of his wristbands… Frankly, and almost-insulting trade…
“I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts!” he later cried.
The Pitches’ captains also presented the Spices with an Old Spice poster they’d apparently ripped off the ground near the Broadway T-stop – something Big would’ve appreciated being told before he made a show of hugging it close to his face…
In the Pre-Game Ceremony, Team Martyr Brennan was also honored for his efforts in the final game of the regular season in which he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
There was an atmosphere of levity and fun as the teams took the field, both ready to make the most of their kickball hijinks as the season’s finale draws nearer.
“It was great to finally play the ‘Pitches since I missed our regular season game for a graduation,” said Bayewitch. “I was actually supposed to play on that team, but they filled up too fast and Steph helped me get adopted by the Spices. Although they didn’t come to the game expecting to win, they had great energy and sportsmanship and were definitely the most fun team we’ve played."
With eyes for Vegas, however, the Spices knew they had a job to do: Score as many runs as possible in order to qualify for this year’s Founders’ Cup. A slow start, however, saw the Spices’ kickers go down in order in the top of the first.
Things got rolling – literally – in the second, however, as Big led off with a bunt that, after a series of plays deserving a Benny Hill soundtrack, would result in the Captain coming all the way home. The Spices then plated four more with a triple by Phil and RBIs by Kevin, Amy and Chris.
The Red team would then score three in the third (RBIs by Squints and Ray) and break the game fully open with an impressive eight run fourth, with a second homerun by Big (this time with the bases loaded), another triple by Phil (this time with an RBI to boot), an RBI double by Kevin and a sacrifice by Brown.
For his offensive efforts, Captain Big was awarded the Game MVP trophy.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “Kicka-the-ball ‘az alwayz been beddy beddy guud to me.”
Defensively, the Spices were sparkling. Tristan was busy in right field with a number of catches as well as covering throws to first.
“I would like to pretend that I'm confident enough in my hand-eye coordination to relax in those situations,” he said after the game. “In reality I just shout in my head ‘CatchitcatchitcatchitcatchitcatchitcaughtitbreathethrowtoBig.’”
As the game progressed, the ever-observant Pitches noticed Captain Big and Umpire Charlie looking parched and insisted on providing refreshments. Both men were driven to a knee with gratitude…
The match finally ended with a bang, as the Pitches kicker lofted a difficult spinning ball into foul territory near the Spices’ bench. First baseman Colin, however, ranged over and made the play, with a little double-touch flair.
"As a first baseman, I'm used to just standing there and catching the ball,” said Colin. “So having to run for that foul ball was a new challenge – one that I wasn't particularly up for, considering it involved physical exertion and, quite frankly, it was pretty hot out. When you throw in the fact that it was a foul ball, and I could have just let it land over by our bench harmlessly, it's a minor miracle that play even happened."
With that confidence-builder, both teams repaired to the bar (though, not before returning the ice-cold refreshment favor to the Pitches’ player who had, previously, been so generous) where they heard the Catty Awards results and played around with Tommy Doyles’ thermostat so that it would cool the room, rather than heat it.
The Spices are now looking forward to carrying this momentum into the Quarterfinals and, Spaghetti Monster-willing, their third Championship match in as many years, next Thursday. They welcome any and all of their friends and fans to come out and support them in their historic run to Vegas!
Team Average: .629
- Compare this to the King Hippos’ Team Average: .599
Average Team At-Bats Per Game: 30.6
- Compare this to the King Hippos’ AB Average: 24.6
Average Runs Scored: 8.9
- Compare this to the King Hippos’ Runs Scored: 3.5
Average Runs Allowed: 1.5
Average Attendance: 19 Players per game
Perfect Attendance Stars:
- 1.000 – Seamus *Played all 8 games
- 1.000 – Chris
- .818 – JP
- 13 – Asian
- 11 – Big
- 10 – Colin
- 10 – Seamus
- 9 – Asian
- 6 – Angela
- 6 – Big
- 6 – Phil
- 16 – Big
- 7 – BK
- 6 – Colin
- 21 – Big
- 15 – Asian
- 12 – Colin
- 12 – Phil
A diminished Team Your Team Could Smell Like took the field, Thursday, against the resurgent Blue Steel, looking to put a cap on their perfect season. The Steel, on the other hand, were looking for revenge after the Spices took the series opener in a tense and shortened match back on June 24th.
Though their defense held strong, the Spices’ offense was uncharacteristically quiet on the night. As a result, all of the scoring came in the first inning. First, the Spices plated five runs in the top of the inning, then the Blues pushed two across in the bottom half of the frame.
Spices infielder Bayewitch kicked in two runners, earning her a season high single game RBI-tally. JP went two for two on the day, though he suffered an out of character lapse of judgment on the base paths in the later innings when he was doubled up off a pop fly.
“DOH,” said JP. “My perfect regular season record is ruined!”
JP more than redeemed himself, however, with numerous strong plays in the field, including a key catch in left center after a long run that prevented a Blue Steel rally.
The story of the night, however, went to Brennan, who made his first career start at third base. The Spices were missing all three of their potential third basemen on the day, leading to the late change to the lineup.
Brow performed admirably through the course of the game, coming close on numerous throws to first and not allowing any cheap runs or shots down the third base line.
In the fifth inning, however, fate caught up with him. Charging a roller down the baseline, Brennan scooped up the ball and made a strong heave to first where the runner narrowly beat the ball to the bag.
In the act of throwing, however, Brennan managed to dislodge his arm from its housing. The arm remained dislocated despite the efforts of the on-field medics and required professional attention. Brennan was bussed off the field to a thunderous applause.
“Well, I threw to first, and the entire right side of my body felt like it got punched,” said Brennan (seen below during happier times). “My whole arm went numb so I had it in me to feel my ‘shoulder.’ Judging by the bone jutting out of my back, I was guessing it was dislocated.
“Thanks to all the Spices and the Spices’ cheering section (‘Herbs?’) who helped out last night. No sports for four weeks, though, good luck in the playoffs.”
The Spices would hold on in the bottom half of the inning to complete the victory and their perfect 8-0 regular season record, though the celebration was somewhat dampened by the injury. Brennan was posthumously awarded the game MVP trophy.
“I don’t want people to think it was a pity award,” said Captain Big. “We asked a lot of Brennan tonight. We asked him to play a position he’s never played before, to make throws he hasn’t had to throw and to bear pressure he hasn’t been asked to bear before.
“I think he held up admirably... well, until his body literally started to fall apart... then, of course, there was a degree of whimpering and sobbing. But I think he can be forgiven a little bit of whining when his arm isn’t in the place where it should be.”
With the loss of The Brow for the rest of the season, the Spices will need to make some changes to the lineup, but they remain confident that they can carry their regular season momentum through the playoffs and earn an unprecedented third-straight championship.
This author would also like to issue an apology to the Balls Deep player who was mentioned in last week’s recap. No offense was intended and we hope that she can forgive us for the ribbing she received from her teammates when they learned that her exploits had been highlighted in another team’s pages. When the writer ran into the player on the field, he readily offered an apology and asked to confirm her name, in the event a misnomer might also have contributed to the player’s aggravation. The player then proceeded to lie about her identity. This is understandable, the player wishes to remain anonymous. In the interest of meeting the players’ wishes, in any future mention in these pages, the player shall be known as “Fizzie”. We would like to wish Fizzie and her Xena-trill luck in all her future ventures.
The Spices were well-rested as they made their way to the field on Thursday. After a successful Mid-Season party and some therapeutic Old Spice Man ad watching, The Team Your Team Could Smell Like was refreshed and ready to get their kick on.
The upstart Balls Deep fielded a slightly diminished squad but gamely took the field, ready to give the current Division leaders a run for their money.
Spices fans, of course, were expecting some fireworks and the Red team eagerly obliged them, pushing six runs across the plate in the first. Included in the impressive rally was a two-run sac fly by Big, scoring both Angela and Asian, who churned her way around from second before the ball could make its way back into the mound.
The first inning was just the tip of the iceberg as the Spices’ offense managed to score a season high 15 points on the game, including two RBIs-each from Zach and BK.
"We played kickball last week?” asked BK when asked for comment. “Who? Balls Deep? Those clowns? I don't even remember them. But my two glorious, perfectly executed hits and RBIs? Yeah, I don't remember them either."
"I'm not saying it was the Reuben pizza and $4 pitchers of PBR that a group of Spices consumed pre-game that accounted for my better-than-usual kicking on Thursday,” said Zach about his efficient kicking. “Seriously, I'm not saying that. That's ludicrous. There's no possible connection between what I had for dinner and how one particular kick turned out."
With five doubles in the game, the Spices have clearly found their rhythm this season. It was an instance of Small Ball, however, that threw Asian off during the game against Balls Deep.
“Big bunted!” she said. “He never bunts! I wasn’t ready for that! I barely made it to second!”
Defensively, the Spices, again, proved their strengths, with a trademark swim-move catch by Asian and more quick footwork by Brow.
The play of the day – perhaps of the season – went to Kevin at third (seen here, reenacting the play with his MVP trophy).
The Balls Deep kicker laced a rope down the third base line, destined to go foul. However, Kevin made a fantastic (some might say reckless) dive to his right, going completely horizontal to snatch the ball out of the air and make the out.
"When the ball was kicked my way, I thought, 'Nope, not gonna try,’” said Kevin. “Then my instincts took over and I heard myself internally yell, '110%!!!!'."
"Kevin's swan dive catch was the greatest thing I've ever seen,” said Co-Captain Colin. “Except for the gourmet cake that I baked in the kitchen I built for you with my own hands."
The award for “Funniest Sound Effects” went to Liz of Balls Deep whose Xena-like trills whenever the ball was pitched to her had everyone either laughing or scratching their heads.
Liz also won the award for “Most-Times-To-Touch-The-Ball-In-One-Pitch” when she logged no less than four touches to the ball (including, possibly, one to the back of the head, though we’re still not sure how that’s physically possible) when she swung at one of Phil’s patented “Swizzlers”.
All in all, it was a solid outing for the Spices and, at the risk of sounding patronizing, an admirable effort by the short-handed Balls Deep who managed, in their three runs, to plate the most kickers allowed by The Team Your Team Could Smell Like all season.
The Spices now look forward to their final game of the season and a matchup against perennial rivals Blue Steel.
Vegas is the Valhalla of our sport. You go there if you're a little more than serious about this game. But with the recent hack-and-slash they've done to the invitations that go out, its only fair that regionally, we start picking the cream of the crop. In preparing for the Fall Leagues, I looked and noticed that in Massachusetts there are 15 leagues. At worst they have 8 teams a piece but most are going to at least 12 or 16.
Lets say for the sake of the math they all have only 8. 8 x 15 = 120.
Those are just the teams. There are 26 slots on each roster. That's 3,120 kickball players in this region alone. (for those miserable grouches out there, that [at $65 a pop] $202,800.00 they make in one season in just Eastern Massachusetts).
Logically, there's no way to account for, or balance around, any aberrations in league strength, talent balance amongst the teams. There's also no way to enforce that the three people showing up to ref even know the rules, let alone if they called the game fairly. Life isn't fair, we can't make this perfect but we can refine it.
A Boston Invitation would take, from each league, the playoff winner there and place them in a bracket. No run differentials, no rankings. If you're in, it should be assumed that you could be the best or the worst depending on who showed up to play.
Why Create an Invitational?
There was a point in time where the Final Four in college basketball was just that - final. They all claimed to be Champions, if only in their region, and who of them were actually capable of beating the other 3 was all speculation. I shouldn't need to tell you that this has long ago gone the way of the buffalo. The questions and speculations in this league are only made worse by the pre-season scramble to figure out where C.L.I.T. and Electric Mayhem are playing this seasons so you can figure out where the competitive teams are.
If you don't land in those leagues, Champions are never Champions. Your kickers could never kick as well against Marcello's pitching, and they certainly couldn't get past the defensive wall on C.L.I.T. But says who? The factors are too innumerate to mention but everything is based on the size of the field, the size of the batters box with the Umpire that day and it goes on and on and on.
I can't speak for them, but I'd guess our WAKA overloards are looking to make this business (many of them having full-time jobs devoted to it) about as lucrative as possible. Why not then move to make this sport as "sporty" and as streamlined as possible? You'd have a breeding ground for decent umpires on your way to Vegas, and it would garner some strong attention for this regions players. I think if the future is going to be defined by the rising of Kickball from cultural quirk to legitimate sport, it needs to be done with a cleaner, smarter elimination process and where better to start than in the Cradle of Liberty?
Posted by Brow at Monday, July 19, 2010
The Common was a dustbowl as The Team Your Team Could Smell Like and Gettin' Cider took the field on Thursday. Neither team complained, though, as they welcomed dry weather after the monsoon that dominated the first half of the season.
The Spices have been carrying momentum since the first week and it showed itself again last night as the Reds pushed six runs across the plate in the first inning with RBIs by Big, Phil, Kevin and Seamus before the Cider were able to stop the bleeding. BK and Colin then drove in Seamus and Squints in the top of the fifth.
More impressive than their offense, the Spices continued their season-long defensive clinic. Phil and Kevin were stellar in the infield while Bayewitch and Asian made plays at second to keep the tie-dyed runners honest. Catcher Brennan had a breakout game behind the plate, recording no less than 3.5 outs through heads up play and accurate throwing.
“It was one of those games where you just go out there and you bust your ass,” said Brennan. Grabbing the microphone he continued: “Some times you end up with these 6-0 leads and you think, ‘Is this a syphilitic fever dream or am I doing acid?’ Then you realize that you’re fine and they’re just wearing tie-dye and you happened to not drink enough liquid at lunch.”
“You win some, you lose some and sometimes you’re caught sleeping in the outfield or playing with a dog off-field,” Brennan continued, with a surprisingly strong grip on the recorder. “But at the end of the day you have to brush your shoulders off and swan dive back onto your horse… or your motorcycle… or into the greatest game of your life… You know, whatever.
“I think, when it comes down to it, we’ve played a great season so far and a lot of our fans have really come in support of our attempts. It is a little disappointing LeBron rejected us for Miami. But what can you say to him? Cambridge just doesn’t bring the Yayo… But what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the game.
“Great first inning. Great second inning. Not a bad third. Really nice fifth. I refuse to talk about the fourth inning, but I’m still happy with our performance.”
When asked for a comment on his 2 RBI, 1 Assist and 2 IP MVP performance, Phil took a deep breath: “What? What did I do? It was all Randy Munkay!”
In a game that included a couple of laser-beam, cross-the-diamond putouts, another foul out for Big’s tally, shut down catching and great team play in shallow center the story of the game, perhaps undeservedly and eclipsed only by some buffoon in Cleveland, had to be Seamus’ gaff in left field.
In a moonshot pop-up, it appeared that the Party King had a line on it, only to lose the ball’s flight at the last moment. The ball bounced off his hands and behind him, resulting in the first homerun Big has conceded all season.
The press caught up to Seamus after the game. “I think the catch may have gone better had Drinks Captain Ray been at the game to insist that my drink accompany me to the outfield, thus providing me with a half a second delay while putting down my beverage before coming in for the catch, meaning I would have been in perfect position and would have made the catch.”
Captain Big chimed in, “I’ve had a chance to talk to Seamus and, you know, he’s absolutely right. Ray missed today’s game and then didn’t come out to the bar afterwards. He’s totally at fault here. The team will probably fine him and that’ll be end of it. We’ll move on and put this unfortunate incident – which was all Ray’s fault – behind us.”
In off the field news, most of the Spices players will be attending the MA Patriot 2010 Mid Season party this Saturday and will be available for autographs and photos. Don’t miss this chance at getting your hands on a great piece of kickball and historical memorabilia!
Tensions were high as the Spices squared off against the Bootleggers for the fourth straight season, as a few transplants had some more than sporting words for the competition.
The game was a 4-based bloodbath of trench warfare as the Spices, managing to squeak a run across early in the first, were forced to simply maintain the lead for three innings while the Leggers made their way around the diamond.
But something had to give, and the Spices managed to break free from the Bootleggers stranglehold with a 4th inning swan-dive into a six run lead.
The glory of a 6-0 shutout was dashed, however, when the Booties dug deep in the bottom of the 5th to snatch a run from the jaws of scoreless ignomy.
This week's MVP, Angela Frey, had this to say: "I was rounding third and I needed to do something epic. I closed my eyes and prayed as I slid across home. My ass is still store but it's all about trying new things. Thats what she said!"
Posted by Brow at Wednesday, July 07, 2010