Hashtags restore order against Controlled Chaos

Veteran kickballer Rob had the best game of his career, driving in three runs to lead #FirstWorldProblems to a 9-1 victory over Controlled Chaos last week.

The win left the Hashtags in second place with 5.5 points and in strong position to earn a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs.

"We are in strong position to earn a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs," Captain Colin said.

Los Problemos got the run-scorin' off to an early start as Big drove in Amit from the clean-up spot and then scored on a RKI single from Seamus. Controlled Chaos chipped away with one run in the bottom of the first, but that would be all they scored for the night. Rob drove in Amanda with a sacrifice in the second, and Brad added two RKI the next inning.

The floodgates opened in the fourth as Seamus, Barrett, Amanda and Shelby all crossed the plate, with the latter two scoring on a single from Rob.

"I wasn't there, but I could smell Hashtag greatness from 14.4 miles away," said Drew, #FWP's absentee pitcher.

#FirstWorldProblems close out the regular season tonight with a rivalry game against Gettin' Cider. A win will guarantee the team at least a second-place finish, while a tie or loss will plunge them into a math-filled haze of tiebreaker confusion.

#FirstWorldProblems tie up their Heroes

#FirstWorldProblems continued their three-game unbeaten streak Wednesday night, holding on for a 2-2 tie against Kickball Heroes.

The Hashtags faced almost certain defeat in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the Heroes loaded the bases with only one out. But strong pitching and defense got them out of the jam.

"Strong pitching and defense got us out of the jam," Captain Colin said.

#FirstWorldProblems jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, with Seamus driving in the speedy Yuval. The Heroes fired back with two runs in the bottom of the inning and held the lead until the fourth. Game MVP Eric led off with a double and scored the tying run on a sacrifice by outfielder Jamie, whose father was not impressed.

"Isn't the outfield where you hide your players that are terrible?" he said.

The tie put #FWP's record at 4-1-1 for the season, good enough for fifth place, with two games left in the regular season.

"We should be given more credit," said the vociferous Brow. "We held them to a tie. Only other team to do so is Stewie's [Sexy Party]."

Problems Take Presidents To the Polls: Vote For the Other Guy

The rivalry between the #FirstWorldProblems and Ex-Presidents goes back years (in kickball time, so a year), so this season’s meeting promised to be an exciting matchup.

When the dust settled, leaving the Hashtags 8-5 victors, both participants and observers knew they’d seen something special.

“It was an amazing game,” said Co-Captain Big. “Two like teams with similar rosters and drives to win, you knew it was going to be close. I’m just glad we were able to pull out a W.”

Other players were invigorated by the Lily Whites’ success.

“When the going gets tough, the #Problems get going,” crowed RF Tristan. “Unless the going gets really tough, like when the barista messes up your order. That just ruins your day.”

“In order to take down these Presidents, we knew we had to bring all our Problems to the field,” said Asian.

Through the first three innings, the teams were locked together, with defensive and offensive contributions coming from all corners. In the fourth inning, however, the #Problems were able to take the lead for good with a two run-sacrifice by game MVP Angela.

“I like kickball!” shouted Angela. “I also enjoy dancing, drinks and long walks on the beach at sunset! I also like Matthew McConaughey! I thought he was excellent in The Lincoln Lawyer!”

With the win, the #Problems are rolling going into week 6 when they will face off against perennial rivals Gettin’ Cider.

#FirstWorldProblems Split Banana Mustache, Put Up Runs in Bunches

The coldest Wednesday of the young season saw the #Hashtags face off against plucky Banana Mustache.

It didn’t take long to see that the #Problems were in rare form as they plated 12 runs in the first two innings.

“I think there must’ve been something in the light beer we drank before the game,” said a winded Co-Captain Big, who connected for three homeruns and 10 RKIs on the night. “But we clearly need to drink more of it.”

Nick, also on a tear this season after posting a goose-egg average this summer, connected for a homerun of his own in the second inning.

“Days after that blast to right field and I’m still catching my breath,” he said. “This is one of the few times I’ve actually kicked the ball where I intended and was glad I could contribute to the team’s success. I’ve never had to run around so many bases before and I’ve been looking for ways to shorten the trip.”

The offensive explosion was also helped along in the second inning by a booming triple by Amit who channeled his inner Adam Jensen: “I finally learned how to use my bionic leg!” (Editor’s note: Actually Amit’s an MIT alum, so this talk of bionic appendages may be more based on reality than the latest chapter in the Deus Ex videogame franchise.)

Defensively, the #Hashtags had contributions all over the field despite the chill. In the later innings, Shelby made a Top Ten-worthy snag at her shoe laces in the middle infield to stop a promising Mustache rally.

“I’m still reeling from that catch!” exulted Shelby. “I can't believe I actually caught it; I don't think I realized that I even went for it until I caught the ball!”

The #Problems don’t have long to revel in their win, however, as a short week means they have a quick turnaround for their much-anticipated matchup against bitter(-ish?) rivals: ExPresidents 2: Frontier Justice.

“Matrix: Reloaded, Temple of Doom, Rush Hour 2, Shanghai Knights: These are the sort of sequels we expect to see out of these guys,” said Big. “All sequels are terrible is what I’m saying… well, except for Two Towers… And Back to the Future 2… D2: The Mighty Ducks was pretty good, they got Keenan…”

#FirstWorldProblems Find Pitches, Place in Lost and Found

Still riding the momentum of their big opening night win, the #Problems came out swinging Wednesday night against the seasoned Pitches.

Fielding an unusually light roster of only 17, the #Problems’ bench felt positively sparse at times. The lily whites would not be discouraged, however, making up for numbers with volume. And with the help of honorary #Problem (and actual Ex-President) Phil and the callback Team Your Team Could Smell Like playlist on his Loud box, the away team was able to plate four quick runs in the first to give the Pitches an uphill battle for the rest of the game.

The Benny Hill moment of the night came in the top of the fourth when, with bases loaded, the #Problems were able to capitalize on a couple of rare Pitches throwing errors and some base path errors of their own to plate two runs thanks to some overeager running by Jamie and an opportunistic (and squirrely) Asian.

“We call it the ‘Crouching Asian, Hidden Jamie!’” said Jamie. “Yeah, we're special. We got what it takes!”

Game MVP Seamus, who initiated the play and drove in three of the #Problems’ runs on the night, was elated. “It makes me feel, um, good...”

Rookie Lara (“Doctor P”) saw her first WAKA action on the night, having finally been lured into kickball by husband Tristan. Sambas may have outshone her on-field experience on the night, however. “Whenever I go to Sambas, I know I can expect marital advice from the bartender and unbelievably delicious cake (or at least one of the two?).”

The #FirstWorldProblems are off to a fast start this season. Kickball, cake and pitchers are a good Wednesday night by anybody’s standards.

Free agents shine in #FirstWorldProblems debut

#FirstWorldProblems got off to a strong start with a 12-1 victory Wednesday night. Newcomers Brad (game MVP) and Jamie made instant impacts, going a combined 4-for-4 with 3 RKI and 3 runs scored.

"We're coming out strong this season," said Big, who reached base twice, with 1 RKI and 2 runs scored. "We clearly won the off-season race, picking up a handful of future kickball superstars. Those moves are already paying dividends. The top teams in the league are soon going to realize they've got #Problems to deal with."

#FWP put up seven runs in the first inning and relied on strong defense and Big's pitching to keep the opposition at bay. When asked for comment, star infielder Nancy replied, "Really? Did I do something special?"

When informed that she went 1-for-2 with 2 RKI, Nancy added, "Oh. Right."

The win was a strong team effort, with other run producers and scorers including Amanda, Pete, Frey, Colin, Big, Seamus and Shelby.

The #Hashtag Revolution

"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything." - Harry S. Truman

As stolen from a better speech:

Let's set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between winning and fun, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have winning--and you can have it in the next second--sobriety.

Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in apathy, and this is the specter our well-meaning sober friends refuse to face--that their policy of seriousness is assanine, and it gives no choice between winning and fun, only between play and apathy. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat from these tea tottlers, eventually we have to face the final demand--the ultimatum. And what then? When Stewies Sexy Party has told their people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Vegas Cup, and someday when the time comes to deliver the ultimatum, our sobriety will be voluntary because by that time we will have weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. They believe this because from our side he has heard voices pleading for "winning at any price" or "better Win than Fun," or as one commentator put it, he would rather "win on his feet than fuck on his back." And therein lies the road to apathy, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that winning is so dear and playing so sweet as to be purchased at the price of boredom and sobriety. If nothing in life is worth drinking for, when did this begin--just in the face of this enemy? Or should Shookie not have made "shoes" for the Hippos? Should Ray have never shown up? Should Tristan and Seamus not have shown up slinging rum and Diet Coke? The drunks of our history were not fools, and our honored retired who gave their drinks to stop the advance of Gettin' Cider didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to fun? Well, it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point beyond which they must not advance. Winston Churchill said "I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells Happy Hour."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of drinking in WAKA, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of sobriety.

Regular Season Stats

The Superlatives (Kickball Achievements)

  • Silver Boot (Highest Average): Brennan (.900)
  • The Youkilis (Most Walks): Nancy (2)
  • Drive 'Em In (Most RBIs): Big (13)
  • Go On Without Me! (Most Sacrifice RBIs): Tie Brennan and Asian (2)
  • Boom-Goes-The-Dynamite (Most HRs): Big (4)
  • Oh-Fer (Lowest Average): Nick (.000)*
  • The Jackson (Most Hits): Tie Seamus and Big (10)

Complete Stats (Click to Enlarge)

Gone to Plaid 2011

* Kelly's .000 Average exempted because she managed to drive in a run.

Gone to Plaid Shoot Shoot Til Yah Boot Til They Boot

The Spaceballs arrived at the final game of the 2011 MA Patriot season the same way they started the first, at full throat and in high spirits. With the prospect of an undefeated season at hand, they took the field with pride, determination and verve.

While the offense had an uncharacteristically slow first inning, they started cooking in the second with a 2 RBI double by Game MVP Nancy.

“After two weeks of walking, my legs were itching for a big kick,” said Nancy. “My opportunity came in the 2nd with bases loaded and one out. It has been my goal to one day kick a home run. Well I got the next best thing!”

Chris then brought in Wayne and Rob finished the attach with a sac fly to score Nancy.

The scoring continued in the fourth with a 3 RBI single by Pete. Vapok then scored on a single by Brennan.

The final Asshole run would come in the fifth off of a Big Home Run.

Defensively, Gone to Plaid were clearly relaxed. However, the play of the night went to Kate, who saved a certain run-scoring boot to left center with a solid catch.

“I have been working on improving my reception skills, and I suppose all of the four-leaf clovers that I have been hunting out there have come in handy!” said Radio. “It was nice to get my hands on that ball! I may not be able to kick, but apparently I can catch! I’m a much more feminine Carl Crawford!”

At the other end of the spectrum, a missed tag by Big that rolled into centerfield resulted in a pair of runs for the Green in the fifth. Asian’s “Swim Move” finally failed her as a twisting pop-up managed to spin out of her hands. Seamus, however, put the most gray hair on his captain’s head, spending the better part of the fifth inning lying on his side and picking daisies in right field.

When reached for comment, Seamus allowed only: “Rum.”

One of the plays of the season, however, has to go to the final out of the game. A perfectly placed bunt down the third baseline forced Kevin to charge hard from third. Instead of scooping the ball up for the throw, however, he chose to shoe the ball over to first to get the runner.

“I never want to see him do that again,” said Big. “But I have to admit, that was freaking awesome!

Though the performance wasn’t flawless, its larger meaning for the season is clear. Gone to Plaid finish the regular season undefeated and take the first place seed going into the playoffs, with a bye round.

“I’m enormously proud,” said a tearful Captain Big. “This is a great squad. I couldn’t ask for better. The sky’s the limit for the Spaceballs!”

Spaceballs Temper the Bootleggers

Thursday saw an “Original 8” matchup between a pair of MA Patriot veterans and longtime rivals. With a tight race for the top spot in the division at stake, Gone to Plaid took the field with purpose against a seasoned foe.

With a final score of 4-1, it came down to the stronger defense. The Assholes were nearly impeccable in the field, playing with the class and level-headedness of an experienced squad.

The outfield was rock solid, letting not a single fly drop. Pete and Colin at first base were steel traps through the match, keeping everything close and not giving up free passes. Many of those throws came from home plate as the Bootleggers proved themselves to be excellent bunters.

"Brow made some really strong, clutch throws to first,” said Colin. “I was worried he'd throw out his shoulder (again), but then I remembered all the steroids and HGH he took during his recovery. Thank God WAKA doesn't have drug testing!"

Brow’s performance on the field, along with a 2 for 2 day at the plate with two runs and an RBI earned him the Game MVP (entirely on merit, no pity award this season). As always, though, the catcher was humble:

“That might have been the best game we've had in awhile. Everyone brought their A game: a big catch by Rob, Chris had a fantastic shot and we saw some great crying… from the pitcher when I incorrectly told Radio to bat.”

As Madden said, however, if you don’t put any points on the board, you’ll have a hard time winning the game. While the defense was sparkling, the Spaceballs, again, proved themselves to have the mettle to squeeze runs out of the tightest of defenses.

They plated their first run in the opening frame with a triple by Big. But the fireworks came out in the fourth with an extended rally that started with Nancy’s second walk of the season. When asked about her capacity for working deep counts and ability to lay off those outside pitches she said:

“I've been quite lucky getting into the pitcher's head lately. Last year, the pitcher couldn't find the strike zone and threw meatballs, last week I walked; and this week I walked on a rare kickball full count. I guess patience really is a virtue.”

Nancy would eventually come around to score on a double by Brennan. Chris continued his recent hot streak, lacing a single scoring on Matty’s single a few at-bats later.

It proved to be one of the tightest games of Gone to Plaid’s season thus far and leaves them in excellent position to finish the season strong.

With the victory, Gone to Plaid continue their season-long undefeated streak while the Bootleggers suffered only their second loss of the season. Both teams look to be strong contenders in the playoffs this season.
And now: My favorite picture of the season...

Gone to Plaid to Fresh Kicks: ‘That’s what I call a close encounter!’

A rare clear sky greeted the Spaceballs as they took to the field on Thursday against the vaunted Fresh Kicks of Ball(Air). After a two week kickball drought, Gone to Plaid were champing at the bit to do some ballin’ and it showed.

After a quiet first inning, the Spaceballs put their first runs on the board with RBIs by Brennan and Kate, scoring Shelby and Asian.

The Assholes would break it open in the fourth, however, with a two out rally that plated 7 runs, including two by Game MVP Wayne and a three run home run by Captain Big.

Wayne doesn’t like the limelight, so refrained from comment after the match, though he expressed affection for his teammates and was proud of their performance.

Defensively, Gone to Plaid were sparkling. Aside from Big throwing the ball into the weeds in the fifth, the Assholes played an error-free game, with contributions coming from all over the field. Shelby and Angela made big catches at their positions but the defensive play of the game went to Asian, who made a phenomenal one-handed snag at second robbing the Kicks of at least a single.

“I’m so proud of myself for catching that ball! I went like this then I went like that and held on to it!” she said, breathlessly.

The Plaid took advantage of the superb conditions to try some players at new positions. Matty finally got his start behind the plate and excelled.

“Getting’ a shot behind the plate was awesome,” said Matty. “The bums were nice, of course, but I'm more concerned whether or not they give good helmet. Having such a great fielding team was instrumental in this win when our opponents tried to mount a rally, and it was GREAT to watch it all from home plate!”

Due to some last minute scratches, Colin “Man of” found himself in shallow center, again. However, he played the position like a true vet, making a key out in the late going at second base.

“I know hick I was playing center field, but I hadn't hick been to second base in a while, so when the opportunity hick presented itself, I reached out and grabbed hick it!”

The Fresh Kicks managed a brief rally in the fifth to put two runs across when Big (again, insisting on being solely responsible for all runs allowed this season) threw the ball into the weeds.

Gone to Plaid hopes to hold on to this momentum as they move into the last few weeks of the season, their eyes on the coveted Division Title and the glory of the MA Patriot Championship beyond that.

Next week they will face off against the veteran and streaking Bootleggers.

Spaceballs Drain 40oz Tiger Bloods

The night was warm as the black and pinks faced off on the dirt field at Cambridge Common. Many of the Spaceballs sported a gold-ringed sock on their right legs to commemorate the Boston Bruin’s historic Stanley Cup victory (though the “Bruin Fan Award” goes to Munt & Flip Vet JP who brought his replica Stanley Cup to the field and bar).

The game started quickly with both teams plating runners in the first. Matty kicked in Rob to put up the Assholes’ first run.

With bases loaded, Brennan then laced a sac fly into left field scoring fleet-footed Chris from third.

“Well at the time I got up there,” said Brennan. “I had just realized that the bases were loaded which didn't leave me a ton of room to bunt. So true to form I said, ‘Well, let’s just shoe the SOB and see where she lands.’ No fly is better than a fly with a sac behind it.”

With two men on, Big then kicked his second home run of the season to open up a comfortable lead over the fresh-faced Tiger Bloods. Shelby would then kick in Josh in the top of the third to close out the scoring for Gone to Plaid.

While it wasn’t a blow out, it never felt particularly close as the Spaceballs’ defense was sparkling, their only allowed run coming on an overthrow by Big to first.

Game MVP and “Hero for a Day” Chris had the catch of the day in left field saving at least one run.

“It felt nice to make that catch, awkward as it may have been,” said Chris. “I used my big fat head to clamp the ball against it. I’m a big damn hero.”

Other players on the team stepped up, as well, as the Spaceballs were faced with an unprecedented number of absent fielders, leading to a stretched depth chart. Rookie Matty played his first game at third base and excelled despite the pressure.

“Nerves? There’s ice in these veins!” said Matty. “Being thrown into the hot corner last minute was a pleasant surprise. While the corner wasn't particularly ‘hot’ for this game, it was a great challenge that I was happy to accept. When you got so much Schwartz in ya, it's easy to fight adversity.”

Many of Gone to Plaid then made their way to the bar where they, once again, dominated rivals Blue Steel at the flip cup table, led by the plucky Angel, who was unmatched in first flip landings.

The Spaceballs look forward to their next game against the Fresh Kicks of BallAir.

Gone to Plaid Scrimmage Pitch Intense, Take Notes

The drama of Thursday night’s match-up was short-lived when it became clear that the league’s competitive squad, Pitch Intense, would be unable to field a full squad and were forced to take a paper forfeit.

Because of their passion for the sport, however, both teams decided to give the crowd a show and play for nothing but honor and bragging rights.

With a final score of 4-0, Gone to Plaid was blanked for the first time in six seasons of kickball, but Captain Big was optimistic.

“It’s tough to take a rec team up against a squad like Pitch Intense and expect to put up crooked numbers,” said the captain. “It’s like triple-A against the Major League. That said, I’m really happy with our team’s defense tonight. We showed a lot of pluck and tenacity to stay after it despite being the overwhelming underdogs.”

Game MVP Leigh Tangerine, Esq. started her first game all season and was immediately challenged in center field, taking a ball off the face in the early going. Shortly afterwards, another bomb came her way and, without blinking, she stepped up and made a big catch.

“It was wonderful to have kickball back in my life,” said Leigh. “I learned that it is better to catch the ball instead of trying to direct it to the second basewoman with your eye socket. But I still hope to bring that same aggression to the base paths next week. I also learned that it is hard to hear cute guys make fun of your outfit when you are wearing a hollowed-out kickball on your head.”

The other outfielder to come up huge making use of both arms and face on a run-stealing catch was rookie Shelby. Shelby missed last week with a nasty case of Dengue Fever, so most sources were doubtful of her match fitness. However, the gutsy fielder took her spot in left field and came up big with a tough catch on a hard-kicked ball that she did will to hold onto.

When asked about her technique, Shelby quipped, “All I know is that, for most of us, the kickball field isn't the first or last place we'll be getting hit in the face by a ball.”

The Spaceballs learned lessons all night, on the field and off.

“I learned a valuable lesson last night,” said Seamus. “A personal 2 liters of rum & coke are a bad idea unless you are planning to pick up an order of Crab Rangoon from the Mexican Chinese place and a chicken parm calzone from a pizza shop on the walk home from the T.”

Words to live by.

Gone to Plaid is looking forward to a return to form the second half of the season with an eye on a rematch against Intense in the Finals.

“We’ll be ready,” said Big. “Our strategy may include the addition of fast-acting laxatives to their Gatorade or itching powder in their jock straps, but we’ll be ready.”

Spaceballs to Warlocks: “You Shall Not Pass!”

Perennial MA Patriot giants Gone To Plaid and Blue Steel (this year masquerading as Big Blue WINNING! MaSheen) took the field on Thursday, and as they did the tremors could be felt as far away as the Sheraton Commander. The rivalry between these teams is as deep as any in kickball, going back almost four years in a history that is both storied and legendary.

It was Blue Steel that Gone to Plaid (then the Green Team) had to triumph over in an epic overtime-into-the dark match to achieve their first league Championship. Their games, as captains for both squads have said, are never blow-outs. They’re always close as both teams bring out the best in their opponents. Thursday’s match was no different.

It had the makings of a pitchers’ duel as both hurlers appeared to be dialed in at the start. The only run for the first half of the game came in the first off an RBI single by Big with bases loaded.

After that, scoring ground to a halt as the defenses for both squads turned in sparkling performances. Nick, moving across the diamond from his normal position, had a stellar performance at first, earning him the season’s first defensive-based Game MVP award.

“With our star first basemen out of the lineup, I knew there was a big challenge ahead of me and I put Operation Vacu-Suck into action,” said Nick. “Megamaid was huge, but we would be nothing without my fellow Assholes. It was truly an honor to don the helmet!”

In the end, it took heads-up and aggressive baserunning from FBJ and Matty to give the Spaceballs a pair of insurance runs in the top of the fourth. Both managed to scoot home when the MaSheen’s infielders paid a little too much attention to other runners, including Asian who made yet another diving play on the basepaths.

“I knew our opponents were top notch and that we'd need every run we could get,” said Matty when. “You can't be Prince Valium out there on the bases, you have to be on your toes. I saw that they let their guard down for a moment and knew I had my chance. I took only what I needed to survive.

In the end, those bare three runs turned out to be enough as Gone To Plaid’s defense managed to prevent the potent Blue Steel offense from getting a rally going.

Veteran fielder Rob “R-Squared” Rogers said, “That was probably one of the better games I've played in a while because we basically were evenly matched, it was like a chess match. Leading 1-0 we couldn't figure out what to do in order to score more points. But we as team strategized and took the other team out of their element! That was an intense game...and next week will only be that more intense!”

Gone To Plaid’s official boosters club enjoyed the nail biter. “It was better than going to a Red Sox game,” said Mari Frey.

The WINNING MaSheen weren’t about to let the Assholes off the hook that easily, however. Challenging the Plaid at the bar, Big Blue were a force to be reckoned with at the flip cup table, probably winning the majority of the races. However, the Spaceballs came up big in the final race which, Big points out, the Blues, themselves, announced was the “winner take all” contest. Maybe next time, friends.

The Spaceballs are now looking to next week when they’ll match up against league leaders, Pitch Intense, with former Munt & Flip-er: Captain Phil Monkeybutt.

Photos courtesy of Matty Stevenson

Where do we go from here?

WARNING: The following ideas, thoughts, and statements are solely those of the author and do not represent the thoughts of feelings of the team, the team captains, the Patriot League 2011, or league management. Readers should recall this was written by an asshole and all statements should be taken with a grain of salt.

So far, this season has been a good one for the team. Our first week out we shutout what might be our arch-rivals, we stick it out through our second, rain-soaked week and we even made it to the bar. People seem to be getting along and so far theres been no injuries.

But the seasons Volta leaves no time for waste, week 3 stands to be a complete sea-change. According to reports our Week 3 opponents were beaten by our Week 4 opponents 7-1. That sounds like we’re in for an easy week on the 26th but last nights score masks the reality of the situation. Pitchin’ Tents (Week 4) was a team farmed from last years teams, a VIP collection of occasionally good-natured, but none-the-less ruthless players who were upset they didn’t shutout Big Blue WINNING! MaSheen (Week 3). If that sounds like a dick statement on their part, it is. But that’s mostly irrelevant. After the game they’re actually pretty nice people, but they came into this season with a plan that did not include mercy.

First off, MaSheen is not nearly as bad as their name or that score from last night implies. They themselves are a team comprised of two previously competitive teams who did all right on their own. Rain can throw a lot of teams for a loop, and when you play against Tents, you’re going to need to be on you’re a-game. Its evident from watching them that they’ve got some big guns and they aren’t always pop-flies. Teams who’s outfielders don’t back one another up often end up chasing balls into adjacent games. According to the Standings, they won their previous game 7-1.

Tents is a different ball game all together. Unlike regular teams where you hope to outplay them, Tents as a team (in this league) is impossible to outplay. There will be no weak portion of their line-up, there won’t be sloppy errors or players who grab the ball and don’t know where it’s supposed to be thrown, or where the smartest play is. I think its reasonable to expect them to hold runners back, rather than go for outs, and just pick off much easier players via fly balls. Double-plays are not an impossibility here.

But Tents is, after all, mortal and there are going to be exploits we should work. I’d remind folks that they aren’t going to give quarter here, so its best to force them to try for things they aren’t good at. The major weakness of teams like this: Tents, C.L.I.T., the Cider of old, or any other team who might be found to be too serious is the thought that they might lose. If you come out of the second inning beating them and getting them frustrated about their winning potential, the wheels tend to come off. Smart opposition will often dash this with some indirect, arrogant chatter to get under their skin. All-star teams do exist, but if you force them to beat themselves, your chances improve ten-fold.

The reality of the situation is anything could happen, and while the next two weeks are going to be a test of will, they shouldn’t hamper the season. Lets just say, for the sake of strategic advancement, that we lose the next two weeks. The chances are good that well finish the season 6-2 in that unfortunate situation leaving us mid-pack for the playoffs. I haven’t looked at how they intend to deal with the 2 extra teams (likely a bye round). But Mid-pack is a great place for us to be. A lot of math is done during the season to establish X,Y, & Z but the truth is regular season stats don’t matter much in the playoffs, and a team with momentum is often tough to beat. The Volta’s here, the cake-walk won’t be back until Mid-June, but if nothing else the next two weeks will tell us who we are as a team, and more importantly where we can improve. Knowing this before the playoffs might be the best thing we could have on our side.

Aside from a radio this season, a backstop on the grass fields, a booze cooler, and a bigger bar. But hey, who’s complaining?

Spaceballs Shelve Dewey Decimators

It was a damp field that Gone to Plaid stepped onto on Thursday for the second game of the fledgling 2011 MA Patriot season. Spirits were high coming off a decisive victory over Gettin' Cider the previous week and the red-hot Assholes offense was eager to get their kick on, no matter what Mother Nature threw at them.

A slow start saw the Decimators take an early lead in the first with effective bunting and heads up baserunning.

However, the Spaceballs broke through in the second, plating three off of a sac fly by Asian and an impressive two RBI single by game MVP Tristan.

Tristan wasn’t able to hang around to celebrate his career day at the plate, but when reached for comment he said: “It was wet (like your mom). It was slippery (like your mom). But we were raring to go (like your mom). And we scored over and over again (like your mom).”

Gone to Plaid then broke it open with a nine run fourth inning with RBIs by Josh, Nancy, (the recently betrothed and pictured) Kevin, Seamus and Brennan. Captain Big brought home three with his first homerun of the season.

The Decimators would bring in three in the bottom of the inning, but the Spaceballs were able to rely on some uncommon teamwork in the field that helped ensure victory.

First, the recently engaged Kevin and Catie paired up for a catch in shallow left center when Kevin reached up for a pop-up and couldn’t find a grip. Catie, backing up her partner, was able to pluck the falling ball out of the air before it hit the ground to make the out.

“It was wet out there, which is how I like it,” said the blushing bride-to-be. “I was just glad I could get behind my fiancĂ© and catch his slippery ball! Feeling great now that I have a Schwartz all my own!”

The defensive adventures continued in the next inning when Kevin was able to help out teammate Kate in right center. As the ball floated, threatening to land behind her, Kate was able to tip the ball right into Kevin’s arms.

“It’s much easier to pitch a ball game when you know you’ve got fielders out there who are so willing to work together,” said Big, who would do well to follow his own advice. It was his gaff in the infield that led to a pair of opportunistic runs for the Decimators in the fourth.

The jubilant Assholes made their way to a mercifully crowded Tommy Doyle’s to raise a glass. Seamus, after raising a few glasses, said “We hope to continue to bring the spirit, and the beard, of Thomas Doyle to each and every game for the remainder of the season.”

Words to live by… I think…

Gone to Plaid will hit the field next week against long-time rivals Blue St- erm Big Blue WINNING! MaSheen.

Gone to Plaid Take off at Ludicrous Speed

With a squad bigger than Spaceball One, Gone to Plaid stepped onto the hallowed fields of Cambridge Common ready to get their kick on. And with a decisive 10-0 victory over dreaded Gettin’ Cider, they sent a message to the rest of the league: “Dreams of victory? We’re here to take the air out of those sails.”

“The Schwartz was definitely with us,” said Co-Captain and Game MVP Colin. “We beamed Gettin’ Cider 10 times last night. It was wonderful.”

In a night of too many stars, Colin was the offensive leader, getting on base twice, scoring his first run of the season and kicking in two RBIs in the fourth inning.

Seamus played his first game in the lead off spot and reached twice. “It’s amazing to see those giant calves wrapped in those twisty socks churn down that line.” said Captain Big.

The defensive play of the night went to Wayne in the hot corner, with the season’s first fabled seam from third to first, hitting Colin right in the Lobster claws. “My arm went all tingly after that throw,” said Thumper. “All of me went tingly,” replied Captain Big.

The other defensive standout of the day was behind the dish. After a season-ending dislocated shoulder last season, there was talk in the off-season of a trade or early retirement. However, The Brow shucked the doubters and took his place behind the plate and had one of his best games in recent memory. “I think I have boner for this season,” Brennan said after the win.

Veteran Angela was perfect at the plate and on the bases, beating out a perfect bunt and scoring a run from second. “When I saw my bunt go right down the first base line, I thought I was done,” said Angela. “But months of training have proven successful and I was able to outrun the throw. I'm hoping that this first game sets the tone for the rest of the season.”

Co-Captain Asian earned the season’s first band-aid, sliding not once, but twice on the bases, picking up a couple of scuffs and cuts for her troubles. “I bled for the team!,” she aid. “I bled before you did,” she accused.

Even rookie Matty is confident, (though his kicking style leaves something to be desired, according to a petulant Captain Big). “Gone to Plaid is where it's at; the team to watch out for this season.”

Fans of the club went home happy on Thursday night, happy to see their team start the season off with a bang. Everyone is now nurturing high hopes for the year as Gone to Plaid has already positioned themselves in the league as the team to beat.

~Photos courtesy of Matty Stevenson