Titans Euthanize Glen Ridge with Wild Wacky Walk-off Win

titans 7-16

Titans Euthanize Glen Ridge with Wild Wacky Walk-off

On a day conclusively proving that global warming is VERY real, the battered, undermanned and poorly-dressed Titans gathered to take on a Glen Ridge team they had strip naked and publicly flogged without mercy the week before.  40 minutes before first pitch, while sucking down my pregame meal of a raw egg, a large brightly colored lightning bolt appeared in my left I and I suddenly felt fuzzy clumsy logy muddled befuddled discombobulated and disorientated, as an insane pain racked my brain.  MIGRAINE.  For those of you never suffered a migraine, it’s like Lucifer’s sticks his white hot cock in your earhole and fucks your brain with the violent furious anger that comes with being the Lord of Darkness.  No way I could pitch.  It’s really a simple mathematical equation.

ROCK-HARD SPHEROID SCREAMING 100 MPH AT SKULL + MIGRAINE = CONCUSSION.

I saw the Concussion movie.  I sure as hell don’t want to end up drooling into a cup playing with myself next to Jim McMahon and Earl Campbell.  Especially over an old man Over-30 softball game.  My wife threatened to cut off my balls if I played.  No way was I playing, nevermind pitching.  Famous last words.

Eight minutes before first pitch we had eight players.  Including me, with a lightning bolt was pulsating/radiating in my left eye, pain making me its bitch, and so loopy I feel like I’m going to fall off my face any moment.  Forfeit.  The whole season down the drain.  Couldn’t even field a full team for the fucking PLAYOFFS?  That pissed me off.  Just then Phil-Dor strolled up like the Ghost of Playoffs Past and as he did, the lightning bolt disappeared.  Suddenly I see you again.  I was still clumsy as a 12-year-old Appalachian boy trying to make out for the first time with his sister.  But I decided I’d take my chances that I could stop my wife from hacking off my testicles, and I took the mound.  What the hell?  Worst case scenario, I get my head split open, my brains ooze out on the pitcher’s mound, and I die with my gloves and cleats on.

Just as the Titans took the field, lo and behold David Joseph and his strained-sprained-pulled-tweaked-fuckedup groin came hobbling onto the field.  The only place he could play was catcher.  This will figure prominently in our narrative.  And now the Titans were 10.

To my delight and amazement I was able to throw strikes at will.  They hit a few balls hard (many of them were turned into outs), but they hit a bunch of lazy flies and weak grounders.  Defensive Shout-outs go out to RTH, who was once again in the Death Zone of the Bermuda Triangle which is left-field at Upper Mountain between 9 AM and noon.  In the middle of the game, a massive flyball was skied high toward him.  I saw him pick up the ball off the bat.  Then I saw the palms-out I’m-fucked moment when he lost the ball in the sun.  Next was the squinting-while-seeing-giant-sunspot face.  Then he went into a squatting position and held out his glove and meat-hand to create a large basket where he thought the ball might fall.  The ball landed exactly in his basket.  He made it look very dramatic by juggling it several times, but then he squeezed it tight.  I have a memory of Maceranus sprinting like a velociraptor into the wilderness of left-center field and grabbing a howitzer shot, but that may be faulty memory at work.  I know for a solid fact that YouTube Davis made two splenderiffic snags of wicked-ass scorchers and turned them with the style and grace of a black middle-aged Fred Astaire into Easy Outs.  Ironically the softest ball hit to him had some loony kooky English on it and literally spun out of his glove and hid behind his foot.  By the time he did a Where’s-Waldo? search for it, the runner was standing on first base.  Grink had a spectacular day at shortstop, from the first play of the game right through the last out, at one point snagging a sizzling shot out of the air, then very cleverly dropping the ball to try and turn a double play.  And that’s the story were sticking to.  And then there was D-Jo, who pulled off not one but two web-gems.  The first occurred at a very tight moment in the game, they had just scored, a guy was on third, the ball came in hot and wild from the outfield toward the first baseline, about 10 feet from home plate.  I was still strangely disorientated so I was kind of standing outside my body’s the ball was going past it in slow-motion.  That I realized I should probably try and grab the ball.  I saw D-Jo coming out from behind the plate to get the ball.  Then he saw me and limped back toward the plate.  I dove and grabbed the ball, shoveling it backhand toward the plate as I landed.  The runner came barreling in full speed and D-Jo laid a righteous tag on the infidel heathen trying to score.  OUT!  Inning over.  Drop the microphone.  In the top of the sixth, when they’d already scored four runs, the same runner tried to score from second on a single.  This time I was back among the living and functioning as the cutoff man.  The ball flew in from the straight and true.  I turned and threw a strike to David.  The runner was caught halfway between home and third.  D-Jo limped him back towards third.  Textbook – exactly how they teach you in the instructional video.  He faked the throw.  The runner stopped.  David lurched a few feet forward.  The guy took off towards third.  David faked another throw.  Textbook.  The runner stopped – then made a mad dash back towards third base.  D-Jo threw himself balls-out, totally gave up the body (such as it is) and laid a heroic tag on the runner.  OUT!  Inning over.  Drop mic once again.

Offensively we came very close to having a good game.  But we suffered from Rallyus Interruptus.  12 runners left on base in seven innings.  Maceranus (3-4 w/ walk, 2 runs scored) opened the game with a ringing single. RTH (3-5, 3 RBIs, 3 runs scored), Bag O’ Hits (3-4, 2 RBIs) and Bus Stop Herrigal (3-4) follows suit (although in fairness – Bus Stop’s single was in fact the towering flyball the got sucked up into the sun and plopped back down into the Bermuda Triangle, with their left fielder shielding his eyes and covering his head).  But we left the bases loaded and only scored three runs.  Woulda/shoulda/coulda been at least 5.  Philly D (3-4 with a ‘uuuuuuge double leading off the sixth), Maceranus, Mishmasher (3-5 with two wicked shots right at people) and RTH led off the second inning by reaching base safely.  Next three guys made outs.  Including Bus Stop, who struck out swinging on a pitch that landed 5 feet in front of home.  Afterwards he was heard muttering, “That’s the first time I’ve done that in 20 years.”  Bullshit, says I.  Given how old the fucker is I say it’s probably been at least 40 years.  5-1. Woulda/shoulda/coulda been 10-1.   Fifth inning, Bag O’, Bus Stop and Grink opened up single-single-single.  Next three guys made outs.  At the end of five, it’s 6-1. Woulda/shoulda/coulda been 15-1.  Which is different in every conceivable way than 6-1.  And of course, top of the sixth, they hit some bloopers that fell, they hit a couple of line drives, we gave them a couple of outs, and when the dust finally settled, we were up 6-5.  When, honestly, we should’ve already had our foot on their throat and been crushing their windpipe.  Bottom of the sixth, that’s when Phil led off with his artfully struck double down the left field line, and hitting being contagious, we started hitting again.  We managed to put up a 3-spot, but again woulda/shoulda/coulda been 5 or 6.

So we went into the last inning up 9-6.  That’s when it all fell apart.  I was beyond exhaustipated.  I walked two guys in the same inning.  I walked three batters this whole year.  A ball was hit back to me, and I checked the runner on third base to make sure he didn’t go home.  Sadly, there was no runner at third base. We threw to the wrong base. (I have a distinct memory of P-Dor making a great fake on a flyball, so it looked like he was going to catch it, when in fact it dropped in front of him.  The runner at first barely left the base, and I heard myself screaming over and over like an escapee from the mental hospital for baseball players who had mental breakdowns, “THROW TO 2nd BASE, 2nd BASE, 2nd BASE!” while Dorian airmailed the ball 20 feet over third base).  We dropped some balls.  We missed grounders.  Lots of brainfarting.  But that’s when D-Jo made his monumental defensive play, and we entered the bottom of the seventh tied 9-9.

There was massive confusion about who should lead off the last inning.  I was so out of it I had no idea.  First I was told I was leading off.  Then I was told Phil was leading off.  Then all of a sudden Phil was leading off.  Their bench objected vehemently, and in fact one of the player’s wives meticulously keeps the books for them.  I still have no idea what the hell happened.  But Phil led off the inning.  Not that it mattered honestly, because their pitcher walked the first two batters.  Walking the first two batters in the bottom of the last inning when the score tied is right at the top of that list of things you should never do in a softball game.  And trust me, it’s not easy to walk Andrew Macarenus, you really have to work at it.  Mish mashed a single.  I held Phil at third.  Thank God, because he would’ve been thrown out by 20 feet.  So now, up comes RTH.  Bases loaded.  Last inning.  Score tied.  Exactly one of those moments you make up with your kids in the backyard playing with your friends.  And sure enough, RTH slugged a majestic moon shot that flew high and handsome, over the fence, and did a cannonball in the pool.  Okay, actually he dribbled the ball to middle, but still, it was absolutely a bona fide walk-off, and there was much exuberant celebration among the Titans.

And so the Titans lived to fuck play another day.  I did not give my life for the team.  By the time we won the game, my migraine was gone.  Although when the picture was posted, some friends said I did look eerily like America’s favorite mentally-challenged Slow Person, Forrest Gump.  Semifinals Sunday.  Sadly I will be in New Mexico at a Crack Conference, RTH will be in Miami Beach at a Tequila Convention and Andrew Mac will be in Ho-Ho-Kus at an Erotic Auto-Asphyxiation Seminar, so we will not be in attendance.  Even though our bodies we doing other things in other places, we will be with you in spirit.  See you in two weeks at the championship.

BONUS CONTENT: Bases loaded.  First-inning.  I’m up in the count 3-1.  Pitch lands 2 inches inside.  This is not a matter of opinion.  This is not a matter of conjecture.  This is not a subjective statement.  You can literally see in the dirt where the ball landed 2 inches inside.  I start to throw my back aside and saunter to first base, exalting in the fact that, in the midst of a malwaring migraine, I just got an RBI without lifting the bat off my shoulders.  The umpire[1] calls the pitch a strike.  Remember, I’m dazed, confused and disorientated.  I look down at where the pitch landed.  I’m stunned.  I looked up at the umpire, my face beaming incredulity.  So he goes all Clint Eastwood on me and says, “You say another word, I’ll toss you.”  The crazy thing being, of course, that I ain’t said a word.  Immediately I hear the nine voices of my teammates screaming: “SHUT THE FUCK!”  Or words to that effect.  I continued to not say anything, and I did not get myself tossed.  Later I apologized, telling the umpire that I was confused because I had a migraine.  His response: “You’re giving me a migraine.”  This is a man who should NOT be umpiring anywhere anytime in this or any other galaxy in perpetuity.

[1] This is the same bozo who exterminated RTH couple of weeks ago for reasons that are still unclear.

About David Sterry

David Henry Sterry is the author of 16 books, a performer, muckraker, educator, book editor, activist, and book doctor. His first memoir, Chicken, was an international bestseller, and has been translated into 10 languages. “As laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing, what more could you ask for?” – The Irish Times.

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