My heart is dark but light. The devil is screaming in me but the angels are singing so beautiful. The beast feeds up on me and I feed upon the beast. It was exhilarating exhausting and excruciating to watch yin battle yang – good go toe-to-toe with evil – triumph do battle with tragedy in a cage match to the death. As a team we went from world beaters to ass clowns in the twinkle of an eye. We were Einstein’s of softball one moment and village idiots the next. We never said die and then we were dead. And in the end, I must say, I have rarely felt more alive
On to the game. It was a glorious fall day. Let’s play 3! I thought, full of cockeyed optimism that would eventually be crushed on the rocks of reality. Let’s start from the beginning, which seems about a month ago even though it only happened this morning. We came out of the gates with our hair on fire. The Zombies didn’t record an out until we’d scored 8 runs. One hit after the other, bada bing bada boom all over the park. After 2 innings we were up 11-0 and it looked like the Zombies balloon had been pricked, their sails had the wind sucked out of them, and they had a lost their undead erections.
And, (on the mound anyway) I was channeling Babe Ruth, whose jersey I was proudly donnning. I was thrown the big high strikes, making Zombies hit ineffectual little pop ups and impotent dribblers. And on the Dark Side, I struck out swinging. Let me say that again. I. Struck. Out. Swinging. I’ve been playing softball 5 times longer than my daughter has been alive, & I have never struck out swinging. That’s the good and the bad. All you have to do is look at me to get the ugly.
Even when the Zombies did manage to hit a ball hard, the defense kept coming up big over and over again. Eric had a big game at the plate, 3-4 with 3 ribbies. & he did a remarkable impersonation of Cespedes in the Series, kneeing a ball gloriously in the hinterlands of the outfield. Gary was here there and everywhere, snagging everything like a hungry human venus fly trap. When he wasn’t going 4-4 hitting and coming a homer away from hitting for the cycle. And of course inevitably one ball, possibly the easiest chance he had all day, clanged off his Michelangelovian hands like they had transformed into frying pans. Final score: 15-7. And it wasn’t even nearly that close.
The semi-final was epic. It was opera. It was the Game of Thrones, minus the dragons and guys having their heads chopped off. As fast as we jumped out the first game, that’s how slow we jumped out the second game. Through three innings we scored one run. We scored eight times that many runs before we even made an out in the Zombie game. And honestly, there assholic ball-gargling pitcher wasn’t even that good. He walked 4 guys. And after five innings we were down 11-3. And after I hit my obligatory feeble grounder to third base for the first out, we promptly went on a tear, culminating in Gary’s grand slam homerun, the second home run he hit in consecutive innings. In fact he had two home runs and two walks in the second game. Dark Side: a routine grounder went right under his glove. I must say, in Gary’s defense of his defense, he was playing with incredible back pain. And has been all season. I don’t even know how he did what he did. 6-6 with two walks? Are you fucking kidding me? So after six innings, we were down by one run. Facing elimination. Naturally we scored a run. Rob Davis, who had a clutch double and a single in the fifth and sixth inning, became the next victim of the Dark Side. There was a play at second base, and the opponent interfered with him attempting to go to third. So Rob, thinking he would get third base given to him, started walking towards third base. But in fact the umpire didn’t see any interference, and he was tagged out, ending what would’ve been the last inning in regulation, instead of standing on second base as the winning run. So the game went to extra innings. They hit some balls very hard. They hit a couple of bloopers that found holes. And suddenly they had scored four runs. It seemed our magical run was over. And yet, it was not. Andrew M, who was one double away from the cycle in the last game, smacked a home run, and it was game on, culminating in Glenn hitting a wacky little dinker down the left field line that cleared the bases. We’d scored four runs. Game still on. Then a moment I was particularly proud of. Top of the second extra inning, they scored one run, and had runners on second and third. There was much debate about whether to intentionally walk the batter. But I felt in my heart I could get him. Sure enough, I got him to hit my pitch, the angels sang, all we have to do was score one run to tie, two runs to win. But alas, it was not to be.
A couple of shout outs: Joey Bag O Hits was playing with a broken toe, he was two for three with a sacrifice fly in the first game, and he busted his ass to first on one leg. Tracy made an absolutely astonishing diving catch in the outfield, it was a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes. Raj was 3-3 with a walk in the first game. Andrew M was 6-8 and caught everything even remotely close to him. Gary made an incredible over the shoulder catch and managed to somehow survive being slammed into by the locomotive that was Eric steaming in from left field. Steve was 2-3 with two RBIs and a triple in the first game. Peter was 5-7 while looking like he just climbed out of bed. But in the end, we were a penny short, and a minute late. Just one more hit, or one less error, a one less walk. Granted I only walked one guy, but as Joey said to me, “You walk a guy you always scores.” I walked a guy, he scored. So while I am gutted, I also am so proud to have played in that game with our team, we just never stopped, took body blow after body blow, and just kept punching back. We were relentless. It was such a riveting ending to a season, extra innings, comebacks, letdowns, pop flies dropped, grand slams hit. It had everything. Except maybe dragons and people having their heads chopped off.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank everybody for a fantastic fall season. It’s so fun to play with our Livingston brothers. With everybody. We finished first in the regular season, and we came within a pubic hair of going to the championship. I hope the winter is kind to all, and that everyone on the team gets laid at least once before the New Year. Well, that’s my two cents, and with inflation, I owe you one.