Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Weathering The Storm.
We were able to squeeze an AL game in before the skies opened up and it began to rain, at the Diamondplex, on 4/10. We needed the rain, so no complaints from any Floridians. The good news is we got in 9 innings, then the rain came down for the next six hours.
The Rainstorm, Visitors: Rivera, Shirer, Book, Matta, Gazarek, Vandenberg, Guttenberger, Witmer and Lopez.
The Thunder, Home: Rad, Guzman, JD, Pep, Crowell, Jacobson, Torok, Pope and Boswell.
A quick look at the lineups reveals that we had 3 national league guys playing in the AL for this game. They all gave a good account of themselves. Vandenberg had 4 hits, Lopez had 4 hits and Boswell had 2 hits and a walk. Vandenberg was in on a few DPs on defense. Boswell made some nice grabs in the infield and outfield.
The bible says there shall be showers of blessing, Ezekiel 34:26. There were in terms of hits and runs. The Rainstorm scored 24 runs. While the Thunder rumbled for 15 runs. That was the final score, 24-15, in favor of the Rainstorm.
Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “Who’ll Stop The Rain. It was 4 double plays, turned by the Rainstorm defense, that stopped this game from being a gully washer. Impressive, when you consider that there was no middle fielder for either team. Thanks to Al Guzzo, who caught and umpired for both teams.
The Rainstorm players responsible for a downpour of runs:
Rivera: 4/7.
Shirer: 7/7, with a double.
Book: 6/6 and a SF.
Matta: 6/7, with a triple.
Gazarek: 4/7, with a double.
Vandenberg: 4/5, and a walk.
Guttenberger: 3/5 and a SF.
Witmer: 3/6.
Lopez: 4/6.
Those who lit up the sky for the Thunder:
Rad: 5/6 and a SF.
Guzman: 6/7 with a double.
JD: 3/6.
Pep: 4/6.
Crowell: 3/6.
Jacobson: 4/6.
Torok: 4/6.
Pope: 3/6.
Boswell: 2/5 and a walk.
Concerning raindrops; remember twos company, three is a cloud.
Written by Nick Matta

Tuesday, April 10th

Games are on. Rain predicted for later.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 6, 2018

“Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
Sometimes that is all it takes to change a ballgame, a second.
Thanks to Tommy Hamilton, who said, “These teams are like mirror images”. Tommy made this observation after watching both teams battle through 6 innings. In doing so, he gave me the idea for the article on today’s AL game, 4/6.
For the entire game both teams played as though they were looking at each other in the looking glass. The score sheet, doubling as our mirror, reflected that similitude.
Cheshire Cats, Visitors: Guzman, Hamilton, Doerbaum, Stier, Matta, Rivera, Gazarek, Essenmacher, Crowell, Torok and Wells.
White Rabbits, Home: Hicks, Keller, Hurn, Jacobson, Book, Witmer, Reagen, Pope, Guttenburger and Coffman.
The game started off as a hitter’s garden. In Alice In Wonderland, the flowers could talk. AT WHSS’s Wonderland, both teams let their bats do the talking through the first four innings. It was the White Rabbits’ flower garden that bloomed in the first inning. Hits by Hicks, Hurn, (double), Jacobson, (triple), Book, (walk), Witmer and Reagen enabled the White Rabbits to get a jump on the Cheshire Cats.  After one inning the score was 0-4.
The Cats clawed their way back, in the 2nd. Smiling as though they had caught their fill of mice. However, instead of mice, the Cats grabbed hits and fought off the Jabberwoggy, (The Red Queen’s dragon, in Alice In Wonderland). Matta, Rivera, Gazarek, Crowell, Torak, (double), Guzman and Hamilton slayed the beast.  After two innings the game was 5-4, in favor of the Cheshire Cats.
This sort of tit for tat, in scoring, continued throughout the game. By the 6th inning the game was so even that the score was tied, at 11 and both teams had the top of the order due up. It did not work to anyone’s advantage, those players were retired, in order, for both teams. By now the game had gone down the rabbit hole, it had become a pitcher’s duel. Both teams could only score one run from the 5th to the 8th innings. After 8 innings the game was tied at 12.
It looked like this game, forever would be tied. Forever was about to change in a second. Dave Doerbaum came up for the Cats in the top of the 9th, he hit a solo HR, high and deep, over the left field fence. That gave the Cheshire Cats a one run lead. The Rabbits came up to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning, needing a run for a tie, two runs for the win.
 “Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. "I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more.” “You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing." Lewis Carrol, Alice In Wonderland. The Rabbits needed to score in the 9th  . It was the job of The Cheshire cats to serve them nothing. They wanted tea, with 2 lumps of sugar. After some wheeling and dealing by both teams. The White Rabbits loaded the bases with two outs, in the inning. The tea party was then shut down as the next batter flew out to deep left. When that happened the Cheshire Cats were able to smile as wide as a piano keyboard. Final Score: Cheshire Cats: 13- White Rabbits: 12. It was a well played game by both teams. Sometimes despite the best efforts of all players involved, a team feels like they are running in place.
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that.” The Queen of Hearts, Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland.
Thanks to Al Guzzo and Ron Pepin for umpiring.
Ballplayers Who Added Wonder, To Wonderland, For The Cheshire Cats:
Doerbaum: 3/5, with a HR and a triple.
Stier: 4/5, with a HR.
Matta: 3/5.
Rivera: 3/5.
Gazarek: 2/4.
Essenmacher: 2/4.
Crowell: 2/4.
Torak: 2/3, with a double and SF.
Those Who added Wonder For The White Rabbits:
Hurn: 3/4, with a double and a walk.
Book: 3/3, with a double and two walks.
Coffman: 2/4.
Pope: 2/4.
Written by Nick Matta

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tuesday, April 3rd
Play The Hand You Are Dealt
We cut the cards to determine teams in the AL, on 4/3. The idea was floated by Al Guzzo, the league is experimenting with it, for choosing which players will play on a team. The sides were chosen by either drawing a red card; heart, or diamond; or a back card; spade, or club. You might say we went Vegas style, in Winter Haven. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens in WHSS, you can read about here, uncensored, well almost uncensored.
Card Sharks, Red, Visitors: Rivera, Hamilton, Shirer, Jacobson, Book, Hicks, Zelazny, Reagen, Guttenberg, Knox, Bancroft and Pope.
Five Card Studs, Black, Home: Rad, Matta, Guzman, Keller, JD, Busch, Essenmacher, Gazarek, Vanderhyde, Guzzo, Pepin, Coffman.
When I think of playing cards, I think of the following song. You can either sing along, or just continue reading.
“On a warm summer's eve. On a train bound for nowhere. I met up with the gambler. We were both too tired to sleep. So we took turns a-starin', out the window at the darkness. The boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.
He said, Son, I've made a life, out of readin' people's faces. Knowin' what the cards were, by the way they held their eyes. So if you don't mind me sayin', I can see you're out of aces. For a taste of your whiskey, I'll give you some advice.
You got to know when to holdem, know when to foldem. Know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money, when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done.”
The lyrics are a little different in WHSS. My apologies to Kenny Rogers.
“On a warm Spring morning, in a game that didn’t matter. I met up with some ballplayers. We were all very old, but did compete. So we took our turns a hittin’, on a dirt field in the bright light. Kept us from our boredom and gave us a chance to shine. 
Coach said, boys I made a livin’, out of reading other players. Knowin’ where to defend a hitter, findin’ the open hole.  So, if you don’t mind me sayin’, I can see we need some aces. For a taste of your last Gatorade, I’ll give you some advice.  
You got to know where to hit em, know how to field em, know when to take a pitch, know when to run.  You never count on a lead, when fieldin’ or hittin’. There be time enough to celebrate, when the game is done.”
The game started out with both teams playing it close to the vest. The Card Sharks threw two pair on the velvet, scoring 2 runs in both the 1st and 2nd innings. Hamilton, (double), Shirer, Book and Hicks cashed in during the first inning, by getting hits and producing runs. Reagen, (double), Knox, Bancroft, and Pope threw their chips in the pot in the 2nd inning. The 5 Card Studs came back, with four of a kind, in the 2nd inning. Keller, (double), JD, Gazarek, Vanderhyde, (triple), Guzzo and Pep went all in, with hits. After 2 innings the score was 4-4.
The Card Sharks anted up in the 3rd inning, scoring 4 runs of their own. Jacobson, Book, Hicks and Zelazny all singled. Bobby Reagen hit the jackpot, with a bases loaded triple, to clear the bases. The 5 Card Studs refused to fold in the bottom of the inning, we answered back with 3 runs. Hits by Rad, Matta, Guzman and Keller, as well as a SF, by Busch, kept us in the game. After 3 innings, it was 8-7, in favor of the Sharks.
“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead”, Jackie Robinson. No one was quitting this softball game, there was still a lot of fight in the dogs. This brings to mind the kitsch art painting, “Dogs Playing Poker”, which was actually a series of 16 paintings. The artist was Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, his early paintings were for cigar boxes. One painting featured a dog cheating, passing a card. At this point I am going to call out Larry Book for cheating. How else could he have 6 aces, going 6/6, in a game of five card draw. Back in the ol west they would find a high tree limb and give the player a short rope and a quick stop, for having 6 aces. Donny Witmer will tell you they still take that recourse today, in Tennessee. Of course, I’m joking, nice hitting, Book.
The dog/ card players, for the Card Sharks, sniffed out a run in the 4th inning. The 5 Card stud team responded by throwing two chips into the kitty. After 4 innings the score was tied, 9-9.
The last five innings the Card Sharks loaded the deck. They outscored the 5 Card Studs’ team 17-10, over that span. The Shark’s team cashed in their chips, after 9 innings. The final score was Card Sharks: 26- Five Card Studs: 19. We should have been playing Blackjack, then the Home Team would have won, using that score.
Blue Chip Players, For The Card Sharks:
Hamilton: 4/6, with 3 doubles and a triple.
Shirer: 3/6, with a double.
Jacobson: 3/6.
Book: 6/6, with a double.
Hicks: 4/6.
Zelazny: 4/5.
Reagen: 5/5, with a double and a triple.
Bancroft: 3/5, with a double.
Knox: 3/5.
Pope: 4/5.
Jose Rivera hit a HR for the Card Sharks.
High Rollers, For The Five Card Studs:
Matta: 3/5.
Guzman 2/4, with a SF and a double.
Keller: 4/5, with a double.
JD: 3/5.
Busch: 3/ 4 and a SF.
Gazarek: 4/5.
Vanderhyde: 4/5, with two triples.
Pepin: 2/4, with a triple.
Thanks to Joe D’Herin for umpiring the game.
Some parting poker, pearls of wisdom.
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”  Jack London.
“Every hand’s a winner, every hand’s a loser.” Kenny Rogers.
Written by Nick Matta