Anyone who used to read my old BLOG (both of you) would know that I always had great admiration for Jens Lepa and Scott Peters. Here's a couple of quotes.
Tuesday June 21, 2011 (Hunter Drank Them Both)
- Finally moving a straight line, I felt confident enough to look over at the driver and saw....Jens Lepa? Seriously? About the nicest guy in the league (not counting Scott Peters) driving like a madman, pretty much abducting a fellow player off the street and sweating bullets.
- [The man turns to face us, its Scott Peters! Seriously? About the nicest guy in the league (not counting Jens Lepa)]
Monday April 9, 2012 (Bold Predictions)
Some of you who a little newer to my whimsical writings will think those are made up quotes. They're real, you can find them by clicking HERE if you want.
The rest of you are thinking, "if they were really the nicest guys in the league, what the hell happened?" I know. But I do have a theory!
Jens was the gentle giant. The guy that would give you the shirt of his back and help old ladies cross the street. He won a championship with the Wild, he made a semi final with his Peter Pan getaway cleats with the Lucky Stiffs and subsequently made an all-star team. Yep, he was riding high and had the right kind of personality and attitude to make it all work.
Then he took the next logical step. A step a lot of us have taken over the years. He became a captain and things slowly began to change. The happy-go-lucky Jens became less than happy and never lucky Jens. No more finals. No more All Star teams.
It got so bad that he quit being a captain. And what happened? He got drafted by the legendary Hot Tub Woody's, found his bat again, found his glove again and found his smile again.
Meanwhile Scott was having a wonderful go of things. A #1 in the league for more than 10 years, having played 5 of the 7 All Star games, a consistent top 25 hitter, plus he once nursed a squirrel back to health that had gotten is tail stuck to his freshly painted deck. He opted to continue giving back to the league and opted to be a vice president.
Then he too took the next logical and fateful step this year, he too became a captain.
And Like Jens before him, the bloom came off the name of the rose (shameless Umberto Eco reference), 84th in the league in hitting, 55th in runs scored. The smile was gone. The fall from grace was palpable.
So what could turn the two nicest guys in the league into dour shadows of themselves? Here's my common thread theory.
Yep, noted Calgary Flames fan and as much of a hard ass as Joel Otto in his prime, Steve DeLand. Scott and Jens both made their foray into the Captaincy via the DeLand owned and operated Gruesome Devils. Who knew that the team name could be taken at face value?
To say that Steve runs a tight ship would be like saying that Donald Trump may have a little bit of an ego problem. Steve expects and demands nothing short of complete loyalty. Its widely speculated that he made he makes rookies sigh loyalty waivers after asking all the vets to leave the Legion.
There are also rumours that Steve may have been conspiring with the Alliston men's league to fix the 2016 playoffs and I have a source that says Jens left with detailed memos about these meetings.
Tim Osmond has called upon former league strong man Downtown Billy Brown to do an independent accounting of all conspiracy theories and subsequent cover ups. It could take the full year until we find out how deep this really goes, but one thing is clear, and that is the impact on the co-captains.
For god sakes, I saw Scott playing 2nd base! Is there no end to the madness?
Baseball is a simple game. You hit the ball. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. Its simple. Children play it without complexity. You turn left on the bases, you tag or force people out, there are 3 strikes, 4 balls, 3 outs, 9 innings .... simple.
Well ... until its not. There are two things that you need to know about baseball. 1) Anyone who tells you they "know the game" doesn't. True learned people in the game know that they are always learning and have a certain reverence to the game. Two of the best baseball men I know in this league, not named Bill Clouthier, are Scott Peters & Geoff Keogh. (Editors Note: Scott seems to be getting a lot of pub today) You have to be humbled by the game, treat her with respect and if the baseball gods smile on you, you may catch a break somewhere along the way. 2) Baseball, more than any other sport, expects, rewards and praises cheating. Yeah, its true. I'm not talking about scuffing balls and illegal gloves, I'm talking about taking advantage of rules and manipulating them to your favour. And its because of the propensity for baseball's deepest-thinkers to cheat, that the rules have become complex over the year.
With that said, this week's rule is Section 7 A.3 from the 2017 Slo-Pitch National rule book. This is a rule that has been applied and will be applied again in our league. Here is the rule:
7-A.3 When a batted ball, either fair or foul is legally caught on the fly, and the fielder has not yet touched any area outside the lines of the established playing area. The batter is out, but if the fielder’s momentum causes him to touch, or to go completely into the “out of play area”, the ball will be declared dead and all baserunners will be awarded one base from the last base legally touched at the time of the catch. If the ball is intentionally carried into “out of play territory” the award will be a minimum of two bases.
So Let's say we're playing on C3 and Jason Candy is up with the bases loaded and one out. He hits a ball foul to right field at warning track depth. Jason Boucher, on the dead run tracks it down and makes the catch (rather spectacularly) in foul territory. Candy is out. Boucher's momentum carries him out of play, which at C3 is the fence line in front of the 1st base dugout. With one out, the runners were all tagging up hoping to advance on a catch. When the ball is caught, no one has achieved the next base. So when the ball is declared dead, the runner from third scores, the runner from second goes to third and the runner from first goes to second. Simple.
Now remember. Baseball is full of cheaters and Jason Boucher is a smart cookie. And a couple of weeks latter the same thing happens. This time its Skip on 1st, Pendlebury on 2nd, Porter on 3rd and Chiasson hits a foul ball very similar to Candy's. The runners tag. Boucher catches the ball in foul territory and the runners take off, he stops himself just before going out of play. Before he can right himself for a throw he sees that Skip, Pendlebury and Porter are all within a stride of their next bases. Assessing the situation quickly, Boucher steps out of play, saving Pendlebury scoring from 2nd and Skip going 1st to 3rd or possibly scoring himself.
But because someone was a smart cheater before Boucher was a smart cheater, there is a provision in the rule for taking the ball out of play on purpose. Its still automatically a dead ball, but the umpire will award a minimum of two bases. Why would the ump award 3 bases? Say Skip didn't tag up at first and he was literally on Neil's heels at 2nd base at the time of the catch. He could very well have scored as well.
The rules on the surface seem black in white but the "if, then, else" adds a lot of grey.
On to the highlights.
What Happened in Week 7?
- Sliders (3-2) V Inglorious Batsters (3-2), Both squads were in a bit of groove and this game turned out to be a nip and tuck affair. Trailing 10-6 heading to the bottom of four, the Batsters scored 6 runs to take their first lead. But their 6 runs in the fifth gave them enough to withstand a small rally at the end and win 18-15. Lou Conforti and Art Lord-Stafford with both 4/4 (2) for the Sliders and Wayne Caldwell 4/4 and Bo Niederhuber 4/4 (1) were the hot hitters for the Inglorious Batsters.
- Master Batters (3-2) V Hot Tub Woody's (2-3-1), Runs were scored in the 10 half innings played in this game. The Woody's trailed 15-11 in the bottom of the last inning when they mounted a spirited comeback, counting 3 and falling just shy in a 15-14 game. Jeff Dancey and Troy Hope were 3/3 (3) and Steve Grenkie and Kevin Moon were 3/3 (1) for the Hot Tub Woody's; while Dave Fleming 3/3 (2) and Paul Keogh 3/3 (1) led the way for the Master Batters.
- Twisters (4-1) V Sons Of Pitches (2-4), At 22-1 heading to the bottom of the 4th, its fair to say that the Twisters did the responsible thing and eased off on the accelerator. SOP got it together with the sticks and strung innings of 2, 3 and 2 together, but it was far too little and far too late. Make the final here 27-8. Jeff (Mr.) Behan was 5/5 (1), Dave Brackett 4/4, and Martin Ranby 4/4 (1) were all perfect for the Sons of Pitches. And the Twisters were led by the offensive performances of Geoff Keogh 5/5 (4), Bionic Andrew Williams 5/5 (2), and Chris Larking 4/4 (3).
- Hot Tub Woody's (2-4-1) V Tap Masters (2-3) . The Woody's were hoping to bounce back from the one run loss the previous night and they got out to a terrific start! Up on the Tap Masters 7-4 heading to the bottom of the 4th, the Tap Masters would end up turning the game around by throwing up a 7 and taking an 11-7 lead. The would stretch it slightly over the final 3 frames to win 15-8. Troy Hope ended up perfect for the week going 4/4 (2) in this one; and Tito Presenza was the leader on the mound and at the plate where he was 3/3 (3).
- Sliders (3-3) V Rusty Rebels (3-4), Another team trying to bounce back from a Monday loss, the Sliders had high hopes against the injury riddled Rebels. And again, things started okay. The Sliders were only down 7-4 heading to the bottom of the 4th, but in the blink of an eye it was 22-4 and game over. Tom Ball 3/3 (1) was perfect at the plate for the Sliders. For the mean spirited Rebels, Rookie Sean Bush was 5/5 (2), Robin Dickson 5/5 (4), Angry Rob Hayward 5/5 (5) and Mark Kolsen 5/5 (3) were all perfect at the dish.
- Gruesome Devils (3-4) V Grisslies (6-1), Lets face it, Mark Bickford is one of the nastiest trash talkers in the league. Everyone gets "up" to play against him. Then add the Grisslies to being in 1st place and there's the extra motivation anyone could need. But then add to this that its a Beer Cup game and there's your cherry on top. The Grisslies led narrowly after one, 4-2 and the teams exchanged donuts in the 2nd. The top of the 4th ended with a one run margin at 7-6 Grisslies. But the Devils would be outscored 12-3 over the final 3 innings to make the final 19-9. Stephen "not so" Tsotsos was 4/4 (1), Captain Scott Peters 4/4 (3) and potential Rookie of the Year candidate (if we had that award) was 4/4 (1). For the Grisslies. Mike Candy 5/5 (4) and Doug Dwyer 5/5 (3) showed offensive wizardry. :)
- Dusty Cleats (4-2) V Beer Bros. (2-3-1), The Cleats seem to have straightened out whatever malaise they were experiencing. The Beer Bros.? This team confuses me. There are some of the historically better offensive players in the league on this team, with some young proven players. One day those bats are going to all click on the same night and look out! But it wouldn't be this Tuesday night at Coventry although there were encouraging signs of a breakout in a 16-10 loss. Jason Boucher 3/3 and Rob McCarron 4/4 (3) had perfect nights for the Bros., while Dane Eldridge 5/5 (3) and Tristian Emmett were 5/5 (2) for the surging Dusty Cleats.
- Hurtin' Units (5-3) V Dog Catchers (4-3), Wednesday proved, as luck would have it, to be a big night as teams from 2nd place thru to 9th place all played. The Dog Catchers, after a less than stellar 1-3 start are starting to look very Dog Catcherish and finished the night moving into a tie for 3rd place with their defensive minded 10-6 win over the streaky Hurtin' Units. Winston Gayle 3/3 and Darren Hall 3/3 (1) were the only offense for the Units, while Gary Basso and Brian Richards both scored 3 runs for the Dog Catchers.
- Bat Flippers (4-3) V Dusty Cleats (5-2), There is no doubt that the Bat Flippers are a force. There's also no doubt that in two of the 3 losses they were missing the potent bat of one of their captains. However, also true is that they had not had a win against a top 5 team. Until tonight. The Cleats who seem to be going in streaks as well, fell 20-14 to the Flippers. The Bat Flippers led 13-12 after 5 innings and put the hammer down in the 6th and 7th. The Cleats were severely under manned playing with only 7 regulars. This is the 3rd game this year with no one perfect at the plate and the 2nd one to occur on C3. However, it would just be cruel not to recognize Cal Steeve's 4/5 (4) night.
- Inglorious Batsters (4-2) V Tap Masters (3-3), The Tap Masters moved into a 6th place tie with the Inglorious Batsters with a 21-7 win. Paul Ferris was 3/3 and Will Goodin 3/3 (3) were the Batsters leading hitters, while Lance Horgan 4/4, Anthony Mastrangelo 4/4(1), Mark Mumma 4/4 (4), Steve Porter 4/4 (4) and Tim Schrank 4/4 (3) were all on fire for the Tap Masters.
- Twisters (5-1) V Gruesome Devils (3-5), For 7 innings in a row, the Twisters scored. They scored multiple runs every inning with their worst inning having scored only two runs. And that only happened once. Its easy to get distracted by their offense, but their defense is top drawer. Kind of reminds you of the Draft Kings (from any year previous to 2017). The Gruesome Devils were led by Mark Banks 3/3 (1) and Scott Peters 4/4 (2). The Twisters top performers were Dave Doucette 5/5 (4) and Roger Gaudet 6/6 (4)
- Master Batters (4-3) V Rusty Rebels (4-4), The Rebels 19-18 win created a 5 team log jam, including the Master Batters, 6th place. The Rebels are looking both streaky and high scoring in the early season. While the Master Batters kept their first four opponents under 10 runs, they haven't had consecutive wins since May 30th. Dave Fleming was 4/4 (3), Paul Keogh 4/4 (2) and Les Vajda 4/4 (2) for the Batters and Hugh Armstrong 4/4 (2) and Jon Hardy 4/4 (2) led the way for the Rebels.
- Tap Masters (4-3) V Grisslies (7-1), Both squads were undermanned and it showed with people playing out of position. But overall a terrific job was done, most notably by John Stiff who pitched all 7 innings and only gave 17 runs to the first place team. The Grisslies held a 10-7 lead before heading to the bottom of the 6th and openning it up with a 7 run innings. Tim Schrank was 5/5 (1), Jamie Allan 4/4 (1) and Jim MacDonald 4/4 (2) for the Tap Masters who lost 17-12. The Grisslies, who were actually out hit by the Tap Masters, were led by Dan Routledge 4/4 (4) and Doug Dwyer 4/4 (3).
- Beer Bros. (2-4-1) V Draft Kings (0-7), and in the case of another undermanned team, 8 Draft Kings and 2 subs took on the Beer Bros. On top of that, they sprung a surprise pitcher in Ricky Lyon. You know Ricky. Well, you may know him from such movies as ..... Ya. That Ricky. Rick, in defeat worked 7 innings and did a respectable job keeping the Beer Bros. to 17 runs. Larry Goosney was 5/5 (3) for the victorious Beer Bros. who pulled within a game of the .500 mark. Meanwhile Al Hayward was 3/3 for the Draft Kings who fell to 0-8 with the 17-3 defeat.
- Dog Catchers (5-3) Dodge City (2-5), Those pesky Dog Catchers did it again. Dodge City had a slim 8-7 lead after five complete innings before the Dog Catchers managed the biggest inning by either team by scoring 4 runs in the 6th and hanging on for an 11-9 win. Timmy (two beers) Osmond was 4/4 (2) for Dodge while Ingo Bartens 3/3 (2) and Jeremy Westover 4/4 were perfect for the Dog Catchers who ran their winning streak to 5 games.
News And Notes
- First time this season with consecutive weeks with no games lost to rain.
- HTW have played 8 games. They score on average, 1.79 runs per inning from innings 1-6. In the 7th inning they score 2.375 runs on average. Might not seem like much but its 25% more than their average. Point is, they don't quit and that's something to watch for.
- Twisters (20.57), Bat Flippers (17.25) and Rusty Rebels (16.66) lead the way in runs scored per game.
- Dog Catchers (9.88), Hurtin' Units (10.22) and Grisslies (10.66) lead the league in runs allowed per game.
- The Draft Kings are 0-8 and looking to get off the snide and will get one opportunity next Thursday against the 5-4 Rusty Rebels.
- The Grisslies and Dog Catchers have the longest active win streaks at 5 games.
- Dodge City still has a positive +/- despite a 2-6 record.
- And the Beer Cup remains with the Grisslies through week VII. After defeating the Gruesome Devils on Tuesday, Grisslie rookie Chris Nesich took on next door neighbour and league stalwart Tim Schrank. Chris will enjoy this beer until the rematch! The next Beer Cup game will be next Thursday versus the Bat Flippers and the Grisslies will be down their 2nd and 4th best hitters.
Held the Cup
Dusty Cleats (1)
Hurtin' Units (1)
Rusty Rebels (1)
Defended the Cup
Dusty Cleats (2)
Beer Cup Games Played
Dusty Cleats (3)
Tap Master (2)