Thursday, May 28, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ The Longshots...

We moved into our home almost 5 years ago and are lucky to be surrounded by very cool neighbors. Our first spring here our neighbor next door invited Andy to play for their new team in the town's Men's Slow Pitch Softball League. This was to be their inaugural season in the League and Andy was happy to dust off those cleats last used back in the day of our time on the Boston Bureaucratic Red Tape Co-Ed Slow Pitch Softball League. Our co-ed team's name back then was The Rebels. The new entry into Natick's league was called The Longshots. Not quite as empowering a name, but very prophetic - although the team's founding members didn't know it at the time.

The League is tiered into 2 divisions with 8 teams in each. The divisions are re-arranged at the end of each season with the top team from the lower D2 moving up to D1 and the bottom team from D1 getting bumped down to D2. The Longshots were slotted into D2 and that is where they have been ever since. It would take "a massive fluke" for them to find their way into D1. I'm not being mean - those are Andy's own words. And he's the Manager for goodness sake!

You see, after the first season which resulted in 2, maybe 3, wins out of 22 games played the original Manager decided this was not the best use of his time. So at the team meeting before the start of the second season, Andy was nominated and elected the new Manager. It is important to note that Andy could not attend the meeting and this was likely some sort of hazing/punishment.

The second season went much like the first - a couple of wins, one of which came via forfeit by the opposing team. And things have not improved since. Diagnosing the problem has not been easy. In the beginning it was difficult to get enough players to show up for the games which are twice a week during the week. So being shorthanded would make it nearly impossible to win anything. But now that word has spread about how awesome the 'Shots are to play for, consistency on the roster has improved and it is easier to spread the roster out. It is a good team to play for. The camaraderie is strong and the people are all fun. They just can't win softball games, which unfortunately is one of the bigger goals after all.

There is another team like the 'Shots in D2 which is called the Black Mariahs. They have a handful more wins each year but are cellar dwellers just the same. A few years ago a member of the Mariahs was conveniently not asked to come back, so he returned the following season to play for the 'Shots. As I said - getting people to show up to play was a challenge back then. Andy would take just about any guy not on crutches. He sent an introductory e-mail to Andy glossing over the reason for the cold shoulder and promised that he would be a great addition to the 'Shots.

To hear it told (since I have never witnessed the 'Shots in action myself) he looked the part of an athlete, would go into histrionics at the plate waggling his bat like the pros do, swing for the fences, and whiff at nothing but air. One time he had a buddy drive by the field while he was at bat and crank music for him as if it was the sound system in a stadium playing his music for him. And he was a baby about losing. He trash talked an undefeated team in the league by commenting that they were overrated. He was also a Yankees fan, which will get you nothing but death stares and verbal smackdown here in Red Sox Nation. He thought he was the next coming of Yankees All Star shortstop Derek Jeter. The Mariahs had nicknamed him "Baby Jeter." The name stuck even when he crossed over to the 'Shots.

Baby Jeter lasted a year with the 'Shots and then Andy left him off the team's e-mail distribution list - something he still feels kind of bad about - totally not the Bumble's style. So you know that Baby Jeter had to be entirely annoying and a major buzz kill. The next season, the Mariahs showed up with an official trophy to mark the beginning of a friendly competition for the 2 teams who didn't have much of a chance to beat anyone else in the league. They named it the "Copa De Baby Jeter" and each time the 2 play each other, the Cup goes home with that game's winner. The 'Shots beat the Mariahs at the end of last season and so the cup came home with Andy for the entire offseason. Here is what it looks like. I'm sure you'll understand why I made Andy keep it in the shed all winter and why, as much as I would love for the 'Shots to have a winning season, I never want them to beat the Mariahs again.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Oh my God, you are funny! Copa de Baby Jeter! I almost wet my pants! I have to say, I love your stories. It won't be long before I feel like I know you better than my neighbors!

Margot said...

I love the new Friday pieces. (Almost as funny as Gym Rats.) You are one funny woman.

Square Peg Guy said...

Is it just me, or does that shirt logo look like a pair of men's "tighty-whitey" briefs viewed from the side?

The Bumbles said...

Square Peg Guy - Hahahaha! That is frickin' hilarious! Myself, I see the softball inside the shotglass. But I can see how that white background with the red stitching would lead you down the road it did.