Yesterday, was a great day. In fact, it was one of those all-time wonderful days that I'll remember forever. I enjoyed my first day with baby Jarvis and got to introduce James and Michelle to their new brother.
It was awesome.
At about 6pm, James, Michelle and I decided to make the trip from St. Joe's to Princess Margaret to visit my good friend Mike Kic. In his room on the 17th floor, Michelle told the story of how she named Jarvis, James promised everyone he wouldn't beat me up when he's bigger than me, and I reminisced with Mike Kic about our days playing ball together, this Raptors team he sold me on and shared the story of Jarvis's birth.
Then, when it was time to go, Kic and I exchanged exploding fist-bumps, as we have every week of every summer for well over a decade. It was likely our 300th fist-bump, and our last.
And that's what the kids and I talked about on the ride back to St. Joe's. One day you're saying hello to someone who will be a key part of your life forever, the next you're saying goodbye to a dear friend.
@torontomike love you too brother!— Kicster (@mikekic) December 10, 2013
My slo-pitch team, Raging Storm, has only one commited female player for this summer. To play in our league, we need a few more.
We play in the west end. If we go back to the league we played in last season, we're talking the Powerade Centre near Kennedy and Derry. I'd tell you what night we play, but we aren't quite sure yet.
We've played together every summer for a very long time and I'd hate to see us skip a year because we only have one female. If you're a female who wants to play slo-pitch with me this summer, please let me know. Fun is guaranteed.
I've played on the same slo-pitch team for well over a decade now. Some of the parts change, but the core of this team has stayed intact since the early 2000s. As I bounced around the infield, there's only been one man in left field, and that's been Mike Kic.
In addition to being Storm's left fielder, Mike Kic is one of the very best people I know. When Mike Kic married fellow Storm teammate Jordy in 2008, I was honoured to be there. In addition to being a dear friend, Mike Kic is also bananas. I wouldn't have got married in June without him in attendance.
Mike Kic was recently diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. On Friday, he begins treatment. The fight is on so I'm going to do what I've always done when Mike Kic prepares to battle. I'm betting on Kic.
I've been playing with the same slo-pitch team for well over a decade now. We've had a few names, from Hooray For Everything to Raging Storm and now simply Storm, but it's been the same core group since the beginning.
Tonight, we kick off our season. This is one annual ritual I've grown to embrace, despite the fact I've lost some range. Some will argue I never had much range, but it was only 8-years ago I played SS for this team. Feels like yesterday...
Storm: I'll see you all tonight. I'll do my very best to flash a little leather at 3rd base and make that long throw to first, and hopefully make some good contact at the plate after a long, harsh winter. But no guarantees... I'm an old man.
Our new baseball jerseys arrived today. I just picked them up at Home Run Sports. I think they look pretty slick.
Here's the new and old, side-by-side.
Here's the back. #11 forever.
We hadn't updated our jerseys since 2008, so this is an exciting day.
My slo-pitch team has been playing in the RSPA for several years now, but we're looking for a change. The RSPA doesn't have a set schedule, and often it will be Friday before you know what time and night you're playing the following week. It's tough to plan a summer when you have no idea which night you're playing each week.
One league we're looking at is the Brampton Extreme Slopitch League. The entire schedule is posted before the season begins and most games will take place at the Powerade Centre in Brampton. It sounds promising, but I'd love to hear from some folks who play in the Brampton Extreme Slopitch League.
If you play in the Brampton Extreme Slopitch League, let me know what you think of it.
I play on two teams that play slo-pitch in the RSPA. One of these teams hasn't played weeks. In fact, I can barely remember playing Intermediate slo-pitch with the Piranhas. It's been a while.
My other team, Raging Storm, plays in the Competitive division, and this Storm won't die. We keep playing and playing in a double-knockout playoff structure that's far too complex for mere mortals to understand. All I know is we'll keep playing until we lose twice or win it all. Whichever happens first.
We played in the pouring rain last night. By the middle of game two, the puddle was up to our ankles when we stepped to the plate. My shoes are soaked. And we play two more games tonight.
Rumour has it a win tonight puts us in the finals against the Hawks, starting next week. Storm... you know what to do.
I play for two teams in the RSPA. Some tell me this isn't allowed, but I got special permission from the commissioner. Besides, one team is in the Competitive division while the other one is Intermediate. There's no overlap.
That Comp team is Storm, formerly known as Raging Storm, and originally known as Hooray For Everything. The core of this team has been together for about a decade now, and we've been very successful. Just last season we made the finals of the highest co-ed division in the biggest slo-pitch league in West Toronto / Mississauga. Yes, we're getting tee-shirts that say that.
Something's very wrong this year. Last week, we were mercied, and we started to implode. Last night, up by six runs in the last inning, we coughed it up. Three errors did us in. We've lost six in a row.
Remember when Canada's hockey team finished poorly in the '98 Olympics? There were symposiums held to fix what ailed our men's hockey program. I'm thinking we need a symposium. We've got to fix this.
Something's wrong with Storm. I warned you this entry would bore you...
This has been a week I'll not soon forget. On Monday morning, I was selected to the jury for a big murder trial. Then last night, an epic Raging Storm comeback playoff victory. I can't write about the trial, but I can write about the comeback win.
We had two games against The Naturals. It's cumulative score, so you can think of it as a 14 inning game with an intermission after 7. After the first game, we were down by six runs. That meant we had to win game #2 by 7 runs in order to make the RSPA comp division finals next week. If we won by 6 or less, or lost outright, our season would be over.
Early in game 2, a close call at the plate went against us, and my buddy Kic lost his cool. One f-bomb at the ump and he was tossed. That didn't just mean losing his glove and hot bat, that meant that every time we reached his spot in the order, we had to take an automatic out. So there we were down an all-star, getting an automatic out and having to beat a great team by 7 runs.
Without boring you to tears with the dramatic details, let's just say it went into the 10th inning. That's three innings with the special SPN playoff extra innings rule: starting with one out and a runner on second base. We kept trading runs until we pulled out the unbelievable upset comeback victory, winning by 7. Raging Storm is in the finals!
And just now, I see Jose Bautista has hit #47. My man George has company.
What a week...
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