I've got a healthy dose of anticipation and nervousness flowing through my veins today. My comp division slo-pitch team has a couple of playoff games tonight.
You can play the game two nights a week, every summer for years and years, but you don't lose that tingly feeling come playoff time. When I'm not nervous during the comp division playoffs, I'll know something is terribly wrong.
We've had a rough season. We lost more games than we won, including three in a row, rather uncharacteristic for this team I've played with for over a decade. But tonight, it's a clean slate. We have one simple objective.
Just win, baby.
I don't blog as much about my two slo-pitch teams as I used to. That's partly because I realize blogging about the exploits of Raging Storm in the RSPA is only interesting to me and about 10 other people. But wait... isn't this all about me? Hell yeah...
We in Raging Storm pulled off two great wins last night. In game one, we overcame a five run deficit in a tight contest to win 7-6. 7-6 slo-pitch games are the best... and a rarity.
In game two, we got a different opponent and spanked them good. The mercy rule kicked in when we were up 24-8 after 5 innings. The win put us over .500 on the season.
If I've whet your appetite and you're aching for more Raging Storm info, click over to https://www.torontomike.com/softball.html.
I've got a double header tonight with Raging Storm, my comp division slo-pitch team. This year, I'm just play ball for Storm. Engell is wearing the Cito hat, and he's got me starting at third base tonight.
I grew up in love with playing shortstop. The SS is the quarterback of the infield and, in my opinion, the sexiest position in baseball. I played SS for Storm until I gracefully moved to 1B. Kids with better range and stronger arms should play SS, not old farts like me.
I have never played an inning at 3B, except for maybe a few in the beer league when someone else demanded a turn at SS. I'm excited about fielding some sharp grounders, I'm just worried about my arm.
In honour of my first game at 3B, here are the starting third basemen in Toronto Blue Jays history.
- Roy Howell (1977-80)
- Danny Ainge (1981)
- Garth Iorg (1982)
- Rance Mulliniks (1983-86)
- Kelly Gruber (1987-92)
- Ed Sprague (1993-98)
- Tony Fernández (1999)
- Tony Batista (2000-01)
- Eric Hinske (2002-04)
- Corey Koskie (2005)
- Troy Glaus (2006-07)
- Scott Rolen (2008–present)
I play for two different slo-pitch teams, and they couldn't be more different. Tonight's my first practice of the season and I've got a couple of games Tuesday night. Once more, it begins...
The Comp Team
I've played for Raging Storm since the 90s. We started out as Hooray For Everything before changing names at some point. We're currently playing in the Competitive division in the RSPA. I managed this team the past two seasons and have passed the reigns to another Mike for 2009.
We in Raging Storm have probably been too competitive for our own good. At least three of us are hot heads out there and ready to battle, literally. Our dust ups are legendary, and sometimes the best fights have been teammate vs. teammate. Hi Fay!
Here's the Raging Storm home page.
The Beer League Team
I've played in this small Etobicoke beer league for about the same period of time. Last season I left my team and started up a new team in the league. We call ourselves the Piranhas and we suck. When I'm the best offensive and defensive player on the team, you'd better be playing in a recreational beer league.
But damn it's fun. You want to win, but it doesn't really matter if you lose. I manage the team and host practices in which we work on our fundamentals. Tonight is practice #1 of 2009.
The thrill of the grass...
For the second year in a row, my slo-pitch team has registered to participate in the annual Round-the-Clock slo-pitch tournament at the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome, the Rogers Centre. Our games are scheduled for January 30 to February 1, 2009.
I'll never forget our 4:30 am game last year. We stunk up the joint, but our team is stronger in 2009 and I sense this Storm's gonna rage once more.
I miss playing ball.
My super competitive slo-pitch team, Raging Storm, seems to be coupling off. A couple of months ago I witnessed my left fielder and 2nd basemen tie the knot, and yesterday I saw my center fielder and rover/3rd baseman get married. Ok, technically I missed the actual vows, but I was there for the cocktails, grub, speeches and tunage.
It was a super fun night. They even had this candy table with old school goodies like Bottle Caps, Nerds and Fun Dip. I was lucky enough to be at a table with a couple of people willing to play "Name That Rapper". I drop a rhyme from a rapper and they have to guess who recorded the original. Yes, it's as fun as it sounds.
Congrats to Michael Engell and Colleen Gauthier. I hope you don't mind that I stashed about 15 boxes of Junior Mints in my pockets before I flew the coop.
Our first regular season in the Comp division of the RSPA has ended and now it's playoff time. Tonight we throw it down OBA-style with double knock-out rules.
That means we play two games and they add up the scores to determine the winner. If we're tied plus-minus after two complete games we must start a third game tie-breaker, starting with new lineup and new courtesy runners,but using the International Tie-Breaker Rule. That means the last batter in the batting order from game 2 will start as a baserunner on second base, and there will be one out. We then play one inning at a time until there is a winner.
Last season, when we were in the highest intermediate division, we had a great playoff run, won the division and earned the right to compete with the best teams in Comp. If we win tonight, we extend the season one more week, and that's incentive enough to kick some ass. I'll leave the final word to Mr. T.
I spent yesterday evening at Berkeley Church on Queen Street East between Sherbourne and Parliament. I was there to witness two of my ball players exchange vows.
Raging Storm, the slo-pitch team I manage and play for, used to be called Hooray For Everything. I'm a founding member of this team that formed about eight or nine years ago, and one of the members of that inaugural squad was Jordy, a nice girl who was working at HMV at the time.
A season or two later, we added a young guy by the name of Mike Kic. Another season went by before I realized Jordy and Kic had coupled up. The two have been core members of the team ever since and even play on my dodgeball team.
I'm not a big fan of weddings. All the pomp and circumstance rubs me the wrong way. Last night, at the very cool Berkeley Church, I enjoyed a very cool wedding. The ceremony was short and very sweet, the speeches were heart felt and sincere and the vibe was comfy and joyous. It was my kind of wedding.
There are four female players on Raging Storm, and all four are going to get hitched in the next year. Kic and Jordy were first to bat and they hit a home run. Congrats, kids. Cito is proud of you.
It's only August 12 but we in Raging Storm have already completed our regular season in the RSPA Slo-Pitch Comp Division.
We played 20 games and finished 9-11. Considering this is our first year in the highest division, that's not bad. It's not great, but it could have been worse.
In an attempt to get the troops in playoff mode I've ordered everyone to watch this scene. If this can't get you up for playoff ball, nothing will.
I'm spending the weekend representing at the RSPA Slo-Pitch Tournament. We entered Raging Storm in this thing and played a few games yesterday with the playoffs starting in about an hour.
The rain started during game one, came down a little harder during game 2 and by game 3 it was a torrential downpour. We're talking massive puddles that were more like little ponds, a drenched uniform so your jersey weighs 20 lbs and periodic lightning flashes that made you drop the aluminum bat in a hurry.
I see it's already raining for day #2. That sounds about right.
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