On one of those dreary overcast days in which locals start thinking of the 500% premium on Bay Area housing and thus more generally about the intriguing allures of fleeing to suburban Northern Florida, my team battled Stefano’s with a ceaseless lack of eptitude. Yeah, eptitude, and I’m not saying that just because I insist that coinages get to follow the rules of phonemic logic (for a salacious point of reference, see D.K. Slater’s harrowing new novel of international lust, crime and tongue, Svetlana and the Grammarian’s Spleen).
In any case, my side played with an abundance of integrity, but such things are all for not if one’s always eptitudinally challenged. Indeed, I myself may have set the tone in the 3rd, when my 1-on 1-out throw from the infield clays near 1st to Chris Fure at 2nd somehow ended up being spastically hurled straight into the dirt two feet in front of me, thereby transforming a plausible double play into a 2-error base-loading monstrosity. And regrettably, just two batters later, Jerry Scheidt blasted a searing fly ball straight to the great Anthony Weatheroy in deep center-right, where he no doubt would’ve caught that orb clean had he just stood still and not pointlessly charged toward and then past it with the Euclidian imprecision of a drunken matador. Alas, the 2-RBI homer that resulted capped a 7-run inning that we’d struggle mightily to overcome, but we still had hope and resolve, albeit in homeopathic quantities of tactical irrelevance.
Still, after falling behind 13-4 in the 4th, we clawed back to within striking distance, and even mounted an embryonic 5th-inning 2-on 1-out rally that had all the hallmarks of a transcendent game-tying breakthrough when I struck out swinging in an arguably unhelpful act of managerial buzzkill. Even worse, while Frank’s line drive to center rekindled the guarded euphoria of the moment, the great Paul Fine was doing yeoman’s work as 3rd base coach when he suddenly waived the legendary Albert Naham onward to a guaranteed inning-crushing throw out at the plate that was a ghastly three feet ahead of Al’s yearnful patter. In brief, that tragic tranche was a calamitous window into our entire problem—as a team, we sucked—and thus perhaps it’s not that surprising that we went down, and down hard, 24-18.
Of course we can all agree that defining games by wins and losses is a shallow perspective by any measure, which I only mention because this particular match did see some stark jurisprudential ferment that gives any competitive sport its intellectual rigor. Specifically, there was a charming bicker-bomb in the 4th when Jimmy Wallenstein’s stirring 2-inch blast down the left field line was wrongly declared foul by Steve at the pitcher’s mound, thereby causing Jimmy’s initial hesitancy to run, which naturally resulted in his unsightly out at 1st. Even worse, another squabblefest erupted in the 7th when Michael Davey made a miraculous catch of Jerry’s towering foul ball to forested right, and all this brouhaha just because some witnesses saw the orb in question slightly graze a perfectly innocent trifoliate leaf on its Newtonian plunge downward. Yeah, subtle are the factoids that nudge the arc of aerobic justice.
The point is that in both cases I made dispute-quelling fiats that, in fairness, were arguably a greater reflection of both my dubious usurpation of organizational power and general conflictaphobia than a well-reasoned application of the actual rules of law, and needless to say, that’s simply not acceptable. Truth be told, I’m still not sure what the legally correct rulings are in either situation, and while both incidents were way too convoluted to further discuss here, I still need to come clean: Despite my 26-year role as this league’s executive bubba, I have yet to read a single page of Svetlana’s annually updated standard in the field, Principles of Softball Law and its Application in Situations of Real World Annoyance. As you can imagine, my shame knows no bounds, and therefore there will be a game at Codornices this Sunday at 11, IF I get enough commits by this Friday morning . . . Ray