The Walk-Off

In Columns, Opinion, Sports

IMG_97171By Brian Whitehead
Daily Titan Sports Columnist

15-4. 19-5. 29-6.

No, those aren’t the odds I’m going to find a job after graduation, or the odds Kanye West is going to interrupt – wait, OK, we’re good – as I was saying, those aren’t the odds Kanye is going to interrupt this article before I finish it.

Those, my friends, are the lopsided tallies from my first three all-male, slow-pitch softball games. Impressive, huh? Hardly.

A couple months ago, a bunch of my buddies decided to create a slow-pitch softball team comprised of basketball players, “Madden” experts, fantasy football gurus, golf wannabes, football enthusiasts and two 56-year-olds. Not exactly the 1927 New York Yankees.

(By the way, just in case you were wondering, our team name – though creative – is what you would call, offensive. I can’t put it in print without being lit on fire by the editor-in-chief, so let’s just say it’s so offensive the scorekeeper simply refers to us as, “the team in the red shirts.” Other than the two 56-year-olds, we’re all 21-22 years old. As you can see, the old adage is correct: Age ain’t nothing but a number.)

We began the season unsure of our potential but optimistic we could at least compete. With the help of a slew of incompetent competition, we’ve not only competed, we’ve managed to start the season 3-0, scoring an average of 21 runs a game. Naturally, the gaudy numbers coerce you to envision a team similar to the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Well, stop. We’re not. Not even close.

We’ve played three games already, and I can count the number of times we’ve hit the ball out of the infield on my fingers and toes. Tee-ballers hit it out of the infield more often than we do. Yet, here we are, undefeated through the first three games of the season.

How’d we get here, you ask? To be completely honest, I have no clue.

I guess much credit can be attributed to our collective childlike energy and enthusiasm.

Our youthful energy works in two ways, however. On one hand, everyone on the team can run out a grounder bobbled by a clumsy infielder, or manufacture a double out of a dropped pop fly by an uncoordinated outfielder. Conversely, everyone on the team swings at anything within a mile radius of home plate. Seriously, the pitcher could throw a ball covered in dog crap and we’d take an ill-advised whack at it. What I’m trying to say is, we’re not very patient. At all.

All things considered, we’re not that bad. Understand that me saying, “we’re not that bad,” isn’t a compliment by any stretch of the imagination. Our last opponent committed a staggering 12 errors in a mercifully shortened four-inning game. 12 errors! Has that ever happened before? Has O.J. Simpson made that many mistakes?

The game before, our opponent committed eight errors in another sloppy, shortened game. (If you’re tallying at home, that’s 20 errors in two games.) It’s safe to say we’ve been the beneficiary of some horrible defense, like Kobe’s 81-point game in 2006. But hey, we can’t help who we play, right?

In our defense, we do hit the ball hard from time to time. That’s when we don’t turn balls that would otherwise fall 10 feet in front of the plate into weak grounders, or miss the grapefruit-sized ball completely. It’s amazing really. Awe-inspiring, even. The concentration it takes to swing at a pitch so far out of the strike zone that even Vladimir Guerrero wouldn’t swing at it is always inspiring.

As one player said, “I didn’t pay 30 bucks to walk.” Touche.

We’re three games into the season, and we’ve already seen our catcher under-throw our pitcher, at least 10 opposing batters strike out, our second-best hitter hit a pitch on his backswing, and countless balls hit back to and dropped by the opposing pitcher.

The 2008 Detroit Lions put up more of a fight than these ghastly teams. Sure, we’re in a “novice” league, and yes, we have a couple players with high school/college baseball experience, but even with this said, we shouldn’t be winning by 20 every game, should we?

After our second win, I overheard the scorekeeper tell our manager we should move up a division for more competitive games. My immediate reaction: “Eh.” It’s not that I don’t think we have what it takes to compete on a higher level or that we’ll crumble when facing better competition. It’s that our seemingly impressive record must – I repeat, must – be taken with a huge grain of salt.

We’ll see what happens the rest of the season, but from the looks of it, the odds I’m going to find a job after graduation aren’t looking too good, are they Kanye?

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