We only lost by two touchdowns. Too bad we were playing softball, not football.
Actually Coach Greg figured out that if you leave out the two early innings where we were subject to the mercy rule (the inning’s over when a team scores 7 runs), it was a tie game.
It was a beautiful, sunny 21 degree day on the extremely lumpy diamond opposite Thomson House when the AHCS Departmental Softball team — the False Consciousness — took the field against a group of Business students. Students who, Mike pointed out, actually voted to increase their student fees. My thought: only in Canada would anyone in business vote to increase their taxes. The business students had uniforms with their names on them; they had beer; and they had a hibachi. We had clothes (1), a few mitts, some Peanut M&Ms (thanks Vera!) and Carrie and I brought a bottle of water to share. I had a hat that said “Sterne’s Automotive” (my brother’s business), so I sort of had my name on something, even if it was in the wrong place. Carrie had an actual baseball jersey from Girlzone, which was a group she worked with in Urbana that taught girls things they normally wouldn’t learn in school, like self-defense and guitar playing. It didn’t matter. We were there to play and win.
Anyway, we knew we were in trouble. Initially, it made some of us more competitive. If we lost, we lost to people in uniforms. If we won, we beat people who had uniforms. Unfortunately, it was pretty clear that we were going to lose to people in uniforms.
I’m told that in the first game (Carrie and I were out of town or something), we got better as the game went on. This was the case last night. The first three innings were ugly. We got pounded for a total of something like 17 runs, and scored something like 2 or 3. Then we settled down and came back, but too little too late. After a stunning over-the-shoulder catch in left field, I called Mike Baker the Willie Mays of cultural studies. Which probably isn’t all that awesome but it was the right thing to say at the time–he made a bunch of great catches in left field. After a heroic catch at shortstop where she went out into the outfield, Mike called Carrie the “a league of our own of cultural studies.” Actually, our infield was pretty decent. And we all learned the fine art of backup. As Heidi (2), our intrepid second basewoman and other allstar fielder put it, once we learned to assume that our teammates would miss, our fielding got a lot better. (After the game we were talking about more aggressive baserunning next time: assume the other team will miss and make them make the play.) Backup was also a real important function for the 4th outfielder (which was usually the other Mike) — watch the ball sail over everybody and run after it. Since there was no coach’s kid (my bane in the St. Louis Park city league), I actually got to play first base, which is my old position. I fielded well enough to stay there all game, apart from one sad Bill Buckner moment.
At the plate, Mike Baker was again the star. I nominate him for MVP. Maybe a couple homers. I think Aaron hit one too (3). But lots of other players had good hits. In fact, I think almost everybody had at least one hit. Even me. I struck out in my first at-bat of any kind since age 15 or 16 — which is especially embarassing since you pitch to your own team. But on the next one I had the most unlikely hit possible–an infield single where I actually beat the throw to first. The bench said it was actually exciting. The throw pulled the first basewoman off the base just enough that I beat it. I did okay in batting practice, though, so I reckon I’ll get my line-drive hitting back sooner or later.
Some of the best fun was to be had in the “dugout”, which in this case turned out to be a space somewhat behind the other team’s space on the first base line (nobody wanted the 3rd base line and they got there first). Vera, who also made some epic runs in right field, was outstanding as cheerleader and team conscience. After a couple of drinks at the bar afterward, she had us convinced we actually won. Andrea will bring her dog next time. Erin told Coach Greg that he looked like a small-town Ontario baseball coach. Which is interesting because I have no idea what that might look like, except for how Greg looked. We got smoked by the hibachi at a suspicious moment, just as we were about to stage our 20-run comeback. But all is fair in love and war. The other team’s first base coach offered me a sip of beer in the bottom of the 6th, which was really quite nice of him.
Next time, maybe someone will keep a proper score, and then I can give you a fuller narrative. In lieu of that, let it be known that everyone contributed something, and a good time was had by all.
1. Uniform ideas for the next game included pink scarves (Raji) and nipple tassles (Andrea). Both are unlikely.
2. Alums count — she was no ringer!
3. Aaron was also the model of good sportsmanship, calling on us to give the other team three cheers after the game was over and they had officially kicked our asses.