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Monday, May 9, 2011

Softball Controversy and Caveman again at the Bowery

Even with one child, a sporty one at that, the weekends can fly by.  They are, in many ways, far busier than the work week.  I will not bore you with the minutia but in short, games Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Mother's Day of all days!!!)  Softball the first two games where she excelled again.  I could get into the story how an opposing manager raged at a young ump, but...  ok I will cause the guy is a giant tool.

He caught my attention a few years ago when all the volunteer coaches held a softball clinic.  He was at the base running station.  When it was time for his demo he got into this awful gait that had him looking like a cross between John Cleese's Minister of Silly Runs and Corky Thatcher on field day.  And I am sorry, but I think this is being kind.  I said to myself, "Is this the guy we are looking to for running guidance."  Granted, my best speed run is 20 years gone...  but I can do a 40 and look respectable.  Here we had an overweight man who clearly never played anything in his life instructing very young girls how to run.  If they followed his lead Madison, NJ would have a permanent block on America's Funniest Home Videos.

There were other incidents over the years, all softball related.  He argued balls and strikes,  safe and out calls.  And one time he called into question my book-keeping during a de-facto 1st/2nd grade championship game.  Now, I may be inept at a great many things...  keeping score on the baseball field is not one of them.  I was not the head coach on that team so I deferred to him and his cronies and took the high road.  I know how to run and have a waist line south of 40 inches I muttered to myself.

Friday night made all these minor issues pale in comparison.  Some quick background...  My daughter played in the 3rd/4th grade league as a 2nd grader last year.  I took a backseat and was an assistant coach in an attempt to learn the league, rules, etc...  When it was time to coach this year it was clear myself and my wife should have our own team.   Mr. Bad Runner is an assistant with the man I coached with last year.  We are keeping score for sure.  There is a playoff at the end of the year.  Let's just say I wanted to win.

We were away and got out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st.  With the bases still loaded one of our girls hit a ground ball to short stop.  Our runner from 2nd and the short stop collided, short stop did not make a play, all runners safe.  4-0 was the umps call. 

As soon as the run scored Mr. Bad Runner stormed the field and began verbally undressing the high school ump.  "Have you never played baseball before?  She can't run into the girl it's interference!!"  On and on embarassing himself, his daughters, the fans, the league, the town, sweatpants, tight fitting shirts, etc...

A spectacle for sure.  And the worst part is he was dead wrong!!!  Rule states: 
Baserunners are generally permitted the free privilege to run from base to base without being physically blocked or hindered by a fielder. The only time a fielder need not "get out of the way" of a baserunner is when the fielder is fielding or in possession of the ball  Mind you, I am quoting rules of big boy baseball, not 3rd/4th grade softball.  Nevermind we are only allowed 5 runs max an inning. 

It was then I calmly turned to the opposing head coach and said I am not playing this kind of game.  "C'mon in ladies...  we will take 3 runs and get in the field."  For the rest of our lopsided win our coaching had more to do with why the big man argued and yelled at the umpire.  These girls do not understand the rules that well and only react when things are out of the ordinary.  For instance, when a grown man runs to the mound to verbally assaults a kid making $10 bucks to call balls, balls and more balls (see what I did there...  very few strikes thrown) they are going to remember that. 

At this level we need to be preparing the girls to pitch, field, run and hit.  There will be plenty of time to argue and fight.  Some of these kids probably have more than there share in their home lives.  The baseball diamond, on a prestine Spring evening, must be a place of refuge for these young, impressionable kids.  And now it is my mission to see this guy not be on the field the next time we play him.

League wide conference call this Wednesday.  Wonder what my agenda might be???


Yuck/Caveman Bowery Ballroom 5.7.11

Ever since I saw Caveman open for White Rabbits a few months back I have been smitten.  There afro-beat, percussion centric, bass line giddiness is infectious.  It also plays great live, and in particular at Bowery.  Saturday night was no exception.  In short, they have an organized dissonance that is hard to describe.  I refuse to pound it into your head over and over...  Take a look at these videos from there April show
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKpPwTVAkKI  "Old Friend" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxxOIwPF8qM  "Decide" and judge for yourself.   These were two highlights again from the other night, in addition to "In Time", Cavestomp" and "Brand Nubian." 

They are very much a collective unit, so please take a look  http://www.myspace.com/thiscaveman.  Members are comprised of singer/guitarist Matthew Iwanusa, bassist Jeff Berrall, drummer Stefan Marolachakis, and guitarists Jimmy Carbonetti and Sam Hopkins.  Should they come back to town I urge you to come with...  I will even provide the hallucinogens, I mean I will drive.

There were a few acts sandwiched between Caveman.  The first, Family Portrait, were a decent enough trio that lacked a certain something.  Maybe since all the bands I have seen, gotten into lately, have had such a heavy percussion influence, and they had none, I was biased against them.  Skinny jeans with shirt tucked in did not help either.  I made the point before, and I have no problem making it again, image and rock and roll are tied at the hip.  I felt a bit uncomfortable during their set.  Almost like I was at a "Bandslam" casting call.  The woman who looked like a band members mother drunkingly dancing next to me did not help.  And either did the fact that Wikipedia does not recognize this group.  Snooty and arrogant right?  For $13 a ticket I should not bitch and I do wish them well. 

The headliners, Yuck, were young and fun, and full of similar sounding chords for an hour or so.  I think we made it through 5 songs before we hit the exit doors.  After Caveman left the stage it was tough sledding for these kids.  As I mentioned to Caveman bassist Berrall as he left the stage...  "You are making it more and more difficult for bands to come on after you."

"That's our job" he replied.

Take note George W.  :  Mission Accomplished.

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