Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Final Wiffleball Update

Wiffleball season has been over for almost two weeks, and I can just now bring myself to write about it.

Setting: For the Wiffleball Championship Series, the team to win 2 out of 3 games is to be declared champion of the Adobe Wiffleball League. Before the game, someone played the national anthem on a trumpet, and then one of the vice-presidents threw out the first pitch. Two guys announced the game over loudspeakers.

Game 1: We won 1-0. I didn't pitch, but I hit a home run.

Game 2: We lost 5-0. I pitched poorly and had a miserable game at the plate, striking out three times. At this point, I would talk about the fascinating mental gynmastics that go on during the course of a game, and how being psyched up can benefit one's play, and how becoming demoralized can lead to poor results, but I am too demoralized to discuss it.

Before the deciding Game 3: I went mountain biking near Mount Rainier with my international friends, Nick, Tony, and Volker. While going down a super steep set of switchbacks that would make a mountain goat pause, I attempted to make one of the switchbacks. I almost had it. Almost. Instead, my front wheel slipped over the edge, I went over the bike headfirst, bounced, and then free fell. This was a real free fall, complete with 32 feet per second squared type of acceleration (not including wind resistance). I'm telling you, this was a "where's my rip cord?" type of free fall. I bounced on loose dirt and slid and ended up about 70 feet down from where I missed the switchback.

The point of the story? I separated my shoulder.*

* In the interest of full disclosure, I actually separated my shoulder the day before when I was crossing a road 50 yards from our hotel, when all of a sudden my tube blew out of my tire on a slant, and I slammed hard to the ground. Let's just say the next day's free fall didn't help my shoulder. M'kay?

Game 3: With a separated shoulder, I could barely swing. One meatball pitch, high and outside just as I like it, looked so fat and sweet that it surprised me when I fouled it off. Why didn't that fly over the rightfield fence like those other ones?

Bases loaded, 2 outs, the other team at the plate. Lazy fly ball to left field. Dropped. End of game. End of season. End of joy.

I can't talk about next year. I can't be proud of our team or of my clutch hitting and pitching during the season. I can only think of falling apart on the mound in game 2 and swinging barely under the meatball pitch in game 3. That ball spins in my mind like the one ring spun in Frodo's mind as he approached Mount Doom.

OK, I'm over it now. We'll get 'em next year. (Whew, that was close. I almost dwelt on the negative.)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wiffleball Update

I know that you care about my wiffleball tournament, and it's been killing you not to have a status update. I know that. Don't you think I know that?

When I last left you, my team -- Ken Wiffey, Jr. -- lost the first game of a three-game semifinal series against the Belgian Wiffles. With the season on the line, I was scheduled to pitch. And pitch I did. With co-workers eating lunch out on the patio and watching from the balcony above the grounds, I wanted to give the appearance that this was all fun and games. I smiled and joked with opponents and mock-argued with the umpire. Inside, I was no less intense than Nolan Ryan.

I stuck to just two pitches: my fastball, which I threw either high and inside or low and away, and my looping curveball, which I threw only high and inside. The score was tied 0-0 after four innings. The opposing pitcher was a decent pitcher, but we were too impatient. In the top of the fifth and final inning, our first two batters struck out on pitches outside the strike zone. I was thinking that the best I could hope for was extra innings. The next batter walked, bringing up Laura at the bottom of the lineup.

How do I describe Laura's hitting style? Is it sexist to say that she swings like a girl? Yes, so I won't say that, because I believe that language is a form of social policing. So Laura swings like a person who is inexperienced in the ways of baseball. After two quick strikes, she took a wild pitch, and then swung at the next pitch.


The ball flew into right field and rolled past the cones for a triple! We're up 1-0. I think it's safe to say that I've never heard a louder roar at a wiffleball game than when Laura hit that triple. She scored on a single and I pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth for the 2-0 victory. Whew.

In the rubber match game of the semifinals, we scored three runs in the bottom of the first and ended up winning 4-1. Now we're in the finals.

And now you're all caught up with the Adobe Wiffleball League playoffs.