|Zug Island Lugnuts Schedule|
|1||Sat Jul 11||12:15 PM||Novi High School||Marlins||W||12||2|
Marlins Sharp, Lugnuts Sharper
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
The wait seemed eternal. The spring training preparation was solid, though you always want more. Finally the anticipation is over and baseball gives us a day worth the wait. The Marlins are a bunch of good dudes and there were many sincere welcomes between teams.
The starting pitchers were Jim McWilliams with his new band of Lugnuts going against Emile Stinchcombe for the Marlins. It is ironic that Jim and Emile would face of against each other today. This is exactly 40 years to the day they faced off against each other in the state 8th grade spelling bee championship.
Unlike 40 years ago when Jim incorrectly spelled "glance" G-L-A-N-S to lose, he had the better record today throwing 2 shutout innings, while Emile was tagged for a 5-run assault by the newly retooled Lugnut lineup. It didn't darken his mood at all though, after the 2nd inning Emile received an email that a long-lost uncle living in Nigera just passed away, and he's going to inherit a fortune.
And how about that Lugnut lineup, posting a pair of five-run innings and scoring in 4 of the 6 innings they batted. It's unusual that a 14-man lineup could spread out the offense so well, but that was certainly the case today. 13 'Nuts reached base, so it was truly a team effort. If one guy gets the spotlight, it was Curt McNamara. A pair of doubles and 4 RBIs was the biggest tally on the scoresheet. It is lucky Curt could make it to the game at all. As you all know, Curt is a scientist and experiments with industrial adhesive. Curt had an accident in the lab and it took him 40 minutes to unstick his hand from his coffee cup this morning. Then it took another 40 minutes to get him out of the bathroom. Coffee can do that to you.
Tip of the cap goes to Mike Lane, the Marlins' lead-off batter. Mike managed on base 3 of 4 trips. Mike also flagged down an ice cream truck on 10 Mile and bought a cone for everyone after the game. What a swell guy.
|2||Wed Jul 15||6:30 PM||Flat Rock||Indians||L||12||2|
Indians stick it to Lugnuts
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
The game started well enough, with crafty north-paw Jeff Young throwing 2 shutout innings to start the game. Lugnuts offense took the lead when Jeff scored on Jimmy Mac's double. The game was all Jeff Young at this point. The concessions stand was starting to print Jeff Young t-shirts ... but then ... Indians came to life and stuck it to the Nuts like a slasher practicing on a watermelon. The next 4 innings, 3 different pitchers gave up a butt-load of runs. We're not going to name names, because I'm one of them.
On the bright side, there were a few good days at bat. Don Zane and Jim Mcwilliams both had multi-hit games with doubles. Mark Stanisz, Curt McNamara and Jim Stark had the other hits. If only we had clumped all those players at the top of the lineup, we would have ... lost 12-4 instead.
Doug Fry tossed a shutout 7th inning. Doug attributes his success to eating kale. Not him of course, his pet rabbit..gosh, that stuff's disgusting.
It's late...go to bed
|3||Sat Jul 18||10:00 AM||Hazel Park||at Tigers||L||4||3|
Gene Baratta's infield single in the bottom of the seventh inning climaxed a three-run rally to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Zug Island Lugnuts in their 52+ game at Hazel Park. It was the only hit in the inning after the Tigers loaded the bases on a pair of walks and hit batsman off Jeff Young. He then forced in a run with a walk to Dan Ross to narrow the 'Nuts lead to 3-2, then James Garris hit a sacrifice fly off Curt McNamara, the third Lugnuts pitcher, to knot the score to set up Baratta's game-winning hit.
Don Zane opened the game for the Lugnuts with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Jim McWilliams' single. The Tigers pushed across an unearned run off starter McWilliams to tie the score in the second. But the Zug Islanders regained the lead with a run in the fourth as Larry Paladino singled, took third on a double by McWilliams, and scored on a Stanisz ground out.
Jeff Britton's long single with two outs in the top of the sixth pushed the Lugnuts' lead to 3-1 following a single and stolen base by Mitch Katsuda.
|4||Tue Jul 21||6:00 PM||Ford Field||at The Tribe||L||8||6|
Defense Wins Games
1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
With both teams even in hits, and both walking far more than they wanted, it was the fielding that was the difference. Hats off to the Tribe for a clean game - hats off to the umpires for a good game - hats off to the fans that break the law and sit on the bleachers - the Lugnuts look for any reason to take off our hats; we love showing off our great heads of lushious hair. Nya nya nya nya nya
We had a lot of Lugnuts have great days at bat. No less than FIVE players got on base every time up. Jonny G-man led the parade with 3 hits, but it was Chris Miller the big hero with all those RBIs. "RBIs? what you say?" Chris inquired. "Ah...I thought we were going to Arby's, get me some horsey sauce."
The other perfect at the plate stories are thus:
Jeff Young went for 3 walks and scored twice. Wait...was that this game, or his first three dates with his (now) wife?
Larry Paladino was not only on base three times, but he played some good defense, scooping a low throw, saving an out. "It's gotta be the fish sauce" Larry said, then walked away waddling like a penguin.
...then Jeff Young's keys got abducted by aliens
|5||Sun Jul 26||10:00 AM||Madison H.S.||Motor City Royals||W||6||5|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Jonny Goldberg doubled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and scored on a single by Mark Stanisz to give the Zug Island Lugnuts a 6-5 victory over the Motor City Royals. Jim McWilliams shut out the Royals in the top of the seventh to earn the victory, which raised the Lugnuts' record to 2-3. The Royals dropped to 0-3-1.
McWilliams led off the Zug Islanders' first inning with a single, stole second, and scored on Jeff Young's single. But the Royals got a pair of unearned runs in the second off Doug Fry for a 2-1 lead, with a hit-run RBI from Alan Choice and a JC Lewis RBI hit.
The Lugnuts, though, went back on top with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Singles by Fry, Chris Miller, and Hideo Takeda produced the first run. Don Ukrainec added a sacrifice fly and Zach Britton singled the third run home. Ukrainec also had a sac fly in the fourth inning for a brief 5-2 lead before the Royals got three -- all unearned -- off McWilliams, the third Zuglugs pitcher, in the fifth inning as he fought off a control problem. Victor Alejandre got a bases loaded walk for one of the runs and Larry Montemore singled in two more and the score was knotted 5-5.
Six of the Lugnuts on the field played with the Royals last season but decided to merge with a struggling Zug Islanders team to make it more competitive: McWilliams, Fry, Stanisz, Goldberg, Young, Britton.
|6||Wed Jul 29||8:45 PM||Flat Rock||at Diamondbacks||W||6||4|
Lugnuts and Diamondbacks Play Good Ball - One of the Teams Win
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Hats off to the Diamondbacks for super-efficient scoring, posting 4 runs on 4 hits. This kept them in a game where the hit tally was lopsided, but the score wasnt. You know what else was lopsided? Terry Graham had his cup in sideways.
A pair of Jims got the starting assignments for each team. They also happen to be 1-2 in the league in both Innings Pitched and Batters Faced. Jim Davis for the home Diamondbacks, and Jim McWilliams visiting with the Zug Island crew. Jim tossed a complete game, but Jim only went 2 innings. Trivia tidbit ... Jim wears the same number as Jim's son in the 18+ division.
Hats off to the Flat Rock grounds crew, most notably Seth, who had the mound in EXCELLENT condition. Plus, he raked the infield smooth with the blade rather than teeth. This guy deserves a raise.
Hitting heroes, yeesh bunches. Don Zane, Jim McWilliams, Mark Stanisz, Doug Fry and Curt McNamara all had 2 hits today. Jeff Young doubled, while Hideo Takeda, Don Ukrainec, Jeff Britton and Jim Stark also chimed in with singles. Larry Paladino, Jon Golberg and Mitch Katsuda were busy inventing unique celebration dances. Mitch's "Elvis Grind" dance was a brief Internet sensation, getting 125k likes on Instagram by game's end.
|7||Sat Aug 01||10:00 AM||Kyte Monroe Field A||at Detroit Rangers||L||13||8|
Defensive Miscues Spoil Slugfest
1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Both teams teed off pretty good and each drew 6 walks. It was a bit of a carnival ride at the plate today, but both teams adjusted quickly ... leading to lots of base runners on both sides. The Rangers played better defense, which accounted for the win, but made far more fasion faux pas. Steve Domansky's unhemmed pants were too short. Kevin Tardivi was wearning two different color socks. Rich Cleve was wearing 2 different color shoes. But the topper was David Lucas, who wore black boy panties under his white baseball pants.
The game started off well with Mark Stanisz knocking in Done Zane, then Jim McWilliams tossing a shutout inning. Let's not talk about 2nd inning. If you really want to know what happened, check out the Ranger's recap. I'm sure they're very proud of it.
In the 3rd, it was Mark Stanisz again with heroics. Mark hit a single to drive home Jim Stark and Jon Goldberg. Mark is featuring a full beard this season. He also has stopped waxing his body, so it always looks like he is wearing a sweatshirt under his uniform.
Mark now leads the league in RBIs. No joke.
The Zug Island Sluggers put together the biggest inning of the day posting 5 runs in the 4th. Clutch guys were Curt McNamara, Don Ukrainec, Jim McWilliams and Jon Goldberg driving in Doug Fry, Hideo Takeda, Curt McNamara, Don Ukrainec and Jim McWilliams. Yes, I know 3 guys were in both lists, we were playing clones. Shhh...don't tell the league, it may be against the rules.
From that point, the Rangers kept the train rolling, but the 'Nuts offense got off at the last stop.
Defensive play of the game was the long, aggressive run Mitch Katsuda made to catch the fly ball that ended the 3rd inning. To celebrate, Mitch's wife said she would have a special surprise for Mitch when they got home. Mitch texted me later and said when he pulled up in his driveway he was treated to a round of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" by a troupe of Shriners Clowns.
|8||Tue Aug 11||8:15 PM||Hazel Park||at Marlins||L||9||3|
Chuck Norris Checks Under His Bed for Doug Brown
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Tonight was The Doug Brown Show at Hazel Park. Doug Brown (played by Doug Brown) starred in The Doug Brown Show by doing typical Doug Brown things. "Nobody does Doug Brown like Doug Brown" one teammate of Doug Brown's exclaimed. "It was like getting Doug Browned in Doug Brown sauce" a Lugnuts infielder told the local press. For fans of Doug Brown, it was typical Doug Brown antics. Doug Brown pitched a helluva game. If you were a fan of Doug Brown's hitting, you would have noticed that Doug Brown - in typical Doug Brown fasion - was on base all 4 plate appearance. "It figures that Doug Brown would do such a Doug Brown thing" one of the Lugnuts uttered. That's 18 Doug Browns so far. Wait...that makes 19 Doug Browns. Aaaggghhh I can't stop ... DOUG BROWN!
Honestly, there were some highlights other than Doug Brown. Things of which Doug Brown would approve, even if performed by the opponents of Doug Brown. A fine example is Jeff Britton who was the only player to partially solve Doug Brown, going 2-for-3 against Doug Brown. Let's not forget that the 3rd at-bat was a Doug Brown strikeout, though.
Yukon Don was the hitting hero early in the game tying the affair at 2 each when Don got lucky on a Doug Brown fastball and blooped a weakly hit ball to a lucky spot, knocking in Hideo Takada and Doug (not THE Doug) Fry. Doug Brown brushed it off and moved on, facing the next 13 batters without allowing a hit.
On the Marlin's side, Ed Moriarty had a big day at the plate, but it wasn't perfect like Doug Brown. Ed was put out once in 4 trips, which is still once more than esteemed teammate Doug Brown, but noteworthy nonetheless.
Of course Doug Brown was the starting pitcher for the home Marlins, but many have forgotten righty hurler Curt McNamara made his first career start for the Lugnuts. Doug Brown said "his defense hung him out to dry. I feel for the guy."
Hold on a second! I just realized that Doug Brown was safe on error twice, walked once, and was hit by pitch once. Futhermore, the Lugnuts out-hit the Marlins 8-7. Forget I said anything.
|9||Sun Aug 16||3:15 PM||Bishop Foley||at Indians||L||12||2|
Lugnuts Play Clean Defense
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Yeah, so did the Indians, but nobody is surprised when the Indians go errorless. Everyone was surprised when the Indians were held scoreless in the 1st inning though, thanks to some fine pitching by Jeff Young. "I chalk up my success to deception, guile, and determination." "As opposed to what?" we asked. "Velocity, location, and movement." Jeff chimed.
Hideo Takeda fever had been mounting all day. Hide was greeted by adoring fans at the gate, and followed by an entourage all day. The cheering started early when the man of the hour caught a fly ball off one of the better hitters in the league. A few innings later, our man Hide worked his way on base and scored the second run for the new-look Zug Island team, and looked marvelous for a photo with the sun over his left shoulder as he toed the plate deftly. In the final inning with his team in deperate need of base runners, The golden boy smashed a sizzler down the third base line for a base hit. The fans erupted, shooting graffiti pop guns and lighting sparklers. "Hide, OH!" "Hide, OH!" was chanted until nearby residents threatened to call the Sheriff.
Big blast of the day was Jim Stark's double over the left-fielder's head, driving in Hide (so he could toe the plate deftly). "Hammer Time!" Jim cheered. The 'Nuts only RBI of the day, by the way. Jim has been on a regimen of steroids recently as part of a Federal government study and he just replaced his own roof. Wow is his right arm buff.
|10||Wed Aug 19||8:15 PM||Bicentennial Park||The Tribe||L||14||11|
We All Missed Casey Mize For This
1 2 3 4 R H E
Bi-Centennial Field crew kicked us off the field for curfew. This did not affect the winner of the game, but did affect the score. Let's just say it was an unusual inning that got erased.
Now you look at the box score again and go "wow, only 4 innings played and they hit curfew." We actually played into the 5th, but didn't get to finish. Rats, the Tribe scored some runs, but the Lugnuts were mounting a comeback for the ages. If we had continued playing, Mark Stanisz would have rapped his first double of the inning. Don Zane would also have hit a double, scoring Mark. Chris Miller would have drawn a walk, followed by walks to Hideo Takeda and Jim Stark, but only after Jim hit a ball just foul in left that one-hopped the fence. Then an amazing run of 5 singles in a row followed by Mark Stanisz' 2nd double of the inning. Eventually the inning would end with Don Zane being thrown out trying to steal home. Darn curfew.
Jeff Young had a perfect day at the plate, getting on base all 4 trips - the only Lugnut with multiple hits. He also got his first start in center-field. "I really don't mind playing any field...center, left - as long as it's not "minefield."
Don Zane originally was too banged up to play, but a pulled hamstring had taken Don's chum Doug Fry (what a guy) out of the game. Doug was already nursing a pulled groin and today the hammy went. If he keeps this up, he's going to be pulling his armpits by Sunday. So in comes Don as a replacement. He manages a hit and walk in his 2 trips, throws in a steal and scores both times. "Well, if you're looking for perfection, check out my man Mitch. I don't mean his cheekbones, but now that you mention it..."
Mitch Katsuda had an odd kind of perfect day at the plate, on base all 3 times. 2 walks and an HBP were the initators, but Mitch added his own flare, stealing a pair of bases which both led to runs. He also added flare by wearing bell-bottom baseball pants. "They're groovy" Mitch explained.
Speakin of groovy, Chris Miller was pretty darn groovy behind the plate, making several difficult stops in the dirt, then alternating to lunging for high pitches. It looks like 4 innings in the box score, but it's going to feel like 12 innings in the morning. "Dude...it's like...Ibuprofen makes everything alright. Here take this pill, man." "Far out."
|11||Sat Aug 22||10:00 AM||Novi High School||at Motor City Firebirds||L||8||6|
Saturday Morning in Novi Makes Everything Okay
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Mike Juliano and Jim McWilliams, along with umpires Eric and Lou met before the game to exchange lineups, game balls, ideas on official game-time, and Snapchat accounts, then sent each other selfies with the new Elton John Glasses photo filter. Jim added "this is my favorite game, on my favorite field, on my favorite day of the week, with my favorite umpiring crew, against my favorite opponents" (check with Mike, Eric or Lou for verification). Jim also started the day with his favorite beverage (Mountain Dew Throwback), favorite cereal (Cap'n Crunch Berries), and listened to his favorite song (Jak Sie Masz Kochanie). If his day keeps going like this it looks he'll wind up having rib eye and potato skins for dinner, hanging out in the backyard with a Flannel Mouth hard cider, and finally he and the wife end up on the pool table.
As if all of Jim's favorites weren't enough joy for one day, the Zug Islanders welcomed back Mark Wruble who had just spent 80 days travelling around the world with Phileas Fogg. Mark, as you know led the league in innings pitched last year and dearly missed playing...but apparently he runs an empire that spans the globe, so you accept it. No Worries, #4 came back to a dozen or so virtual hugs. Mark said "Hey, it's really great to be here - I'm here all week folks - try the veal."
And now, the game...
Rookie pitcher Curt McNamara got the nod for his 2nd start of the season from skipper Jimmy Mac. Curt went 4 innings allowing a single earned run. He liked getting the nod so much that he had a bobble head made of Jim and glued it to his dashboard. "Every day!" Curt excited.
Mark Stanisz had the first blast for the Lugnuts, knocking a double that scored Jim. "I love having Jim on second base, because then when I hit a double, there's a good chance he'll score" Mark explained.
Chris Miller had a nice day. Chris went 2-for-3, threw out a runner stealing, and was cast for the lead in Cats at the Fischer Theater starting in November. Finally, he gets to put those crazy stripes on his back to good use.
|12||Mon Aug 24||6:00 PM||Bicentennial Park||Tigers||W||6||5|
Mark Stanisz Celebrates a Win For His 60th Birthday
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin, Mark Stanisz. Sto lot! Na Dzrowie!
Upon arriving at the ballpark, Mark Stanisz realizes he is new to the hexagenarian set. A whole new world of old memories to forget, new aches to remember, but still kicking @$$ playing baseball. What delights Mark most is that we get to play the Tigers, who are a bunch of good time buddies - the teams seem interchangeable. It would be a game worth playing. Well, Mark would not be disappointed this eve.
Mark is the starting third baseman tonight for the home Lugnuts. Third base, of course, is Mark's favorite position to play. Being his birthday and all, we would have it no other way.
Mark had to endure Gary Murawa's legged-out double, then stealing third, knowing he would score on any ball in play...and he did. However, Mark was soon filled with joy when his team scored 3 in the bottom of the inning, Mark being the 3rd. Hooray for Mark!
Mr. Stanisz had mixed feelings about the 3rd inning. It started off with some fun. Jim Garris had led off with a hit for the Tigers. A couple batters later, Jim was thrown out trying to advance to third on a hit. Jon Goldberg unleashed a laser beam throw (at least, it was for the sake of hyperbole) to third base, where birthday boy Mark Stanisz applied the tag. "Out" field ump Mark barked. What fun for Mark. Atta boy!
#33 (that's Mark Stanisz) enjoyed a shutout inning in the 3rd that ended in grand fashion. With one down and runners on first and third, Joe Fioroni put a smack on a ball that looked like it might drop out in centerfield. It did not, a fine running catch and great throw to home to throw out Glenn Therrien trying to tag up and score. Glenn had this to say "it's a bummer being thrown out, and Mark Stanisz warned me not to test his arm. I went anyway. That Mark Stanisz is a real stand-up guy."
In the Lugnuts part of the 4th inning, Mark Stanisz led off with another frozen rope hit. He would eventually score on a Hideo Takeda base knock. Hide told the Nippon News "Watashi no tomodachi no maku wa subarashi senshudesu... Soshite hansamu mo"
At the end of the game, Mark Stanisz stood on top the bucket of balls and said "hey guys, did you realize Mark Wrubel, in his 2nd game back from circumnaviating the globe in a hot air balloon just pitched 4 shutout innings, scattering 3 base runners? Didja? Didja know?"
Mark added though "but it took the greatest catch of the year so far, when Jeff Young went back on a Jack DiGiovanni drive towards the gap." "Then the next inning, Don Zane made the new best catch of the year going back and to his backhand and diving away from the infield like Superman and coming up with the ball - AND SOMEHOW NOT RUINING BOTH SHOULDERS!" "oh, sorry for shouting...Don Zane does that for you."
The 5th inning ended with 60-year-old Mark Stanisz, in the on-deck circle. But not before Mark's teammates rallied to score 2 runs to take the lead. After hero-pitcher Mark Wrubel was hit by a pitch, hero-outfielder Don Zane drove a single. Followed by not a hero yet shortstop Jim McWilliams who hit his heroic 7th double of the season driving in both Mark and Don to give the Zug Islanders the lead they would not relinquish.
Along the way, Mark Stanisz' long-time friend, teammate, and bookie, Don Ukrainec (it's the country, plus "c") hustled down the first base line on a couple infielder grounders. His first of this kind was derailed by a knee-to-knee cross-leg impact that sent Don to the dirt. "Don's a gamer" Mark said. "You can bet your britches to Bangkok Don's going to keep catching." Of course, Don brushed off the dirt, blood, tears, and a tendency to favor sweets before bed, returning to his catching duties. Don's second ground out resulted in him making a very close play out of what should have been an easy out. Just after the first baseman touched the base, the second baseman came over and just plowed Don to the ground. Not intentionally, mind you, but the technique would win favor at the summer Combines. "Down goes Don" Howard Cosell sang. Mark was stymied "oh no, little buddy" and Mark added the shrugged shoulders and worries hands and fingers like The Skipper. The team doctor examine Don asking him the standard collision questions ... "what day is it?" "how many fingers am I holding up?" His conclusion: "send Don back out there, his answers were close enough."
Mark Stanisz could have had a perfect day at the plate, were it not for his beloved "Betty Boop" bat breaking to lead off the 6th. Alas, Betty Boop has been good to Mark, but a new era is upon us. For the rest of the story, we must fast-forward to the team meeting directly after the game... Mark had a birthday party complete with pointy hats, pin the tail on the donkey, and clowns. Well ... I guess if by "pointy hats" you really mean Coors Light, and by "pin the tail on the donkey" you really mean chicken nuggets on the grill, then yeah. Clowns ... check.
Propituously, Mark had received a couple tokens of goodwill from his team in celebration of his natal anniversary (look 'em up). One being his next favorite bat. The new stick, being all black has not settled on a name yet. Enter the Instagram "name the bat" contest by posting your suggestion along with the hashtag #theyoungestguyhereisfitytwowedontknowwhatthehellinstagramis
The second bit of booty was a beaker of bourbon - so the team could toast a victory shot. Not just any bourbon, but quite possibly the greatest bourbon of all time. Certainly the best bourbon Mark has had today. Now to clarify, Mark had some great bourbon at lunch, but he immediately took a nap and if you wake up, it's always a new day no matter what.
Finally, when all the revelry had slowed to a groan, Mark knew it was time to leave. He had to go home and sleep with his new bat.
OMG, I just saved this then went back to proof-read it and saw how long it was ... sorry everyone!
|13||Fri Aug 28||6:00 PM||Hazel Park||Motor City Firebirds||P|
|14||Sun Aug 30||11:45 AM||Kyte Monroe Field A||at Motor City Royals||W||11||8|
Perfect Weather and Stuff ... Nice
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
The weather was beautiful (and so was my wife). The mound was in tip-top shape and the umpiring crew, Brian and Scotty are by far the most consistent umpires in the league. Everything was in our favors. In fact, an alien invasion actually extinguished all life on earth, but Superman flew backwards so fast he went back in time and stopped the aliens before they got here, and we never knew. What a day!
On the mound, we had the pitching matchup that leads the league in "rivalry." Pitchers, shortstops, managers, #2 hitters and former Chippendale dancers Jean-Claude Lewis and Jim McWilliams. Jean-Claude's approach was a low out-front side-arm delivery, whereas Jim went for majority of over the top fastballs. The approach mirrors their late 70s bar-hopping tactics when Jim would distract everyone at the bar by noisily pounding 6 shots of Fireball while JC would reach around a corner and pinch a girl's bottom.
Both teams had trouble completing plays, as evidenced by 11 combined errors. The good news is that it was both teams and more or less even. The bad news is that this game was broadcast on AFN and a million Americans overseas saw us hack it up.
Batting hero of the day was Mark Stanisz and his new snuggle buddy, Marty McBigFly. You might recall, last week we ran an Instagram contest for fans to name the bat. Thanks to gathering only 1 vote, Mark's new bat is, by unanimous vote, hereby named Marty McBigFly. And Marty did not disappoint in his first time up, blasting a Big Fly to RC, driving in 2 runners. Another hit and sac fly later, it was such a good day, we're going to leave out his caught stealing in the 2nd inning.
Best defensive play of the day was Nate Moore's backhand play deep in the hole at shortstop. Nate came up throwing and popped a seed to first base to get Jim Stark streaking down the first base line. If Jim had just run as soon as he hit the ball, he would have beat it out easily. Instead, Jim decided it was a great idea to strip naked and streak to first...and that cost him the 2 steps he needed.
Speaking of Mark Stanisz' caught stealing we're not mentioning, hats off to Royals' catcher Jeff Block. Not only did he register a CS, but he was the only Royal with 2 hits. This comes just days after discovering his new blood pressure medicine has 2 big side effects: regrows receding hairline, and it incites a charming quick wit. What a weekend!
|15||Thu Sep 03||8:15 PM||Bicentennial Park||Diamondbacks||W||4||0|
Mark Wrubel Tosses A Gem
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
What can you say about the man of the hour that hasn't been said? Witty, charming, and commands the strike zone - our golden boy, the one and only <<Mark Wrubel>> That's right. Strange visitor from another planet. Look, up in the sky, it's <<Mark Wrubel>> Able to leap tall buldings in a single bound <<Mark Wrubel>> Faster than a speeding bullet <<Mark Wrubel>>
There was a press conference after the game. A reporter from the Daily Buggle asked "Mark, is that the first shutout game you've ever thrown?" Mark answered "shucks, its the first shutout INNING I've ever thrown."
Mark also had the hardest-hit ball of the game with the only no-doubt hit from the Lugnuts. The only other 'Nut shots were a pop up and a grounder from our pair of Jims. Unless by "nut shots" you count when Bob Vondell was swinging his mic around doing some Aerosmith and dinged Chris Miller in the protective gear.
All seriousness aside, both pitchers tossed gems. Bob Vondell threw for the D's. Each pitcher only allowed 3 hits. Mark Wrubel gets the edge in control by limiting the D'mond's to a single base on balls with Bob passing 6 freebies. However, it was Bob in the parking lot singing karaoke through the sound system in his Durango that stole the after-show. Way to go Bob!
This was a neatly-played defensive game all around. Despite the box score showing 6 Es, there was nice defense on both sides. The best play of the night was Jeff Young robbing Double-D, Dave Donigian of a hit in the 6th. The un-best play of the night was that Jeff had caught a D'Back runner off 2nd base, but a family of moles suddenly lept from holes and grabbed both of his feet, pulling the surprised outfielder to the ground, allowing the D'ack runner to get back to second base safely. Next game, let's all bring whack-a-mole mallets and get those buggers!
The big hit of the night is no doubt Kevin Lewis' triple in the 2nd inning, knocking the ball with authority to the fence. You may think he was feeling pretty good standing there on third base, but the truth is he just took a relay throw square in the back and that shortstop throws hard. Sorry buddy! All was forgiven after the game when the two met up to discuss Keno betting strategies.
Back to the defense, because great plays ruled this game. Next on the highlight reel was Mark Stanisz charging in to grab a slow roller that his team was urging to let roll foul. The ball was still fair so Mark kept charging, set his feet and made a terrific throw to first for the out. Since everyone on the field was looking at the ball, they didn't notice Mark spinning 360, then falling face first with his chin landing squarely on the foul line getting a beard full of chalk. The rest of the game, nobody noticed.
Another nice play, because great plays ruled this game. After playing infield the entire game, and having a couple nice innings at third base, Jon Goldberg was direct to play right field in the final inning. Lo and behold (everone loves saying "lo and behold") wouldn't you know? The final out of the game was a ball hit in the right-center gap. Jon had to race back and to his right, so it would be a backhand play. Bingo, Bango, Bongo, we win. For all his heroics, though, Jon got some bad news tonight, The cost of asparagus is skyrocketing due to the crop-wrecking storms in Blangleshistan.
Lou and Mark were the umpires tonight and were terrific. Lou in particular enjoys the between-inning music, to work on his Samba dancing.
|16||Thu Sep 10||8:15 PM||Hazel Park||Detroit Rangers||L||14||5|
Rangers Score More Runs
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Look past the obvious things, like hits and runs, and see the errors at 2 each. This was a well-played game despite the score getting wide. Both teams played well defensively, and a few players stood out...you know who you are. Or do you want me to tell you?
The biggest difference-maker in the field was Matt Enciso. He got to several balls tonight that an average player would not. In fact, Matt makes it a habit to obtain hard-to-get balls. He has a collection of over 1,000 historical balls. His most-prized ball being the 1600s Senegali Soccer ball. This particular ball, was somebody's head wrapped in cloth. ewwww
The Lugnuts turned a pair of double plays that directly led to the 2 shutout innings. A 6-4-3, then a 4-6-3, if you care to be interested in the specifics. To celebrate, 6, 3, and both 4s got together after the game singing Troubadour drinking songs hoisting Root Beers and Ginger Ales.
Mark Stanisz made the hurtin'est play tonight. Mark Dardzinski hit an absolute missile that ate up Mark Stanisz at third base. He now has a mirror image blue tattoo of Mike Juliano's signature on the inside of his left elbow. Mark corralled the ball though, and threw Mark out at first. Not to be confused with Mark Wrubel playing second base at the time. But intended to be confused with vintage Deutsche Marks from the mid 1960s. Confused? See, it worked.
Chris Behring played a solid (and laid a solid, but more on that later) catcher tonight. He saved the best for last, making a very difficult pop-up catch, that average guys don't get, to end the game. You know what else average guys don't get? His jokes ... but he's working on it.
Man that Rich Cleve is a heck of a pitcher. Personally, the thing I admire most is that even after the score widened, when you stepped in the box, he was going to try to get you out. He buckled down the final 3 innings and closed the door. After the game when everyone was congratulating each other, Jim McWilliams commented "I really like your pitching, Rich." The quick-witted hurler snappily retorted, "I know you do, Jimmy."
Which, by the way, Jeff Young said after the game "it's the hardest I've ever seen anyone hit a ball in my life."
The biggest Lugnut bat though was Jeff Britton. He was 2-for-2 with a double, 2 RBI and a run, when it took the best play of the night to finally get him out. One out though, and it snowballed. After the game, Jeff went OUT to the club, OUT to Denny's, and OUT to Lookout Point with the waitress after her shift.
But more about Jeff and Jim. They took the night-shift watch and made sure everyone was away safely before departing. Either that, or they took the longest to finish their IPAs. That's a brand of Root Beer, right? What selfless heroes.
|17||Sun Sep 13||12:15 PM||Hazel Park||Motor City Firebirds||P|
|18||Fri Sep 18||6:00 PM||Hazel Park||Motor City Firebirds||L||8||4|
K.O. KOs Lugnuts
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Kieth Opalach put a couple balls to the fence (hit the weight room, junior) and was the driving force behind the Firebirds victory. His pair of doubles were jewels. His pair of jewels were ... well, use your imagination.
Jim McWilliams and Gary Alatchanian faced off pitching. The last time Jim and Gary faced each other was at a fencing class at Macomb Community College. This night though, the 2 were hurling some pretty good pitching. Gary featured a firm fastball, sharp breaking ball, and a wrist band that reads "what would Bernie do?" Jim was mixing 6 pitches during the game, and mixed 6 pitchers of margaritas after the game. TGIF!! Gary was relieved by ... Dino? The teams tied in hits (8) and walks (2), and both starting pitchers carried no-hitters into the 2nd inning.
Dino thought this age division might be a piece of cake - with 2 outs and nobody on, it seemed that way. But the top of the Lugnuts order was "a good team with two." Jim drew a walk and stole a base (rumor has it, this was a pitchout). Jeff Young drove him home with a solid single to right. "Hey, you're right, hitting the ball on the barrel IS way better" Jeff offered.
Mark Stanisz followed with an unremarkable single. The kind of single you don't write home about. Singles like this usually go unnoticed, just your ordinary, every-day, run of the mill, average joe, dime a dozen, common, pedestrian, mundane, ho-hum kind of single. Pay no attention to this single.
But then - oh, but then - Doug Fry, playing his first defensive innings after his time on the DL (yes, it's the DISABLED list and always has been, quit being afraid of words) and filling the #4 hole in the lineup after asking to bat down in the order. "Be glad I'm not leadin' ya off, ya Nancy" the skipper barked. That same Doug "Frenchy" Fry, what a guy, he launched one into the sky. Drove in a couple guys. "I really did try" said Doug Fry.
It would be fair to say Gary Alatchanian and Bob Wilson smoked a couple doubles of their own. Almost as nice as Doug's double. Not nearly as nice as Kieth's doubles. Much better than Mark's single, though.
Hey wow, let's hand it to the umpire crew. Scotty behind the plate was as consistent as you can get, while Rico Suave in the field set the tone, and it was a fun game to play. Thanks fellas...no joke.