Saturday, July 26, 2008
One For The Record Books
The Evil Dictator had his first playoff game yesterday. To make a long story short-- and I mean long, nearly three hours-- his team won 18-6, meaning that tomorrow they will play whoever wins the game between the A's and the Yankees today to determine if they go on to the Senior League World Series.
Not only was this the longest game I can remember in nearly six years of watching him play, but it was also one of the strangest. First off, were the jet fighters. The park that he plays baseball in, along with the rest of our neighborhood, sits beneath one of the main flight paths for jets landing at O'Hare Airport. Usually dozens of passenger jets fly over the game, largely unnoticed by us, since they are so frequent. During the game, however, we looked up because one-- or actually two-- of the jets were much louder than the jets that normally fly over. It turned out to be a couple of FA-18 jet fighters. We figured that they were arriving in town to be used in the Air and Water Show in a couple of weeks.
Then there was the second inning-- all 45 minutes of it. Our guys went on a tear, scoring eight runs. Adam had an 2 RBI single and scored a run a couple of batters later.
A couple of innings later, we heard a loud "thump" in the street behind us, and discovered that a bicyclist had been hit by a car. The collision caused him to bounce off of one parked car and run into another parked car. He had unwisely chosen not to wear a helmet, so he banged his head on the pavement. A number of us ran to help him. One of the other dads ran down the street to get the license plate of the car that hit him. Happily, there was a squad car in the next intersection, and they were able to apprehend the hit and run motorist. There was also a couple of "tactical squad" officers in an unmarked car less than a block away, and they stopped to help the stricken bicyclist. Paramedics arrived within a couple of minutes. The bicyclist was soon concious and talking-- a good sign. They put him in an ambulance and took him away.
We got back to the already-long game. A few innings later, Adam got another hit, one that led to controversy and he and the other boys having to witness one of the most disgraceful displays we've seen in six years of playing in this league.
There was a runner on third base when Adam hit the ball. The boy forgot that there was no runner behind him, and that he didn't need to run. As you can see in the video, the pitcher threw the ball back to the catcher, who stood on the plate and easily tagged the runner out. Then, the other team's coach came out and started screaming at the umpire. He argued that the kid should have slid into home plate, and that he had raised up his arms like a football blocker. Our runner had actually put his hands up over his face because the catcher was holding his mitt at face-level. He'd put his hands up to avoid getting hit in the face.
From a point of view of good play, yes, our runner should have slid. However, as you can see from the video, there was no collision. Our runner slowed down as he approached the catcher. This didn't stop the other team's coach from making an ass out of himself, not just once, not even twice, but three times. The umpire, who is well-respected in the league as not only fair, but one who takes time to instruct kids on rules and technique, was incredibly patient; most of the other umps would have thrown the coach out after the first outburst. And of course, what was the point of his argument? Our guy had been tagged out.
The kids were already rattled by witnessing the accident. This idiot's spectacle didn't help matters any. But you might notice in the video that Adam kept his head in the game; after the ouburst, he stole second base, his second stolen base of the game. He ended up with two hits, two rbi's (his first hit drove in two runs) and two stolen bases. He played third base most of the game.
As the game ended at 8:15, street lights were coming on. The coach gathered the boys together to congratulate them and to remind them that their next game was on Sunday. And then a bunch of tired, hungry and happy boys went home.