Note to self: write the game reports before a) drinking leventy million beers and/or b) a sleep or c) Both of these. No matter. I'll just make it all up. No-one who was there, apart from the youngies - who this week were represented by young Craig Wilson - will remember a damn thing anyway.
Our opposition, Westgarth Fourths were largely a sons and fathers team, containing some dads who have clearly never played before. Subsequently we flogged them, a fact that enables me to waffle on about two of my favourite topics.
Firstly how wonderful baseball is as a sport, not the least for the fact that you can still play it into the years when it becomes possible to play in a team with your kid(s). A fabulous pleasure that is hard to describe but suffice to say it is one worth hanging in there for. (Meantime maybe you youngies can use it as a chat up line Hey babe, wanna go back to my place and work on a switch-hitting centrefielder together?
Secondly manners and their importance in the game of baseball. Unless you are taught to play young by a clever coach chances are you may not receive much direct and consistent introduction to the etiquette of the game. One important tenet is that players who are young, new to the game etc need neither to be humiliated or pandered to. Your responsibility is not to show them up, either way. Modifying your behaviour to make the game appear more even is hard but rewarding. Perversely of course it is often hard to play well against an inexperienced opposition. Luckily we are naturally crap so that problem did not occur this week.
What did occur is the return from a golf trip of more old farts. Plus Norm McHenry got time off from Joffa to attend. We are pleased to be at almost full strength as this week we expect to lose a couple on the Long March to Knox, wherever the heck that is.
It's all about the lollies init? (Before you leave baffled, let me explain. The Vets have a tradition of bringing lollies to every game. Not for the sugar high needed to replenish energy levels late in the afternoon; not in case the exertion wears a millimetre or two off their ample bellies but just because they simply cannot go more than two hours without eating something.).
At Knox two important things occurred vis-a-vis the confectionery. Firstly this weeks providore Col didn't sneak over to the Aldi dumpster in the dead of night as he is wont to do, but lashed out on some decent lollies and secondly Connor, Tom and Ben (either dwarfs or immature offspring of some team members) were physically restrained from scarfing their usual amount. Fine and dandy. Joy all around. But something appeared to have happened to the lollies as the afternoon wore on, in that they ran out and I was blamed for having more than my fair share.
Forget the fact that we got beaten by a team we demonstrably should not have been beaten by again. Forget that if Knox earned more than half their runs my aunty shaves daily. No, all my teamates could come up with as an excuse was that I ate all the lollies. Gee. Slander, vile slander. Anyhow, another loss and I will be bringing a container of Portland cement and asking ask my fellow veterans to swallow a mouthful and HARDEN THE F UP! Next week instead of counting lollies can we count hits? Ours preferably. Oh and if you want the lollies to last, bring me into the game earlier. All I am saying.
When are you going to actually write about the baseball?That's what one of my teammates moaned at me Saturday. But then he is by no means the sharpest crayon, in a box that looks like it has been well used by a very large class of unruly Preppies. Fans of the beauteous and boundless joy of sesquipedelian writing have begged me to stop these match reports. Yet fans of baseball have begged me to start. I don't know. It's hard to be an artist in these troubled times. Well here goes: North Balwyn outer. Marginally better than playing against La Trobe (as I did) when the Reds had the lower quarter of a soccer ground and the car tent for shelter. Cept North B lack the car tent. Never mind. Cam purchased a whopping load of Lollies. Jeneanne and Liam came to watch Chook take the mound. And we won. Emtasol, as they say in PNG Tok Pisin (Pidgin Talk). Hang-on we did have an event that caused us all great and exceptional happiness free beer. Karl Leake hit a white rope outa the park and we instantly started the tradition hit a home run shout all your mates for showing off (gee I don't know why everyone says the Veterans are dumb). Storm Arnott, playing in his 49th or 50th season of baseball also hit a round-tripper so we had free beer at home when we got there as well. Two free beers in a single day, I almost fainted with joy. (By the way El Presidente Dr Moar addressed us all before the game, its good to have a Sawbones on the bench ready to amputate, staunch blood flows etc. His speech no doubt explains why we managed to do it for the Gipper, and our Alma Mata, whoever the hell she is.)
All smiles after a 23-3 win! Well done Veterans.
Round 5 Glen Iris at LTUBC
Rained out - giving me the opportunity to remind my club mates that when you wake up one day to discover that you have a career, a family and attendant responsibilities up the wahzoo, remember that baseball is an exceptional form of stress release. But quadruperly so on rain days. Why? All that annoying running around in knickerbockers getting sweaty and agitated enough to enjoy an earned post game beverage or leventy is eliminated. One simply turns up, the manager gives you a baleful look (yet another thing which Col does really well) and shakes his head, you attempt to look disappointed and then head straight to the bar. You bewdy!! Two hours of drinking time followed by another two hours of post game drinking time. In the 38 years since I started playing baseball I can still clearly remember the best games I ever played. The Nott, the Gresham, Naughtons, the Whitehorse Hotel, Baden Powell Hotel all scenes of error free and prodigious feats of baseball. Rain lovely rain. Two points. A pub with a fire. That's what I call sport.
Three wins from four!
The weather was ideal for Winter baseball. ;This climate change thing is just great for bringing in the crowds!
Although the 1s lost there game by a run to Diamond Crk they managed to retain top spot on the ladder. This in combination with a good win for the 2s resulted in the 1s and 2s both sitting on top of the B and B Reserve ladders respectively. One would have to go back awhile in the record books to find the same situation.
The 1s lost their first game of the season with a rather lacklustre batting performance. The big hitters for La Trobe failed to impress with the bat and a couple of errors let Diamond Crk take home a win. Still, the big red machine can play significantly better than they did on Saturday which should see a reversal of the loss when La Trobe next play Diamond Crk.
Other results around the grounds saw the 2s, 3s and Vets win their games.Well done to all involved.
Congratulations go to Michael Perkins for winning the MEAT TRAY RAFFLE supplied by Jack's ultra small goods!
Rnd 6 Watsonia at Mill Park - Win 15 - 3
Whilst not all the courier pigeons are in, we can report with reasonable confidence that none of Col's Fossils died of old age at Watsonia this week. Baseball is the loser of course. It is the natural way of the world that the old and weak and baffled die off allowing the young and strong take-over. Just not in Col's team where we aged few fight on gamely knowing at the end of the day that The Bide a Wee Rest Home will have a mug of cocoa and scrambled eggs substitute on toast waiting for us when we arrive back in the minibus, tired but victorious.
We were short of players again this week, so short that Col played. He pitched and made double-plays. Making them in the sense of hitting into them. As one of the wits, or more accurately halfwits, on the bench had it: John King taught him everything he knows? (Fabled ex-Trobers coach Kingy has become adept in latter years for having the odd spot of double-trouble.)
I won the award in my car this week for being the first to say Cheeziz, I don't drive out this far for my summer holidays?, Mill Park being on the outer edge of our endurance driving range. The facilities naturally were delightful. The day was warm and sunny and we all, or mostly all, had fun. A coupla nappie-rendering tanties from players obviously planning on heading for The Show caused some mirth and much shaking of heads.
Just quietly we are attracting quite a fan base. Jeneane Brooke, Lill Gleeson and her two kids forming a small but perfectly formed cheer squad. Worryingly however Leanne seems to focus her barracking on supporting opposition pitchers throwing to hubby Steve. I know that behind every successful man stands a highly surprised woman but I can only assume that Leanne is employing women's reverse psychology to ensure Steve's success. No other explanation fits.
Oh and Joan: if a bloke who looks a lot like me fronts up to buy a beer next Saturday just tell Bill, you've had enough?. Even if it's his first beer. That ice-cold Stella! Lordy - it has bought me a world of trouble!
The 1s and 2s continued their top of the ladder winning streaks against North Balwyn at North Balwyn, the 3s had a walk over against Waverley and the Veterans went down to Knox at home.
The news of the round was the jaw breaking injury to Doug Buckle. Doug was up at the plate facing a pitcher who had already been warned as a result of hitting three different batters. Shortly after the manager notified the North Balwyn umpire of the situation Doug was struck in the jaw with a fast ball that eventually brought him to the ground. After getting back up on his feet Doug made his way to first base and time was called. Initially, Doug thought he had lost a tooth when in actual fact he suffered a clean break in his jaw. Doug was rushed off to the Emergency Dental Clinic in Swanston St. in the City where he has had a total of 8 screws inserted in his jaw. All club members wish Doug a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back out on the diamond soon. With Doug out of the line up the 2s still managed to have a close one run 5-4 win.
The first nine game provided great viewing for the spectators. The game was a tight affair with both sides fighting hard for premiership points. With a couple of good batting digs in the middle of the game the 1s held off North Balwyn to win 7-5. Of concern was an ankle injury to Head Coach Brian Mash who rolled his ankle severely when running through first base.
The previous round saw Andrew Demetrius suffer multiple factures to his hand when up at the plate which will see him out for the next 6-7 weeks. If the injury list continues to grow at this rate the on field performances of the 1s and 2s could start to wane.
Round 7 - A Loss Starts Me Ranting
For our fans we got done. Poo. Bum. Drawers.
I missed this match due to illness. No one else who played this day owns a computer obviously. Otherwise they would have posted a Match Report. Obviously.
While I am venting - can I ask my fellow, but young club members a question?
In an era of unsurpassed connectivity when you SMS (and post to Facebook) a thousand times a day on such riveting topics as what you had for lunch and what you are watching on TV right now, why does no-one make a few key strokes to share with your fellow club members news about the weekend's match? That is a Game Report!
It isn't that hard is it?
Aren't you a teensy bit embarrassed that the Fossils do it and you don't?
We at LTUBC should be aiming to attract players to the club and enhance the pleasurable experience of existing club members - and one way we can do both is demonstrate that we love the game played well. Match reports can play an important role.
It's not a chore and my team give me a standing ovation and strew roses in my path every Saturday. I wish. Ungrateful Bastids.
Trobers 11 Panton Hill 6
I wouldn't be writing this report if were not for a request from a fan. LTU Lifer Nev Brown specifically asked that I report on the magnificent way he played during this game. Fine. Except that I was so ill that day (and subsequently) that I cannot remember a damn thing about it. But if Nevvie said he done well, he done well. Probably the only one who did.
Age sadly has played havoc with our defensive skills. Normally we are able to more than compensate with the bat. Naturally this is a very risky strategy for players whose batting skills have also declined with age and health. As errors are going up, runs are going down - hardly a formula for success.
Is there a large ghostly fork hovering?
Four wins from Four Games.
For the first time this year the four teams won their respective games. Well done to all involved.
The firsts and seconds travelled to Broadford to take on the Mitchell Majors. Both sides returned with substantial percentage boosting wins with the firsts continuing their top of the ladder form winning 16-4. The seconds, who currently have 4-5 key players out injured, also put in a great effort to come home 26-3 winners.
Not to be outdone the Veterans, at home, also dominated in their game with a 16-1 win over North Balwyn and the thirds came home with the points winning by one run against Ringwood 13-12.
Can the LTUBC repeat the 4 from 4 this coming weekend? Can the LTUBC beat last years effort of producing two rounds of 4 from 4 results? Come down to training and find out!
1s and 2s top of the tables again.
The LTUBC won all the games they played on the weekend resulting in a 100% win - loss ratio. iv>The seconds absolutely trounced Reservoir 28-4, the Veterans beat Ringwood and the ones won a very tight affair 1-0 against Reservoir who always seem to lift a couple of notches when playing the LTUBC.
There were some nice defensive plays from the LTUBC with James Little and Alex Turlea turning over a lovely double at second and Daniel Bennett at first rolled over a double play through Brian Mash at third. Lovely stuff to watch.....
One of the plays of the day goes to Michael Perkins who made a match saving throw from centre field to home to deny Reservoir a match winning run. The runner slid into home plate and fell short by about half a meter.
This resulted in La Trobe with the last at bat needing to score a run to win the game. Elder statesmen Joe Salanitri hit a beautiful line drive to centre left to get on base. Nitin Lamge was brought into the game to run for Joey as his ankles just won't let him scream around the bases. Eventually, with a pass ball Nitin came home to score the winning run. This now puts the firsts a game clear on top of their ladder. Also with the seconds having such a resounding win they also managed to put themselves back on top of their ladder. At just over the half way mark the signs are looking good even with a number of key players out with injuries, Let's see if LTUBC can maintain the momentum leading up to the post season playoffs!?
Wins all round for the firsts and seconds
Round 11 saw the 3rds and Veterans have a break which meant the only games to be played were at North Balwyn which saw both the firsts and seconds winning their respective games.
The firsts managed to win the game in the last innings by scoring a run to go one up and then successfully defended the slim lead.
The twos won 5-3.
Westgarth v La Trobe Vets
The great wordsmith, Mr W Fenton asked me to write a brief match report for the clash with Westgarth in round 10, as he is otherwise committed. I do so willingly, with the caveat that I share one of Bill's challenges; the inability to recall what happened yesterday, let alone some weeks ago.
I am somewhat heartened however when I flick back over Bill's previous reports and realise that he does not, in fact, say very much about what happened (understandably, because he can't remember). He seems to be more interested in taking people to task, and predicting doom and gloom, as those great pincers of age take an ever firmer hold on many individuals who make up the Veterans team. He, of little faith!
It is this realisation that encourages me to cast my mind back to that windswept day out the back at Merri Park. My strongest memories are of playing an opposition composed mostly of young kids, and of those kids giving us a bit of a fright. They hit the ball hard and long and often. More importantly they played in a manner that we would wish from our own kids, great application, 100% commitment, and respect for the opposition and the game of baseball.
We eventually won comfortably as Westgarth pitching ran out of steam; Craig put one over, a number of players put the ball through the cones, and our fielding remained, as ever, something that will not take us to the Show.
Watsonia @ LTUBC. Spifflicated 12-2
Chocolate to a Boiled Lolly
As I was driving to this week's game, rather, as I was being driven to this weeks game (more about that in later weeks) I was musing to myself how well our Youth Policy was paying off. Inviting the Team Whippersnapper* Craig Wilson into the line-up was working well. He was doing more than a workman like job with the tools of the fool and his batting was, well, outstanding. Catchers are the natural show-offs in a team given their skill set and the fact that they are in charge of the game, but Craig was really leading from the front. Great to see a young man at the peak of his form.
How quickly all that changed. With an audible pop he does his knee on a popup and the once dashing colt is now just a broken down hack. Take a number Wilson. Welcome to the world of arthritis, inflammation and pain we all live in. You don't think that we'd be this grumpy, bad mannered and ill tempered naturally do you? Well maybe we would. But yet again the Baseball Gods dealt an unfair blow to a bloke who was on top of his game.
The good news is that, sentimental old fools that we are, we have kept a place for you on our bench. Lolly Monitor. Oh and we prefer Clinkers and Freckles thanks.
* Yes I know Nick is younger by a generation. So young it does not count.
Watsonia @ LTUBC. Done 4-3
The Good Game.
I hate sport because I hate jocks. But I love baseball. If you marvel at this contradiction then you were not present at this game. Our opponents - a mainly young team of batters and a pitcher a cut above this grade - gave us good; nay great run for our money. The nicest part? Hearing my teamates telling the Watsonia players as they shook their hands how genuinely happy that they had been stretched by opponents who played the game well and in great spirit. Even the talk on Beer Hill afterwards was how enjoyable it is to play in a game like that.
Well done Watsonia, with skills and manners like you have I am sure that you will enjoy long and successful baseball careers.
Watsonia led all day and yet we played well enough to hold them and even came back to give them a fright. With Tony Bullen absent we started off with Janine and Liam Brooke's favourite pitcher - Chook. (Where were our fans?!) As the score line attests he did a good job throwing around their bats and the occasional one he threw onto a bat our outfield snagged fairly well (including a couple of good flies by our centrefielder Nick). Normie came in and closed them down and our bats woke, with Mick Moore having a day out at the dish. Three Votes Wilson gets the votes for laying down a bunt when his heart was telling him warning track at the very least Pete, warning track?.
The only sour note all day was that due to his onerous umpiring duties Coach Colly did not give us his usual after game speech. To make up for that I have inserted here a verbatim transcript of the one he gives us every week: Jeez guys how can we ever expect to win a game if you play like disgraceful (insert non-pc euphemism for hopeless players) all the time? Fair dinkum, you are all pathetic.? Pause. Well done guys. Turns and walks away. It's this quality of leadership that makes you want to take a bullet for the bloke.
Oh and yet again a big tip of the cap to Lill for scoring for us.
Three from four sides are IN!
The 23rd of August was the last round of the VWBL Winter series with La Trobe featuring prominently throughout. The firsts finished four games clear on top, the seconds finished second on percentage only, the thirds put in a commendable effort finishing just outside of the four and the Veterans finished fourth!
Well done to all involved who participated in such a strong finish to the home and away series.
Keep coming back to see how the sides perform during the final series!
Semi Final Glen Iris 10 La Trobe 7
A Rose by any other name
The Australian fondness of nick-names sometimes leads to much strangeness. Take the Glen Iris baseball club. They call themselves the Fat Bastards and yet when they line up on the basepaths even today's umpire could have seen that they are thirty years younger and thirty kilograms lighter than us. I have no idea of their paternity but it would have to be weird to top the motley crew in the ˜Trobe uniforms. Bastards GI may be. Fat? Nup.
So a knock-out final between the self-styled Fat Bastards and real fat bastards was bound to be a good one. And it was.
The Big Red Machine jumped out of the blocks early as if the batters had been waiting all year to fire, and trust me, they had. Norm on the mound was formidable, sitting batters down with a pitching display that even the umpire might have enjoyed had he seen it.
But you cannot hold instinct batters down forever and GI came back at us and in the end triumphed. Justice was done, they were the better team on the day, at least with bat.
So ends another season. Many thanks to the University, the Club and volunteers Barb, Joan, Lil et al - for the great season.
Special thanks to Col Richardson, the Uncle Fester we had to have. There are few fairer or better managers going around than Col. Every Saturday is much like the boating outing in ˜One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and still he maintains his calmness and humour. Thanks
Veterans 2008 Reflection
The drizzle sets on another year of winterball. Time for wistful and mature reflection, and indeed celebration of games and teamates past. Here, for your information is a brief rundown of my colleagues in 2008:
Storm Arnott Old & Mild
Living proof that age shall not weary all, Storm is one of our fastest players up the first base line. There is no truth in the rumour that he explains earnestly to each new umpire as he addresses the plate: if I lay off it, it was because it was a ball, OK? (He already sent BV a letter explaining this at the start of the season.)
Chris Wilson Miss Congeniality
How cruel God is putting the heart and mind of an athlete in a body of that body. A marvel at first base, worth two men and not just because he is as wide a two men, Chris is one of those stalwarts whose pleasant personality and jovial manner can almost single-handedly holds a team of nut-jobs together. Almost.
Craig Wilson No relation
I have written before of my admiration for those who willingly arm themselves with the tools of the fool. Craig was settling in well. He was a tad too happy, a tad too lively to be considered a modal La Trobe Veteran but he was sure getting there. Get well soon Craig. Get grumpy next season is around the corner.
Karl Leake The Smiling Assassin
To be fair this is Karl's Fitzroy nick-name. At La Trobe we think of him more like one the Terminator's Cyborgs, albeit an unafailingly happy one. To stop him playing his heart out you'd have to hold him down and beat him senseless with the bat. And even then I suspect he'd pop up smiling and asking you where you wanted him to play next.
Col Richardson The 20th Worst baseball Coach
When medical science finally discovers that Grumpy Old Men's Disease is in fact a real virus they are going to quickly trace its origins back to Patient Zero Col. There will be a statue of him erected in a hospital somewhere. On it's plinth will be the words: Youse are all shocking blonks, I don't know why I bother?. Of the twenty odd (and I do mean Odd) managers I have played under, Col is simply the twentieth worst.
There are probably few things less enjoyable for a young man than playing a sport with a father who is a total spazz at said sport. So I'm not about to add to Nicks burden's here. As a father I have discharged my responsibility to my son, showing him how life could be if he too plays baseball with his mates for thirty to forty years instead of getting a life.
Stephen Brooke Firey? me??
What can you say about a man who manages to survive after hurling a baseball full bore at his wife? Still waters run deep they say. And it appears so do those who boil surprisingly rapidly. There are many Stephen Brookes and on any given afternoon you'll meet a lot of nice ones. Fer Jebuses sake, just do not waken the angry one.
Mick Moore A Contender
Many good players give the game away when they can no longer play it at some mythical level they perceive to be their personal standard. Others just play all day as if they are playing the way they always played. Stubborn? Doggered?. Give me these latter players everyday. Play on Champ!
Tony Bullen - Foxtel's Fault
One of our few genuine all-rounders TB has talent in the field, talent on the mound and talent at the plate but the problem is that he benchmarks himself against the Major League players he watches every Saturday before lacing up his cleats. If we could cancel his subscription he would be an easier colt to wrangle.
Peter Wilson Pedagogue Gone Mild
If you were head teacher to hundreds of hyper six-twelve year olds all day after a night and morning of herding Ben and Tom through life I'm tipping you'd be barking mad. Flip, another three, or more accurately, four-skills player is sanely sanguine, a player who approaches each game confidently knowing that due to some clever deed-poll work his name always appears on the card as Three Votes Wilson.
Ted Sedgman Lazarus
Honest to goodness proof of the embalming effects of Mandate aftershave, Teddy Ballgame put in a purler of a season - marked as it was by an absence of his two signature career moves. Firstly pulling an early VB hammy, preferably in warm-up so he can get a start on the social side. Secondly loud explosive expletives as he turns around for three pirouettes and a pike on a fast ball that went past minutes previously. Regularly this season on those dark winters afternoon deep in the gloaming of the alleys he showed us all a glimpse of what could have been. If only.
Cam Gleeson Caught in the Middle
Not yet old enough to be comically incompetent, yet too young to blame a full to overflowing quiver of idiosyncrasies on anything other than himself, Cam is an age-defying player. Is he twenty? Is he seventy? Is he in the middle? Cam came, looked at the Veterans and decided that we were all quite, quite insane - and hence that he could fit right in.
Lil Gleeson Scorer
A saint of woman. How do I know? Well she has pledged her life in troth to Cam. A big thanks from all of the ungracious, mumbling, grumpy old bastards who should have come over after every game and shaken her hand sincerely for her pastoral work with Cam, if not for the scoring. Thanks Lil!
Nev Brown The Pimpernel
Quiet and unassuming personality characteristics are one's that teachers and other authorities know to watch closely. And boy are they this man's hallmark. A special breed of player I venerate the Right Fielder, Nev is seldom where you expect him to be. Unless the bar is open.
Norm McHenry A Saint
History is littered with ordinary people with appalling disabilities whose humanity and spiritual excellence leads them into selfless service for others in spite of their most ugly of handicaps. Norm is such a man. Norm is a Collingwood supporter. Worse he goes to their games. When he is not flogging himself figuratively with birch rods and having a crown of thorns pulled around his ears he plays baseball with us. We are kind and generous. We rarely ever mention his affliction. Much.
B Reserve Premiers 2008!
La Trobe University Baseball Club also known as "The Trobers" or "The Big Red Machine" entered four teams in the B Grade, B Reserve, C Reserve and D Grade competitions. Three from four sides qualified for finals action that started on the 30th of August.
The firsts and seconds played off in the VWBL B and B Reserve grand finals on the 13th of September. The highlight of the day was the premiership win by the seconds.