Thursday, April 15, 2010

What’s a Bob Saget?

Guy walks into a bar, says: “Give me the Bob Saget.”

Bartender says: “What’s a Bob Saget?”

“Oh it’s simple,” the guy says, “it’s when you’re an Olsen twin, and Bob Saget buys you a milkshake, and then you wake up the next morning face down with a bloody gutted asshole.”

But I’m not here to roast Bob Saget. I’m here to talk about rainy days.

In Kasilof, Alaska we chased the salmon. Reds, silvers, kings. Tossed the pinks, sole and sharks back into the Cook Inlet. Woke up early for the 7 a.m. openers, got the skiffs into the trailers and the trailers hitched to the trucks by 6. In the water by 6:30, hurdling stacks of whitecaps out to the boss’s site in search of our dancing buoys, the pink and orange gumballs half a mile off-shore tied to the sandy Inlet floor with six-braided nylon cords. Reeled the buoys in, tied on one side of our two-hundred-feet-long gillnets, and roared straight at the approaching skiff bringing the twin buoy across the ripping tide. Grabbed the buoy from the frothing wake of the swerving skiff, tied off the other end of the net, got the hell out of the way before the tide took the net out of our skiff like Paul Bunyan’s hissing slingshot. High-fived like mad if we lost no fingers.

We repeated the set twenty-one times, laid a fucking wall for those salmon in under an hour. Then checked a few knots and pointed the skiffs back towards the five parallel lines of smoke escaping our beach-tent chimneys.

We ate like mad. Military speed in the cook tent: pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, cereal; yes, all in one breakfast. If the pick was coming fast we’d wrap apple slices in bacon and roll those in pancakes, hop in the trucks back for the launch without sitting down. Always grabbed dry gloves, always, no matter the rush. Smoked four or five rolled cigarettes every thirty minutes on shore.

Went out and picked our nets, reeled them in over our skiffs like a bridge between buoys and pulled from one end to the other. Hustled every squirming or stone-dead salmon onto the hull of our boats before the tide changed and ebbed or flooded, emptied our nets like an envelope turning inside out. Ripped the fish from the nets. Snapped, shook them. Felt the firecrackers in our forearms—muscle fever. Cursed the rebelling discs in our backs. Looked up every once in a while and realized the office floor was a sea of blue hills and white foam, the cubicle walls cookies-and-cream topped volcanic peaks—handsome and intimidating motherfuckers rising in every direction except the southern door to the open ocean—and then reestablished our pace with the energy of swinging monkeys.

Came in, chucked the fish into totes, ate up. Lots: pizzas, hamburgers, tater tots, gravy, ham, beans; not all in one meal but single portions fit for wolverines. Went back out, battled the tides and the cold and the cramping of hands into cupholders, wrenches, clubs we just swung at the fish when we could no longer squeeze them. Over and over: pick, return, pitch, eat, dry gloves, six Advil, out to the nets, pick, return, pitch, repeat.

We knew that on off days we’d get plenty of rest, sleep past noon, soak in the sauna, recuperate. But an opening could last for 30 hours, more, just keep us cycling through the motions, spirits rising and falling depending on adrenaline, always eventually settling on “Fuck this, we’re never signing up for this hell on earth and water ever again.” Then we’d reach the closing bell, reel in the first net, fish and everything, all into our boat. Continued stacking up one after another, the twenty-feet-long skiffs sinking deep into the water under the weight. Hooting and hollering, the end in sight. We got macho again, felt the rush of finishing a marathon of labor, grabbed the lead lines and refused to switch to hauling in the lighter corks. Finally returned.

Finished the day pitching fish, untangling nets. Ate. Partied. Sucked on Busch Light like those cans had platinum nipples. Chain-smoked hand-rolled cigarettes and fought of Charlie horses from toenail to spine. And we did this rain or shine. No matter the temperature. No matter the tide. Any fucking day Fish and Game said we could give it a go.

Not like in baseball.

Not like in Alameda last Sunday.

Tsunami 0, Benders 0. Wives and girlfriends: 1.
Posted by Tsunami34 on 04/15 at 08:57 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, April 08, 2010

John Danger Hirsch doesn’t give a fuck what you think… (Heroes 3, Tsunami 4 in 10 innings)

John Danger Hirsch doesn’t give a fuck what you think about him forgetting a belt. He doesn’t care that you asked him before he got in your car: “Do you have a belt? Do you have socks and cleats?” He doesn’t care that he answered in the offended affirmative without even unzipping his half-packed backpack. He doesn’t care that two years ago you drove him yourself to buy a belt at Sports Authority. Politics, weather systems and transmutable physiological inconveniences never inconvenience this singular force of nature, so stop worrying already that he’d be hindered entering the big ballet only in his leotard, no tutu. Danger just wants the baseball in his hands on a weekend afternoon, seven fielders in black jerseys standing behind him, a brimming index of five-star accessibility/one-star beauties in his Blackberry, and a few rumors of an exceedingly generous nature floating around his place of employment. So why would you want him . . . any other way?

While it wasn’t enjoyable at the time, last year’s final record provides this year’s hearty and refreshed Tsunami with one motivating gift for the 2010 application: plenty of incentive for revenge. 8-12 puts up to twelve well-marinated proteins onto this season’s grill, so let’s see the positive in it. No sense dwelling on the past. Not on often-argued-about failed attempts to steal home that closed the door on a decidedly underwhelming season. Not on reckless pre-game Bay-to-Breakers* participation (cue the music for “Number 14s” first appearance in this blog). Not on last season’s straight out WBC-themed whupping at the hands of the aggressive, fleet and consistent Heroes who last exited our shared field as dominant but humble victors, 8-3.* And hopefully not on any ill-fated, overwhelmingly humbling, disastrous pick-off attempts at second base, no matter how recently or long ago it occurred. This year’s refreshed Tsunami spirit lives only in the present and future.

Of course nobody needed to tell Danger to seize the day last weekend. He didn’t switch shifts at work, calibrate his chemical foundation deep into Friday night, wake up Saturday and spray some Right Guard on Wednesday’s boxers to disappoint his growing legion of groupies that afternoon. No, Danger had a plan on Saturday: locate the fastball, drop the hook out of the sky, wear Coach Rowe’s belt. The results: 6 innings, 8 Ks, 2 runs. Of course the Tsunami did their best to keep Danger focused, waiting till the 5th to score 2 runs when Rolling Mo from RF sparked Eddie-Mo the Elder to 2b on a single and F. Ellis-Carroll decided to show coach Everchill he was here for more than defense with a run-scoring slice to right. Abbott followed with a roller to short that brought in Rolling Mo but Larson followed with a bed-wetting backwards K.

There were Ks for almost everyone, though, thanks to a spectacular outing delivered by the Heros ace #51, Akio. Outside fastballs. Down and outside fastballs. Painting the black. Breaking stuff in surprising counts. Akio held the Tsunami to just those two runs over eight, struck out 10 and allowed only two hits. Hirsch, Brill, Vazquez and Larson all narrowly avoided the first sombrero of the season, Larson perhaps only by sacrificing successfully twice and Hirsch by running out of at-bats. Fortunately for the team in black and green, however, Akio had to leave before the 9th inning after throwing 589 pitches through eight full.

Soon Rolling Mo sparked the second rally of the day again, this time lining a fastball down the line in the bottom of the 9th for a long double that forced him to sprint at least a third of the 180 feet to second base. F. Ellis-Carroll then stepped up and made-up for a teammate’s huge defensive gaffe earlier in the inning by hitting the longest single in Tsunami history straight over the CF’s head, and one of the most clutch. So clutch. Saved a tremendous effort by Danger and a surprising appearance by Number 14 in his first outing of the year. Yes, Number 14 not only arrived in cleats and without pre-game beverages, he also tossed four innings of relief, K-ing 6 and allowing only one hit, a high double to left that surprised more than E. Mo, Sr. among the Big Fat Outfield. Catorce gave up only one run, however, and in the top of the tenth he stranded runners at the corners to set the momentum-train rolling towards a Disney-movie ending for the Tsunami.

Abbott’s power was respected to the extreme, and he was walked on four pitches to open the bottom of the 10th. Coach Everchill signaled for a steal of second, and Larson took the opening pitch as Abbott deleted his emails, emptied his wallet of receipts, and slid into second base fifteen feet under the throw into shallow center. Crafty, the old guy. Larson decided to pop only one bunt attempt foul and moved Abbott to third on Coach Everchill’s orders, setting the table for Beustad and Vazquez to swing for a walk-off game-winning RBI in the three and four holes. Unfortunately for these big bats, however, four balls came Beustad’s way and one came directly Vazquez’s way, beaning him to load the bases. More than one impartial observer noted the disappointment in both batter’s reactions after taking a base instead of swinging for the game. That’s how we want them to feel. But of course two men’s disappointment can always be one man’s threesome, and we’re not just talking about our starting pitchers and long relievers working their magic from North Beach to Portrero Hill, no sir. Of course Morton the Elder made magic at the plate with his composite bamboo shaft and a 2-1 fastball against a drawn-in infield. Of course he lined it clean into left field. Of course we bounced off and slapped him on the helmet like American Legion players. Fucking awesome to have the Hero on our side this time.

Lost in the Shuffle: Beustad and Abbott joining Larson in the roadrunner derby, Abbott’s coming at a particularly significant time (and taking no shortage of time, one talent evaluator observed), and Beustad’s bordering on catcher’s indifference . . . Vazquez connecting for freedom in the bottom of the second but meeting a totalitarian wind blowing in from center field . . . Beustad making all the plays from SS in pinch duty despite recognizing his arm felt like dried bubblegum during warm-ups . . . Morton sensing a pickoff attempt and getting into a brawl with the infield dirt four steps left of first base, losing, but seeing enough of the humor in it to climb off his back with dignity as the baseball settled in the backstop’s pud . . . Rowe flawless in yanking bat away from particularly influential Heroes hitters in key spots . . . Fluffy camping on the infield sod and not giving into the running game . . . Moreno uncorking a laser just high from deep right . . . Abbott getting fussy with a sharp liner to his right with men on base, laying out and, back-be-damned, making the catch . . . Coach Everchill vowing to learn Spanish with avowed purpose of intercepting certain centerfieldish-sent communications . . . Brill earning a week’s worth of hot tubs and knee wraps with ten-innings of inspired catching duty . . . Frankel gutting out second-base duty with a still-barking slinger wing . . . Did we mention Brill caught 10 innings! That’s right. Not bad for a man just ten years older than twenty-three. You made those little Pumas proud, Coach . . . until next week, Sunday against the Benders at Encinal H.S. in Alameda. You know Danger will be there. He won’t miss it. So please bring extra belts.

Game Ball: Coach Everchill says Morton. The view here says Danger, Catorce and the veteran LF earned equal shares. They’re have to split it or share it, and in that case I’m not sure of the pronunciation, but I believe it’s spelled something like “ménage a trios.”
Posted by Tsunami34 on 04/08 at 08:31 AM
(2) CommentsPermalink
Page 1 of 1 pages