Saturday, April 12, 2014

“The Quintessential Experience” by Tom Hickey

Hi everyone,

Please indulge me for these moments of personal reflection.

I love the game of baseball with a passion I seldom match in other areas
of my life! That’s why this 59-year-old boy can be found in uniform on a Sunday playing the game that’s given him so much since his first organized game in 1950.

I play for love, and like true love, I ask nothing in return—except
for the ability to play and be contributory to my team and the game
itself. The joy is in playing—and the bonus—is the experiencing of the nuances of the game.

I must share my experience of April 22, 2001. No matter how long I play
this game—a new experience looms just ahead—to impress me that I
haven’t seen or felt everything.

In my 50 years of playing baseball I never hit a ball over a fence in a
game for a home run. I never experienced the exhaltation of trotting the
bases, rounding third, slapping the hand of the third base coach, and
looking up to see all my teammates waiting at home plate with giant
smiles (and, in this instance, looks of amazement that they had just
actually seen what they saw) on their faces. Sunday, it happened!

8th inning. Down 3 runs. Bases empty (if this were a movie, the bases
would have been loaded, and, my personal joy would have been
unrestrained because the homer would have won the game.)
3-1 count. just trying to get on base. I’ll take a walk, or, just make
good contact. Hit it hard. Find a hole. Get on so our better hitters can
make something happen.

The pitch. Letter-high fastball. Too good to take. Swing…....

I never experienced the sensation and joy of “getting all of it” and
getting under the pitch so that in that brief mega-second the
realization that the ball had “a chance” to go out was real.
Being a life-long “singles hitter” my only home run came at age 14 on a
field with no outfield fences. Batting right-handed, I hit the gap in
left-center and raced around the bases sliding home ahead of the tag (if
you’ve seen me run—maybe racing is an exaggeration.)

This time, batting left-handed, the sound of aluminum (I miss wood)
meeting baseball was “pure”. There was a “ringing sound” which means I
got it “all”.

I knew I had pulled the ball and 3 steps out of the batter’s box my eyes
went to the rightfielder. He started back slowly, then increased his
speed to the fence looking all the way like he had a bead on the ball.
I knew I hit it well to the right part of the field, but, would it
carry? He was at the temporary fencing not able to go farther. At that
moment my heart fluttered (and not for the usual reason a man my age
feels a heart fluttering sensation) as I saw him look up and the ball
sail about 10 feet over the fence.

Suddenly, the joy was replaced by concern. what would be my style of
trotting around the bases? Should I give a Kirk Gibson arm pump as i
approach second base? Should I raise my right arm to the sky?
No, I’d be traditional. Don’t want to show up the pitcher. After all,
how good could he feel allowing such a hit to someone my age. Nope, show
respect for the game and for the fact we still trailed by 2 runs. The
score was what was important. How can I celebrate when we are down to
our last two outs?

I believe baseball’s god smiled on this oldtimer. HE granted me an
opportunity before I go off into that corn field with Shoeless Joe and
Roy Hobbs and Crash Davis.

The fact that my sons stood at home plate, wearing the same uniform I
wore, with pride in their eyes, truely made me a blessed man.

- Tom Hickey

Posted by section925 on 04/12 at 09:21 PM

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jon Danger Hirsch Doesn’t Give a Fuck About Leland Yee or Raymond ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow

Jon Danger Hirsch doesn’t give a fuck about Leland Yee or Raymond ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow... or bedlam in the streets of the University of Santa Barbara, or tech bros acting chill on tech buses, or gentrification fucking up the mission, or preseason slumpbusters, or Shabazz Napier, or Pablo Sandoval’s playing weight, or Jim Johnson getting booed in Oakland, or what the pros are wearing, or Apple’s new operating system, or the cut fastball Nuke worked on over the winter, or anything that doesn’t involve inexpensive blow and girls tanned to a perfect golden brown.

Yeah, no really, he doesn’t give of a flying fuck about any of it. And why would he? Listed on LinkedIn as someone “with a passion for Marketing”, Danger has put his fabricated five year plan on hold to purposely lose himself in the deep depths of the disjointed concrete jungles of South America. Occasionally he’ll stumble upon an internet cafe, at which time he usually has enough presence of mind to drop a line to Tide brass, letting the higher ups know that he is still alive, still is wearing a dirty wife beater, still has Jose Canseco-esque arms, and still has plenty of subterranean wool around in order to light the proverbial lamp when needed.

Even with Danger’s whereabouts unknown, (along with his hipster baseball pants and massive lipper and white Nike’s and oversized left handed stick) the show must go on, people. And so it has...

Welcome to 2014, folks. It’s here whether you signed up for it or not. All the veterans are a year older, a year wiser, and a year less athletic. The team Old Crowe put together, in the league Holy Godfather created is now in its 14th year of public service. That’s 14 years of not being afraid to throw on a dirty rubber, but who’s counting?

The captivating/galvanizing hashtag of the winter came from the big thumbs of Gigante. “#OneMoreYear” was the rallying cry. Appropriate when you consider that this flock of weekend warriors epitomize the idea of being “Day to day.”

2012 saw the Tide triumph over the Topes in one of the most classic baseball series on record. The ball hit to Tom at third, the Jeter-like backup from the heady Toddamus, the dramatic out call, the frantic celebration at the mound after Gigante’s final strikeout, the post game Bud Lights on the grass behind the third base dugout, the Tide’s collective hard-on going limp at SLBP the next weekend versus the upstart Wood. Twenty twelve had it all.

2013 again brought a plethora of excitement for the hometown fans. @TideDirtBags was born, the TST was in full-bloom, Larceny started a family, walk-offs became the norm, and the regular season Wave rolled to an unprecedented 18-2 mark in the regular season.

Unfortunately, the dream of a no holds barred dogpile on the mound in San Leandro and a ticker tape parade in a black town car down Market Street was not to be. Instead, the Tide fell to a lawyer with a do-rag, Brandon Phillips, and a schmuck from UC Davis who Abbot happily traded away. The Final Four loss was lowlighted by the now infamous “Monterey Massacre”. “Thumbs In Figoni” apparently lost his wits about him, guzzled one too many tequila shots at a beachside wedding, shattered his iphone, and woke up the next day two hours after the first pitch of a monumental playoff tilt. The word “gutwrenching” came to mind. Still does to this day.

But really, who are we kidding. Fuck it. It’s 2014 now.

As the Wednesday, April 18, 2012 headline plainly reads on, this group of grinders is clearly “No Longer the Fat Chick Anyone Can Fuck”. Instead, the Tide are a major player in the SFNABA landscape. A force to be reckoned with, if you will.

The big money pitching staff of Nuke and Gigante is still very much intact for another go around. Their silent rivalry still burns. Gigante’s signed minor-league baseball card still waits in vain on eBay.

Added to the pitching staff this year is an advertising Senior Creative from Australia. Sure, he may not have been born in America, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t pump the pearl and swing the dick like he grew up playing on Sean Burrough’s Long Beach Little League World Series team. The guy brings some edge to him as well. From some ink on the arms to an impressive in-game lipper, some see shades of taller, righthanded, more laid back version of Danger on our hands. That’s only if you look hard enough.

Everchill Abbot also threw into the mix a new first baseman. His name is Spencer, but his on-field name already appears to be Rube Baker. With a body resembling Adam Dunn’s, the 4-year Ivy League starter looks more than capable of dropping braj. (sidenote: Rube’s Penn Quakers never quite won the Ivy title during his career, thus, Beustad and Toddamus never had a chance to gamble on him in the annual “More Ping Less Bling” college baseball pool, (coming your way again this June)).

Jake Taylor, as expected, came into camp “In the best shape of his life” and it shows!

Nuke spent the winter cyber-bombing team@sftsunami email chains, while Gigante spearheaded the “One more year” hashtag, crossfited to retain his velocity, and did his best to keep a leash on Tommy.

Tommy grinded all winter at his office in the FiDi, because that’s all he knows how to do. He also crosfitted his dick off in order to offset 2-week long Miami benders.

Vic still is the same stand-up individual, who might steal your car, Regards.

Consulting is who-knows-where. Probably in the south bay, quietly saving East Palo Alto from imploding onto itself, about to send out an e-mail offering up a pair of Giants tickets to the desk jockey with the quickest trigger finger.

Beustad spent the winter dicking off in Utah. Lifted a lot of weights with no apparent results, waited the tables of the eastern seaboard’s ultra-asshole-elite, updated his instagram feed, didn’t get laid, punched his clown a lot.

Rizzo and Tom retained their bachelor pad on Benard street. Both appear to have also retained their better halves. Tom’s insurance brokerage house appears to be booming, What Pros Wear likewise.

Toddamus and Tamir don’t look a day older. Their lives equipped with the reason and responsibility lost on so many Tide members over the years. Old Crowe is also back in the third base coaches’ box, with a new pair of snazzy cleats he found on WPW.

Hyphen’s return to the bay is pending, more on that later perhaps. For now he’s enjoying the wall-to-wall carpeting one can only find in So-Cal.

Godfather’s winter visions of a second ship in a wool-infested area of Arizona fell off the table like one of his Uncle Charlies, but one day, one day that trip will happen...

Games 2 and 3: Tide Rolls over the Oakland Athletics

The Tide have jumped out of the gate early in 2014 with a perfect 3-0 record. Game 1 saw a bomb from Figoni, as well as a roller coaster ride from Tom. Games 2 and 3 gave us a doubleheader sweep of a new SFNABA expansion team, the Oakland Athletics.

The A’s were no match for the two headed monster that is Nuke and Gigante. Both right handers dealt in their respective starts. Aussie Luke also showed off his arm during the twin bill. By the looks of it, the powerful bloke is not afraid to dot a guy, nor is he afraid to paint the black.

Glove Kings:
Rube Baker.
For his effortless scoop at first base after a drop third strike. Four years of baseball practice inside a gym on a snowy day in Pennsylvania really paid off there, I tell ya.

Bump Kings:
Nuke and Gigante. Per usual. Nothing to see here.

Dropping Braj:
Tom D.
Guy swung it all day down in Albany vs the A’s. Shot an opposite field gap with the bases drunk, minutes after the Tide was on the wrong end of a pending perfect game. Everyone scored on the knock. RBI were had. Not sure anyone was on the book at that time to record it.

Honorable Mention Dropping Braj:
Aussie Luke.
Announced his presence with authority with an oppo bomb over a silver monster in right.

Quote of the Week:
“My arm feels fucking awesome, you guys. Molly is a great anti-inflammatory.” - @NonRunner

TST of the Week
“#Pray4Tommy” - @EYL, @Gigante

The Tide take their traveling circus down the peninsula to face off with defending SFNABA champions, the Isotopes. Yes, as you may or may not have heard, this is #TopesWeek. Get your tickets while you still can. A huge walk-up crowd of rogue girlfriends and parents in their mid to late sixties is expected. Last year the Tide lost to the Topes 12-2. Mind you, this was without Fluffy on the 25 man roster. See you at the yard...
Posted by section925 on 04/09 at 05:41 PM
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