Sunday, December 30, 2012

Round 11 - ETPBC Div 5

Boasting a big line up with only a few missing, East Torrens travelled out to Woodvilles temporary ground (Seaton High School). I likened Seaton to my favourite Seattle Mariners ground which is currently being renovated - Home Run fence is being brought in and this is what the Seaton ground resembled.

Certainly a plus but a distraction... I certainly eyed the fence as something I wanted to surpass.

Last time we played Woodville we started very slow and they got the jump on us early, we kicked into gear around halfway through and never looked back comfortably winning.

With that in mind we expected another good game for our hitters and we were treated to that early with bases loaded in the 1st. From memory we only ended up bringing two runs through however ET dominated the game from early on, Robbo threw well on the mound with Matty at home plate in General status as he controlled and motivated the troops at every opportunity.

The biggest hit came from probably our smallest player on the field, with bases loaded and yours truly parked at 3rd DR (or Runt as the others like to call him) watched the first pitch and never let go on the second, launching a bomb to centre left. Clearing the fence and bringing home a grand slam to absolutely throw ET in the clear and dominate the game.

I think from then on all eyes and wishful batters were looking to the fence for their next at bat, I know I was.

Our fielding was much better this week however still a couple of bloopers, I watched DR bobble a ball in the 1st and not to be outdone I did the same a few balls later... Unfortunately stuff like that puts pressure on Robbo and Matty also.

Personally I was happy with my game, from my count I went 4 from 4, two just dropped in but two were clearly in and one nearly reaching the fence... dammit.. Fielding, well I bobbled one and missed a flyball catch losing it in the sun but overall not too bad.

The game wasn't without fireworks, late in the game Scoop stole 2nd maybe unaware we were up by 10 runs, this seemed to enrage the 3rd baseman for Woodville who proceeded with a rant at Scoop, Scoop casually shrugged it off. Wasn't until last inning that the two players would be clashing again with the 3rd baseman running to 2nd, Scoop caught the ball and hopped off the base to throw for the double play at 1st.

It was here things went ugly, the Woodville runner slid into 2nd with his cleats up and rammed them into Scoops leg. Scoop hit the deck and we missed the double play however alot of our players, understandably, were not too pleased with the actions of the Woodville player. With his back hairs already up he continued to cause issues on the field until finally ordered off by the umpire. Whack this down to a brain snap I think.

In the end ET ran out clear winners 15-2, could have been far worse however we put the brakes on.

As I write this we're on a three week break which I think some of the older bodies are enjoying.

Well hope you all had a great Xmas and have a fantastic New Year and we'll see you first round after the break.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Round 10 - ETPBC Div 5

Round 10 saw our East Torrens boys currently sitting equal 2nd on the ladder take on West Torrens for the outright 2nd position battle.

I managed to resist the lure of going out on my works Xmas show which was held at the Sebel on North Terrace, shame, from what i've heard alot was spent on the show.

In hindsight, I wish now I went, good night to catch up with work mates but also I think now alcohol would have helped my fielding on the day.

Sadly I'm a confidence player, if I field the first ball with no issues I'm happy and go well, if I field it poorly I'm down on myself and nervous for the next ball...

First Inning saw my first chance to field the ball, of course luck was not on my side as a ball which was hit sharply down to 3rd base, clipped the edge of the border and skipped. I tried to get down onto knees to block it but for some reason I was not a lady and had my legs spread and the ball went straight through into the outfield...

Ok now I look at it, it was a hard ball due to it hitting the edge but thats not what I was thinking at the time.. To me that was an error and my fault, sadly it set my head in a wrong space and to me I let the team down.

Luckily for me even though West Torrens then loaded the bases, Robbo worked hard and got out of the inning unscathed.

Our boys battled and took the lead early off some nice hitting however West Torrens brought the scores level and took the lead after a couple of innings with the opposition getting hits when it counted but also some errors cost us also.

Our outfielders again fielded really well and definately saved a few hits which were close to falling in, Robbo fought hard but in the end came out of the game and DR finished the game on the mound.

Luck was certainly with WT last weekend hits for them were falling in, our infield wasn't as strong as normal and our hits weren't getting to the gaps like WT's were. Matt and Scoop were both unlucky with a couple of big hits, Matt's just going out of play and Scoops being tracked down by WT's right fielder...

Half happy with my hitting picking up 2 hits from 4 at bats, although they were hits I still have alot to improve on, I'm not connecting like I was in previous years and getting myself too worried about footwork and stuff to concentrate on just hitting the damn ball..

Well, last game this week before the Xmas break, could do with the break both from sport and work which will be awesome, mentally drained this week so need to recharge over the Xmas break and stamp out any players thinking about coming in for the last half of the year/finals and show why 3rd base is mine...

So - lets get out on Saturday, take out Woodville @ Woodville and go out on a high!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mariners Woes

Ok this will be my first blog on my favourite baseball team the Seattle Mariners.

Not a pretty blog unfortunately, today I sit here as angry - if not angrier than I was this time last year.

For those that don't know, Seattle is a franchise team started in 77, has had limited success in the MLB since it joined, most notable was 2001 when after winning the AL Championship with a staggering 116 games won it fell short of a fairy tale ending by losing the World Series to the Yankees.

The next few years saw the peak of the Mariners winning and the end of 2003, when falling short of a wildcard berth, saw the Mariners fall into years of misery, many losses and bad signings.

Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins, Richie Sexson are names that come to mind, all had great careers and success at previous clubs but failed to do much at Seattle and in the end were hated by the fans... Especially Figgins...

So, Seattle has signed Jason Bay as a free agent after he parted ways with the Mets who agreed to still pay him the $20+m owing on his last year of contract. Bay had success previously with the Pirates & Red Sox but failed when he went to New York on big $$'s... 8 years ago he was a gun, now he's just a player hoping to find some of the old form, Seattle swooped in and offered a small contract worth approx $1m and gave him the lifeline.

Many will argue this is a waste of time, heck after Figgins I remain cautious also, but the size of the contract and the fact its dependant on him earning his spot at spring training makes me think it is worth a punt.

But Mariners should definately not stop there, Seattle has struggled offensively for some time, ever since the old days of Rodrigues, Cameron, Boone, Ibanez, Martinez, Griffey Jnr, to name a few..

Being an overseas Mariner its hard for me to gage first hand what the fans are thinking, twitter gives me a chance to get that look whilst being 10,000+ km's away. Attendance at games appears to be down, from what I understand our team's attendance is dropping the hardest over the last 10 years. 10 years is when we last had that real taste of success and decent batters...

Hamilton.... Oh man, Hamilton for me isn't like Prince Fielder last year. Prince was exactly that, a massive bat, first baseman who could have delivered a major change for Seattle, both offensively and as a marketing dream.

Instead Prince signed with the team he followed as a child, the Detroit Tigers.

Hamilton... gave indications, or as the rumors provided... that one of his preferences was Seattle. But he also was said that any offer given he would give Texas a chance to counteroffer. Both proved to be just that, rumors, as out of nowhere Angels popped up and signed the big hitting free agent. They now boast a superior lineup that should get them into the playoffs, although look back to last year with the Pujols signing...

Was Seattle naive into thinking Hamilton knew they were keen but thought we would sit back and wait for him to come to us? Were we never in on Hamilton to begin with? Was Seattles price offered (If they did offer..) too low?

Who knows, all I can take from this is once again the Management at Seattle have not worked hard enough or aggressive enough to deliver the best available batter to Seattle. Its great to boast some of the best pitchers in the competition, but if they don't have the support behind them how do you expect to win games?

Seattle does have a really good core of youngsters in the pipeline, everyone knows it, but they need an experienced bat to help them develop. You can't expect a player as talented as Ackley to be our new hitter straight away, he needs someone to learn from - someone to lift the clubs thoughts and confidence.

Without it, we're going to be a team of youngsters all hoping King Felix will deliver one in every five games as starter... I wish Felix in his negotiations, would say to the club, deliver a key at bat I approve of or am happy with and I'll sign a longer contract, if not prepare to trade me or lose me at free agency.

I know its not the best situation for a player to make such demands, but this is a club that needs new management to deliver the goods - the current management feel upgrading the stadium and making it more friendly and appealing to the fans might actually bring them back to the stadium...

How wrong they are, anything I've learned from my local favourite team, the Richmond Tigers, fans don't go to games whilst in losing status.. If people expect them to lose and their list points to that, fans don't give away their hard earned money to go to the games. Instead they'll watch from the comfort of their home where a hot dog and drink won't cost them the earth...

Personally, I will always go to my local teams game, even when they are losing - but thats me, everyone is different. I don't judge anyone either if thats how they act, why should they waste money on a team whose management don't work hard enough for them.

So, we've lost Hamilton, that sux and has hurt the fans who were liking the idea of him moving to Seattle.

Lets move on and focus on the agents still left, for me my number one (and has been since the start) is Nick Swisher. I've hated Nick for many years now, only because he was a Yankee... If he moved to Seattle he would become my new number one favourite player, He's a great player and has been one of the best at the Yankees. He's consistently hit over 20 Home Runs every year for past 6 years and last year had 93 RBI's.

Heres his stats for last season:

Average - 0.272%
HR's - 24
RBI's - 93
OBP - 0.364%

Ok the average and on base aren't as high as most would like, 24 HR's & 93 RBI's do it for me, far better than all of the players on our list, closest to him was Saunders with 20 HR's and Seager with 86...

Swisher currently aged 32, Will be a great fit for Seattle, either in the outfield, or whack him at 1st Base. Justin Smoak is touted as our first baseman but injury and poor form makes me want Swisher there instead. Smoak has talent don't get me wrong, but how long do we wait for a player to start hitting such as Smoak and Carp.. Do we wait like we did with Figgins... then have a player noone wants and delist him? Keep Smoak in the system but if we're ever going to contend we need to push for players that can perform.

So Swisher, big tick from me, and we should put an offer of atleast 4 years and even up to $80m on the table.

There is still Upton's name and Bourn being put out there too and even Delmon Young, Upton & Bourn I would love for Seattle to go for, not over the top as I want Swisher more.

Upton would be good for the right deal, last year 28 Home Runs, 78 RBI's, slightly lower on base percentage than Swisher but has the right numbers to move in to Seattle's new improved arena.

When I say "Seattle's new improved arena" I don't mean their new fancy restuarant and big TV... I'm talking the walls being brought in which will only help our offence..

But imagine the change for Seattle if they first signed Swisher, then turned to Upton and said, we mean business and we want success, sign with us. Upton & Swisher in the outfield (or Swisher at 1st) would be an awesome addition to compliment the youth we have such as Saunders, Seager, Ackley etc.

The signing of Swisher and another good player would show to the loyal fans that this Management does mean business and want the club to succeed, this will inturn bring bums back on seats and more $$'s earned at each game through merchandise and food/drinks consumed.

The signing also signifies much more than that, it delivers hope that this great club will return to success, everyone wants them to succeed but sometimes we need to take a chance to gain that. If we don't make any signings other than Bay I believe fans will make the stance not to turn up this year as frequent as they have in the past. Why spend money to sit frustrated for hours only to see your beloved team lose again.

Time will tell I guess, i'm hoping the management do the right thing and deliver what is required, but jesus start getting aggressive in negotiations, put it dead in the free agents mind and their agent that Seattle is the only place worth considering. We want success and We Want You!

Yes I'm 10,000km's away but Seattle is in our blood regardless if you are in the city or not, we breath it and want success - Go Mariners (& Seahawks!!)

PS - Bring back the Sonics!!!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Round 8 - ETPBC Div 5

The weather gods were thinking of us on Saturday, the days before had reached high's around 39 degrees and a change in the weather with storms hit Thursday/Friday.

Our Div 5 squad reached Goodwood on an overcast 24 degree day, what we didn't realise was the Thunderstorm around us..

We weren't in any real danger so the game progressed as normal, Goodwood in past years has always been a tough game and we were really suprised what we saw next.

Myself, tired from the previous nights antics at the Russell Brand show @ Entertainment Centre and Cummo also at the same show but sinking 20+ ales....

But our squad showed something not seen this year, first inning run production. We piled on six runs in the first to put real pressure on Goodwood, unfortunately I couldn't join the hitting parade in that inning as I skied the ball to 1st..

Robbo, in his new running shoes, hopped on the plastic pitching mound. You heard correctly, PLASTIC. Speaking with some players they mentioned that the local public lobbied against the club to stop them adding dirt to the diamond to allow them to make a proper mound. The local residents like to bring their dogs to the park and feel that it will stop them from being able to use the oval... Sorry - I cannot believe how ridiculous that sounds and is, local residents who use the oval possibly once a day so their dog can unload on the oval - probably to be left there and not picked up... can potentially stop "Sport" from being played, or safely played, is beyond me...

This reminds me of the residents at Norwood Oval complaining about the occasional ball being hit over the fence in the Adelaide Bite games, some backward people almost cost that oval from continuing to just survive and keep baseball playing at Norwood.

What these little narrowminded people don't realise is their potentially stopping much needed revenue in struggling venues and local communities... If we stop playing sport because of a ball going over a fence or because someones dog can't take a dump then we may as well be soft like most Australians want and sit in our lounge room and get fat!

The same geese will then complain to their local council and government when places like Norwood oval then have to close down due to not enough revenue coming through from ticket sales and clubs using their venue...

Ok thats my rant about dumb narrowminded people

So, inning one all on fire, Robbo stepped on the mound and delivered his best as we closed out Goodwood with no runs on the board.

We continued to pile on our runs and take a commanding lead while Robbo kept them at bay and minimising the threat.

Cummo lead the days hitting, well hungover, yet delivered the best hitting i've seen from him all year, triple, double etc, but this all happened while we had runners on base - not sure what his final RBI tally was but it would be very high!

In the end Redsox ran out clear winners 21-5, sadly it should have been 21-1 however I had my biggest brain snap of the season, with runners on 1st and 2nd I received an easy ground ball. Ran to 3rd to get the runner out but then eyes set on glory threw the ball to 1st to get the runner out for a double play. Stupid Stupid thing to do as I wasn't balanced, overthrew the ball and in the end it went out of play and put two runners in scoring position. Unfortunately they then put on 3 runs which I will wear - never been so filthy with myself for an error which shouldn't have happened...

So overall my day, dissapointed with my fielding but happy with my batting coming away 2 hits from 5 at bats.

Back to training on Wednesday to work on both areas but sadly this weekend I will miss the game at Southern Districts whilst I play the role of jolly Saint Nick at my wife's child care centre. Been asked by the man himself to fill in for him...