Some of the members of this blog play intramural sports at their respective universities and we like to share our tales of intramural glory. This is another one of those epic tales.
I love Baseball. Like really love Baseball. So much so that I have Honus Wagner's lifetime BA in my brain.
So much so that I often tell my girlfriend how much time she has left with me (meaning how much time until the first pitch of the Rays game) and so much so that I study everything I can about the history and lore of the game.
Yet the reasons I love Baseball are for another time, like a weekly series coming this summer.
Today, my love for the history of this fine sport mixed with me actually playing it.
I'll set the scene. It was the intramural softball scrub division semi-finals. My team, a wonderful team built of friends and other who enjoy the game of baseball/softball.
We were 5-1, our only loss coming against the team we had to face today...one made of RDs. How is it allowed? I don't know, but they honestly should have been playing in the Pro division.
It had been raining all day, and the day before that and the day before that. The ground was in horrible condition. The batter's box a decently sized divot in the earth. The areas around the bases were composed of nothing but mud.
It was an unfit plane for the epic competition that was about to unfold, or perhaps it was a fitting setting for these two goliaths of Anderson University intramural softball.
Throughout the season (which I missed half of due to class occurring during games) I was batting .440, but on this day the Baseball Gods were none too kind.
It was the top of the fifth, the final chance for us (time constraints shortened the game). We had been winning, but alas, in the bottom of the forth they rallied from two down to take the lead by two. There was one out, and I, at 0-for-2 was up to the plate.
My shoes had failed me on this muddied battleground. I was having a difficult time keeping footing in the batter's box and my imitation Chuck Taylor's provided me with no great traction as I had worn down the soles to their thinnest state.
I decided I must look to baseball players past and find an answer. Then, like a message from the Baseball Gods themselves, I threw off my shoes, commended my socks to the soil and stepped in like Shoeless Joe.
I heard laughter from the infield, but I knew the spirit of Shoeless Joe would guide me.
I performed my usual pre-bat ritual (which is a motion for motion copy of Ichiro's rituals) and firmly planted my feet into the mud. I thought about the fact I was hitless, I thought about my team needing me in such a clutch situation, but panic came over me, as I could not find any holes to hit into (RF was decently open, but I'm a horrible push hitter).
The pitcher nodded and released the ball. It hung up in the air for what seemed like an eternity. Then, as if the Baseball Gods whispered in my very ear I heard the words, "Deadball era."
I knew at that moment what I was required to do. I swung down on the pitch. Contact. And then a plunk into the ground. As I left the batter's box I saw the ball just inside the first baseline.
I knew no one was expecting such a move. The ground was muddy. The ball would behave just like it did in the Deadball Era.
I ran to first and before I could reach the bag I heard an infielder yell, "hold it." I knew that I had reached safely before even touching first. Ahh, a hit.
I couldn't believe my exceptionable luck. I took a chance based off of my knowledge of the history of the game and it worked out. The Deadball Era got me a basehit.
As for the rest of the game...there wasn't much of one. The next batter grounded to second, they turned two and the season was over.
I did contemplate for a few seconds trying to spike the second baseman on a slide, but I then remembered I didn't have anything on my feet to "spike" him with.
So the season ended, but I actually wasn't upset because I was happy due to my last at bat.
We didn't win the championship, but to me being able to actually do something I had only read about was enough of a reward for me.
And since this is my blog and I'll do whatever the hell I please, here are my season stats:
5 for 12 (.417), .417 OBP, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 E