By Dr. Rug
With all of the great (and not-so-great) lines that have been flying around on the forum lately I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate my next column on the greatest quote machine in baseball history, Mr. Yogi Berra. His quotes are lyrical brilliance at its finest and they’re the perfect way to take a look around the league at the players who are making news early in the season. Hopefully this will inspire a little more creativity in future forum posts…
“All pitchers are liars or crybabies.” –> Mitchell Madsen
Last season Mitch spent the first half of the year crying (and swearing) over his lack of control, his escalating ERA, and his inability to perform when Sarah was there. He then spent the second half of the year claiming he was the best pitcher in league history. Nothing says crybaby and liar quite as well as that.
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” –> The Slo-Pokes management
After their offseason trade of lead-off hitter Scott “Scooter” Thomson netted them absolutely nothing in return, the Slo-Pokes management must be wondering what this new league they’ve gotten themselves into is all about. Unlike the YK Slo-Pitch league with its well-defined structure, rules and regulations, the wheeling and dealing in the fastball league is reminiscent of swindling moves Matty Simms used to make at the Gallery back in the day. Nothing but lies and false promises.
“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” –> Mike Desjarlais
Nicknamed “Rhody” because he is often asked if he is a Rhodes Scholar, Mike plays the smartest right field in the league. Nobody knows the hitters throughout the league as well as he does and despite his lack of speed, he always seems perfectly positioned to make the right play. As for the physical half, Rhody’s arm is a cannon and he never fails to hit the cut-off man with a perfect strike.
“How can you hit and think at the same time?” –> Bruce Waugh
After he spent the winter of 2011-12 refining his pitching skills Bruce took to the diamond last season with a newfound baseball intellect. The result was calamitous to the offensive side of his game. His batting average plummeted 150 points, his home runs dropped from 10 to 2, and he generally had the worst hitting season of his career. Getting back to the basics, “Bruce see ball, Bruce hit ball”, has paid off so far this season as he rocked Mitch for a Grand Slam on opening day.
“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.” –> Al Cardinal
Sometime midway through this summer ball season, Al’s name will enter the record books as he surpasses Jesse Orosco’s record of 1252 games pitched. Nobody is quite sure exactly when Al first learned to throw his deceptive change but one thing that is certain is that nothing throws you off your game like whiffing at a steady diet of the Card’s knucklers. Just ask Darin.
“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.” –> Nexum/Carl’s Red Sox
Learning firsthand from living legends like Andy Tereposky, Rob Johnson and Carl Bulger, the youngsters on the Red Sox are getting the best fastball education imaginable. Devon Case and Jason Jonasson are apparently two of the best students as they have been tearing the cover off ball since midway through last season and have turned the Sox into a legitimate dark horse in any tournament they enter.
“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.” –> James McCarthy
This year’s Sport North Official of the Year knows every rule there is on the ball field. At least that’s what he’ll tell you. In reality, he tends to miss a rule or two each year and as the pitchers in the league know, his knowledge of the strike zone is questionable at best.
“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” –> Jared MacNeil
After starting last season by hitting .143 in June, Jared bought himself a new bat and hit .357 the rest of the way. That hot streak to end the year resulted in him being the number one overall selection for the Orioles in the expansion draft. For their sake, let’s hope he has a Worth or DeMarini dealership on his speed dial for this year’s inevitable slump.
“It’s like deja vu all over again.” –> Ryan Strain
The sun rising in the East. The Oilers golfing during the play-offs. Ryan Strain leading the league in hitting. Some things are like clockwork and never let you down and Rhino’s bat is one of them. Last season he captured the Triple Crown at the tender age of 39 and he shows no signs of slowing down this year. Not to make any baseless accusations but last time I was over at his place I saw a package from the Biogenesis Clinic. There’s probably a reason why the executive refuses to institute a league wide PED testing program.
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” –> Matt Kennedy
Matt spent most of the first game of the year just watching. Listed on the line-up card as the Designated Hitter, Matt turned out to be more of a Designated Watcher as he watched strike after strike pass him by on his way to earning the infamous Golden Sombrero. The Orioles slugger should plan on hitting up the batting cage or risk losing his spot in the batting order to Andrew Hunter.
“So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.” –> Damien Healy
Although his hairline continues to recede, Damien’s hitting skills have improved as he’s aged. His quick hands and quicker feet led to a .583 average last season and make Mr. Healy one of the most potent utility players in the league. He has gotten off to another quick start this year, legging out a bunt and ripping a frozen rope down the third base line for a couple of singles in the first game of the year.
“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” –> Brad Mueller
It’s not quite death, but Mueller has apparently decided to hang up the cleats this season. I, for one, will happily attend any retirement party Brad wants to have as long as he promises that this retirement is real and he won’t be back crushing my rise ball any time soon.
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” –> Rick Morrison
It is always an entertaining adventure when Ricky is on base. Singles become doubles, doubles become triples, the extra base is always in his sights regardless of the situation. Down 5, bottom of 7? It’s never the wrong time to try for that extra base in Ricky’s opinion. That “always go for more” attitude seems to be wearing off on the rest of the league as Andy Stewart was thrown out foolishly trying for the extra base to end Slades’ 7th inning rally in this season’s opening game.
“I never said most of the things I said.” –> Steve Robertson
This brash rookie from Inuvik made quite the impression on the fans during his first game behind the plate for the Orioles. The non-stop chatter and bold finger pointing had opposing players and fans alike wondering just who this new guy was. One piece of advice for the new catcher: Even if Paul Gard did look bad chasing Glenn’s change-up, it’s probably not a good idea to call him a sucker. I’m sure you’ll find yourself whiffing on plenty of Paul’s pitches before the season is over.
“We made too many wrong mistakes.” –> Darin Strain on last year’s final
Never one to mince words, the Home Building Centre Diamondbacks catcher/GM didn’t pull any punches when talking about last season’s loss in the finals. “Our hitters didn’t hit when we needed them to and our pitcher threw a meatball to Mitch,” Darin recalled, “and it’s pretty obvious how much Mitch loves his meatballs.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” –> Matt Simms
The long-time #2 hitter in the Slades Expos batting order has been dropped down to the 7th spot. Could it have something to do with extra food he’s been forking down this off-season and the 10 extra pounds that he’s packed on around the midsection since last year?
“Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.” –> Our Fans
Last year saw the amount of fans in the stands rise to numbers not see this millennium and early on this season that trend seems to be continuing as the number of fastball groupies rises ever higher. It’s a great way for the whole family to spend a summer evening enjoying the fresh air, getting some sun, and being entertained. If you’ve never been to a game, stop by on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening and catch some of the action.
The Orioles tourney is fast approaching and with it the first Beer Gardens of the season. Pitchers, rest up your arms for the big weekend and everyone else, rest up your livers.
I’ll be back next week with a tourney preview, and in the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Wednesday night’s catastrophe by Mr. Damien Healy demonstrated just how difficult it can be to play the position and had fans clamouring for the coach to re-insert Rhody.
 Or in some cases the 1st base coach. To this day, that remains the best outfield assist I’ve ever seen.
 Last season Bruce didn’t hit his first home run until July 4th. Hopefully this means he’s rediscovered his power… but it could just be the fact that Mitch was pitching.
 I use that term very loosely in one of these cases… I’ll let you guess which one.
 Surprisingly, neither him nor Tyler were being protected by HBC during the expansion draft.
 This after he’d spent the previous weekend striking out at Slo-Pitch games!!
In case you weren’t there, here’s what happened. 7th Inning, down 11-4, bases juiced, Andy ropes a single to center scoring two runs but then gets thrown trying to stretch it to a double. Regardless of whether or not he was actually out on Marcus’s rainbow of a throw, the fact that they still needed three more runs after him made his decision to go for two not the smartest of plays. It was like watching a page straight out of the Sub-Arctic playbook.
 Garrett might have some competition this year for the Dirty Mitts’ most hated chirper.