Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Everyone needs their own Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket

is the Walt Disney character who accompanies Pinocchio on his adventures, having been appointed by the Blue Fairy to serve as his official conscience.

Conscience is the mind's ability to distinguish between right from wrong. Commonly used metaphors include the "voice within" and the "inner light". There are moral, legal, ethical, medical, and social forms of conscience that all are based on integrity and acts for the public good. Conscience also plays a big role in Softball, and lately I have been questioning my own.
Example of Conscience Dilemmas:
  1. Passing down a controversial league decision -  A team my team was playing a playoff game against couldn't field a team on Thursday after receiving 6 days notice that they were to play on that given date. They led the best of 3 series, 1 game to none, and game 2 was tied after 9 innings. The continuation and game 3 was scheduled for Thursday August 30th. No team will go to the Championship on a forfeit in this scenario, but at the same time the team in question had to respect the league. After deep thought, I have decided to give them a forfeit for the Game 2 continuation and reschedule game 3. This drama Sucks, but my conscious tells me it was the right thing to do.
  2. Arguing With Umpires - I gone on some really bad tirades against umpires lately. Some justified. Some maybe not. Either way I lost it. My conscience is torn on this. There has to be more level handedness. Yelling like a lunatic can only go so far.
  3. Inwood - 2 Leagues - Mornings and Afternoon.Mornings are fun. Afternoon cut-throat. It's not easy telling someone you should play in this league rather than the other. My conscience tells me to at least try b/c it is responsible.
  4. Managing - Show loyalty or go with a better but less reliable player. I want to win but at what cost?
  5. Fighting - I've been involved in my share of battles this year. Teammates, opponents, managers, fans, commissioners, etc. Some physical, some verbal, some psychological.  I probably can cut myself slack for some situations, but if the same person is involved in incident after incident, it can't always be the other sides fault.  I can't always blame the other side of the mirror. I have to take responsibility. This is embarrassing. 40 Year old man acting like a toddler and getting into multiple confrontations. My conscience tells me Passion is precious, but I really need to step back and think about why I really play the game and write this blog.  Violence is never the solution.
I may not have Jiminy in my life but I have some really good source of Conscience in my life

it's time I make them a bit more proud and keep their good conscience with me more often. Otherwise it is all just wasted spirit/talent, and like the quote from "Bronx tale", nothing is worse than that.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Importance of the September Call Up

September 1st is the day whether MLB rosters expand from 25 players to 40. Negatives and Positives of this policy are as follows:
  1. Baseball is the only sport that plays all year with a set roster number and then at the most critical juncture of the season changes there player composition rule. Dumb.
  2. Teams can mix and match pitchers to cover up weaknesses. For example, pitch guys that no one has seen before for one inning/batter because they now have extra depth
  1. Clearly this rule was designed to give promising young players
 a taste of the big league experience
This year's Rookie of the Year and possible MVP favorite Mike Trout was a 2011 September call up

I'm always down for giving young hungry players a chance to display their skills, but perhaps the rule should be modernized. For example, allow a 40 man September Roster, but at game time your are only allowed to activate 25 players for that specific game. I know it's not perfect, but it will probably help a little and add another neat nerdy strategic element to a game whose very nature loves neat nerdy strategy.

September call ups are not limited to MLB. This year I am a September call up as I begin to reestablish my career as a bond analyst on September 5th, 2012. After 4 long years of tolling in the work world's version of the minors I have paid my dues and am ready for this last chance at a second chance. Like rookies called up to MLB in September I have to prove the following:
  • Gotta Produce - not only get the job done but excel at it.
  • Show flashes of excellent, but more importantly consistency and dependability
  • Team Player - now your boundaries, but at the same time not limit myself
  • Use all Fields - Can't be one dimensional , rigid, stubborn. Be smart. Use all your resources.
  • Hit the Cutoff - meet deadlines. 
  • Willing to Learn - can't be scared to ask questions, pick up the phone, hustle
  • Diligence - You can't get a hit every time, but you can adjust and keep it at it.
  • Sacrifice - early mornings, late nights, weekends, work through lunch - whatever it takes
  • Dedication - all over the above
  • Brains - a must
  • Heart - another must. 
  • Confidence - crucial in everything in life
They say don't be fooled by everything you see in a ball player in March (spring training) or September (40 man rosters), which is smart, but at the same time these are the opportunities new players get to shine. In the business world, September call ups like the one I am getting are few and far in between these days, so I am taking it seriously and hope to stick with the big club for a long time.

Welcome to Real Life rookie

One on One with Evil Heckler University Professor

Recently I had a one on one exclusive interview with self proclaimed  Evil Softball Heckling Master
 Edgar Gonzalez Sr.

Do I really need to add anything o that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Don't Play in the Mud unless you have to.. Demand better

When fields have been hit by heavy rain or water damage

 your sometimes forced to play in the mud. Playing in these conditions can be challenging, fun

and memorable

Now while I have, out of necessity to clear my name, done some mud-slinging in the real world, I truly hate the practice. Mud-slinging is ugly, shallow and nowhere is it more prevalent than in politics. You see in modern politics it seems the goal is to constantly find ways to smear the opposition and because both sides do it to one another, it is considered to be fair play. The truth is it is foul and you don't need white lines on a diamond to see that it is way foul.

Democrats mud sling on Romney "Show me your tax returns".

while Republicans mud sling on Obama by calling him "a liar". The "ads" highlight the other candidates' mistakes and vulnerabilities, and are paid for by campaign teams and their supporters. I don't know about you but I am sick and tired of all this negative, nasty, passive aggressive, mean-spirited and only partially at best bullshit.

Yet it's all about the mud smear and it's at the the center-piece of modern US elections. Sad.

I deplore these tactics as America is facing unprecedented challenges. Our economy doesn't work the way it once did. It is broken. It is not creating jobs as it has. it has taken me four long hard fucking years to get a second chance. Four years. Damn.

We have more important issues to deal with like :
  1. Rethinking our tax structure
  2. Fixing our broken fiscal system
  3. Jobs
  4. Gun Control
  5. Defense
  6. Understanding the difference between spending and investing.
  7. Education
  8. Remaking our infrastructure
These are great issues calling for serious debate. And we actually have two candidates for president who are credible, serious men yet both are running a campaign that resembles a Baseball Housewives, Jersey Shore, or Jerry Springer episode. Pathetic.

The assholes that run the candidates' campaign staff think that by throwing mud and unsubstantiated claims that "we the people" will get bogged down in distractions and it will tip the scales in their favor. That's really makes me mad because it insults our intelligence.

All this mud-sling has to stop and it has to start with each and everyone of us. Look beyond the mud and see the big problems, care about them, or at least understand them. Take it personally. Every time you hear a politician sling mud at an opponent rather than addressing a real issue, recognize that you're the one being dissed. Then do us all a favor and vote your anger.

I mean would you continue to play on a muddy field even though their has been no rain? Then why should you listen to unimportant mud slinging?

You Shouldn't. 
Demand better. 
You Deserve it.

Pre-Game Myth or Fact? It's all in your head

We have all heard the old sports myth that sex before a competition reduces the players' performance.

However, many new school athletes claim that it helps you feel relaxed mentally and physically. They claim this contributes to reduced anxiety levels by distracting the mind from the competition. As result, they experience less mental fatigue, which is more dangerous than physical fatigue.

There is no scientific evidence that sex could alter an athlete's performance, but their can be counter-productive scenarios if you mix alcohol, cigarettes or lack of sleep.  Maria Cristina Rodriguez Gutierrez, director of sports medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico "Every athlete or player, professional or amateur, can have sex as long as he or she goes to bed early, hydrates, avoids mood altering drinks and cigarettes, because all this has a negative impact on their body." Sexual activities must never be prohibited to athletes, since there is no scientific evidence to support it. T Research has shown that this activity does not influence an athlete's performance, "much less if it's with a steady partner. However, one-night stands could alter a player's performance because these emotional situations wear you out more than physical ones." ," said Rodriguez. 

I like Maria's attitude. 

Rodriguez said the only case in which the effects of sex might be counterproductive is in combat sports.
"For combat athletes like fighters or boxers, having sex before an important fight can reduce the aggressiveness and make them passive," although effects vary from person to person.

Where does that leave softball?

The way I look it at it is: Isn't the object in our game to be safe at home?

So as long as your are safe 

or monogamous I say definitely Play Ball before Playing Ball. All those other myths shouldn't get into your head, if you know what I mean - lol

It's a...... C....O....N.... SPIRACY Ray for Bravery

One of my favorite shows when I was in college was In Living Color. It was original, hilarious, intelligent, and had an amazing talented cast.

One of my favorite characters on the show was Oswald Bates played by Damon Wayans'. Oswald knew big words, was crazy, and had Conspiracy Theories.

Avid softball player Ray Rivera is all about Conspiracy Theories in politics/life, that's why we call him Conspiracy Ray.

Ray stepped big time on Monday as our team Bravery

was missing two of our big guns in the semi-finals, but Ray put aside all conspiracy theories as to why they were missing and took matters into his own hands. He delivered the go ahead blast in the bottom of the seventh.

No C O N spiracy this time brother. Well done and thank you

Beware of AB Seekers

Every hitter

needs at bats (plate appearances) to sharpen their skill, face competition, gauge results, and
 make adjustments.

Wanting to get as many at bats as needed to get yourself going in and of itself is a good thing. In this game your are judged by your performance as a hitter. There is a selfish aspect to the game, but it has to be part of the overall team goal. As one of softball's wise men
taught me "I don't want guys on my team that look as this team as only an opportunity to get some at bats"

He feels these guys generally

  1. Don't slide
  2. Don't Lay out
  3. Don't Break Up Double Plays
  4. Don't Sacrifice
  5. Don't Hit a cut-off man
  6. Don't do other little things
  7. Don't Show up on Time
  8. Are undependable
Bottom Line: Lou 22 feels that  Players that "only show up only to get at bats really don't care about winning or losing". They only want to get their swings in and get out of dodge.  

I agree.
I've seen it as a manager. 
I still see it as a manager. 
I've seen it as a player. 
I've done it as a player. 

Like a hot looking girl 

who is selfish and self-centered beware of guys "looking to get their at bats" because apathy is one the worst thing you can have in softball and life. It's all about attitude, not only at bats.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

SB Odd Couple

As a kid growing up I was a big fan of the TV Show "The Odd Couple"

Honestly, my love for Ketchup came from Oscar Madison's affinity for the condiment and maybe, just maybe, that's why I always wanted to be a sportswriter growing up.

Well Thursday in Central Park I was hired as a special replacement umpire for the Broadway Show League Co-Ed playoffs by legendary politician Butchy

on a very busy and fan

packed day in Central Park (came out to see Nick Jonas)

This day I was paired by my own Odd Couple Partner Softball legendary pitcher Franny Donovan

Fran I have "clashed" at times over the years and while this umpire combination was softball's version of the odd couple,  we found a way not to assume anything

After the game the insider caught up with Franny to discuss his umpiring philosophy.

Hopefully, the softball network will assign the SB odd couple as it deserves a second season.


How to Properly Handle the BackHand

Since we were little most of us were properly taught to get in front of the ball when fielding.
However, depending on the angle, trajectory, and speed of the ball sometimes we are forced to use the backhand

to make the play instead

In life most of us were taught to look someone in the eye, give our word/opinion, and be sincere. Many of my blog readers, get in front of me to:

1. Show Good Nature and Support

2. Be Political - tell you what you want to hear
3. Show Mutual respect built over the years

Others readers/critics prefer to use the backhanded instead, that is by either giving inadvertent or calculated backhand compliments. A backhanded compliment may fool the listener, but the compliment remains "backhanded" because the speaker is being intentionally slighting and insulting. 

Inadvertent Backhand Compliments examples include:
  • "You had a lot of time on your hands b/c that was a Great Posting" 
  • "I didn't know you were so smart I'm impressed. “You are sure smarter than you look."

Examples of backhand compliments that are cold, calculated, and defensively self-serving 
  • "Your piece was intelligent, but egotistical and self-serving" 
  • "I like your writing, but you should do a piece on me or my team b/c it would be way better." 
  • "Good work but you left me out of your work on purpose" 
  • Anything written with a mean agenda by Mr./Mrs. Anonymous
When you write a public forum you put yourself out there for criticism and you have to take it, listen to it, sort through it, learn from it, and continue to progress as an artist. I mean how would you ever get better if you only listen to what you wanted to hear.

I may be loud and aggressive on the field, but when it comes to make my work as a writer I keep my ideas low key. I avoid eye contact when discussing the blog because if I do that then it opens a door for conversation, like I want that... I'm not looking for extra attention I just want to be just like you blend in with the rest of the crowd and let the stories/ideas flow. Blogs come naturally from life and I always try to get in front of an issues and avoid the backhand b/c if you unnecessarily play something on the side then it might get by you.

Be weary of the backhand, both on and off the field.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


From the Citysoftball, by far the best Fall league in all of New York City, the Inwood Marketing Plan 2012 "IMP12" is simple - Winner Takes All

Modified Softball League Begins: September 16th
2 Divisions: Morning and Afternoon
Cost and Prizes:
Morning - League Fee $475, Winner take all Champion Wins $475 
Afternoon League = League Fee $675 - Winner Take All - $2,500 - 

Don't be illiterate and read between the lines

Call 646-337-3535 or email for more info

Don't be a sucker mark for another league, play in a league that gives the people what they want

"I Got It I Got It",,, Turn up the Lights... Extra bright

 Unemployment line, credit card declined
Did I not mention I was about to lose my mind? 

.. Kanye West song  "Turn up the lights"

Every good player wants the ball on every play, without exception. However, relenting to a teammate that is calling you off is difficult until you build trust, confidence, and chemistry. The simple unwritten Rule in Baseball/Softball is : "If you have the better angle on the ball 

call off your teammate with the old fashion saying
"I Got It I Got It"

Otherwise the results can be disastrous. Take it from me I have been so overly focused, aggressive, and driven going after a ball that I have forgotten to yell "I Got It" and had my share of painful collisions.

But today is a different day and I definitely won't forget to yell
""I Got It I Got It"as I have obtained my dream job as a bond analyst with a hedge fund in the city starting right after labor day. As Mortirmer told Randolph in Coming to America "We're back"

(damn I wanted that clip in English but it's still funny and you get the idea)

In my case "I'm back" as after 4 interviews and submitting a detailed work sample (work world's version of a tryout) I have been hired as a consultant. Great exciting opportunity beginning right after Labor Day with a good firm, good people, in my industry. The last few years for the whole country have been difficult, as we have all been hurting. During this time I realize that the old saying "be kind to the people who you meet on your way up because they will be the same people you see on the way down", some assholes have forgotten that, but I haven't. My wife, family, and friends all looked out for me during this long difficult four years and I never gave up, was forced to sacrifice and humble myself.  Yes I can finally yell "I Got It" ... thank you all - Love You

Now that I've got it I have to do something with it

and Turn up the Lights Extra Bright, I want y'all to see this ...I am going all the way this time

P.S. I love the re-make by Karmin and since I am re-making my career I decided to post their version of the song. Feels Good

Friday, August 10, 2012

A More Noble Approach

Saturday is a tricky day for softball for a variety of reasons:
  1. For most people it is the day after the long work week has ended and people are tired
  2. Too much drinking on Friday
  3. Lots of guys work
  4. Need the day to run errands and unwind
  5. Spend time with the family, parties, commitments
  6. Parking is tough
  7. Goon Leagues
  8. Style of play - mostly co-ed, lob, or sling
Basically Saturdays are inconvenient and finding a good league to play in, for me anyway, has been a problem for years. This year however I have taken a more Noble Approach

to get my softball swerve on as I have played on Noble Avenue in the Bronx.

For years readers of this blog have been made aware of the differences between A96 and B96 in Manhattan , but truth be told, thanks to gentrification most of what used to belong and go on in A96 now exists in the Bronx. This year I tried something a little different and Noble Avenue has been my choice.

The league is not perfect:
  • Only 5 teams, so byes are common - sucks
  • No website. hell I honestly do not know the real name of the league. I just call it Noble Avenue
  • Games times are 12:30 or 3:30 and when you throw in Hispanic time that means 1 and 4:30pm.
  • Tagging up only from 3rd - Old school
  • It's a neighborhood league. Friendly , but you still have to be conscious of the fact that everyone is tight and has known one another for years. Don't start no trouble, won't be no trouble.
Positives of the league:

(1) Good Solid Balanced Competition

(2) Rivalries
(3) Nice Closed Field - no littering is allowed breaking the myth that Hispanics litter.
(4) Hispanic Heritage, Culture, and Pride

(5) You play Softball to house, salsa, and bachata music all day long
People even and can ask the DJ to change the music.
(5) Colorful Uniforms

 (6) Even more colorful Personalities

Love Danny, he's hilarious.

Damn good player as well.

(7) Good People

with real stories

(8) All Day Tailgating Hangout is on!!!!!!!

(9) Excellent Top Notch food

 the best I've seen in a while

My team has a cool hick name "Candela", which means Fire and positives regarding my team have been:

(1) We've had multiple uniforms (Blue and Red) - sponsorship 1-800-Candela

(2) Funny/Good Guys
(3)Solid Unified Focused Team with strong chance to go all the way

I've had adjustments on the team, like any other squad, but I've enjoyed the challenge and earned my place. These guys would never rather be somewhere else than the park. I can respect that as it is a truly Noble Softball Approach.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

SB Jump the Shark

"Jumping the Shark" is an saying used to describe a moment when something begins to decline in quality that is beyond recoveryIt is derived from the infamous fifth season episode of the sitcom Happy Days where the main character, Fonzi, 
tries to prove his bravery by jumping over a penned-in shark while on water skis. 

On the show it signified the moment that the writers had run out of material.  To this day, the saying "jumping the shark" refers to the seminal point at which something good had taken an inevitable and irreversible turn-for-the-worse.

Softball has plenty of jumping the shark situations ... let's explore

Top Ten Softball Jumping the Shark Situations you should recognize

10. Team I played two games this week that began with 8 guys (one game in entirety,  the other for half an inning).  Both good teams. Both have jumped the shark.You have to ask yourself : "Is your team good and you still are scraping for 9 guys every gameAre you constantly looking in the parking lot or entrance of the field before the game instead of warming up because your short players? Are you begging players to show up? Are players cancelling at game time?"

If any of these answers are yes, then your team has jumped the shark. Time to put away your Fonzi leather jacket/jersey and fold after the season ends.

9. Compensation - Are you paying players to show up? Worse, are you begging players that you are paying to show up? Hell, even worse, are you being strong armed, lied to, or dissed by players your "doing favors" for to show up? If so, you have definitely jumped the shark and quit while you are behind. Like many sitcoms that hung on a bit too long this is the last season.

8, Position Player - Are you embarrassing yourself defensively? Are you unable to run to 1st base without stopping (forget slow, I mean run without stopping). If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you have jumped the softball shark and its time to cancel your softball series.

7. Pitcher - Are you getting hit harder than a pinata?
If the answer is yes you have jumped the softball shark.

6. League - Is your league fair? Have you let illegal pitching in? Is their competition? If your answers are either - No, Yes, or No - then your league is going down a path of self-destruction. Prepare spin off series league b/c once a league goes bad then there is no going back.

5. Commissioner - If your running a league and dealing with assholes that bring illegal pitching, wringers, and goons are making your life miserable. Is it worth the time, energy, and money? Do these losers really appreciate everything you do? Take a stand dude. Find a new way to run things as the old one has jumped the softball shark. Change or get out. 

4. Fun - Everyone has a different perception of softball fun. Whether it be winning, dominating, laughing, hitting, playing a certain position, drinking, smoking, meeting women, friendships, managing, making connections, getting money, etc. Do you look forward to the game or is it just a chore/obligation

Bottom line if your apathetic about the game and unwilling to put up with the bullshit anymore why bother? You can't drown a shark so walk away from the game before it eats you alive.

3. Umpire - Do you rush games by calling outs and strikes that don't exist? Do you mark the bases off more than 60 or 65 feet and deny that they are the wrong distance when they are marathon length? Do you care about earning respect of the players by giving your very best by knowing the rules, hustling, and trying to get the call right? There's nothing wrong with wanting to umpire to earn money, but realize it is a job and you have responsibility. Remember the sharks can smell blood, so I hope you have a good set of skis and a fast boat when you try to jump over them as softball sharks are merciless.

2. Equipment - If you use duct tape on any part of your equipment it should be fed to the sharks. If your pants or cleats have holes in them c'mon dude time to upgrade to some fresh new gear. Even Fonzi used a good set of skis and a high ramp.

and the #1 Softball Jumping the Shark Situation

1. Blogger and Readership- If all I write about is illegal pitching, selfish accomplishments, hypocritical shit, or malicious self serving agendas then I'm done. When I am out there people want to see if what I write is me and that's why I try and be clever/insightful when I put together every installment. I know I haven't jumped the blog shark yet, but I've come close on many occasions. Luckily, I haven't run out of material or inspiration thanks to my loyal readers. Speaking of which, I appreciate all my readers, teammates, fans, and yes critics as well, as you really have become the driving force behind my work and this forum. 

There is a blogger-reader connection, sometimes we both come close to jumping the softball shark, but so far our love for the game and ability to transcend our differences has kept us afloat. I know I want to go out on top and not become shark bait, so should you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

There they Go Go

About 25-30 years ago I had the biggest crush on Belinda Carlisle, she was hot.

 Like a lot of celebrity she's been through the drug wringer and had her touch ups

but one of my favorite early songs of hers was VACATION from her original band,  
The Go Go's

man the 80's had bad hair. 

I love vacation and went on one recently
that got me to thinking

about Softball and which months make the most sense for hardcore players to get away.

Top Ten Months Softball Players Should Go on Vacation

10. December/January/ February - The off season - nah makes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much sense. Plus playoffs are like a year away so why would you want to go one vacation in now?
9. March - Spring Break!!!!!!!!! Woooooo!!!! Nah that's spring training time. Forget that. Plus playoffs for the spring/summer are 5-6 months away so why would you want to go one vacation in March?
8. October - No way can't let vacation ruin Halloween.

Plus playoffs are probably over in the spring/summer so why would you want to go one vacation in October. Wait till August

7. September - Nah....Too Many tropical Storms plus Football Season is here
Plus playoffs are probably over in the spring/summer so why would you want to go one vacation in September. Wait 10 months instead.

6.April - Can't go on vacation now as the season has just begun, plus it rains too much in April. In addition, playoffs in the spring/summer are only 4-5 months away. Go then instead.

5. May - Would Mr. May Dave Winfield

go on vacation in May? No way. Why would you? Plus playoffs in the spring/summer leagues are only 3 months away. Check now to get a good fare

4. June - Too many family commitments, graduations, parties, and those championship games on Father's day cannot be missed. Plus playoffs for the spring/summer are only 2 months away. You have time, book a good hotel for around August 21st somewhere warm.

3. July - Actually a sneaky good vacation months as playoffs haven't begun yet and the dog days

of softball could be wearing you down. But don't worry if you don't go on vacation in July you always have August to go away when your team needs you most. Go to and get a good deal
on a new suitcase.

2. November - Tough to go away during Thanksgiving, but actually a great month to go on vacation if you don't have Fall ball commitments. If you miss the fall ball playoffs so what, I mean the next season is just right around the corner 5-6 months away.

and the Number one Month Softball Players Should Go on Vacation

1. August - Yes the last 2 weeks of August is definitely the time you want to go away on vacation. You bust your ass for 5 months and then at the most crucial time your out of softball dodge.  Makes perfect sense to me.
I understand that hardcore players have real lives and families. Sometimes you just have no control over when you take vacation as the kids will go back to school soon and your significant other deserves a break. But taking vacation the last 2 weeks of August is a tough pill to swallow for most hardcore softball players as you have worked all year to get to the big game. Hope you at least let your team know ahead of time. As the Go Go's sang "Vacation is all I ever wanted", softball plan accordingly