11:00 PM Eastern
We interrupt our regular lack of weekend bloggage to talk St. Marys, Ontario. It’s induction weekend at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, and there will be four inductees at tomorrow morning’s ceremony. Roberto Alomar and Paul Quantrill will go in, joined by former Twins owner Calvin Griffith and “the Father of Sabermetrics” Allan Roth. All very well deserving of enshrined inducement.
I was in St. Marys yesterday for the first time, and it’s a pretty little town that kind of reminded me of Cooperstown a bit. I was there to take part in the “celebrity” softball game that kicked off the weekend, and had a blast. So, yeah, I guess this is going to pretty much be a glorified softball update.
It was the strangest softball game in which I have ever been involved, but it was a lot of fun. Alomar and Quantrill were the “coaches” (I was on Team Quantrill, we won by about 15 runs), and among the celebrities were a lot of media personalities from London, Stratford and Kitchener, former Blue Jay Rob Butler, Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks and reigning Miss Canada International Bridget Nickerson (more on her in a second). Butler and Couture were on Team Alomar. There were 21 players on my team and about 28 on the other side and, believe it or not, everyone got to play defense at the same time – it was kind of nuts, but there tended to be only five infielders and everybody else stayed in the outfield, so I played second and short for the most part.
The second batter of the ballgame was Butler, and with a runner on first he hit a ground ball to me. I turned and fired to second, where there were two shortstops, neither of whom was prepared to handle the thigh-high throw right over the bag, so a double play opportunity was lost. It would really have been something else to start a twin killing against a former big-leaguer, but I guess it wasn’t to be. My other adventure in the field came much later, when Miss Canada told me to hang out near her, in between first and second, because she thought the big left-handed hitter at the plate was going to crush one right at her. I did – you don’t say no to Miss Canada, after all – and she was right. The batter smacked one a couple of steps to my right, and I went sliding to the backhand to corral it. I got up to throw, and there she was, directly in line between me and first base. Had I let the ball go, Miss Canada winds up with a broken nose, so I made a quick adjustment and just lobbed it over her head – the first baseman made a nice grab on the hop and we got the out.
At the plate, I tripled deep in the left-field corner in my first time up (I hit in the much-coveted 21st spot in the line-up). It might have been good for an inside-the-park home run, but inductee Allan Roth’s son Michael, who I would put as late 50s/early 60s, was the runner on first, so there was a bit of traffic in front of me. Still, to score him from first and to make it to third on a ball hit into an 18-person outfield is something I’ll happily take. The next time up, I hit a little nubber up the first-base line, hurdled over it as it spun towards the foul line, and got thrown out at first by the pitcher. But umpire Bruce Hood ruled, in his infinite wisdom, that the ball had gone foul before it was picked up, so I got another chance and managed to deliver a sac fly. So it was 1-for-1 with a sac fly, two ribbies and one near-miss of a major Miss Canada International dental bill, for a 1.000/.500/3.000 slash line.
I have become one of the players I hate – guys with an OBP that’s lower than their batting average.
It was a lot of fun, in a beautiful little ballpark, and the best part of it was in the handshake line-up after the game – Butler gave me a surprised “You can play!” as opposed to the typical post-game “good game”. As well, he and former Expo manager Jim Fanning had really nice things to say about my work on the radio and coming from guys like that, that means a ton.
Sorry for the departure from the regular Blue Jayicness, but I wanted to fill you in on the St. Marys goings-on.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
And here’s the transcript from tonight’s edition of “Miked Up LIVE!”: