Archive for March, 2024

Sandlot Baseball Game Logs – 03.2024 – Part I

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024

What is Sandlot?

G1 – 03.03.2024 – East Austin Ramblers vs. Yall’s Texas Tallboys @ Govalle – Noon
G2 – 3.03.2024 – Austin Drag vs. Town Lake Nightcrawlers @ Govalle – 3pm

I’m grateful to be able to spend a considerable amount of time away from work playing very recreational and social baseball. On this day, I got to play a doubleheader.

Some time (perhaps too much time) has passed since these games took place and these thoughts are finally making their way to the page. Though I’m slow to the draw here, I hope to keep the streak alive of writing/covering these games that I participate in.

Game 1
Instagram post for first game.

Tallboys put an early 5-spot on the Ramblers in the bottom of the 1st. Understandably, they collectively took their foot off the gas. The Ramblers, however, put together a few small rallies plating a some runs here and there, but never really running away with a giant offensive explosion.

After 5 innings, the score was 5-7 (or thereabouts) in favor of The Tallboys and the demeanor of the game was as friendly as could be. Gaston came up to bat for the Ramblers with two runners on in the top of the 6th and hit a go-ahead 3-run bomb that shifted the tenor of the game quite a bit.

Obviously, nobody wants to lose, but some recreational ballplayers seem to be more affected by competition than others. Personally, I’m happy if I’m able to make a play or two in the field as well as barrel a ball or two at the plate all while seeing my teammates, friends, and opponents enjoying this incredible and entirely meaningless game. Apologies if that seems sanctimonious, but I believe that’s more or less what this unofficial “league” is about.

That said, after Gaston’s 3-run go-ahead dinger, the feel of the game shifted and many of the “happy to just be playing ball” attitudes shifted to “we gotta fucking win.” And that’s cool… and somewhat expected, but it also turned into chatter about which pitchers are balking, people began putting unnecessary pressure on volunteer umps, and… so on and so on.

No matter. No worries.
To elaborate for clarity, late in the game, there was a bang-bang play at third base. A Tallboy was picked off second as they broke towards third and slid hard into the third. There was contact, there was a tag, the volunteer ump had a less-than-good perspective on the play… and people didn’t seem particularly pleased on either side. Shotgun concessions were lobbied, balk accusations were repeated, a call was made, and the game played on.

You know, baseball resonates with us for so many reasons. One such reason is because it’s a game where, at the college level, small schools can beat big schools, and, even at the major league level, the team with the lowest payroll can steal a game (or even the World Series) from the team with the highest payroll (and presumably most talent).
The phrase “you can’t win them all” arguably applies more appropriately to baseball than any other game. Nobody runs the table (feel free to compare win percentages across sports and leagues).

On this particular day, The Ramblers were able to steal a game they trailed the first six innings of, but that’s baseball. Never try to tell Yogi Berra he was wrong.

Game 2
Instagram post for second game.

This league is definitely one of the most inclusive communities I’ve ever been a part of. That acknowledged, I understand that folks should be able to cut loose whatever way they wanna.
My caveat to this kiddie-gloved preamble is– whenever I’m in a mostly Caucasian (and somewhat dorky) space and someone puts on tunes by Slim Thug (or other similar performers), I nearly instantly feel like I’m inside Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” music video.

That’s definitely a me problem. Maybe that’s something I’ll get over?
This is coming from a guy who could never understand why “Get Low” was so damned popular during the bulk of his twenties (obligatory link). Anyhow, this league is partially responsible for helping an old man understand that folks should get crunk whatever way they most authentically feel like getting krunk/crunk/qrunk. Only one life to qrunk.

Do we play baseball?
Oh yeah. We do. Not to omit facts, the game’s music also featured a Miles Davis track, some reggae, some metal, and sort of ran a goofball gamut. Us oldsters can go with the flow and try to not make such a damned stink even if James Brown, Lighting Hopkins, John Prine, and the like are my preferred baseball tunes.

The theme for The Drag during this game was the ladies truly coming through big time. Every lady recorded a hit and played very well in the field. Not only that, but the “bottom [of the lineup] fed the top.

This write-up can’t go any further without describing The Town Lake Nightcrawlers’ lefty slugger hitting an opposite-field dinger. I’ve been playing sandlot for awhile now, and that was the first opposite-field no doubter I’ve seen. Pretty darn impressive.

Other than that, The Drag’s pitching was consistent, our defense didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, and the lineup (other than the #4 hitter) produced all the way up and down.
The Drag got out to an early lead that was never relinquished and I believe it was an overall damn good time.

Also, check out these outstanding photos that Annie McArdle took during these games!

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A post shared by Austin Photography (@anniemcardlephotography)