Archive for the ‘updates’ Category

Sandlot Baseball Game Logs – 05.2024 – Part II

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

What is Sandlot?

The Drag took the Tulsa trip in stride and returned to Govalle’s friendly confines this past weekend against the North Austin Space Cowboys.

5.11.2024 – North Austin Space Cowboys vs. Austin Drag @ Govalle – 7pm

Instagram post.

Even though jokes may have been said about sandlotters ripping names from professional baseball organizations, I’m not going to hold it against these fellas that they share a name with a AAA team. Maybe they just really, really like Steve Miller Band? Who’s to say?

What can be said is that the NASC are a solid bunch of guys.

Both starting pitchers– NASC’s Ben Kwiatkowski and Drag’s Steven Carrizales had both lineups tied up and off balance. After three innings, the score was knotted at 1s.
Notable defensive plays included David Rhodes making a quality play at first base to snare a liner and Ash tracking down a flyball in left.
Offensively, Keith flew around the basepaths all game long manufacturing a few runs along the way. RJ hit one to the wall but just couldn’t get his legs to produce more than a single (that happens). Simon had an RBI rip to the right side. Steven caught a barrel or two. Stillman and Rickner also got themselves a barrel.

Judging by all these barrels, you’d think we put up a ton of runs. Nope. Not really. The Space Cowboys’ pitching and defense stepped up when they needed and the Drag continued our long-standing tradition of stranding runners.

We love and value a spacious dugout. It’s pretty important. That in mind, we strategically keep our runners on the basepaths as to not cluster up and crowd the dugout. It gives us a little more breathing (and drinking) room on the bench.

Our pitchers stayed sharp. In a rare and brief relief appearance, Keith pitched the 4th and 5th. Marc Segal handled the 6th and Jeff Waterman the 7th. The Drag pitchers did an exceptional job of avoiding walks and barreled balls.

The score was 4-2 heading into the 8th. I (Rickner) pitched a clean top frame. The Drag scored three much-needed runs in the bottom half of the 8th.
The top of the 9th went a little goofy. There was a walk, a K, a towering popfly that found grass between left and center, then a well-hit liner over SS by their lefty leadoff man that scored two, a K, a swinging bunt that goes in the book just the same as a rifled single, and a final K.

That may read as boring, but I assure you, it wasn’t.

All in all, it was a sharp game played by both teams that was concluded in an expeditious fashion.

The final tally –
Space Cowboys – 4 gangsters of love
Drag – 7 Maurices

The last few leftover pics from Tulsa that were recently developed:

We get to bookend Memorial Day Weekend with two games against the Jardineros (Friday night and Monday morning).
Looking forward to it.

Sandlot Baseball Game Logs – 05.2024 – Part I

Thursday, May 9th, 2024

What is Sandlot?

The Austin Drag hit the road and made it up to Tulsa.
Thankfully, The Rumblers put a tarp over the infield as most of the region had been fighting rain, thunder, and tornadoes for most of the week leading up to the game.

Derek from The Rumblers had a welcome party at his incredible home Friday night. Most of The Drag had some drinks there. We all shot the proverbial breeze (not the Tulsa Breeze) with The Rumblers and simply had a great time. As always, outstanding hosts.

I swung by The Mercury then Whataburger after hanging at Derek’s because– of course I did.

5.4.2024 – Austin Drag vs. Tulsa Rumblers @ Historic Lacy Park (Tulsa) – 11am

Instagram post.

First things first– I will recognize that I’ve been critical of other hosts/teams/communities in the past. I am guilty of this. But these are weekends we’re talking about. Whether it’s 50 miles or 500, it’s still travel. And there are costs. So, why not make the experience as mutually beneficial as possible?

This need not be explained to Tulsa. These guys get it and, in my experience, they have yet to be surpassed in making goofy sandlot baseball entirely worthwhile (Lockhart easily comes in second).
Back to Saturday Sandlot Baseball.

Know what’s better than ending 5+ hours of drinking with a Whataburger?
Starting your morning after with a Whataburger taquito.
It had been a good, long while since I’ve bookended six hours of sleep with Whataburger meals, but that’s exactly what kind of trip this was shaping up to be.

All The Rumblers’ hard work paid off. The tarp kept as much water as it could off the infield, and we’re grateful for the time + effort. All things considered, save for a few troublesome puddles between the infield and outfield, the conditions were pretty darn good. Game on.

Considering that our games with The Rumblers always seem to go down to the wire as well as the fact that it was RJ’s birthday, we all felt like a damn-good time was sitting right in front of us.
We collectively took advantage.

The Rumblers’ tall starting pitcher carved up our entire lineup for the first three innings. Keith (Drag Captain + Starting Pitcher) answered with some strong innings of his own overcoming some infield throwing errors.

Thanks to Steven Carrizales’s big RBI double to right center, The Drag and Rumblers were knotted up at two runs a piece after four innings. From there, both teams clustered runs here and there intermittently.

Defensively, Ash and Steven both made good grabs in the outfield.
Braden put a few innings in at second and gave us this highlight– with a Rumbler runner on first, a lil flare made its way into right field. Braden hustled it down and made a turnaround throw that was a dead-eye strike to third nabbing the runner attempting to motor from first-to-third. It was pretty darn impressive.

Steven and RJ provided most of our offense going a combined 6-8 and accounting for at least half of our RBIs.

The Rumblers’ biggest rally came in the 7th.
Keith pitched exceptionally for the first six innings, but then ran into a slight bit of trouble in the 7th. He gave the ball to Rickner (the author of this write up) and I gave up a flare that dropped into shallow right center that proved to be a big hit. Rumblers ended up plating four that inning.
Drag responded with two runs in the 8th, including Diana Driver running very aggressively on the basepaths. She ran through so many stop signs and forced her way home on a play at the plate that miraculously ended in our favor. This gal slid home in her leopard-print shorts and created a highlight that is pretty hard to beat (incredible pic featured on the ig post).

In the top of the 9th, down 8-9, we were able to load up the bases, but their closer executed down the stretch to hold it down and shut the door.

The final tally –
Drag – 8 casino buffets
Rumblers – 9 ballpark dogs

I’ve updated my Sandlot google photo album to include the Tulsa pics.
Below are some of the recent highlights.

With everyone full well anticipating heavy storms that evening (late Saturday/early Sunday), the decision was to get in as much baseball as we could– right then and there. We had every indication to believe Sunday was going to be a wash, it was determined to “get while the gettin’ was good.”

We divided all the players in attendance and put together a very loose, goofy, laid back scrimmage. It was perfect. The beer, bourbon, and mezcal consumption went from leisurely to John Daly.

Steven pitched some innings. A handful of Rumblers took their turn on the hill. It was a great way to kill the last few remaining dry hours we had left in Tulsa.
Even though it was only a goofy pickup game, Mike Hobson, putting in some time at second, made a fully horizontal, backhanded layout to snare a hard-hit liner by Dan McClintock. One of the cooler plays I’ve seen this year.

After the ballpark, it was all casino buffets and bad beats. Everyone seemed a lil burnt out by the 6+ hours at the ballpark followed by the 6+ trips to the prime rib table followed by the 6+ trips to the craps tables.

To reiterate: The Tulsa Sandlot community is incredible. Hands down, the best group to host and take ownership of whatever this goofy, burgeoning culture is. I’ve been lucky enough to make the trip twice now, and each time I’ve been so very grateful and happy to put in those highway miles because this community truly makes it worth it. Great people. Great attitudes. Outstanding baseball experiences.
Thanks Rumblers!
Can’t wait to catch yall for a Sandlot Sunday down at Lacy Park!

Sandlot Baseball Game Logs – 04.2024 – Part III

Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

What is Sandlot?

Chili from The Ramblers posted some great film photography awhile back and it got me motivated to dig up my old Canon AV-1 (that I regrettably haven’t used since 2011) and get back to shooting film.
The first two rolls I shot weren’t any good. Definitely needed to knock off the rust and had to revisit a tutorial or two.
Anyhow, here’s a link to the photo album consisting of mostly Sandlot photos.

They will be improving with each roll.
Below are some highlights.

4.27.2024 – East Austin Ramblers vs. Town Lake Nightcrawlers (Austin) @ Govalle – 3pm

I finished last week’s post with: “Ramblers get to get back on the good foot at home vs. the Town Lake Nightcrawlers next Saturday.

We got the privilege of providing a walk-off winner for those worms.

I’m certain it’s difficult trying to find the most appropriate amount of PT for each player when more than 16 show up for a game. 18 Ramblers were in attendance. Whoever’s job it is to facilitate a roster of that size definitely has a tall task.

There are varying schools of thought. One way that seems to work is let your starters get their three innings in the field + lineup, second stringers take on the middle three innings, and, depending on how the game is going will determine how you finish the final 2-3 innings.

It might not play out exactly as cut and dry as that, but that’s not a bad framework to build from.

I arrived at the ballpark expecting The Ramblers to implement an 18-person lineup as has been the custom. We didn’t. We saw the lineup and the “Coach for the Day” (Ramblers have a rotating cast of foundational players that make the lineup) declared that, to paraphrase– We’re going to bat a tight lineup because this was a game we’re gonna go for.

To the lineup’s credit– Rambly scored runs. The Worms’ starting pitcher, Ches Foster, seemed to have pretty good command except for one inning that produced a handful of walks and a great drive to the left field wall by Grady helped The Ramblers put up a 5-spot. Foster did go deep into the game though (all the way to the 7th I believe) and kept the Worms within striking distance.

For our part, The Ramblers put Sikes, Ticky, Stevie, and Hope on the hill. They all pitched well, never surrendering a 5-spot. The Worms did seem to nibble and nibble though– plating a run or two here and there, but not producing a huge rally early on.

Entering the bottom of the 8th, The Ramblers had a seven-run advantage. The worms cut that deficit in half in the 8th. In the 9th, the worms made some contact and got a rally cooking that ended in a walkoff (same video link as above).

The final tally ended up being (approximately)≈
Ramblers – 11 possumdogs
Nightcrawlers – 12 dirtyworms

Unwritten Rules + Etiquette

With full awareness that this league is chock full of folks who aren’t gonna care about things such as “rules” or “etiquette,” there are a few things I’d like to bring attention to.

I’ve previously brought up baserunners interfering with a defender trying to make a play (purposefully stutter-stepping in between a defender and a groundball, clapping hands/yelling at a defender, etc). If a refresher is needed– this is to be called at the umpire’s discretion. If an umpire perceives whatever action as interference, then it’s interference. With our often volunteer umps or our less-than-motivated/older/often out-of-position umps, these types of calls are rarely made. These old guys (the umps) aren’t going to get in the middle of Little League-playing adults who might be bristling with one another because of inadvertent or purposeful displays of poor sportsmanship. Understandably so.

Some of these instances may be inadvertent because they’re performed by folks who didn’t play baseball growing up. It’s likely they never learned that certain behavior will get you and your team in trouble (i.e. the opposition will throw a fastball at your earhole and/or an umpire will intervene and rule the offender out).

Saturday’s minor, very forgettable issue was about a deke.

Which dekes are deemed acceptable or not? There is nuance to this. The simplest way to negotiate this– as a defender, don’t fool a runner into making unnecessary moves to miss your ball-less phantom/fake tags. You can fool the runner into second-guessing where they (the runner) might assume the ball to be as long as you’re not faking as though it’s in your glove as you throw a fake tag. That’s it.

Ballplayers don’t like the fake tag type of deking. They clear benches for fake tags. They administer their own justice for it, and it’s basically regarded as a dickhead move. But, as they say, the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

We’ve seen the deke from a catcher who acted like a ball wasn’t being thrown to him and then at the last moment he catches it and applies the tag (cool deke), Baylor SS dekes the runners into thinking a fly to centerfield is only an infield fly (10 years ago– cool deke), and more recently we’ve seen the outfielder fake an early catch of a sac fly to fool the runner into leaving third early (cool deke).

Sorry to get Old Man/Old School here, but faking a late tag that could induce an awkward slide or even a collision isn’t regarded as an anti-“Let the Kids Play”– it’s simple courtesy for your opponent. Maybe the Savanah Bananas will popularize fake tags and anytime any runner is running the bases on anything other than a homerun, each infielder will act like they’ve got the ball causing mass confusion, and this is what is to become of baseball so I should just get with it already, but I doubt it.
It’s also fielder’s interference to touch the runner without the ball (or when not in the act of fielding the ball) so… a good ump would rule the play dead and advance all the runners anyways.

Last final nagging note (apologies for all the nagging)– a minor and irrational question of etiquette. Because our fields are rarely, if ever, squared away, this makes little sense, but, ballplayers don’t warm up pregame on the infield dirt (tossing, stretching, etc). It likely stems from the Dads and grounds crews who put in the pregame work to square away the diamond– all that labor and care shouldn’t immediately be undone by a few players who can’t be bothered to walk the additional 60-90′ required to get to the outfield grass.

Every team sport has their do’s and don’ts. That’s a baseball don’t. I checked with a former collegiate softball player– it’s a softball don’t as well.

I know it’s silly when our diamonds are rarely manicured and squared away, but it’s still engrained in ballplayers to keep off the infield until game time.
Caveat*– teams taking infield/fielding grounders is permitted, but simply tossing, stretching, etc. on the infield dirt is a no. I looked up some various baseball league rules to see if it’s still a thing and it’s still a thing. What makes this edict even more tenuous is when you play at a park that doesn’t have a bullpen. The starting pitchers have to throw somewhere. I get it. The more lousy a facility is, the less this flimsy tradition makes sense, but it’s still tradition.

That’s all I got.
We’ll see if the weather let’s anyone get in any sandlot this weekend.

Sandlot Baseball Game Logs – 04.2024 – Part II

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

What is Sandlot?

Doubleheader this past Saturday.
G1 – 4.20.2024 – South Austin Parakeets vs. Austin Drag @ Govalle – 11am
G2 – 4.20.2024 – East Austin Ramblers vs. Arsenal Abejas (San Antonio) @ Pittman-Sullivan (SA) – 3pm

Game 1

Instagram post.

It was a day of contrasts.
First up was the Keets vs. Drag. The Keets were missing a few impact players. Easton is unfortunately hurt (labrum– bummer) and a few of their top pitchers and hitters weren’t able to attend. They’re on the tail-end of a consecutive baseball weekend streak. That can make it a little difficult for some teams to continue fielding a full roster for three or four weekends straight.

That said, the Keets are a deep organization that have plenty of talent to go around and the dozen or so that showed up played hard and played well.

Drag Captain Keith reported that the 9-inning game flew by in less than 2.5 hours. That’s a testament to how sharp the pitching and defense was for both sides. After checking out the box score, one can tell just how few walks and errors occurred. That’s refreshing considering most Sandlot games end with one of these sentiments:

  • “It wasn’t pretty, but we somehow got the W”
  • “If we just avoided a sloppy inning or two, we get that W”

The game concluded with both teams completing a top-to-bottom solid ballgame that was pretty darn close the whole way through.
Keith started on the bump and went six strong innings only giving up 3 runs. If he walked anybody, I don’t remember it happening. The outfield made some good plays with Ash snagging a high flyball in right, Marc making a sliding grab in left, and Steven tracking down a shot in center. Mike Limongelli, Braden, and Rickner completed a 5-4-3 double play.

In the 3rd inning, The Drag put up a good crooked number on the board. That was our most significant rally where we hit up-and-down the order with pretty much everyone contributing.

After Keith’s six innings on the hill, Steven came back for his first outing following a minor knee operation. He threw two quality innings allowing one run and one successful pickoff that froze the runner cold.

I followed that up with a potential save opportunity. I threw strikes and the Keets found some barrels to get something cooking for them. A strikeout and two groundouts later though secured the game and that was that.

There was a postgame hang that I couldn’t make because I had to book it to San Antonio for Game 2.
Heard the 4/20 hang out was a gas though.

Final score ≈
South Austin Parakeets – 6(ish)
Austin Drag – 10(ish)

Great time. We’ll have our rubber match in the fall. Looking forward to it.

Game 2

Instagram post.

Following Game 1, I hustled home, threw some food in me, changed, and headed down to San Antonio for the 3pm game. I did this while fully expecting to receive a team update notifying me of a cancellation due to rain. I figured, “Hey, if it rains, I’ll have some grub with the team and then stop by my cousin’s to chew the fat.”

I drove through scattered showers in South Austin, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, New Braunfels, but the weather improbably cleared up the closer I got to SA. The Baseball Gods seemed to really want us to play baseball. Problem is, none of the players in attendance seemed to share that sentiment.

These things happen. Be it team sports, work functions, hell– sometimes even a live music experience or an entire bar (staff and patrons included) all sometimes seem to have a low energy and an overall lethargic and unmotivated tenor.
I’m guessing these were some of the factors that led to this outcome–

  • I think everyone expected a rainout. Nobody on that field resonated a “what a great day to play baseball?!” mentality. It was overcast with steady winds coming and going. Our game was part of a trio hosted to, in some form or fashion, celebrate San Antonio’s Fiesta. I was told that the first game (12pm) felt like one helluva party. We all got to see how big of a party the third game (7pm) was, and, unfortunately for us, this middle game (3pm) felt more like a begrudging scrimmage that was thrust on us.
  • Here’s yet another way this cliche about Sandlot being “Adult Little League” rings true.
    Though rare, these kinds of games do happen at the youth level. Sometimes even when people have the best intentions, those intentions can’t overcome the collective will.
  • I arrived at the end of the 2nd inning and, all the way from the parking lot, the game just felt strange. The team hosting the Ramblers had a total of six players. Six. Three players from the earlier 12 o’clock game (San Antonio Los Monos vs. Alamo City Warhawks) thankfully agreed to double up their baseball for the day to make our game happen. So there’s that.
  • For our part, we had 14 Ramblers in attendance, and because most of the team’s post-game Saturday night plans hinged on whether or not the rain was going to fall, nobody really cut loose during the game (understandably so).

I could get into the gameplay, but it… was tough going.
Nobody’s fault, that’s just sometimes how things go.

Ramblers get to get back on the good foot at home vs. the Town Lake Nightcrawlers next Saturday (4/27).

Election Season is Over

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012


And on the day before the election, Jon Stewart delivered the thought that appropriately closed 2012’s Election Season:

It seems that political organizations and political parties have become whiny bastions of faux-persecuted-victimized individuals that feel like anyone who doesn’t agree with their worldview is persecuting them– do you want to punch them?

—- Jon Stewart to Martha Raddatz on 11/05/2012

It would not be correct to leave out the “punch” part of the bit, but yes, it was in jest- and it was meant to all of those who feel like whoever disagrees with them is, in some way, out to get them.

The meat of that quote- using “faux-persecuted-victimized individuals” to describe partisan folks  is too good to ignore.



go ahead…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

I realize that there’s not much multi-media stuff on here.   I apologzie for that.   I’ll put forth more effort to get videos, pictures, and music posted in the near future.

I was just hoping to get some essays and fiction flowing and hoping to get feedback from… well, anyone.

So go ahead and post or email me feedback, and I’ll throw some effort into making this a more entertaining site soon enough.




Monday, June 15th, 2009

i’ve been in mexico since the 1st of the month.   i’ll be home by the end of the month to complete this site.

here it is

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

tweaking the odds, the ends, and what nots of this site.