Some Inspiring Words That Someone Else Might Have Told You Over The Course Of Your Life

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It’s been a long cold lonely summer and it’s about damn time October got here.

October means Halloween! And pumpkin spiced everything! And an awoken Billie Joe Armstrong!

AND, most importantly, the playoffs–

Beer league softball playoffs!

For those poor spirits who know not beer league softball victory nor defeat, allow me to explain.

Beer league softball is a fashionable fight that draws the finest people, and its playoffs are ridiculous spectacles that should not be viewed by anyone.

Unfortunately, my team consists entirely of unathletic, barely functioning alcoholics so there’ll be no postseason for me this year.

However, since I’ve had the privilege of suiting up in hundreds of softball games over the course of my career—yep, still doing great!—I think I’ll be ok.

Mellow is the man who knows what he’s been missing.

BUT, in case you don’t know what you’re missing, here’s some hard-hitting literary journalism.

Here’s a list of the players you’ll meet on every beer league softball team:

The Guy Who Gets Uncomfortably Drunk

This is known all over the Merrimack Valley as “The Max Baked”.

Everyone likes to throw a few back, but this guy is on a level all his own.

This guy drinks before and during the game.

On the bench and in the field.

He has a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

He has a face full of chew.

His uniform is a disaster.

Rather than his team’s jersey, he’s wearing a chef coat.

Rather than mesh shorts, he’s sporting a bathing suit.

Rather than spikes, he’s modeling boat shoes.

On his head is a trucker hat worn without the slightest hint of irony.

The umpires, opposing team, and spectators are all visibly concerned for his safety.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are forever indebted to this guy:

This guy is why beer league softball exists.

The Guy Who Argues With The Umpire

After all my years in the game I still don’t understand the thought process here.

I feel the same way about arguing with umpires as I do about honking your horn when driving.

Why do it at all? What good ever comes from it?

Just forget about the bad call, move on with the game, and save your displaced anger for a more suspecting target like your girlfriend.

This guy’s arguing makes everyone uncomfortable, and what’s most maddening is that he’s never good at softball.

Maybe that’s why he’s arguing with the umpire in the first place?

Regardless, it’s ok to hate this guy because it goes without saying that he hates himself, too.

(He’s also the guy honking at you in traffic.)

((While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the umps. Can we talk about the umps, please? I’ve been dying to talk about the umps with you all day.

Why would anyone want to be a beer league softball umpire?

Is it the love of the game?

Is there something about being called “Blue” that really does it for them? 

I don’t get it.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Are you some frumpy ham and egger who is in desperate need of 30 dollars?

Sign up here!

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, internalizing constant verbal abuse, pretending to have a working knowledge of the ASA Handbook, maintaining an inconsistent strike zone, and dusting off home plate.

CANDIDATE PROFILE:

Qualifications: Candidates should be divorced 2-4 times and have 3-5 children from whom they’re emotionally distant.

Experience: Candidates must be able to nuke their supper when they go home to their sad little apartments after each game. Ability to water tomato plants preferred, but not required.

Let’s leave it at this: Umpiring beer league softball is up there with bartending and driving a cab when it comes to jobs you should do if you want to stop drinking.

In fact, umpiring beer league softball should be court ordered.

You get pinched for DUI?

No more bullshit alcohol classes for you—you’re spending the summer calling balls and strikes for the Billerica Industrial Softball League.

Do that and then tell me if you still want to drink.

Did I just cure alcoholism or did I just cure alcoholism?

Bill Wilson ain’t got shit on me.))

The Guy Who Brings His Kid To Every Game

Allow me to get in front of your skepticism:

It’s true.

There are men out there who try to impress their children by way of their exploits on the softball diamond.

Pathetic, I know, but that’s not the worst part.

Have you ever heard an 8-year-old passionately cheer for his dad during beer league softball?

THAT is the worst part.

That shit is its own brand of heartbreak.

It’s the sound of someone who is going to grow up to be a giant donkey just like his old man and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

It is unavoidable.

It is his destiny.

The Girl Who Looks Like A Guy

This is a Public Service Announcement:

The list of unintentionally insensitive comments I’ve made in my life is as long as it is varied, but there was an incident this summer that no act of contrition can cleanse.

In my league each team needs to have two girls in the lineup. If you only have one girl, you take an automatic out.

The team we’re playing only has one girl. They turn their lineup over and the ump doesn’t give them the out.

I assume he doesn’t know the rule and rather than make a big deal about it I decide to wait and bring it up between innings.

At no point do I wonder why no one on my team is saying anything about it.

I simply tell myself that the only reason I noticed is because I’m so smart and perceptive and I know all the rules and I’m our best player and it’s a good thing I’m here to save the day.

So the inning ends and I approach the umpire behind home while the opposing pitcher and catcher are warming up and I tell him the other team only has one girl and they should have had an automatic out.

I get all theatrical and point to the only girl on their team.

“See? Playing second? That’s their only girl. They’re supposed to have two.”

No response.

I look at him like he’s a dummy.

He looks at me like I’m a dummy.

Then he nods in the catcher’s direction.

The catcher is the other girl on their team.

The catcher, the person standing next to me hearing my every word, is the other girl on their team.

To her credit, she simply pretended not to listen as she silently died inside.

You know, it’s kind of like that old saying: “Never refer to a woman’s haircut as a ‘dyke spike’ because she probably has cancer and you’re definitely an asshole, Brian.

In conclusion, I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to anyone.

The Guy Who Needs His Wife’s Permission To Play

I was hesitant to put this guy on the list for existential reasons.

Think about it.

If a guy doesn’t drink at softball does he really exist?

This guy misses most games—you’ll never see him on a Friday because that’s date night—and when he does play he heads straight to his car after the final out because he has to go home and have dinner and talk about his day.

How was your day today? Did you have a good day today or a bad day today? Well, what kind of day was it? Well, I don’t know. How about you? How was your day?

Once he has a kid you’ll never see this guy again.

But don’t worry about him.

I’m sure his wife is awesome and he’s happy with the choices he’s made.

The Guy Who Plays To Avoid His Wife 

I was hesitant to put this guy on the list for transcendental reasons.

Think about it.

Doesn’t every guy play softball to avoid his wife?

Nevertheless, this is the guy who makes you feel better about yourself.

He’s the first at the field and the last to leave.

He’s always asking to do another beer.

11:00 on a Monday night after a game that started at 9:30?

“Come on,” he’ll say. “Just one more! It’s still early!”

Anything to avoid going home.

But don’t worry about him.

I’m sure his wife is awesome and he’s happy with the choices he’s made.

The Guy Who’s Obsessed With Softball

This guy means well, but boy howdy are his priorities misplaced.

This guy schedules practices months before the season starts.

He compiles spreadsheets with advanced scouting metrics.

He has a batting cage in his basement.

And you can forget about him missing a game.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this guy from his appointed place in the lineup.

It’s death, taxes, and this guy batting third and playing center field.

He’ll actually use vacation time to leave work early on game days so as not to risk missing even a single pitch.

The best part is that he sees nothing odd about his behavior—this guy will openly wonder why others aren’t as devoted as he is.

And while his passion is admirable, what this guy really needs is a Lester Freamon in his life:

The game will not save you.

It won’t make you whole, it won’t fill your ass up.

A good season ends.

They all end.

You need something outside of this here.

Honorable Mention goes to: The Guy Who Cares About His Stats (you know the bottom’s come up on you when you’re calculating your softball WAR or UZR) The Old Guy Who Plays Hurt (I need a cortisone shot just looking at him, but damn if I don’t respect the hell out of this guy) The Guy On Steroids (try to find some sleeves for your jersey between now and your next cycle, bro) and The Guy Who Brings His Still Relatively New Girlfriend To Every Game (never a good idea).

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s only 364 days until next year’s playoffs.

I have to toughen up.

Meet me at the Center Cafe.

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