Each year, for the past four years (except last year), we have rotated the home field, with each team taking the road trip into enemy territory. We drove to Maryland the first year and lost, then they drove to Brooklyn the next year and lost, then last year, we made the mistake of trying to involve other teams and it never happened. So, this year it was our turn to hit the road. Adding to the excitement, this year we'd be on the big stage, as we were slated to play in an actual stadium, with dugouts, seats, and a press box. It's the jewel of the amateur side of the Ripken complex -- "Cal Sr.'s Yard!"
We loaded up the van and headed for Aberdeen, knowing that the road team had never won in the series (usually because they were literally weighed down by Roy Rogers or Nathan's)...until now.
On Tuesday, we took the all-time series lead by busting out the heavy lumber (actually, lightweighted aluminum) to sweep a doubleheader, winning the first game, 9-3, and the second game, 17-4. And neither game was even as close as the score indicates. In Game One, Aberdeen scored two of their three runs only because Mahoney refused to catch any ball Steve or I threw to him, because we offered to
This was truly a total team effort, with big hits, big defensive plays, and a big pitching performance.
Chicks dig the long ball, so we'll start there. Gary put the "round" in round-tripper by blasting three home runs, including a shot to lead off the game that set the tone for the day, and would have made his "refer to myself in the third person" idol proud. For one day, at least, he didn't just look like the Bambino, he hit like him! I later followed with a three-run blast of my own (S.I.S.). Miggy made up for an otherwise hitless day with a mammoth shot off the warehouse (Sr.'s Yard is a replica of Camden Yards), and Big John busted out the rye bread and the mustard when he went Grand Salami in the first inning of Game Two.
"Eagle Eye Viola" morphed into "Ripping Ricky" when he tripled his lifetime hit total in one day by notching seven hits -- including a 5-for-5 performance in Game Two. Chris used his "Nerve Gas" on the mound to paralyze the Aberdeen hitters and hold them to just one earned run all day. Steve was a righthanded Ichiro at the plate, his usual Brooksy self in the field, and terrorized both teams on the bases. Mahoney had five hits of his own in Game Two, and ended the day wanting to fight a guy on the other team, because...the guy ran hard and tried to reach base safely. Adam (ATI) had some clutch hits, and played the outfield one-handed without spilling. Alexa and Brandy added some big hits of their own, gave our lineup some pop all the way through, and shored up the right field defense. Liz kept a meticulous scorecard (allowing for the stats herewith), and Joyce was a passive-aggressive third-base coach, leading to a variety of injuries and hilarity in the 60 feet from the hot corner to home plate (more on this later).
Here's how Damage, Inc.'s performance will be remember by the annals of history:
- Gary: 4-for-10, 3 HR, 5 RBI, one 4.7 Richter Scale landing at home plate.
- Steve: 4-for-9, two diving stops, seven defensive gems, one on-purpose error, one ball thrown into the stands because Mahoney wouldn't go to first base.
- Dave: 5-for-9, 1 HR, 3 RBI, two "leaping" catches that totaled 6.1" off the ground, one ridiculously stupid slide that caused the game's only bloodshed (my own).
- Big John: 7-for-9, 1 GSHR, one Web Gem catch to rob a home run in the left field corner, zero fights with random passersby (for once).
- Mahoney: 6-for-9, one hit batsman, one near-fight, one boycott of throws from the left side of the infield.
- Miggy: 1-for-9, 1 monster HR (only because ABD plays with a "no strikeout" rule), one missed class, one highway rest-stop stalker, countless broken hearts.
- Alexa: 3-for-9, one at-bat with 15 swings and misses, 12 f-bombs, one sniper shot to the ankle.
- Chris: 3-for-9, 34 smiles, 0 HR allowed, 0.64 ERA, three words spoken.
- Adam: 4-for-9, two failed pick-up lines.
- Ricky: 7-for-9, one collision/tumble/romantic interlude at third base, seven new reasons to protest being slotted at the bottom of the lineup in the future, 74 passed balls during his three innings as catcher.
- Brandy: 3-for-9, one generally calming and pleasant personality on a team filled with raving lunatics.
Baby Alexa was also a victim of Joyce's coaching style, when she was waved home, only to be told "Um, wait. Maybe stop." She rolled her ankle in the confusion, and it's now swollen to the size of Rishi's head.
Best of all, though, had to be Miggy, who "fake dove," four or five steps after already catching a fly ball (a la Derek Jeter). Only problem was, he jammed his shoulder, and potentially blew his chances of being drafted, since we all know of at least one scout in attendance who included the boneheaded injury in his post-game report. Plus, Miggy will probably fail whatever class he skipped when his professor reads this blog. (Because everyone reads this blog, Steve. Mwah hah hah hah!)
The ride home was a strange, though victorious, one. Liz "missed" the bridge (It's a giant steel structure connecting two land masses over a body of water. How can you "miss" it?) and took us on a scenic tour of lovely Wilmington, DE. Alexa went all Commack-style on us and gangsta-rapped the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song ("Yo, she wears dem high heels, yo, I wear da sneekaz, she da cheer captain, @#!*%, but I'm on da bleechaz"). Mahoney tried to punch the spider-webbed glass of the back window in the hopes -- yes, the hopes -- that it would shatter and critically sever his jugular. And ATI expounded on his religious upbringing and pop-culture beliefs ("Billy Joel is my favorite Jew...besides Moses").
All in all, it was another legendary outing for the Dream Team. (No, seriously, have you ever seen that movie? Click on the link. Watch the trailer. Tell me we don't have waaaay too much in common with escaped mental patients on a road trip. I think about it every time we're in a van together.)
Two dominating (like Mike Swindell) wins, and one ultra-long blog entry. I call that a success any day. Sure, we're a bunch of weirdos...but we're good at what we do.