How You Doin' 2008

Had our first "season" game. I started at short which I always like. We were at bat first.

Eric was up first. He has home run power, good speed, and is a very solid hitter. We would need it as we were against an "A" level team, one of the 2 teams that is probably to win the league. Sadly, he topped it and tapped back to the pitcher. Not an auspicious beginning. Emy would get us going, though. She is one of the best female hitters I have ever seen. She has excellent power, good directional control. Well, normally. This time she tapped out to 2nd. Next up was me. Anxious to get something going, I swung at a pitch I probably shouldn't have. Fortunately, it found a hole on the right side and I was aboard. Up came Becky, our left handed hitter. She lives down the right field line. Except this time she grounded out to short. Ouch.

Their first 2 hitters singled, their 3rd guy put it out. We were down 3-0 just like that.

Every now and again, the stars aline and I remember what it was like when I had talent. A couple batters later it happened. With a runner on first, a girl hit a line shot. I was moving before she swung based on her foot position and the pitch location. Sure enough she hit a rising liner over second off to my left. Step, step, leap...I did not even look at the ball, I needed every inch I could get and snow-coned it at the top of my leap. Thing is...it felt natural. I KNEW I was going to get it. But it was spectacular...even the other team oohed and ahed a bit. So I felt good about that. I did NOT feel good about the 4 spot we gave up...

Our next 3 hitters went down in order. 1. 2. 3. That included Steve and Kyle. Before the game I would have thought we would score 4 - 6 runs in our first 7 hitters. Instead we had 1 hit. Ouch.

I was on the bench the next 2 innings during which time we gave up 7 and 3 runs. We finally broke through for 1 when JJ singled, Sarah singled, and Kyle scored on a fielders choice. With runners on first and second, 2 out, I came up. First pitch was inside. It bounced almost at my feet and I was deeeeeep in the batters box, back from the plate. It was called a strike. Next pitch was closer to the plate and called a ball. I fouled off another inside pitch. Then he gave me a meatball...numbers high, outside half of the plate. A classic "mistake" pitch, right in my wheelhouse. And I came out of my shoes swinging at it. I had the happy feet swing.

And grounded to 2nd.

Best pitch I have seen all season. That was the one I could put out of the park if ever there is one and I weakly grounded to second? I suck.

Anyhow, bottom half of the inning I had one chance where with a runner on first they hit a hot grounder. Nick fielded it cleanly. His throw looked strange, I thought it might hit the runner but dragged my foot across the bag as I stretched and made the out.

And that was game. They 10 runned us after 4.


Starving Crazed Weasels April 2008

11 players tonight. We broke down to tables of 5 and 6.

I was with the 5. Tom my left was Kenneth, to my right Tracy, to her right Phillip and to his right Rick.

First hand I checked in the big blind with 2/3. Flop came A/2/3. I bet, got 2 callers. Turn put a 3rd club on the board. I bet, they both called. River put a 4th club on the board. I checked, Phillip bet, Tracy called, I folded. Phillip had the 5 high flush, Tracy the Ace high flush. That set the tone for my night.

I won a couple small pots when I raised pre-flop and every one folded but for the most part I was bleeding. Tracy was hitting hard, meanwhile, including a pretty funny hand.

Rick brought up the time he beat my flopped full house with quad 2s. While we were discussing that hand the flop had a deuce. Turn had another deuce. At the showdown Tracy hat pocket deuces, giving her quads.

The other table was playing somewhat fast as by the end of the first blind level they were down 2 players. Rick was under 1000 at our table, I had a shade over 2400. Tracy had the lead, then Kenneth, Phillip was about with me.

Soon in the next level they busted out a third player so we collapsed to one table. I ended up not playing a hand in the entire blind level.

With blinds of 1/200 I was under 2000. I needed to hit a hand...and I think I played one, maybe 2 hands when I checked in the big blind. I was bleeding like mad but just picking up garbage hand after hand. I was short stack...but Kevin gave up all his chips in 2 hands and disappeared. Phillip came back from the dead a couple times. Pete had a HUGE chip lead, Robin had a lot, Tracy had a lot...I was looking for an all in hand.

Blinds went up to 2/400. I kept bleeding, fold, fold, fold, fold through the blinds, fold...it got all the way down to where I had 300 chips left before I saw something to play and it was nothing to write home about, K/6 suited under the gun. I went all-in for less than the blinds. Pete called, Robin called, Tracy folded, Kenneth checked. I had a K/6 suited. Flop came 6 high. I liked it...until Kenneth bet strong...and Robin called. Turn put a pair of 3s on the board. He bet...Robin called. I figured I was done. River was a King. Kenneth bet...Robin folded. I flipped mine up and he mucked, later saying he had I think Jacks. I now had 1100...less than 3 times the blinds.

Next hand Pete raised to to 1200 under the gun. Robin called. Tracy called. Kenneth folded from the small blind. I looked at an A/6. I figured one of them had to have an Ace so I was at best dominated, at worst way behind to a pair. But if I was "just" dominated I was getting 3-1. So I announced I believed I was dominated but pot odds demanded a call. I went all in. If I won I would have 4700...my high point for the night and the first time since the first hand I would have even as much as I started with.

The flop was gorgeous...A/A/9. I had flopped trips. Of course, if I was dominated...I was still in trouble. As it turns out, I WAS dominated...by Kenneth, who had folded an A/7 pre-flop. Pete bet the flop, everyone folded and it was his pocket 7s against my trip Aces. They held up and i was in business.

Next hand I picked up A/9, raised it, stole the blinds.

Back into fold mode.

Then Pete gave up most of his chips in about 2 hands including one bizarre hand. I had J/9o, thought about raising it but everyone had called and Pete was behind me. I weakly completed from the small blind and he checked. Flop came 3/4/q. I thought about betting to try and steal it, but checked. He went all-in. I knew he did not want a call, but I thought he had something like paired the trey or 4. I thought about calling...but Tracy called. Okay, I am beat, I folded. She flipped up the Queen as expected...and Pete flipped up a 2/6. Oops. No 5 arrived and he was left with 500.

Soon he was gone, then Tracy behind him and it was down to Ken and I heads up. I had taken down a couple nice pots from Tracy and was about 2.5-1 chip short. Kenneth had the lead and was playing super well.

He mentioned that 1 double up where we both caught at the same time and it could change. The next hand after I picked up A/J. He raised to 3K, I called. Flop came A/10/A, 2 spades. He bet, I went all-in, he called. He had K/Q Spades...he was on the flush draw. But I turned the Jack and he was drawing dead. I was now the chip lead.

But his lead had been so huge he still had like 9K left...he was not exactly in trouble and he is at least as good as I am. So this was a long way from over.

A few hands later I picked up Pocket Aces. We had been limping a lot so I did, he checked. Flop came 2/3/6. He looked at his chips and I started turning internal cartwheels. "You didn't catch any part of that" I said. He bet 2400. I went all-in. He called. He flipped up K/2. I flipped up my Aces. He said, "I thought you were just betting me not having anything."

Turn was a blank. River...well, he hit trip deuces to retake a slight chip lead.

Back and forth. he won a few hands, I won a few. We started occasional bets pre-flop. I picked up Kings with blinds at 500/1000, raised to 3K, he called, flop was Jack high, I raised, he folded.

A few other raises by me where he folded and a few he folded from the small blind gave me a slight lead.

Finally I picked up A/J again. He raised, I hemmed and hawed...I was actually debating re-raising but it came across as me having a marginal hand, apparently. Flop came J/rag/rag. He raised, I went all-in, he called...he had I think J/7 but never got help and I had come back from 300 chips to take the win.

Sadly, most of the tournament was not too much fun for me from the standpoint of...for almost 3 blind levels I looked for an all-in hand but did not play a single hand. I was folding to nothing. It was boring. On the bright side, it was a fun group, a fun game because of the joking around, so it was all right. And the huge comeback...I actually think Kenneth deserved the win tonight because he consistently played well. I had the 3 hand stretch where I got lucky, then with some chips to play with hit a few hands and he caught cards at the wrong times. Be that as it may...I will take it. I played an extremely patient game and it paid off.


C-List Celebrities

Our last game and I goofed up the time. I felt horrible. Fortunately, Jess brought her Dad so we had 5: Kyle F, John, me for guys and Jess and Ashley for girls.

Now, all season I have been making the same mistake. Short-handed, I elect to conserve energy...so I go half-speed the entire time. As a result, I rebound very well because I am a smart rebounder, but otherwise I am useless. This game I decided to run full speed until I ran out of gas at which point I would just run out of gas.

I started strong. On our first 6 or 7 possessions I was 2 for 2 with my little drive into the lane, pull-up jumper. I was rebounding well and passing well. Unfortunately, our opponents, the Platypi, were shooting the lights out as well.

This trend would continue. Kyle was on fire, so was Ashley, John had several nice drives and Jess hit a few shots. We were all scoring and scoring well. And it was a close game, about 35-31 with under 2 minutes to go in the first half. They hit a mini-run to take a 44-37 lead at the half.

Now, early this season we had a couple games where we barely scored 40 all game. It was a team effort. I had a huge impact as I kept doing my little drive/stop & pop or distributed the ball. I have always believed I was better than average at pinpointing the open players and this game did nothing to make me rethink that. Again and again I got people wide open looks. Far and away the best game I have played in a while...and it was done while I was feeling sick.

Anyhow, a guy early for his next game offered to sub for us. I would have preferred not but the consensus was yes. So we let him in. And our passing promptly declined. Kyle was still red-hot, as was Ashley. I think I took something like 3 shots in the second half. One was early and I heard one of the refs and Platypi talking about how I was playing. But I stopped getting the ball. Made me sad.

Oh, well.

Kyle & Ashley largely carried us with timely contributions from John and Jess, the new guy scored a few. I blocked a couple shots. But they just could not miss from the 3 point line. By the end of the night we had 82 points, our highest output ever. But they had 95 and we still lost by a lot.

It was a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed to finish it on the bench but hey...I played well, had fun, and we finished strong. Good times.

How You Doin'

1 pitch tournament. I almost did not go. But they were going to be short-handed so I went. 1 pitch tournaments or tough because you HAVE to hit whatever is heaved towards you. If it is a good pitch, great. But if it is bounding along the ground...still your one shot at it. Fortunately, I am a trash ball hitter. Unfortunately, I was having vision issues.

We were up first and it was not a good pitch to hit but I connected very well. Too well. Flew out to deep left center. Much deeper than I usually hit it as I like the Wee Willie Keeler "Hit 'em where they ain't" philosophy better than the hit it far type.

Defensively our team was on it for the first 5 innings. Ther was only one play I didn't make...a girl grounded softly to my right. I picked it clean but had to double clutch because the pitcher was in my throwing lane. With the double clutch my throw ended up being a step late and she beat it. Otherwise I made every play I should.

My other at bats were pretty good; took a chest high outside pitch to right for a clean double, singled back up the middle the other two times.

We had a big lead but gave it all back in the last 2 innings. going from 7-2 lead to a 9-8 loss.

It was fun but I felt horrible so we got a couple more guys and I went home. Good times.


When asked why he said, "Couldn't find a porcupine"

Conflict is pretty much inevitable. It is part of the human condition. And there are many reasonable responses. Some people prefer to withdraw, give the situation some time. Some people like to engage in quiet, reasoned debate or negotiations. Some people like to throw hedgehogs.

I guess for my part I blame the "victim". How are you going to pick up welts and puncture marks from being struck with a hurled hedgehog? Check that...getting struck with a hurled hedgehog OF dooooooooommm!

I mean, I could understand it if you were struck with a porcupine projectile but a whirling hedgehog? I tell you, after filing that complaint he must of felt pretty wimpy.

And for the record, if you get in an argument with me, I don't fling hedgehogs or porcupines...no siree bob, if you argue with me, you better get ready for the elevated elephant because that is how I settle debates.

Poker Home Game

7 people; I had Nick to my left, JJ to my right, John to his right, then Emily, then Ryan, and then Roman...so Roman 2 slots to my left, John 2 slots to my right...

I set the tone early. About the second hand I had medium pockets, raised pre-flop. Emily called. Pretty passive for her recent style. I put her on a decent Ace. Flop was great for me, only 1 over, an 8...I was not scared by that, I raised. She hesitantly called. Turn was another blank, I raised, she folded. I just threw out a possible, "Good fold, your Ace-Jack was no good." Shocked, she said, "How did you know?"

I didn't. I just knew a range of hands she might have had and picked one and got lucky. After I called a couple other hands I got in the heads of the people who didn't know me. When I can do that I like it because it establishes me as someone who has a good sense of what and how other people play...so it can intimidate them into laying down winning hands or not bluffing much.

Of course, then I went nuts and played rather poorly. I was playing too many hands. That has a tendency to sharply affect your chip stack and sure enough I was up and down a great deal. At one point I was chip lead but I bled them away playing too many hands.

Got down pretty low and was in the big blind with a not terrible 8d, 10H. Someone min-raised, I was getting 6-1 and decided to see what happened. Flop came 5/7/8, 2 spades. I had been short-stacked for a while and had seen a couple of expressions. They did not like the flop. I got a bit crazy and sent in the chips. Folded to John who said, "You hit the straight already?" and went into the tank for a long time.

When he said that I figured he didn't have the straight himself...if he did he would have called. He did not mention the flush draw but that was a definite possibility. However, the odds were not right for a flush draw as I had massively overbet the pot. I actually thought he had either 2 pair or medium pair, good kicker type thing, maybe top pair but I thought that was less likely. I was wrong...he had 8/Q but there is simply no way you can call 3/4 of your chips to someone who raised all-in on that flop. I could make the bet with my 8/10...but sure could not have called it! So aggression paid off, I took a nice pot and was in pretty good shape after I almost doubled up off Ryan a few hands later.

But Roman was hitting like a mother. He was taking down pots left and right. By the time we got to heads up I needed to double up about 6 times just to take the lead. I did double up a couple times. But when I picked up the Speed Limit I raised, he re-raised so fast I put him on a strong pair...maybe Jacks or better? It was obviously nothing he would lay down. A good player would have either folded or just called. I went all-in and he insta-called...with his 10s. He flopped a set and it was over.

Overall I played okay...my reads were awesome, I just played too many hands. But I had fun so I am fine with that. I like to play with a group like that and love to play a lot of hands. Overall, great evening and kind of re inspired my love of poker.


C-List Celebrities

Wow. Only myself and 4 girls showed up. Our opponents were even sadder...2 guys, 2 girls. Both guys were taller, faster, stronger, and better shooters than me...

I matched up with a kid about 6'6". Fortunately he was not real aggressive because had he posted up I would have had a tough time. Well...maybe. At least twice he tried to post me up. I don't have fast hands anymore...but I have smart hands. The first time I poked the ball away and when he reset he was outside his comfort zone, the second time I forced him into a bad shot.

Defensively Jess was playing awesome. I concentrated on boxing him out and she alertly was swooping in to grab the ball. I was not getting as many rebounds as I normally do but she, the shortest person on the floor but a good 4", was picking off every loose ball. Unfortunately, we were struggling to score at the other end. Once more we did not identify our advantages and get the ball to them.

I set about 10 screens and not one was used so I quit. Finally I decided to lurk on the blocks and see if I could get a few offensive rebounds. Got one when both their guys were right there. Went up strong and got swatted. Ball bounced right back to me. Ball fake, went up...and the other guy blocked it. Snatched the ball back, put it up...and got blocked a third time. Got it back, ball fake, spun and faded away...and hit the shot. Three shots blocked on one possession. When I was young and talented I would not get 3 shots blocked in a year. Oh how the mighty have fallen...

But they were just too fast and tall for us. One girl kept getting left open and nailed about 6 treys, their shorter guy hit a lot of threes and had a lot of fast-breaks...meanwhile, we could not out the ball in the bucket. By the end it was a blow-out, 62-38. We played almost 45 minutes and scored all of 38 points. I think I took 5 shots...something wrong with that picture. Oh, well, it was fun.

How You Doin'?

Had our first softball tournament of the year, a "marathon tournament" where you play 2 games in one day. Yeah, I know...when I was growing up we would play 4 or 5 hours in a row. Makes me feel old. So did my performance...I missed the first game while doing taxes but showed up for the second game.

JJ put me at shortstop. I came up in the top half of the first with runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out. Despite having only swung a bat I think twice all year, I was able to do what I do...I went the other way into the gap in right, pulling in at second with a clean double and driving in our first run. I died on second, no big deal.

They promptly dropped a four spot on us. Not a huge surprise...the girl they had playing catcher is good enough to play short for us. So their worst girl is at least equal to our best girl...and their guys were all equal to or better than our guys. I had but one chance, fielded it cleanly and got them at first. Felt good about that, particularly since I was not wearing my glasses so was having a hard time picking the ball up off the bat.

Next time up I went the opposite way again but this time I got under it and flew out to right. One of our guys advanced from 2nd to third...then went crazy and tried to score. On a flyout. Did not make it. And not only did it kill the inning...we did not score again in the game.

Defensively it was a mixed bag. I was fielding the grounders well but my throws...well, Nick saved my bacon on about 4 throws. My arm is too dead to make that thrown anymore. Had one spectacular play going back to my right over the third baseman's head, caught it, and in one motion off my back heel threw a strike to home. I thought I got the runner but I guess the throw was late.

After they "mercied" us we played one more inning. This time I pulled to left and singled, then was out on a fielders choice. Defensively...well, I fell asleep. Almost literally. I was thinking about a conversation between innings and when a sharp grounder was hit to me I avoided it.

After that mess I was embarrassed...next batter popped it behind third. I took off with the ping of the bat. Laid out. Had the ball in the glove. Landed hard. Ball popped out...I dropped it. I suck. But I still paid the penalty because I drove my arm into the ground with all that 260 pounds of me. Stupid. Should have made the catch, I just dropped it, but in the process I pretty near blasted my arm to pieces.

Second game was better. I made every play except one errant throw where I did not have time to get the runner but tried anyway. He could not advance so no harm. Offensively...well, first time up I singled to right. Next time up they shifted, I tried to pull it and flew out. Third time up I doubled. Fourth time, tie game, no outs, 2 runners on...this is where I should shine. He gave me the perfect pitch....chest high, outside corner. I got happy feet, over swung...and popped out to shallow right. Some clutch hitting. I suck.

We ended up scoring 3 that inning but it should have been 5 or 6. My bad. It mattered because they threw up a deuce in the bottom half of the inning and had a chance to tie or win. We held on for the 6-5 win. Fun game.

Just from last year to this I can feel and notice the decline in my skills. My throws are worse, my swing terrible. Could be a long year.