Record: 0-8 (.000)

Last Saturday, not long after helping the City Paper Shadows lose three games in a row, I helped host a small dinner party at my house. Among the guests was an 8-year-old boy. He plays in a baseball league, I play in a softball league. So, we had much to discuss.

“How many home runs did you hit this season?” he asked.

Uh, none.

“How many triples?”

I don’t think I hit any triples, no.

“How many doubles?”

I might have hit a double at some point, I think. Yes, maybe.

“How many games did you win this season?”

Not a one.

“We won all our games. We’re going to the playoffs.”

Suddenly I realized that I needed to get up and go refill drinks.

Things were dispiriting even before the games began Saturday morning: By the time we took the field for our first game against the AP, the temperature had climbed to (rough estimate) 380 degrees. And it didn’t help that the pregame pep talk from our manager, Will Atwood Mitchell, was cribbed from a played-out Internet meme. But getting manhandled by the AP 12-2 wasn’t worst of it. The worst of it wasn’t even the 29-2 shellacking we got from Team Video, immediately after they played a tough 10-inning game against the Examiner.

No, the worst of it was the final inning in our final game of the day, against the National Press Club. The Metropolitan Media Softball League has a slaughter rule, with which we are intimately familiar, that dictates ending a game at five innings if one team is ahead by 12 or more runs. The NPC had only racked up 11 against us, though, presenting a bit of a dilemma. Because it was around 1 p.m. and the temperature had reached (rough estimate) 468 degrees, it would’ve been easy enough to just say screw it—-boot a grounder, drop a pop fly, let ’em have a run. We have too much integrity to do that. Yet integrity is meaningless in the face of ineptitude. Mitchell had worked a bit of managerial magic by shaking up the lineup and positions for the third game, but between the heat, our being too short-staffed to make substitutions, and our general cynicism, I came to a realization so obvious and sudden it could’ve concluded the third act of a Wonder Years episode. We didn’t have to throw the game to end it quickly—-we just had to play our hardest, and the loss would be ours.

Lesson: Never state publicly that God is on your side.

Photo by Express‘ Holly J. Morris

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