City Paper Web Programmer Will Atwood Mitchell has a quicksilver mind, understands online applications like nobody’s business, and is the only person who’s successfully convinced me that Battlestar Galactica might actually be worth watching. (He doesn’t play the “It’s not really a sci-fi show!” card.)

Most important, Will Atwood Mitchell is tall. That’s going to come in handy as the Shadows, City Paper‘s softball team, gears up for the new season in the Metropolitan Media Softball League. At our second practice last weekend, his height proved to be a tremendous asset at first base, where he leapt, stretched, dove, and otherwise extended himself while fielding my throws from second base. Oh, how he moved around the bag!

It is unlikely that I will be playing second base this season.

Regular City Desk readers may recall that our performance during the 2007 season was, er, less than optimal. (I blame myself as much as anybody—things got so bad at one point last season that I wound up writing Lolcat-themed posts. Sorry, everybody!) But that one-win season was then, and this is now, and there are lots of reasons for us to be excited. The softball blog of one of our first opponents, Express, is about 35 percent less funny this year, so they’re looking eminently beatable. And while our edit staff is now about 35 percent smaller, on the evidence of last week’s practice we’re fielding a strong team this year. Marcello Goldberger had a knack for landing shots into the outfield, where Carrie Allan, Nikki Caporale, and Mike DeBonis showed plenty of hustle.

Also, we’ll be loose all season, now that Mitchell is helping us keep expectations low. In an e-mail to players yesterday featuring motivational rhetoric, and driving directions, he wrote, “We’re going to try to win twice as many games as we won last year.” With leadership like that, how can we lose? By which I mean, how can we lose more than 14 times?