Friday, June 28, 2013

DotTeeVee: The Sweet Science of Slow Pitch Softball

One of the people I regularly e-mail has informed me that he ventured into what I fearfully call the "outside world" or "forbidden zone" and discovered it is now summer. For those of us committed to the electronic grid this is all the more reason to huddle in our bug-out locations, but for an increasingly marginal number of people it's time for outdoor recreation. This means far out scenes like slow pitch softball.

If you've ever played the S.P.S. you know that winning is absolutely critical, and certainly far more important than alcohol intoxication, socialization with one's peer group or being allowed to swing a bat full-force at things without being jailed or institutionalized. Yes, sweet, sweet winning. The problem is how can I, as a slow pitch pitcher, somehow gain a competitive advantage when my hands are tied by the very rules? The answers will amaze you.

Full of page after page of beer chugging tips.

Music normally associated with videos where people that aren't married and don't love each other engage in pecuniary physical intimacy plays and we're introduced to our guide for this amazing journey. He wrote an entire book on slow pitch strategies. If the death of the publishing industry, the growing illiteracy of the average person and the general war on intelligence has a bright spot it's that we probably won't see another book like that released and, presumably, bought by someone, somewhere.

We start by debunking the myth that the role of the pitcher is just to "throw the ball in the air." Michael actually gets a little angry, insisting that their is a highly tactical side to the position that might not be obvious when you've been laughing, hanging out and drinking with your friends for hours, but it's there, darn it!

"If you're having fun you're doing it wrong!"

The good news is, according to Ivankovich, that you don't have to be a "good athlete" or "in shape" so if you were planning on starting Spartan-style physical training, including hunting giant wolves and learning to endure the elements for your beer league it isn't necessary according to the only expert I know of. I'm very relieved to know that no actual self-improvement, physical or otherwise, will be necessary.

Let's talk about spin. Can you put a ton of english on the ball and make it impossible to hit? The answer, of course, is no. However, our coach insists there's a psychological element and you might be perceived as some kind of technical wizard if you rainbow the ball slightly differently. Once my softball enemies respect me, they'll soon learn to fear me. I guess.

"Oh no! It's spinning slightly differently!"

Should I be intimidated if they have nice uniforms while my team from "The Office" bar are dressed in mismatched Jacksonville Jaguar Tim Tebow jerseys that we fished out of a K-Mart dumpster? According to Michael uniforms don't mean anything, other than the team has money and organization so wear that grease-stained Dole/Kemp 1996 shirt with whatever pride you might have left. The real indicator of quality is the presence of "softball equipment." I'm not sure what that means and we're not told, so I can only assume it covers gloves, kegs, mugs, 36 packs, knee braces, mini-kegs, bottles, raging kegs and maybe sun glasses or whatever. 

Protip: Try not to stare directly at the sun while waiting to pitch.

We're told we can watch batters during batting practice to gather valuable intel for the game. Does he look fast? Strong? Does he have a beer gut? Get ready for lots of "no, no, yes" answers to these questions. We should also try to figure out if he's "single." Easy tiger, we're supposed to being playing a game here, not looking for a hook-up.

Cuddle after or wham, bam, thank you ma'am?

We must assume that every batter is "aiming at your head." How this paranoid cynicism will help is, sadly, never explained. I mean, it's not like points are scored for hitting the pitcher's head. Or maybe they are, who knows? What kind of bloodsport is this?

"Umpires are a lot like elephants." Well, that explains the large, leaf-like ears and prehensile noses. Actually, we're told that "they never forget." Or forgive. They watch and wait, filled with hatred, looking for any sign of weakness. When you feel safest they pounce.

This pathology can actually be made worse if you try to argue a call. This is illustrated by a dopey sequence where the actor playing "angry pitcher" can't get the inappropriate and character-breaking smile off his face, because he's so excited about being in a softball video that maybe a dozen people will actually watch!

Why so not serious?

What is the solution? Show good sportsmanship and never challenge a call? No. Of course not. Get someone else to do the arguing for you so that your strike zone doesn't "shrink." We get some closing words assuring us that the road will be long and treacherous, but we are now on the right path to slow pitch glory.

Looks like they're sending in the "relief bastard."

Komment Korner 

Hey outfield this guy is single....back up!

I want the tape that teaches you how to use roids!  

You don't have to be the world's best athlete. You don't even have to be in great shape. You especially don't have to be sober!

always observe your batter's marital status.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-MxkXj_--A


Aaron Zehner's first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in e-book format at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
  

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