On the Diamond: End of the line
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” The din of a truck horn roused me from my coma.
It was early Wednesday morning. The kitchen lights were on. Olympics coverage blared on the television (I tune into NBC 24 hours a day because I don’t want to risk missing ping pong, trampoline or the chance to see Paraguayan javeliner Leryn Franco).
I was wearing my softball uniform ” everything but the batting glove and the cup.
My temples throbbed and wing sauce dangled from my cheek (in other words, it was a typical morning).
As I rolled off the futon, a sharp pain shot from my right calf. I looked down, spotting a mass of dried blood and scabbed skin caked with red dirt (a little less typical). I was momentarily disoriented and a bit confused.
Then I remembered. Memories of Tuesday night’s epic bout with the Skoolerz flooded my head. The Times overcame a 7-2 deficit and trailed by just one run heading into the top of the seventh.
We finally rounded into midseason form. Too bad it came in the final game.
Shortstop John Keck looked like Ozzie Smith (minus the elaborate facial hair), smothering tough hops on an infield so deep someone could’ve lost a shoe. His girlfriend Walker even stopped a sharp grounder to third with her larynx. I’d like to see Criss Angel pull that one off.
John Colson joined the act with an impressive catch in left ” this despite his double vision and constricting jeans (he left his assless chaps at the office). Moments later, Cindy Klob gloved a hard line drive in right center that she swears she never saw.
Chad Abraham, wearing my sneakers, led our most prolific offensive output to date with four hits. While his effort was a breath of fresh air, I do regret allowing him to go sockless ” my Nikes smell like used shoulder pads smothered in blue cheese.
In the middle innings, the big guy scored standing up from second on a weak dribbler up the middle to trim the deficit. I was hoping for a slide ” I’ve never seen it, but Abraham says the act makes him look like a felled rhinoceros.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, I stood on third, ready to explode toward home on contact to score the tying run. Keck then drilled a ball to shortstop, and the Skoolerz pulled off the double play.
I could see the excitement on the face of the one fan in the stands as he leaned back on the bleachers. This was something special.
Until the seventh. We walked in a run, loaded the bases with two errors, then a soft single slid under our right fielder’s glove, clearing the bases.
Eight Skoolerz runs later, our dream of a three-win season had vanished. It stung almost as much as finding out Plum TV finished second in the final standings.
But the team didn’t lose sight of the big picture. We finished strong. We had a chance.
We had a couple of beers, a couple of laughs and a couple of potential misdemeanors.
That’s all I ever wanted.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.