On the Diamond: Off base | AspenTimes.com

On the Diamond: Off base

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN As we watched from the outfield as our first baseman dropped a soft toss from second base, negating a sure out, Nate Peterson looked over to me and said, “I think we might be cursed.”Moments later, Peterson camped under a lazy fly ball – a can of corn to all those devotees out there – then watched it bounce off the heel of his glove. I know it’s tough, but The Aspen Times’ rec softball team managed to reach a new low Monday night. For a second straight week we were on the short end of a mercy-rule game, but this time we suffered through a humbling shutout. We’re 0-2 and haven’t won a game in nearly a year, but look on the bright side: We did help lower Zane’s Tavern starting pitcher Ed Zane’s ERA. At least we’re making friends.It was the kind of performance that would make Stephen King avert his eyes. It was the kind of performance that would make Buddy Bell cringe – and he manages the Royals. How long did it take for things to fall apart? Exactly two batters. After a leadoff single, the next hitter grounded to the left side of the infield and somehow managed to come all the way around to score; I need to check with the Elias Sports Bureau, but I think four errors on one play has to be some kind of a record. And by the time the play ended, our left fielder was standing behind home plate. I’ve been playing ball for 18 years, and I still can’t explain that one.Our performance was abominable – and slightly hilarious. By the middle innings, many of our players were more interested in doing cartwheels and handstands on the sidelines than following the game – if the town ever starts rec league gymnastics, look out for Peterson in the floor exercise.What a bloodbath. Literally. Mix in my arm, my overly competitive personality, a ball and an unsuspecting teammate and what do you have? A recipe for peril. I fielded a grounder in center field and came up firing, lining a one-hopper to second. Everything looked perfect, but there was just one problem: Our second baseman caught the ball with her mouth instead of her glove. It took her three innings to stop the bleeding. In my defense, the play was our best hit all game. It was hardly a coincidence that both middle infielders ran away from me and the bag the next time I fielded a ball. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had that effect on people – hang out with me on Saturday nights. Mercifully, the game was halted after five innings, before I had the chance to wound someone else. The experience was so discouraging that I heard a few teammates utter the word “practice.” My response? We have 10 games left. Let’s not act irrationally just yet.


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