Park District Softball, Serious Business

I play in a few different softball leagues over the summers and it seems like every year that I play the experience gets worse. It got so bad in NB (don’t want to use the actual town name) last year that I pulled my team completely out of the league because I didn’t like the way things were being run and how issues were being handled, also I didn’t really feel like running a team anymore. I even waited out another season because the park district hired a new person in charge of softball, but even after a year with him in charge most of my teams concerns fell on deaf ears.

After dropping out of that particular league last year I still continued to play in another league in NB, but this one was an all mens 12″ league unlike the other one, but most things remained the same. The umpires in the league are supposed to be ASA certified and know the rules, but most of them don’t know the NB rules (they are a little different than most towns), the strike zones change with every ump which I can understand to a point, but when some umps judge a strike on where the ball lands and some judge it on where it crosses the plate it gets confusing and frustrating. Then there are the umps that refuse to run out further than 2 feet in front of the plate when trying to make a call at 2nd base, I mean seriously, you’re getting paid like $50 a game, run your ass out there and make a good call. I don’t understand why NB doesn’t just implement the mat behind the plate like all of the other softball leagues I play in do. If it hits the mat and it’s within the arc range it’s a strike, simple as that. Then the umps can spend their time actually running out and making good calls in the field as opposed to worrying about their own personal strike zone and looking cool while calling balls and strikes. I understand it’s hard to ump a game when you’re the only umpire there, in little league there are at least 2 umps per game, 1 behind the plate and 1 in the field, which makes calling plays a lot easier, so I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but there have been some horrendous calls made this year and just flat out lazy umps.

I guess I can’t just blame NB though, I play in another town and there is one ump in particular that has consistently made terrible calls throughout the season. The first game we played with him he warned both teams before the game that if anyone throws the bat he’s going to toss them out. Apparently he got hit with a thrown bat the week before so he didn’t want to take any chances. And sure enough about 2 innings into the game the pitcher on the other team was up to bat and she accidentally threw her bat after she hit the ball and was running to first, this guy instantly threw her out. I understand you don’t want to get hit with a bat, but it was a girl and it was their pitcher, you’re really going to throw her out? Even we as the other team thought it was ridiculous and protested to let her stay in the game, but he wasn’t having any of it. Then the following week, which would have been last week, this same guy threw out a player from the other team and wouldn’t resume the game until the guy left the entire park. That kinda sucked for us because then we knew he was going to be in a shitty mood, and sure enough he was. Not to mention that he was contradicting himself on his own rules. Again he warned both teams about throwing the bats and sure enough someone on the other team threw there bat, yet this time the ump warned him again…. So he’s willing to throw out a girl instantly for tossing her bat backwards, yet he gives a 2nd warning to a dude that whips his bat, that makes no sense. Other than this one ump in that league the rest of them are pretty good and actually pay attention to the game.

So I really didn’t want to spend this entire post bashing the umpires in the park district softball leagues, my main reason for the post was our game that happened last night, but then some other information regarding the NB league was brought to my attention this morning and I felt like ranting some more about that league and went off on a tangent.

Last night we had a game in my other league, it’s a coed 14″ league in a neighboring town. Our team has actually been doing pretty well this year, surprisingly we were undefeated with a record of 8-0 (or something like that) going into last night’s game. The team we were playing against had a few big hitters on it and their guys were decent players and I think the last time we played them it was a fairly close game to a point, we might have pulled away at the end, but I don’t really recall. The game started good, we put up 5 in the first, I think they got a couple, then we got a couple more, then they had a big inning and ended up, up by 1. A few innings later they got 2 more and were then up by 3 going into the 7th inning (last inning). We were visitors so we were up first, I was up first. I hit the ball into the gap in right field and slide safely into 2nd base. As I was getting ready to stand up, the shortstop had gotten the ball from the outfield and proceeded to push and hit my feet off the base and then tag me. Apparently he was trying to be “funny”, but in actuality it was just stupid and kinda caught me off guard that this guy was trying to push me off the base. Now usually I’ll keep my mouth shut during games and not say anything, but this guys idea of being “funny” was ridiculous to me, so I got up, stood on the base, looked him in the eyes and called him a “fucking prick”. Needless to say he didn’t like that.

Now I’m not a big guy by any means, but occasionally I’ll run my mouth when I should probably stay quiet. So I call the guy a “fucking prick” and he starts getting angry now since by this point he was behind me telling me to turn around and say it again to his face. I had already said all I needed to say so I just kept my back to him, no need to escalate things, he shouldn’t have pushed me, I called him a prick, it was over. Then he starts complaining to the ump that I swore at him… haha, then claimed he was just joking and we’re just having fun here. Ok, it’s one thing to come over and maybe pretend to tag me or do something while laughing, but this dude came up and almost forcefully started pushing my legs off the base and just a complete asshole, so I definitely didn’t think he was trying to be funny. So then he goes back to short stop and cries about something else so I turned around and looked at him and kinda laughed, at which point it looks at me and says “If you’re so upset about it why don’t you go toe to toe with me, I’ll bury you”, wow dude, calm down. Again, this dude was bigger than me, I wasn’t about to start anything more, so I just laughed at him and turned around. We ended up scoring 2 runs that inning and tied up the game going into the last inning.

Ok, back up a little bit, forgot something. So apparently since we were the undefeated team there is a team in the league that can’t stand us…. for that reason alone. So 2 of their players decided they had nothing better to do than stay to watch us play and heckle us the entire game. Talk about no life, I understand it was a Monday, but I sure as hell wouldn’t spend my Monday night watching another team play softball just so I can yell and cheer for the other team. So we had that to deal with the entire game and it was extremely annoying.

So long story short, since there’s nothing else terribly exciting about the fact that we lost the game in the bottom of the 7th due to a couple bad throws, one on my part. But I just find it funny how these people took this game so seriously and since we were getting annoyed with them and a little frustrated, in turn they thought we were the ones taking it too seriously. It’s park district softball, yeah you get money if you finish 1st and 2nd, but guess what, we don’t pay a dime to play in any of the leagues, that’s what a sponsor is for. So whether we win or don’t, in the end we’re still ahead because a bar is paying the $500+ for us to play in the first place. And that statement is based more on the 2 idiots from the team that wasn’t even playing, more so than the team we were actually playing. Most of the team we were playing weren’t too antagonizing outside of the incident with me and the shortstop, which I later apologized for since I did just get caught up in the moment and didn’t know what the fuck he was doing, and obviously don’t get his “sense of humor”. So I have no problems with the team that we played last night, it was a tough game and they won. However, we play the hecklers team next week and you can be damn sure that I will be taking that game extremely seriously now.