Monday, June 10, 2019

Win One for the Gipper

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 3:08 PM

click to enlarge Youngsters finish rounding the bases after the Crabs' first home win of 2019 - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Youngsters finish rounding the bases after the Crabs' first home win of 2019
“Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way.”

My Grandmother used to sing that every morning to wake up my brother and I. And I, not being a morning person, hate hate hated it. Nothing worse than being rousted by someone an hour and a half ahead of you in mood. But today the sun is out, I’m lightly sunburned for the first time this year, and I’m feeling like Curly McLain because yesterday the Crabs dug out their first home win of the season!

Some new exoskeletons have joined our consortium of crustaceans since we last saw them: Dom Souto, a catcher and infielder from UC Berkley; Evan Gibbons, Nick Tabura (pitchers) and Dawsen Bacho (catcher), all from Sacramento State; and Ubaldo Lopez, a Dartmouth infielder and 2019’s winner of Longest Migration, all donned Crabs uniforms for the first time this week.

It seems to have helped. The Crabs clawed off two victories in the hostile, near-boiling waters of Redding. The Seattle Studs, however, are a different beast and proved it again this weekend, winning two out of three games in the series for the second year running. (Side note: The Studs are one of the oldest collegiate semi-pro teams in the country and are named after the Cheney Lumber Company, who copyrighted the 2x4s commonly used in home building. They are not, as I assumed, named after an ungelded male horse.)

Friday’s game was one of those where it was close until it wasn’t. The Studs and Crabs each scored two runs in the second inning, with Ubaldo “Ivy League” Lopez mashing a two-run homer for the Crabs’ part. From there it was a pitching duel, with only the rare inning getting past the fourth batter. Until the seventh inning, that is. One early error and the Studs seized the opportunity and put five runs on the board and that was that: 7-2 Studs, and the Crabs drop to 2-4 on the season —a 33 percent win rate, roughly equivalent to a 16-33 season.

Saturday was one of the quickest games I’ve ever seen, clocking in just under two and a half hours. We were in the bottom of the fourth inning at 7:45 p.m., an average of 10 minutes per inning. That’s nuts.

In the top of the third with one out, a Stud reached first on a dropped third strike. For those unfamiliar: If you strike out, but the catcher drops the ball, you are allowed to bust ass to first base. If you make it there before the someone throws you out, you are safe. It’s incredibly rare and one of the stranger rules in baseball, but it happened Saturday night. The Stud stole second a few pitches later, and was ultimate brought home on a deep sacrifice fly: 1-0 Studs on zero hits.
click to enlarge Davonte Butler showing off the Crabs' camo uniforms. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Davonte Butler showing off the Crabs' camo uniforms.
Davonte Butler was throwing darts in his second start, and by the seventh inning looked poised to pitch a no-hitter and lose, a rare feat. But he was spared, the seventh was his last appearance, relieved by Dalton Smith. The bad guys snuck another run in and while the Crabs would score one of their own in the ninth, a two out rally in the final inning is a tough draw for anytime. Final score: 2-1 Studs.

Before Sunday’s game, I was able to speak with Manager Robin Guiver about the Crabs uncharacteristically rough start.

“It’s been hard. We started the season missing about half our roster, playing really good teams, but we’re starting to fill out now. We’ve got, like, 10 hitters now instead of eight, so our pitchers don’t have to hit anymore. Guys can play more of their main positions. But no excuses, we have to play better. And we will.”

Days like Sunday are made for baseball. Sunny but not overly hot, minimal wind, no clouds but the chemtrails being dispersed overhead. The only better way to spend a Sunday like that than at a ballpark is working in a lab with Norman Borlaug on a wheat strain that will literally save billions of lives. And that already happened.

New Crab Evan Gibbons got his first start and threw five strong innings, allowing only one run and four hits. And, for the first time in the series, solid pitching had
Damian Henderson slides past an errant throw in Sunday's game. - MATT FILAR
  • Matt Filar
  • Damian Henderson slides past an errant throw in Sunday's game.
bats behind its back. The Studs scored one run early and the Crabs responded by driving in two of their own in the second. They would score one run in each of the next two innings and clamp down to ride a 4-1 lead all the way through the ticker tape. They won, they fucking won. The floodgates are open, Ladies and Germs.

Hecklers were in fine form all weekend, fine form indeed. One Studs player, the catcher, was sucking on what appeared to be a lollipop all weekend, and that proved to be an endless font for the first base line.

Heckle of the Series
goes to the erudite gentleman who organized and led the whole bleachers on a spirited rendition of “The Lollipop Song” (many thanks to The Chordates).

Cheers and Jeers
Cheers to yours truly for making Gordon, Crab Grass Band conducted and noted stoic, laugh with a heckle.

Jeers, in fact Double Jeers. to me for having such a precious ego I had to openly Cheers myself.

Cheers to the whole Crabs' fanbase, for being so polite and accommodating to those trying to exit and enter these new, confounding bleachers. Let’s all agree to be judicious and thoughtful in our risings and sittings, yeah? Minimize trips. If you’re going to buy a beer, get two. If you think you may get snacky, head over to the concession stand and procure some sustenance before buying your beers. Don’t be that guy who’s getting up every 10 minutes to buy one thing.

Naughty List
Two young bucks were cast from the left field viewing area for insisting upon using foul language. I get it, sprites, curse words are cool. But knowing your audience is way cooler. Stay in school.

Three boots, zero fatalities.
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Thomas Oliver

Thomas Oliver

Thomas Oliver lives in McKinleyville.

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