Tagged: Librarians

That Time All Three Summer Softball Teams Went to the Finals…and Two Won!

It only felt like it took us 108 years to win.

It only felt like it took us 108 years to win.

What a difference a year makes!?!

Two years ago, I was ready to give up on softball. I had become more enamored with cycling, and the postgame conviviality—hanging out with teammates and rivals for hours on end—helped contribute to the end of a long-term relationship because Sarah was not part of that world.

One year ago, there were a few health issues that made playing difficult. First, after crashing my bike on East Third Street in March 2015 and banging up my knee, I was unable to sprint for about six months, meaning I was unable to play well for the entire summer softball season. Second, that nagging ingrown toenail surfaced again, causing great discomfort for a few weeks. Ironically, cycling didn’t aggravate these issues. I often joked that although I could cycle for 100 miles, I couldn’t run to first base.

But this year, I found a renewed excitement for playing. My injuries were gone, and I was able to contribute more than in the past. It also helped that all three of my summer softball teams went to their respective league finals.1

Ball Busters… Champs!


This year’s Ball Busters was an entirely new team, and I found myself playing a greatly reduced role throughout the year. I didn’t complain because we amassed an impressive record and made it to the finals. My biggest role on the team was pitching the third and deciding game of the finals, after not having pitched at all for that team all year. We won that game, 3-1, and won the league title for the first time since our “franchise” did so in 2012 and 2013.

Gibson Robots… Not Champs

I’ve been on this McCarren Park team since 2004, and it’s been a very successful team in terms of making it to the finals. We have done so eight times. Winning, on the other hand, has not been easy. We’ve only won once in 2011.

This year, we struggled throughout the season, barely amassing a .500 record. However, we played well enough to get a sixth seed, and when the playoffs started, we upset the #3 seed and the #2 seed in the first two rounds, allowing us to advance to the league finals. However, we got off to a rough start, giving up five runs in the first inning, and then not producing at the plate. Although I settled down during the game to keep them off the board, I went down in the fifth inning with a strained calf. I could barely stand up on two legs, much less play. I came out of the game and watched helplessly as my team lost 11-5 (or something like that).

Librarians… Champs!

This is the most unique teams I’ve ever played with. Our games are in the middle of the week, during the day, and over the years, since I took over the team, I’ve stocked it with a lot of players from Williamsburg.

I’ve been with this team since 2007, about the time I started dating Sarah. At first, she thought it was cute that I played softball in the middle of the week, during the day, but by the end, she was less enamored with the idea: “you loser! Why are you still playing softball in the middle of the day!?!”

But running this team is very challenging because the games are in the middle of the day, and I have to find people that either have flexible schedules or can take a day off work to play. Also complicating matters is that we need three women to play. And in addition to those challenges, the competition is very good. One of our players once noted that this league must be very hard because the players we have are really outstanding but the team can’t win a championship.

Of the teams I’ve been with, this is the one I’ve been with the longest without winning a league title.

That changed on Friday, after we beat the defending champions, The Wolf Pack, in four games in the best-of-five series.

We started the series last Friday. We lost the first game, 7-4, but won the next two, 4-3 and 5-4, coming back late in the game, despite trailing the entire time. We played the fourth game a couple of days ago, on Friday, and won that game decisively, 12-1.

It was a true team win. We all played splendidly in the field, and although we struggled at the plate in the early games, we battled to remain competitive and win each game. It was heartening to watch the team play the entire game and not give up until it was over.

And now, in early November, summer softball is finally over!

  1. I did sub on a few teams, but those don’t count, right? 

Librarians Shirts: Back in White


Although it’s a little late in the season, a vocal contingency of our players asked me on Friday about getting new shirts. Since I kept the screen from last year’s t-shirt run, I can print the shirts without too much trouble. The only challenging part is actually buying the shirts and/or getting them delivered in time for our double-header later this week.

The major difference between this year’s shirt and the one from 2010 is that I’m printing white shirts with the design in black ink. We did that for the tank tops that were for sale at the Library Bar, and I thought they looked better than the ones we made for the team. Evidently the design works better when it’s printed with a dark-colored ink on a light-colored medium, such as a white shirt.

As soon as I get the shirts, I’ll post pictures of the printing process and of the finished product.

Games 2 & 3: Librarians vs. Juicy Lucy

On the second day of Weekend of Softball, the Librarians played a home-away double header against Juicy Lucy. Juicy Lucy is one the league’s best teams, a certain “final four” contender, and last year’s champions.

We played very poor in the first game, and in fact, should have won. There were some key defensive errors and a couple of costly base-running blunders, but my poor play at second base basically cost us the game. I was having a very hard time making even the most routine plays. We lost the game 13-8, wasting a solid pitching effort by Kevin.

I was going sit to let Kevin pitch the second game because I was feeling down about being so bad in the first game, but he convinced me that I should take the ball. It was one of my better pitched games, scattering a handful of hits, and getting a lot of fly outs. The game ended with a dramatic flourish. We came into the bottom of the seventh leading by two runs. The leadoff hitter hit a triple and scored on a single by the next batter. The next two batters are a bit of a blur, but we got them both out. The next batter hit a double, putting runners on second and third with two outs. The tying run was at third, and the winning run on second. Once that happened, I decided to intentionally walk the cleanup hitter and load the bases. The next batter, the team captain and a very good hitter ended up taking a first pitch strike, swinging at and missing the second, and ultimately hitting a pop-up in foul territory that our first baseman caught for the final out. The final score as 3-2.

We were very down after losing the first game, but winning the second in such dramatic fashion was a big boost for the team’s morale.

Weekend of Softball

Sarah left today for a weekend trip to see her family in Kentucky and also to go to a bridal shower for a high school friend. Since I’m poor for the next few weeks, as I usually am during this stage of the summer, I thought I would have a quiet, productive weekend while Sarah is gone, spending time at home, cooking for myself, and maybe even doing some writing.

I still plan to do all that, but it also happens to be a very busy softball weekend. On the docket so far are no fewer than six games over the next four days:

  1. It begins with a double header on Friday morning with the Librarians taking on Juicy Lucy in a fierce battle on the artificial turf of East River Park.
  2. On Saturday, the Robots take on the always bothersome Papacito’s All Stars in McCarren Park. We want to beat them so bad, and I know they’re looking for a competitive game. I’m looking forward to this game.
  3. Sunday is going to be a grueling day. The Ball Busters begin the first round of the Lower Manhattan Softball League playoff tournament on the Great Lawn in Central Park. It’s a best-of-three series against the enigmatically named Awkward Times. We enter the tournament with the number-one seed so we want to carry our winning ways from the regular season to the postseason.
  4. Finally, on Monday, things will be a bit more relaxed with the weekly Wilson Softball game on Central Park’s North Meadow. On most Mondays, I can barely walk after most weekends of softball. But I imagine playing this game is akin to a recovery ride after putting a lot of miles on my bike, like a century’s worth of miles.

And earlier today, as if he sensed that I didn’t have enough softball this weekend, my friend Crazy Eddie asked me to sub on his team tonight. I was planning on seeing M.O.T.O. this evening at Saint Vitus in Greenpoint, as I just found out about the show this morning.

But I’m ready to play. Summer is going to end in three weeks, and I won’t have this opportunity again.