About the Author: Brian Ford is the knuckleballer for Scared Hitless, a former Cy Young Award Winner, and as an accounting professional single handily caused the economic collapse of 2008.
My Sunday starts off like most others of the Potomac Wiffleball League. I wake up to Garry Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2 and stand naked in front of the full length mirror and take 30 giant cuts with the small yellow bat . “Today, Phordy is going deep.” I drop to my hands and feet and do a few pushups…but only a few, because I, like most PWL players, am on the downside of my athletic career. But today is our chance to make something happen. On Sundays, every player can feel excited for a chance to hit a home run, be part of a no hitter, or even have a great bat and get a nomination and a win for Player of the Week…like I did the first 2 weeks.
This is my fourth season in the PWL and much has changed, in the league and with the players, since I took the Summer 2009 season off. There were problems off the field that affected my PWL status: personal life, work life, and I was slow and sluggish. Basically, I looked and acted like David Wells. Our Skipper, Patrick Browning, was on a similar downswing, except he converted to Christianity, joined a monastery, and then got a giant tattoo of a cross on his back. This left Nick “I don’t remember drinking that” DiCrosta and Matt “Big Cat” Dreyfus utterly useless with 2 on a team, when 3 are needed to play. Scared Hitless dissolved faster than Arthur Anderson after the Enron scandal. Canvassars manager and Commissioner of the PWL, Chris Gallaway, had Tony Cani’s contract paid out and let him go the prior season due to terrible jokes and bad pitching. Other problems arose with Stephen Zigmund‘s combination to his air locked-time contimium capsule and had the Canvassars hurting for some new bats and a reworked pitching staff. The Commish needed to act fast and saw his chance to rebuild a championship team. He picked up two of the most feared hitters in the league, and picked up one of the best pitchers in the league…which he rarely used and sat in the big game to pitch Ryan “I won a ring and bought a Mazarati” Hawkins.
Boy was I happy to avoid that season. Many problems arose with jay-walkers on the diamonds, extremely low scoring games, and if you didn’t strike out at least 10 times you didn’t play more than a game of wiffleball last season. The Barnburners, SP ’09 champs, did not return because of permission slip problems and Andrew Martin entered the slow to medium pitch league throwing gas. And to top it all off the Canvassars won the World Series again (in a tainted season)… Yes. Please, sign me up for a league that got out of control.
This season has gotten off to a great start. Three fields, 12 teams, umpires paying attention, no tree overhangs, and 757’s radars screwing up the green field’s strike board. Ahh YES! The Strike board. What a winning idea! It has made the game become more honest on both side of the plate. It has forced pitchers to throw strikes because if a pitcher throws 4 consecutive balls he/she is warned. Another 4 consecutive balls later anywhere else in the game will have a pitcher ejected from pitching the rest of the game. Adding called strikes forces batters to swing the bat and not wait 10 minutes for a perfect pitch, unlike in previous seasons. Pitchers now have a capped speed limit for called strikes and people like Tony Ragano and Andrew Martin will become less effective. The batting averages have been up, runs allowed per game have been up, and the excitement has gone to another level…especially when you strike someone out looking. Speaking of excitement…did the GNATS win the first game ever? It only took 38 innings…