Each week always brings a little bit of controversy, complaining, and douchebag like behavior. Usually it’s manageable, doesn’t distract too much from the game, and is treated with the appropriate level of disdain by most other wiffleball participants.
Who can forget the Tony Ragano/Jon Godfrey “in your face” confrontation after the padawan NWO beat former master Clubber Lang for the second time this season. The tension was palpable and the sexual undertones hard to ignore. Pretty much anytime NWO is on the field you expect a certain amount of douche-baggery, but that day it reached a boiling point and Ragano’s Facebook status soon changed to single.
Week 5 probably should have been an exception to this rule. With only four games it’s hard to have many issues. Forfeits suck.
However, the day started out bad not just for the rain and standing water on the field, but from a visit from the National Parks Service, and got worse as two old teammates squared off in the day’s final matches.
For your consideration, the first ever nominees for Douchebag of the Week (not that MANY others haven’t deserved a nomination over the years):
Nominee #1 – Park Ranger Deborah Deas
As most of you know each week or at least every other week, a Park Police officer or a Park Ranger from the National Park Service stops by the PWL Scorer’s tent to check things out and make sure we have a permit. ( We do ) Each week we’re mildly inconvenienced as the person who approaches tells us that we have to move the league van. In addition to being our source of power for the stats laptops, the van serves as a nice additional headquarters, a “dugout” almost for players. (Not to mention making loading and unload equipment and fences a little easier.) After reading the permit, the officials always concede the argument and move on.
This week, the Ranger who issues the permits, Ranger Deborah Deas, stopped by in person. You might remember Ranger Deas from previous posts as the person we unsuccessfully lobbied to let us stay at Gravelly in 2008, and who worked with us to get our permit this year. She’s kind of infamous in league history and at some point more will be written about her.
Well, why wait for that point, here is the deal: She visited the fields this week because it had been reported to her that we had been parking the league van next to the fields and she wanted to personally come and make sure we knew that was in violation of our permit and that the vehicle needed to be moved to the lot.
The conversation began smoothly enough as the Commish directed her attention to the same language that had been shown to the other officers and officials who had stopped by before. As the person who issues the permits, it was merely a reminder since she had in fact given us the exact language to which we were referring. We don’t believe she actually wrote the language herself, we’re sure the template for permits existed long before she became the Special Permits Ranger. But, to say that she should be at least casually familiar with the language is probably an understatement.
What happened next was hard to explain. The only thing we can believe is that there was just a simple misunderstanding of the English language. The section which we have pointed to many times, and to which every other official we have provided it to agreed with, was disputed by the Ranger. She in fact said, that she “issues the permits, so she knows what is in them and what they mean”, despite what every other rational person’s reading of the language has been.
The permit states:
28. Parking is permitted only in the designated parking area, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE VEHICLE FOR USE IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY, which may park on the grass near the playing field.
(Emphasis NOT added by the PWL, but rather, by Ranger Deas in the permit.)
To us, and most others, it’s pretty clear that the intention here is that when you have a permitted event, you’re allowed to have one vehicle be on site, close to that event, in the unfortunate situation that an emergency were to happen. Whether a medial injury on the playing field, a drive by shooting from the Parkway, a plane crash, or a kid flying a kite next to the field, it makes sense to have a car close by to help facilitate the needed aid.
Ranger Deas first argued that the section only applied to “emergency vehicles”; which we’re assuming she defined as ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, the trucks that spray the foam on the run way when you have to crash land a plane, etc. However, a pretty clear reading of that section as well as the other sections which reference “vehicles” in the permit made it clear pretty easily that the permit was both written and intended to be referring to any kind of vehicle, say perhaps, a van. This part of the debate took five minutes. PWL 1, NPS 0.
Unfortunately we weren’t done, and the next debate point became over the language “in the event of an emergency”. Ranger Deas took the position that this meant parking was allowed only near the field if an actual emergency was currently in the process of happening. For example, should the field be actively on fire, and the fire be defined as an emergency, it would be fine to then park and leave the van next to, or perhaps in, the fire. When the PWL took the position that perhaps that didn’t make any sense, and that if an emergency were actually happening at that point it wouldn’t make sense to go get the van and park it, things started to take a turn for the worse.
Even if it was a medical emergency, a broken leg, it wouldn’t make sense to have permission to move the van there and park it. It would make sense to load up the injured party and drive them away, to a hospital perhaps. No need for parking. Another section of the permit already gives holders the right to drive onto the field to pick-up or drop-off equipment. Assuming we defined the player with cracked bone sticking out of his or her skin as “equipment” we’d be ok for a drop-off or pick-up already. So, clearly, the position of the NPS didn’t make any sense. Clearly this section of the permit and “in the event of” means that we can park there, so that should an emergency occur, we are ready with the vehicle. At this point, even the umpire chimed in that it really couldn’t be read any other way. PWL 2, NPS 0.
Finally…after having asked four times for us to move the PWL van, and having lost each part of the argument pretty clearly, Ranger Deas relented. She didn’t concede the points, but rather, stated that everyone would be issued a new permit this week that was clear that only “emergency vehicles” could park there, and that in the event of an emergency, a stroke victim or plane crash survivor could hoof it over to the parking lot from the field to find a car to bleed on just like everyone else. PWL 2, NPS 1 (kinda)
Fortunately, the forfeits meant that only one game was going on at the time and a game didn’t have to be delayed for the Commissioner to keep score for the close to 20 minutes that this dispute occurred. Nicholas DiCrosta, hiding his beer from the Ranger, scored while the argument raged.
To no one’s surprise, so far no new permits have been received by the PWL, and Ranger Deas has not been heard from. She gets our first nomination for Douchebag of the Week.
Nominee #2 – Kely Raygod
In the PWL, and in life, there are definitely bigger douchebags than Kely Raygod. Normally Kely’s squeaky wheel complaints and witless suggestions and ramblings are minimal enough to be ignored. However, during Week 5’s matchup between division rivals Scared Hitless and the Canvassers, Raygod elevated his game enough to win a nomination for a tussle with the Commissioner.
Raygod was a Canvasser during the franchise’s 5th World Championship season in Summer 2009, but left to join Scared Hitless in 2010. As a result, he and the Canvasser manager, who also happens to be the Commissioner of the PWL, had a small falling out. It resulted in minor things such as the Commissioner not mentioning Raygod as part of the World Series champions in some statements and a name misspelling on the stats page. Once it became clear that 2010 was a rebuilding year for the Canvassers (who have won 5 of the 10 World Series in PWL history to date) and wouldn’t be a challenge that prevented Scared Hitless from making the playoffs only to blow their 5th chance at a World Series, the rivalry died down a little bit and Raygod and Gallaway even seemed to make peace at times.
Raygod’s perfect throw from home plate to second base after catching a foul ball in the Spring 2010 World Series, the first out recorded that way, was even highlighted on the PWL website.
The third installment of the Canvassers/Scared Hitless four game series this season started off as expected. Scared Hitless go out to a good lead, building up a five run margin. With the earlier forfeits, the game was the only one going on, and it actually started early, but still over an hour later than the last game had been played.
The PWL rules provide for runs rule victories in a couple of different situations. If a team is winning by 10 runs any time after 3 innings (clearly giving the home team chance to bat last should they be trailing) the game is over and the “mercy” rule is applied. The second scenario is that if after 45 minutes of play, a team is down by 5 runs, the rule is then applied. (Average game time this season for games has been 43 minutes.)
This rule was mentioned and discussed by Raygod prior to the start of the game. It had come up because Raygod had spent “more than an hour” on the metro in order to get to the game, and he had hoped it wouldn’t be a run rule victory. With the nine team schedule, Scared Hitless was only scheduled to play one game that week. The trouble should have been spotted then. It was clear, at least to some onlookers that Raygod was really inconvenienced by the “more than an hour” metro ride, and was looking for a fight.
Unfortunately, Raygod’s worst nightmare came true. His team WON THE GAME. And, in fact, were up 5-0 after the Canvassers had batted in the bottom of the 5th inning (out of 6) and 48 minutes and 35 seconds of play had happened, thus making it a “mercy” run rule victory. It was at this point that Raygod became unhappy. He really wanted to get one more inning of play in.
Those present say that they believe that Raygod had spent somewhere in the neighborhood of “an hour” on the metro, and even if the game was technically over, it was clear that Raygod wasn’t satisfied that the rules were applied. Clearly, exceptions to the rules are what are needed after “an hour” metro ride.
Unfortunately, the Commissioner didn’t agree. Despite is costing his own team a loss, and an embarrassing “mercy” run rule loss, the Commissioner enforced the rules. The Commissioner, feeling bad that Raygod had spent somewhere close to “an hour” on the metro, did agreed to continue playing out the game so that Scared Hitless could get in more at-bats and fielding practice.
“If Kely needed the Canvassers, including a rookie pitcher who had never thrown a pitch before that day, to be the punching bag for Scared Hitless on their way to the World Series runner up spot, we were ok with that. It meant more practice for us too, and we really need it this season”, Gallaway said.
However, the Commissioner said that the “extra inning” wouldn’t count in the official stats, since technically the game was over. Raygod came unglued. He lost control to the point of prancing around the field and taking over the scoring computer from Alex Filides who had scored the “official” game but was refusing to continue scoring the “unofficial” part. He then continued to complain about the rule and said everyone hates the rule, even though it was unanimously passed by the league managers.
Commissioner Gallaway pointed out that Raygod was welcome to be his team’s representative to the next manager’s call when rules were discussed. But, probably went a little over the top when saying that clearly despite his problem with this rule, and many other rules, neither his current manager (Patrick Browning) nor his former manager (The Commissioner himself) had felt comfortable including him in those decisions before.
“It’s like the crazy guy that stands on the corner and tells you what’s wrong with the Congress, and that the government is beaming signals into his head”, said Browning. “Sometimes you stop and listen to him to amuse yourself, but that doesn’t mean you actually elect him to Congress.”
Some of Raygod’s other ideas for rules changes have been a little out of the main steam:
- Home Team Keeps Batting for Stat Padding – If the home team is winning in the bottom of the 6th, they get to keep batting as long as they can pad their stats. Exception #1 – If the home team is winning against Scared Hitless, they are allowed to keep batting as long as Nicholas DiCrosta is in the game pitching and not Brian Ford.
- Raygod K Not an Out – The foul tip third strike that hits the board, referred to as the “Gay K”, “Alternative Lifestyle K”, or “Raygod K” will not be an out, but rather will trigger the batter to have to use the bat as a pretend microphone to sing the chorus of “My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada” from the musical Avenue Q three times while making fuck me eyes at the pitcher.
- Scared Hitless Allowed to Concede World Series Without Actually Playing – Should Scared Hitless make it to the playoffs for the 5th time, they will not be required to actually play World Series games to become bridesmaids yet again. (This may already be covered under the forfeit section.)
To teach everyone, especially the Commissioner, a lesson about not crossing him when he spent almost “an hour” on the metro, Raygod left the field after the game without helping to pack and load the equipment. Raygod 1, PWL 0.
At some point, no one is clear when, by Raygod’s own admission, he also put his “thumb up his ass” in protest. ( See Comment #1 ) Raygod 2, PWL 0.
For his lifetime of work, if not just for this event, Raygod merits the second nomination.
Nominee #3 – Commissioner Chris Gallaway
Clearly it takes two to tango. Both of the previously described douchebags needed a foil to engage with or else their douchebag moments would have passed unnoticed.
As the league’s sole responsible party, the defender of the “best interests of wiffleball” it often falls on the Commish to make unpopular decisions. That doesn’t mean that the Commissioner is always perfect in that role. Whether it’s a controversial free agent signing, an ignored name on the POTW nominations, or a tough scoring decision, everyone is not always going to be happy.
As a result, it’s only fair that the third nomination for this week be the Commissioner himself.
The choice is yours, to vote with your minds and your hearts, to determine the first ever douchebag to be formally recognized in the stat book as such by the league.