Boston (strong) Wiff Party
In light on recent Boston tragedies, a wiff party of the Boston variety seemed a bit out of place. Let me tell you Boston is a weird place right now. I know you have all seen the emotional Bruins national anthem performance, or have seen the spectacle that is the Red Sox lately. I am proud to live in Boston and I know that the OCWA is Boston Strong.
With that being said I think I owe it to my loyal fans to get back on the horse and write a segment. My goal with this article is to make The Boston Wiff Party a home. A place where we can laugh, cry, and talk about wiffle ball, basically the only things I do with my friends since the amazing summer of 2009. With 20 days or less until the opening day tournament I’ve decided to make a list, a top 20 list of my favorite wiffle ball moments. There will be no specific order to this list because I’m picking stuff of the top of my dome but I plan to make the top 5 extra special.
20.) Take a Knee: Bullet Bill Annechino, one of the biggest hearts to step onto Bush Grapes Park, took a strange approach to routine grounder. Never have I seen gravity working so hard to prevent Jon Suhre, an OCWA vet, from reaching first base. Bill single handedly gave 6 outs to Suhre in his first 3 at bats. The laughter that followed 3 of the slowest plays ever was unreal. The look of failure on Jon’s face mixed with the feeling of terror and remorse for the fate of those tiny white balls being crushed by Bill weight makes me laugh to myself anytime I think of it.
19.) Boy those Bats are Heavy: There has been many injuries in the past few years. Lets face it; Wiffle Ball is basically a contact sport. You never know when you might get crushed in the back of the head by a rouge foul ball, smashed in the throat by loosely gripped (corked) bat, or even blowing out your knee mid swing. Coming in at number 19 is what Ben Brown, manager and on field sex appeal, put as, “The most awkward swing [he] had ever seen.” While lifting the bat off his shoulder for possibly the first time that season, Frankel’s knee decided that this was not a good pitch. Making what I assume was less than solid contact Frankel boosted his batting average while almost ending his wiffle ball and painting careers forever. He made a healthy recovery and I don’t think the OCWA saw another swing from him again.
18.) This is why we can’t have nice things: Many things can be said about Don Sutton. No one will ever touch his rise ball, walk him if he is swinging one handed, there is no shirt too small for his tight bod, work means nothing if there is wiff to be had, and lastly Mrs. Bush will never be the same again. I’m not saying that Wiff is a wholesome sport. There is spitting, swearing, fighting, and even the occasional destruction of the field (but we will get back to that later). Number 18, an event I was told by Skushypoo not to include in this list of things, is Don Sutton mooning the mother of the OCWA. A warm day in the third year of the OCWA found a couple of hooligans sitting on the roof of the Bush’s household. Innocent Karen Bush was not expecting to see a full moon so early in the night. It is an event often brought up and joked about. But folks this is no laughing matter. Mrs. Bush, the cookie and for Sacheli Rice Krispie bringer, saw something that day that she will never un-see.
17.) There’s no crying in wiffle ball: Ray Ali, anyone remember that he was in the OCWA? No? That’s fine, based on stats and over all contribution to the OCWA it was like he wasn’t there at all. Number 17 on my list of favorite things is dedicated to Ray and his “below average” average. It isn’t very often that girls make an appearance on BGP. But let me tell you this when they do show up they made Ray Ali look…bad. I got nothing against the guy but when you bring your at the time girlfriend to the Holy Ground of all things MAN, make sure you can beat her. Did he do that? No, no he didn’t. And for having a lower batting average than your girlfriend you made it to the list of my favorite things.
16.) Laying out the Big Bucks: FOY, that’s pretty much all I have to say for this one. Chris Sacheli literally created his own award. The fielder of year was something that needed to be given to Sacheli because unless you hit the ball clear out of the park, somehow it was going to end up is Sach’s hands. This http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFLB1vCucLQ&list=UUHJvft_IWD0RWZdaMowCKvQ&index=13 is my favorite play that Sach has ever made. Go to 1:18 and you will see why.
15.) His Greatest Weakness: Like I’ve said before Ryan “Skushypoo” Bush is a god among men, but even Bush has his weakness. For number 15 on my list I give you Ryan Bush’s greatest weakness. Ryan is and will always be weak to a nice joke. You make the kid laugh and he falls apart. He can’t swing; he can’t pitch; all composure is lost. Phil Limbeck is the best at making him laugh and that might be the only reason I drafted him last year.
14.) Papa’s got a brand new set o’ mocs: Papa Bush, much like Ryan, is a terrifying presence on the mound and at the plate. Unfortunately he is a few years older than the rest of league and has been beating up his body during those extra years. A few years back it looked like it may be Doug E Fresh’s last year as a player on Bush Grapes Park. In the off-season he had knee surgery and we were all uncertain as to what his future would hold. So here we have it folks, number 14, Doug Bush powering though his recovery and coming back to win the 2011 Opening Day Tournament. He may have had some help but I like to think that his new knee and his big ol heart got him that win.
13.) Quit Crying Krabbs: For years Colby Krabbs Delaney had been whining about his lack of “manager-ness.” He was very against his manager Chris Sacheli and cried to the people in charge about how he wants to run his own team. He was gung-ho about it and was super involved in the beginning of the season. With a lack luster draft and some questionable trades Krabbs’ season was looking grim. As he beat only a few teams, Plainguys included, it looked like they were only gonna make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, also because everyone makes the playoffs. Towards the end of the season Krabbs decided that he was done. He stopped showing up, he stopped texting his team for games and he stopped being a manager. He would tell Ryan that no one can make it to their games which wasn’t true. This is one of my favorite moments because it really shows how hard being a manager can be. RESPECT THE MANAGERS!!!!!!
12.) No better way to start the summer: I know that my previous favorite things have been single events or even possibly jokes but this one is near and dear to my heart. It brings a tear to my eye every time I step foot on the Bush Grapes Park for the Opening Day Tournament. It has become a true summer tradition between my friends and it is one of the greatest moments of the year. Let us never forget why this list is being written in the first place. There are only a few more days until I miss my first Opening Day Tournament in the last 4 years. It’s a day where we all show up to the Bush household way too early and leave way too late. It is a whole day filled with wiffleball, pizza, cookies, and rice krispies for Sacheli. It has become a day when my mother knows not to expect me home for dinner and a day when I know even if I don’t win a game I’m staying till the end of the day. It makes me so sad that I will miss it this year but I know my Strong Tough Dudes will bring the heat.
11.) The Down Falls of a Good Workout: I was going to save this one for a lower number but I just couldn’t wait. This is one of my favorite memories of all time. Not just wiffleball, and it is about time I share my true feelings about it. Coming in at number 11 is the biggest loss I think I have ever experienced in my entire life. If I could, I would write down a pitch-by-pitch summary of what happened but I blacked out from rage and everything that I do remember I have suppressed into that dark damp place in the back of my head that no one wants to go to. What is there to be said about Zac Hess? As a person he is one of my favorites, he is kind, strong, and always there for me. As a wiffle ball player: he is evil, temperamental, and a disappointment. Let me set the scene the best I can. It was a sunny day, the birds were chirping, the air was fresh, and the Carols were up by a lot, and I mean A LOT. LIKE WAY MORE THAN I WISH TO DISCLOSE. It was the fourth inning, zero outs, and all Zac needed was to hang on to the lead and get his two outs. The trouble with the fourth inning is if you don’t get those two outs, you never come off the mound. And ladies and gentlemen (actually lets be honest, there are no ladies here) getting those two outs were nearly impossible. As his pitch count rose, and the runs were walked in our lead was disappearing at an alarmingly slow rate. The balls were not only missing the strike zone; they were not even making it off the mound. There were at least two instances where the ball hit the dirt of the mound. As a manager, and a team player, and even just a human this was slowly tearing a hole into my entire existence. I watched as my healthy lead was handed off to a bunch of chumps and there was nothing I could do about it. I may be mistaken but I think at the end of that day Zac Hess let up about 19-22 runs with very few hits. When the two outs finally came, not only did we still have to play but also we still needed another out. It was devastating and Hess has not picked up a bat or ball since, Thank God!
10.) Welcome to Turner Field: There was a weird time in the OCWA history where we decided that one season we would have multiple fields. This. Was. A. Horrible. Idea. Turner field comes in at number 10 because it was a long, confusing day in Wiffle Ball. We played that day in what appeared to be the windiest day that has ever existed. This wind made pitching almost impossible and hitting the easiest thing in the world. If you made what I will call, slight contact, congrats, you just hit a monster home run. Ryan Bush a man who can pitch in the low 90s was throwing some intense 30 mph meatballs. I blame BJ for the fiasco and hope to never ever step foot on that awful field again. But I loved that day because Jamie “Anything But” Downs went yard like 8 times and it was beautiful.
9.) Ben Brown: Ben is by far Doug Bush’s favorite player and that is enough for me to put him on the list. He is the best-dressed player on the field. He rocks his jean Y2K hat with pride. He has always put up solid numbers and when it is time for wiff he is all business. That being said he brings a much needed sex appeal boost to Bush Grapes Park. He has the pecs of a god and the voice of an angel. Don’t believe me? Check out Hardball’s Facebook and his amazing performance of “Enter the Sandman” on YouTube. Wiff would be nothing without Ben Brown, at least to me. He picked me up for his first team and according to the original OCWA website we co-managed the Beepers together. He is a tough competitor and I am so glad that I’ve rarely had to stand on the other side of the field than him. I’m glad we are back together and I hope we can get ourselves a ring.
8.) Yes Ladies, I’m in a Wiffleball League: Have you ever told someone that you are on a nationally ranked wiffleball team? Have you ever told someone that your friend throws a wiffleball 92 mph? Have you ever owned four shirts that have Bacon as your name on the back? Well probably, because the only people who read these things are OCWA members but shut up, I’m trying to make a point. Wiffleball is an insanely dorky thing to be this passionate about. We take it way too seriously and I am super proud of that. I have never been embarrassed to tell people about the OCWA. I love telling people about it; I love showing them the site; and I love being the huge dork that I am. Not only am I a member of the OCWA but I also am a writer for the website, a watcher of the videos, a follower of the twitter accounts, and a card carrying pitching/hitting prodigy. For number 8, my favorite thing is the OCWA.
7.) The World Wide Web: Leaguelineup.com/ocwa is one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life and I use that freaking website for almost every article I write these days. Pretty much everything that has happened in the last 4 years is meticulously written down in that website. There are also gems like ancient picture of the old field, the Krabbs Kronicle, past logos, and every stat ever. The Internet has allowed us to really share our dorkyness with the world. The OCWA youtube channel shows me crushing monster homeruns and Bush just being terrible. Our twitter following has gotten to an astounding 92 (not counting BWP, and team twitters). And best of all we have this classy ass new website for all our fans to look at. Our online presence truly shows how legit this league has gotten and for that I give a shout out to AL Gore and the Whole Internet Community.
6.) Get the F*%^ off my plate: It is pretty clear that I’m a really good pitcher. When the greats are mentioned; Roeder, Bush, and Bacon are the three guys you do not want to face. I got mean cheddar and filthy movement. The problem with me is I rarely hit the zone. And I am the most out of shape person in the world so my stamina leaves a lot to be desired. But all that aside if your name is Matt Mika and you just so happen to be standing on the right side of the zone, get ready for me to be very accurate. In a single game I may have hit the future professional baseball player about 7,000 times. This makes the list because it was personally one of my favorite moments. Most days when I step up to the mound I can’t hit the broad side of a barn but that day I was on. You name a body part I could hit it and man was I hitting it hard. Many people starting calling me “welts”, cough no one called me that cough, and I was officially a member of the big three. I’ve always thought of myself as a mediocre player with the spirit and heart of a 10‐time world champion. Although, I couldn’t lift my arm the next day, hitting Mika that many times really made me feel like I made it.
Alright folks, here it comes the prized top 5 moments. These are personal moments that this article was basically made for. As I am sitting in my car heading back to Boston extremely sad that I’m missing Opening Day and being forced to listen to my Mom butcher the words to yet another awful P!nk song, I am truly inspired to write these last few moments. But before I start I want to throw a little shout out to a few people that helped me with this countdown and helped me find my true love in this world, wiffleball.
Skushypoo: Without your yard, your dad, your arm, and your boyish good looks this whole league would be nothing. I am deeply saddened that I will not be able to break that serious look and make you choke all over the mound.
J “Thompson” Tomkins: Look out for this kid guys, if there was an award for most improved player over the course of 5 years, J would have no competition. He keeps wiff serious and you know what? That’s really important. Keep it up Thompson.
Tom Jon: I’m just glad you keep coming back. You finally got yourself a team and Surly, you deserved it. Heart out the ass on this guy. And I really mean that.
Beans Broon and Sac: My teammates, my friends, my lovers. I’ll never forget our pregame carbo loading and “stretching.” The league is scared of us and always will be. We will someday be reunited and knock those Freaky Franchokes down a peg.
Okay enough sappy shit. Let’s get these top 5 done and get ready for Opening Day.
5.) King J(ames): Let me just preface this moment by saying I was nice to J already so take that to heart as I talk bout this. Lebron James, anyone like him? Oh you do? Stop reading right now. Or don’t, but anything you say/think after this point I no longer care about. Sorry, Lebron James is the worst person to ever wear an athletic jersey (this isn’t entirely true but I am trying to make a point. Like come on so many athletes have like killed people and raped people and even, no murder and rape is probably as bad as it gets. But leave me alone this is my article and I can say whatever I want. Sorry I got a little sidetracked. Oh also Nick Swisher can die in a hole.) He is unsportsmanlike (Lebron James, remember we were talking about him) really talented, and way too serious. I have always pictured J in a similar way but about a really unimportant thing that in the long run will never make him any money. These were old thoughts and things have definitely changed since the first few years of wiff. But right now we are talking about the first few years of wiff. Now for number 5, J “lebroning” off the field after losing the chip in 09. After a close game it was expected that you would be sad but you suck it up and congratulate the other team. Everyone shook hands and another season was concluded. Everyone, that is, except Lebron. J was later found sitting in the Bush residence grazing on some cheddar goldfish. I just enjoy this moment because he disappeared. I was flabbergasted that Mr. Commish would just storm off the field. Sorry bout this one J, but it actually is one of my favorite moments.
4.) As long as you bring your own Fresca: In a regulation wiff game there are 3 fielders. A pitcher and two outfielders. I am here to tell you all (my like 4 readers) that this is a lie. The OCWA would be nothing without it’s 4th man, Tim Schwartz. A kind character, full of smiles and wonderment has been an unofficial member of the league since it’s start. He is for sure a wildcard and for that he makes the top 5. No one will ever know what he is going to bring to the table. So for this dedicated moment I will do my favorite moments of his.
a.) DAT PUPPY!!!! One beautiful summer day Tim decided he was gonna show up and join in the wiff festivities but this time he did not show up alone, oh no, he brought what I can only guess was a 3 week old puppy. It could barely walk and I will admit it I was scared to see anyone carry it. The dog proceeded to distract everyone from the game and we learned a lot about Tim and his animals. Grisom, the puppy, was named after the beloved CSI character. We later learned that all of Tim’s animals were named after CSI characters and that us not knowing that makes us useless human beings.
b.) Tim always came prepared. He was always ready to really over stay his welcome. But one day truly stands out in my mind. Tim brought over his own chair and his own beverages. If one thing can be said about Tim, it is that he is far from a mooch. But I was puzzled by this bold move made by this bold man. I don’t find it weird that if you are drinking something and happen to come over and bring it. But ladies and gents, this was not the case. Tim came complete with his own blue fold out chair which included two cup holders which was perfect because he BROUGHT TWO FRESCAS with him. Enter twilight zone. WHO BRINGS TWO DRINKS?! AND WHO DRINK FRESCA?!
c.) Tim shoots guns, and tells us about it. That’s pretty much it.
3.) Big Bob’s Beepers (nough said, except I’m gonna say a lot more): The Beepers were, are, and will always be the best team to step foot on the field. We had heart, stamina, and class. For this moment/thing, I want to show the world how fantastic we were and how unfortunate our season turned out. 2010, we were men. Graduated and ready for the real world. The big three stepped out onto the field and did not win the Opening Day Tournament. Work conflicts and injuries made playing together difficult but we pulled through and had a well over .500 record with solid batting stats. I hit .312, Sach had a solid .400 and Brown carried our team (as told to us by Mr. Bush every time we played) with a .510. We crushed the ball that year and we looked strong going into the playoffs. I loved that team, I loved our chemistry, and I miss it. No we didn’t win the chip, we actually got knocked out fairly early but shut up I still loved it. And for being a Beeper I am proud of what we did!
2.) I made it, He made it better: 2009 was my inaugural season. I was picked up by star manager Ben Brown and was teamed up with Chris Sacheli to create the beautiful dream team I mentioned above. Our first season we were known as The Water’s Warm and boy were we AMAZING. Not only were we the best preforming team on the field but we were also the best looking team. I personally created our logo with a little help from Chris. I made us cheap hats and that is where this moment really starts to shine. Sacheli took this hat idea and brought it to a whole new level. Ever since 2009 Sacheli has added a beautiful new logo to the hat each year. There is a Beeper logo, a PHOG logo, a Take a Wiff logo, and soon there will be a nice healthy Schweaty Sach on there. It is a beautiful work of art and there is very little I can say about it so instead I’m going to show it to you. Below are pictures of the hat:
1.) My last Major League at Bat: Here it is guys, the number one moment of my top 20 OCWA moments. This moment I relive in my dreams over and over again. It was a moment that could have been my crowning achievement. Let me set the scene for those of you who weren’t there. Game three of the finals. Plainguys are down one run, bases drunk, and I am up to bat. Bush was having a rough time pitching to me that day and had walked me a couple of times. Laughs were exchanged but as the count became full things got real. I took a step back, this was it, this moment was all that I had left. I was either walking and making the game tied, getting a hit (yeah right), or striking out and hand the FF another ring. I didn’t want it to end. This would actually be my last at bat for a very long time. With plans of staying in Boston for the summer I knew I would not get another chance to face skush. Earlier in the day I had talked to Roeder about taking my manager position and asked if he would draft/pick me up so I could still feel like part of league. All the wonderful moments that you have read before this one came rushing through my mind. Wiffleball was my summer. I knew it, my friends knew, and my family knew it. My boss would give me days off because of wiff, my family scheduled vacations around it, I was a huge brat when it came to wiffleball and it saddened me that this was it. I called time and walked to the mound. Shook Bush’s hand and gave him a big hug. I said, ”This is probably my last at bat.” I turned around and headed back to take my last pitch. I was swinging. To all of you who may say I shouldn’t have swung, you’re wrong. There is nothing I regret less in life than taking that healthy cut and missing completely. As you can tell, it was a swing and a miss, and a big one at that. I almost swung out of my shoes but I got the last laugh. I took almost as healthy of a cut on my way back from my swing and put a nice slice right through the strike zone. It became my souvenir of the season. I may not have smashed a game winning grand slam, or even walked in a run to tie, but ya know what? I freaking smashed the sh*t out of that strike zone and I am damn proud of that. I am happy that my last at bat was against one of the best pitchers to ever play the game and to me that was the best way to go out.
Have a solid opening day, boys. I know you guys will have an awesome time and hopefully I can get some skype sesh in and see what’s going on. Few pieces of advice for you and I hope you take them to heart. Frankel, give it your all. You are the underdog going into tomorrow and for that I’m pulling for you. Doug, show those little kids whose boss. Bush, go easy on them. Kloos, I love ya ponyboy. Sach, you got so much heart kid and next season you me and ben will destroy this league. Roeder, you are beautiful no matter what they say, words can’t bring you down. Also nothing but gas!!!!! Love you Guys!!!!