Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Still In A Room Without A View

Video works again, and contains bonus footage!

Above is a video of me vs. Mike in the basement league at his house, circa 1991-92. We played this Nerf-ball baseball game endlessly. One day I brought the video camera over, and we had his brother Mark tape some game action--as well as do some play-by-play. Hard to believe the kid with the voice you hear on this video is in his twenties now.

The play you see there is one of the greatest inside-the-park home runs in basement league history. Although Mike could be awarded three separate errors on the play. Either way, it was hard to make it all the way around the bases without either hitting the white area of the wall (automatic homer--unless it hits the ceiling first), or hooking the ball somehow inside the third base pole, into the side room. Even then, the fielder only has to get the ball and get back to the main room to ensure the other guy stops at third. Oh, and you could also hit one into the open door in center, into the vast, dark boiler room, and sprint around real quick.

In the video, it's a squibber out in front. Jere, age 16, with long hair, rounds first (off screen, see below for full field layout), thinking two all the way. Realizing between first and second that Mike already has the ball and is ready to peg him, Jere watches for the throw and ducks (clearly with only time to guess which way, like a soccer goalie on a penalty kick) down and to the right, avoiding it narrowly. Mike retrieves the ball in the right field corner, while Jere rounds second. Now, keep in mind, third base is so close to second base, you can literally lay down on the ground with your foot on second, and reach out and touch third. Mike, instead of playing it safe and conceding third, tries to peg Jere in that one split second where he's between second and third. The throw misses, flying into the dreaded side room.

Jere settles in at third, assesses the situation, and decides a dash for home is feasible. Again, the third to home decision is rarely even considered, as usually you're stopped at third if you make it that far. And you really only have to make it halfway home to score when the fielder's in that side room, because another wall, just off the left of the screen, protects the home plate area (a pillow on the ground in front of the strike zone chair). (The total distance from third to home was maybe 7 feet.)

Jere makes the move, and there appears to be no throw as he dives into home. From the video, it's almost like I realize the ball went into a cabinet or under a chair, and took off. I score, and I'm psyched, having gotten a homer the hard way. The dancing begins. For some reason, the line "He's jumping of joy" gets a little cut off. [Update: JFJ line fixed. I uploaded from the original video this time.] But after that is the classic line we all know and love. How he knew the name of that dance is even more inexplicable than the fact that I'm doing it in the first place.

I'll again bring up the comparison to the movie Thirteen. Watch that film, then look what I was doing at sixteen.

Here's a diagram that makes the "field" easier to understand:

Here's what it would look like from above:

Happy birthday, mom.

Really more of a Russian Kazak dance...my six years of grandmother-funded Irish step lessons would beg to differ with your friends call of the action..."Now he's at THIRD!" will go down in the announcing pantheon alongside, "We'll see you tomorrow night!" and "I can't believe...what I just saw!" when the final history of baseball broadcasting is written...terrific job old friend of Jere...

Also, that video reminded me of our old GRFL- the Guest Room Football League. I'd kill to have some video of it's most dramatic moment, when my little brother split his head open crashing into a nightstand after diving over the guest bed on a critical 4th & 1 play...also, I might add, the last moment of the GRFL...after that, the co-mom-ssioner disbanded the league in a controversial, unilateral decision, made, obviously, without the team owners' consent.

Die-hard readers should know Mark as "the dude who won the Jaws trivia contest on Martha's Vineyard last summer."
Thanks, Jere.
My birthday goal (not that I've ever had a birthday goal before) is to be sure Mike's mother sees this post. She will love your rendition of her family room
Jere, the original Lord of The Dance. Who knew?

That does take me back...we used to play wiffle ball in my parents' basement with a miniature hardwood bat from Cooperstown, back in the mid-70's. How we ever managed to avoid breaking any bottles or glasses behind the bar is beyond me.

And Happy Birthday JeresMom!!!
Wow...happy birthday Mary-Ann!! 39?
And your post was precious Jere. It reminded me of the days when my brother and I were in college and still lived at home during vacations. He was in Ithaca, I down in PA. We had a great ping-pong table in the basement, and the games, with so many friends, are still so stenciled in my memory. Thank you. And there were a couple wall-dented rebounding "great gets" that make me smile to this day.
Thanks, Jere, and AJM and Peter.
the boiler room was indeed cavernous; you forgot to mention that one's pace in there was tremendously slowed, due to the dim lighting and misc., sometimes hazardous, items strewn about such as un-sprung mouse traps, rusty dirt-bikes from the 80's, old lunch boxes (i still have the gremlins one), and a table saw. btw, great diagrams. your knowledge of the furnishings is most impressive. i'd forgotten all about that always cold, dusty, and hole-y brown couch that took up most of right field.
Mark--great call on the boiler room, and thanks for pointing out its true hazardous nature. The table saw was straight ahead, maybe a little to the right, I think, and could cause quite a bruise. (I never actually caught sawblade, fortunately.)

I forgot about the right field couch, too, until I started drawing the diagram. The pitcher fielder would often end up there in a demoralized heap, after a futile attempt at robbing a homer to the short porch in right.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States