The T-Dogs

3 Jul

6/19/2012

Just got home from a game with the Thunder Dogs.  The T-Dogs play in the Westchester/Rockland Wood Bat League (WRWBL).  If the A’s are a bunch of maniacs just released from there pro contacts who don’t take the game seriously enough, the T-Dogs are a bunch of white guys who never had pro contacts and take the gam too seriously.  It’s a mix of college kids using the league to stay ready for their fall season, some former college and pro guys, and a few old shlubs who just never stopped playing.  I am not sure which category I fit into.  The level of play is not as good as the Zorrilla, but it’s nice to start on time and know you’re gonna have nine guys show up.  Our home field is Roberto Clemente Park in the Bronx.  Like in the Zorrilla, there’s local traffic.  Commuter trains run behind the backstop every five minutes or so and always blow their horn to say hello and try to distract us.  Built up high behind the train track are layers of dark buildings, what is known as the Bronx.

the T-Dogs before a game.

We played the Lookouts.  Their starting pitcher was just okay.  Not as good as we’ll see in September in Jupiter, but good enough that I could work on some things.  In my first at-bat, I came up with runners on second and third and hit a 2 strike curveball line drive/ground ball back up the middle.  Both runs scored and we went up 2-1.  I struck out looking, then swinging, in my next two at-bats, curveball change-up respectively.  Then, you’re not gonna believe it, it happened again.  In the bottom of the 8th we were down by 2 runs and I came up with runners on 1st and 2nd, so I represented the winning run, and I hit a first pitch fastball over the center fielders head, and it hit the top of the fence!  This time I busted it out of the box and wound up safe on second base with a stand-up double.  The ball hit just below the yellow line.  It seems I am experiencing a power surge and a power outage simultaneously.  I am glad to be squaring the ball up, especially against the reliever they brought in who was throwing hard, but need to start hitting the ball over the fence, not off it.  One run scored on the play.  We ended up tying the game at five, but did not take the lead.

I was up again in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Tied at 5.  Bases loaded.  2 outs.  Holy shit.  They intentionally walked the guy in front of me to pitch to me which surprised me considering I had accounted for 3 of our 5 runs so far.  But it was fine with me.  They had brought in a college kid and I was confident I was going to bang one somewhere.  But…  I swung at the first pitch and hit it into the ground.  Ground out.  Short stop.  Game finished in a tie because they had to turn the lights off.  I am not upset about the approach, swinging at a first pitch fastball is not a bad idea in that situation.  But I gotta square it up.  Anyways, I am continuing to learn and am feeling more comfortable on the bases and at 3rd base.  I had spent most of the Orieles/Mets game watching David Wright and Wilson Betemit play defense and I have adopted some of their movements, specifically a little glove touch to the ground as the ball is entering the hitting zone on every pitch.  It helped, and I played error free at third.  Finished the game 2 for 5 with 3 RBI’s.  But need to keep getting better, especially in big situations.

In team news, today Youk publicly announced his support for 2013 if we can win the qualifier.  Got an email today from the team with this picture attached…

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