playing baseball in the EVBL
this summer i played in a local baseball league, the east van baseball league. when i first joined i was too late to the party - all the spots had been filled, but i wanted in, to be part of this so bad, that i joined a waiting list, aka the ringers.
over the course of the summer, teams had roster players away and on vacation or injured and i got called to play a couple of games here and there. my first stint was with the vancouver isotopes playing catcher. this was a position i hadn't played for well over thirteen years, and i stopped playing this position because of the damage it put on my knees. i played well. surely i couldn't do it multiple times over but it was fun. we lost the game, but i met people, put my name out there, and played well. my second game came shortly after with the mt. pleasant murder, and i knew some of these guys already - i played an exhibition game with them and played really well (i went 6-6 with 6 singles - but hey it's an exhibition game), again we lost but i put my face out there, played well, met people. all that one could ask for.
shortly after playing a couple of games as a 'call up - ringer' i got asked to join the mt. pleasant murder full time. of course i said yes. of all the teams i played with and against, i knew this group the best. we went on to a 10-2 record. i went through a hitting slump, made an error here and there, and basically did what i could to find my place on this team without disrupting any of the chemistry that had already been established prior to my arrival.
in recorded games during the season, i hit .200, which is under the mendoza line (if you're going on his .215 career average). but i tried to do at least one thing that helped the team win each game. run hard. track down a fly ball. be a nuisance at the plate. anything.
two weekends ago we played in the championship tournament. we lost our first game which meant the next loss spelled the end of our tournament. we went 10-2 in the season, we had a target on our back, everyone was out to take out the top team in the league. over the weekend, we would have had to win 4 straight to win the championship. and we did. saturday night we took out the isotopes which was a bittersweet game because that was my first playing action, jokingly someone in the end game handshake line called me a traitor. sunday, we had to play the east van black sox and it, for my money, was the best game of baseball i have ever been part of. we won 3-2, and i scored the winning run. at the plate, i crushed a single. then, with two outs and me standing on first, a soft ground ball was hit just enough to pull the first baseman off the bag, i was running hard just in case it went through and i could make it to third, but it didn't. the second baseman cut it off - seeing me running hard and about to round the bases, he threw it to third, but the throw was wild and went out of play. i advanced to home on the over throw. it was wild.
that game propelled us to take on the team that beat us in the first place, the railtown spikers. this team has three ringers who advanced full time, so it was kind of bittersweet to play a bunch of guys who wanted to be part of something, just as much as i did. we won the first game 5-4 and then played a winner take all final game, our third must win in a row that day - and we won 16-2. during the playoffs i adjusted my swing, and hit .444 with 3 singles, a double, and 3 RBI. it was so so so much fun.
even had we lost that first game it would have been a fun weekend. i've made so many friends in the EVBL, and feel like i have finally found my community of people. i've been in vancouver for 11 years now, and have never felt like this until this summer. i want to thank every single person involved, from the board, to the teams involved, to the volunteers and the fans. thanks for making a fella feel welcome, and thanks for letting me play baseball. it's all i ever wanted.