• March 20: Pacifics vs. Barbary Coasty

    Big Rec, Golden Gate Park

    20 March 2016

    In misty conditions, under steel-gray skies at Big Rec Park, the Bay Area Vintage Base Ball League at long last got underway.  Two weekends of rainouts postponed the start of the season, and the Ballists were eager to cross the lines and take the field, despite the conditions.  The outfield grass was long, bushy, and wet; yet the infield was trim and flat as the San Francisco Barbary Coast hosted the reigning champion San Francisco Pacifics.  Both teams took infield, shook hands; then Carl the Sir called “play ball,” and the 2016 BAVBB season began.

    Peter “Colonel” Banks took the ball into the hurler’s box for the Coast.  The Colonel throws with a high, overhand release and great accuracy, but the Pacifics were in no hurry to strike at his offerings. The Pacs worked the count relentlessly, only to put the ball into play to ask questions of the Barbary Coast defense; and with their signature running game, plated three aces in the first inning.

    Yet the Barbary Coast came back strong, showing they too, can pick up sticks and make hits; the Coast plated two aces in the bottom half.  Eric “Jumbo” Petit is the ace of the Pacs’ staff and he showed that he has the stuff, delivering to the plate with his high, overhand release, that gives the impression to the striker that he is merely handing the ball to the Behind.

    After the first, the game became a defensive battle, with conditions contributing to mistakes on both sides; yet quality shined through the dismal weather as both teams performed outstanding gingers. Notably, both teams threw out runners at the plate from the outfield, and both Behinds threw runners out while attempting to steal bases.  Credit to the Pacs left sided outfielders, Matt “Ranger” Petty, and Brian “Bolt” Faudree,” for preventing balls falling into the deep grass and clover, instead returning hands to the hurler.   For the Coast, Sammy “Badger” Hoffman was exceptional wherever in the outfield he played and Greg “Sparky” Castro added some ginger with a few excellent plays in left on his BAVBB debut.

    Nevertheless the Coast was always playing comeback as the Pacifics never lost the lead.  The Coast threatened many times, only to come up short owing to the excellent Pacifics’ fielding. While “Ranger” and “Bolt” took away long flies to the outfield by the Coasters’ sluggers, Lester “Shoestring” Lee made dangerous pop-ups in the infield look easy to field despite the rainy, windy conditions.  Sage “Buttercup” Bray made a number of plays from second to thwart Coasters’ rallies, and both Behinds performed exceptionally by blocking would-be passed-balls that, owing to the long backstop, would have been guaranteed stolen bases had the Behinds not been so willing to sacrifice their bodies.  Wes “Dread Pirate” Goodman-Levy and Peter “Bones” McAfee deserve much of the credit for keeping the score down from behind the dish.

    As the rain accelerated during the sixth inning the teams nevertheless pushed on.  The Coast placed the tying run on second but could not plate in the bottom sixth, and in the top of the seventh the Pacifics added to their lead with a two-RBI double by ex-Pelican and new Pacific, Scott “Friendly Fire” Endberg.  The Coast added a run in the bottom seventh and had runners on to tie, but the Pacs finished off the game with a great play to throw out a runner at third.

    The Barbary Coast will be disappointed and the Pacs will feel content with their victory, but the Cranks can only be thrilled that the quality and excitement of the Bay Area Vintage Base Ball League is back for another season.

    Your Faithful Reporter,

    Tupper McGee

  • The Dukes are back in action

    Opening Day in San Jose,

    The Oakland Colonels picked up where they left off last season, As Chops went 5 strong innings from the hurlers box.  The Professor and Bull pitched the 6th and 7th, respectively, in a strong performance by the Green shirted gents.

    Mule, as usual, absolutely crushed the ball, and highlighted the Colonels strong offence.

    As for the revived Dukes, they were finding their way, as a new team often has to do in this league.  Pup, Dipper Dan, Burlap and Enrique all hurled for the Dukes. Sidewinder showed some great ginger at shortstop.  On one fantastic 6-3 putout, the ball somehow found Sidewinder's glove as he dove and he made a great throw to make the hand.

    The Dukes Manager, Dipper Dan, was happy with his team's first outing.  The Dukes fought to earn every ace they plated.  However, the Colonels showed why, and how, they won the Golden Gate Cup in 2015.  Something for the Dukes to aspire to, hopefully in the near future.

    The Dukes will have to say farewell to Eli "Burlap" Wasson.  Burlap's job is taking him to Detroit, and he will have to retire from BAVBB for now.  It may have been short-lived, but it was fun to have him at at the beginning of the Dukes revival.  Best wishes Burlap.

    Glenwick Chuggles, San Jose Dispatch News

  • The Current State of Base Ball

    Bret Harte Field is partially submerged.

    Weather Report, March 9, 2016

    A 'Pineapple Express' brought as much as two inches of rain to the Bay Area over the past weekend, forestalling the start to the season, which was to have taken place on Sunday, March 6th.  The forecast for rain continues to look bleak for Ballists and Cranks, though somewhat better for the trees, flowers, and infield grass.  Two games are scheduled for this coming weekend, Sunday March 13th, at Big Rec Park in Golden Gate.  The league commissioners will keep a weather-eye for any changes in conditions, and faithfully update the schedule as reports come in.

    The provident commissioners planned for weather exigencies in this el nino season; postponed games will be rescheduled for bye weeks that do not fall on holidays, including an extra weekend at the end of the season for any remaining games to be decided before the playoffs.

    Stay tuned for schedule updates, and know that the sun will shine on BAVBB one day, soon.

    Your faithful reporter,

    Albatross Jackson

  • League to expand, The Dukes ride again!

    The board of director's uninously voted to expand the league to 10 teams for next season. 

    The original BAVBB team, The Dukes, will rise from the ashes and be headed by "Dipper" dan. The team will feature members of the original team (league founder Steve "Cappy" Gazay and son Corey "Pup" Gazay).

    Along with the San Jose team, a new San Francisco team will be started. Plans for that team are still forming, but there's a good solid core of players.

    A ten team league means a new challenge for scheduling. Board members are debating whether to split the league into two divisions, or play an 18 game season (2 against each team).

    The Dukes

  • Oakland Colonels win inaugural Golden Gate Cup

    The Oakland Colonels have won the first ever Golden Gate Cup. 

    It was not an easy road, they first had to get throught the Dublin Aces, a match that would go 9 innings and end in a walk-off victory.

    To hoist the Cup they would have to beat the Hayward Journals, who upset the season champion San Francisco Pacifcs.

    It was a close back-and-forth battle, but the Colonels emerged victorious and will have their name engraved upon the silver cup.

    The weather was warm and the cranks were entertained during the championship game at Big Rec in Golden Gate Park.

    Team members were announced by Carl "Sir" Gibbs, and an appearance was made by injured Hayward players, "Pops" and "Heels."

  • BAVBB Season Update, pt. 2

    The Clarions

    The Clarions experienced another season of flux, as has come to be the “norm” for this nascent squad. After the franchise-best season in 2014, the Clarions started the season without two of their biggest run producers and their star center fielder, who traded himself to the Pacs. Yet the Fall Ball recruits once again proved invaluable. Joe "Conquistador" McDermott filled the outfield leadership position with a flair commensurate of his nickname and led the team in just about every offensive stat. Matt "Squeeze" Collins proved an invaluable utility player in the infield and in the squat, and produced solid offensive numbers as well. Dan "Apollo" Stevens (so named because he ran a 50K the day before his first game and a half-marathon two weeks later on the day of his second) proved a versatile player in the infield and outfield. With the mid-season loss of Berkeley founding member and excellent striker and outfielder, Barry "Brick" Chubrik, who moved his family to the Jersey Shore and the land of Bruce Springsteen, the Clarions once again went into recruiting mode, adding three new "A's" to the roster: Andy Goff, Arthur Corpuz, and Alex Parker-Guerrero, all of whom had impressive initial appearances.

    As for the veterans, Brad “Frenchy” Gallien ran the show; and the battery of Eric “Shadow” Longeville and Dave “Commander” Garibaldi proved to be one of the most fearsome in the league. “Shadow” led the league in K’s, and nobody steals on “Commander.” With Dave “Driver” Phillips hurling as well, and “Frenchy” playing the second Behind, the Clarions cannot be taken lightly. The Clarions rallied late season with victories over the Barbary Coast and a sweep of the New Alamden Cinnabars. 

    The Cinnabars

    The New Almaden Cinnabars are no strangers to success in the BAVBB. Three times they have won the title, and while it’s not on for 2015, they made a good run late season to remind Cranks that the ‘Bars are here to stay. The Cinnabars are captained by eminent ballist Scott “Fly” Epperson, and led from the hurler’s box by younger brother, Eric "Tumbleweed" Epperson. It remains impossible to obtain hits to the left side of the infield because of the soft hands and easy, accurate toss of shortstop Ryan "Husker" Svrdlin. “Husker” made innumerable phenomenal plays this season; and if that weren’t enough, he has been lethal with his bat. "Tumbleweed" hurled most of the innings for the ‘Bars this year; hats off to him for enduring the abuse to his arm for five months. First year rookies Mark "Chester" Tellez, Vincent "Pops" Pellegrini, and Abel "Florida" Leon played excellently in their first year and helped to shore up the lineup with clutch hitting and good catches in the garden. “Florida” stepped up big by taking the ball and giving “Tumbleweed” much needed breaks from the hurler's box. Centerfielder Rudy "Holiday" Pitts ran the show in the garden, as he does. Jason "The Kid" Svrdlin came back from a health scare during the ‘Bars absent season in 2014 and contributed in right field and in the striker's box. Captain “Fly” handled second base like he lives there and had his best ever season in the field. Special mention goes out to Vinny "Uno" Pellegrini for donning the gear of the Behind after only one season and willfully allowing his body to become “Tumbleweed's” personal punching bag. “Uno” did a great job behind the plate and his bat was equally impressive. “Uno” hit two homeruns this season, one being an absolute bomb over the left field trees and into the playground at Mosswood Park. “Uno’s” speed on the ‘paths and consistency at the plate earned him the coveted lead-off role in the lineup, and he embraced the challenge with both arms and a ton of ginger.

    Overall, the Cinnabars came up a little short this year, by their own high standards; but it was nevertheless a great season and much fun was had by all. The ‘Bars can't wait for next year, and have warned the league that they are coming back with a vengeance. The ‘Bars have three league titles and make no mistake, they intend to make it four in 2016!

    The Pelicans

    The baby flock of Pelicans, under their Captain Matt “Boxcar” Rheinschild and grizzled veterans, Scott “Friendly Fire” Endberg and Joe “Smokey” Menard, spent the first half of the season learning the finer points of vintage base ball. Rookie Donnie Oliveira has looked impressive, hurling great innings for a large part of the season; but the Pelicans have been haunted by the crooked number innings where dropped balls and muffs pile up. The Pelicans have suffered the bane of every vintage game- the long inning in the field. Nevertheless, Nate “Bean” Underwood made your amount of capital plays in the center of the garden despite not having gone a game without being struck by a hurler. Welcome to the league, “Bean!” Kenny “The Groundhog” Wu and Ryan “Sticky” Akerberg bring the ginger to every game and show the heart and determination that keeps the flock of Pelicans together. With the arrival of Stephen “Duce” Nemy and Steven “Starfish” Starfas, combined with a few wins in the latter half of the season, including a dominant performance over the Barbary Coast, the Pelicans are poised to impress in 2016 and demonstrate that they are a team to be feared.

    Barbary Coast

    The Barbary Coast are the new boys of the league but most of the Coast are not new to the league. Many are veterans of the BAVBB; notably, Captain and ace hurler, Brody “Reverend” Romsey, who hurled a handful of complete game victories before inevitably wearing out his wing. Invaluable and indefatigable Behind and infielder, Jessie “Juice” Mallory led from the back while Dan-O “Small Plates” Owens ran the garden. In addition to absorbing fly balls, “Small Plates” informed Cranks all year with his sweet lefty swing, lovely as a morning sunrise. Rookies Sam “Badger” Hoffman, Scott “Honey Bear” Denny, Dave Winslow “Doc Spinner” Neale and Mike “Cockroach” Grafton adapted quickly to the vintage game and locked down the outfield for the Coast. “Doc” made the play of the year, chasing down a long fly and securing it backhanded over his head, while “HoneyBear” had a six-for-six day in Hayward. The antonymously named “Badger” burned up the basepaths all year. Veterans Peter “Colonel” Banks and Wes “Dread Pirate Roberts” Goodman-Levy made up the other battery and led the Coast from the strikers’ box. New boys Curtis “Dirtus” Hilger and Brian “Drillbit” Malefant locked down the left side of the infield, while Matt “Achilles Milkman” Peterson and Ferdinand “Toro” Drane rotated on the right side between various and multiple injuries. Once again “Toro” led the team in getting thrown out at the plate and elsewhere on the bases; yet he is sure to run next year, so teams be warned!

    The Coast made a midseason run at a playoff spot but hit hurdles hailing from New Almaden and Berkeley. Nevertheless they performed admirably in their first season and it is unlikely any team will make the mistake of writing them off for 2016. All to play for!

    Your Scribe,

    Alphabemricus Jackson

    The BAVBB wishes a speedy recovery to Nick “Heels” Jeffrey and thanks the many ballists who pitched in.

  • Homestrech: BAVBB Season Update, pt. 1

    The 2015 Bay Area Vintage Baseball Season is heading into the homestretch. With a break over the 4th of July weekend, it’s time to update Cranks on how the season is unfolding.

    The San Francisco Pacifics

    The reigning champion San Francisco Pacifics recently moved into first place.  The Pacifics have relied on teamwork, team spirit, and fundamentals to play consistently all year. Under captain Sage “Buttercup Bray and with veteran leaders like Charles “Cha-Cha” Ackerley, Sean Spikes Lawrence and Curtis “Gent” Seymour, it is not a surprise that the Pacs are in the vanguard. That the Pacs have conceded the fewest runs of any team speaks to the excellence of their defense, led by shortstop Justin “Grinder” Teisl and play anywhere/everywhere stalwart, Lester “Shoestring” Lee. Add to that the steady hurling of Eric “Jumbo” Petitt and that of the bespectacled rookie, Will “Cleveland” Hartmann - not to mention the solid Behind played all year, despite the long backstop of Big Rec- by Peter “Bones” McAfee; and it is clear why the Pacs are winning ball games. The middle of the order- Evan “Woodchuck” Meagher and Terry “Doc” Renaud - have been generating runs; and the Pacs have benefited from the off-season acquisition of the former Clarion and star centerfielder, Brian “Bolt” Faudree. “Bolt” has stepped in seamlessly to replace injured centerfielder and commissioner, Matt “Ranger” Petty.  Now that “Ranger” is back from injury, look for the Pacifics to make a strong sprint to the finish, and expect to see them at the BAVBB cup August 15th and 16th.

    The Haywards Journals

    The Haywards Journals led the league until a recent pair of setbacks, but it would be a mistake to write them off. Led by Captain Jaime “Junior” Ramirez and coach Jose “Tomahawk” Corral, the Journals tore through the first half of the season. New addition Nick “Pebbles” Montoya has been a revelation in the hurler's box, in the field, and at the plate. Nick “Heels” Jeffrey picked up where he left off last year, stroking balls around the park and fielding flawlessly; Ruben “Breeze” Riguero has displayed exceptionally soft hands at first base; and what more can be written about the Morales boys? Berto “Rocky” Morales at shortstop and in the hurler's box, Alex “Padre” Morales behind the plate and in the hurler's box, and Big Berto “Pops” Morales in  the hurler's box and in the infield- it’s almost like they grew up playing together! Hector “Catch” Del Rio has stepped up his game at the plate this year, and Emilo “Hops” Pagan continues to deny hits in centerfield. Stay tuned because the Journals are in it to win it in 2015.

    The Oakland Colonels

    The Oakland Colonels added to their squad in the off-season and are challenging for the title. Captain Matt “Chops” Siee has managed his side into a tie for second place and in no small part due to his excellent and prolific hurling. Jason “Tools” Rich has also hurled solid games; and along with Ben “Professor” Texiera, the Colonels possess an excellent ‘pen of hurlers. Of course, the staff is handled by the lefty striker and intimidating Behind, Luis “Mule” Argueta. On the field and in the trenches, you want him on your side. Michael “Cadaver” Sanchez has been hot at the plate, regularly driving balls into left field. Other Colonels stars are the rookies, Clay “Shooter” Ciccareiello, who has solidified the outfield with steady play in center; and Jabar “Stretch” Milton. “Stretch” has inspired the Colonels with his ginger, heart, and team attitude. He exemplifies how the Colonels’ team spirit has carried them within one game of first place.

    The Dublin Aces

    The relocated Dublin Aces (formerly of Fremont) occupy the last playoff place. Captain Chris “Snakecharmer” Jenson has maintained the Aces’ excellence despite personnel changes; in particular losing in the off-season, hurler and last season’s home run champ, Bryan “BB” Bayham; and now, Landon “Lucky” Ott, erstwhile hurler and all-around ballist. Stepping into the void, however, is Cory “Pup” Gazay, son of BAVBB founder Steve “Cappy” Gazay. “Pup” is leading the Aces from the Hurler’s box and at the plate. He is striking the ball at an amazing .800 rate. Casey “Fingers” Hammonds and “Snakecharmer” round out the hurling rotation; you won’t find a better bullpen anywhere in the bay area, nor more lefties. Robbie “Spanky” Sullivan has filled in excellently for Matthew “Coop” Cooper as the Behind, and veteran Dan “Dipper” Smith has improved his fielding at second and has provided key strikes from the left side of the plate. The new players to look out for are Wes “Dirty” Sandoval at the top of the order and in the outfield; Travis Setterbo, who hits well and has sure hands as the third keeper; and Ryan “Lumber” Smith- if you see him in the strikers’ box, tell the outfielders to take a few steps back. The Aces and BAVBB wish Landon “Lucky” Ott all the best in Albany, NY; we expect “Lucky” to start or join a vintage league so that we may coordinate a trip back east to promote our game.

    Part two next,

    Your humble scribe,

    Alphabemricus Jackson

  • March 15th: Cinnabars vs. Aces

    Fallon Sports Park, Dublin

    The New Almaden Cinnabars are back for 2015 after a years’ sabbatical, and the Aces relocated to Dublin, but neither team missed a beat in playing out an epic match on Sunday.

    The Dublin Aces started Ramsay "Doc" Rhodes in the Hurlers’ Box against the very tough Eric "Tumbleweed" Epperson for the Cinnabars.  "Tumbleweed" held the Aces scoreless through the first four innings, while recording seven of his nine strikeouts during that span.  "Doc" and "Tumbleweed" punched out a combined ten of twelve batsmen in the second and third innings.  Impressively, “Tumbleweed” hurled all 8 innings for the Cinnabars.

    On to the scoring: The Cinnabars plated two men in the 1st, 4th and 5th innings before the Aces finally rallied for two of their own in the bottom of the 5th, making the score 6-2 in favor of the Cinnabars heading into the homestretch.

    Tumbleweed fiercely and relentlessly missed the Aces’ bats until the bottom of the seventh, when the Aces finally put wood to ball.  The Aces sent nine Strikers to the box and plated four of them, tying the score at six, and sending the game into extras.

    Next came the exciting 8th inning.  Aces’ rookie, Ryan Smith, after blanking the Cinnabars in his first two innings of work, looked like he was about to make it three in a row; the bases were loaded with two outs and young Mr. Smith struck out the last batter.  His tricky hurl, however, escaped the Behind, Corey "Pup" Gazay.  Mr. Smith correctly covered Home Plate while Pup retrieved the ball, and in a bang-bang play at the plate, the Sir, Riley Rhodes, called out the runner barreling in from third.  Yet the play was so close that the good Sir, in his infinite wisdom, requested a Cranks’ Call.  The Cranks ruled in favor of the visiting Cinnabars, and their runner was accorded an ace. 

    Bravely battling on, Mr. Smith and the Aces achieved the third hand with the next striker, keeping the score at 7-6 Cinnabars, with all to play for; and with the onus on the Aces to come back again in the bottom half of the inning.

    For the Aces, Captain Chris "Snakecharmer" Jensen led off the bottom half of the eighth and reached with a single.  Mike "Stallion" Serafini struck the ball sharply up the middle, but the ‘Bars nimble shortstop, Ryan "Husker" Svrdlin, made a fantastic block and deflected the ball to Scott "Fly" Epperson, who threw the speedy Stallion out at first.  Yet the well-struck ball advanced Aces’ captain Snakecharmer to second on the Fielders’ Choice.  BAVBB veterans Steve "Hammy" Journeay and Steve "Cappy" Gazay, and rookie Travis Setter, then produced successive singles to tie the game at seven apiece.

    Cue the drama: with the bases loaded and one Hand down, "Dipper" Dan Smith stepped into the Striker’s box.  Down in the count and with two strikes against, “Dipper” Dan swung mightily and CRUSHED the ball down the first base line.  Players from both teams and the many Cranks looked on in AWE as the ball rolled thirty, maybe forty feet from home plate.  Never in the history of Base Ball was there ever a more timely swinging bunt, than on this day, at that moment. “Dipper” sprinted ably albeit slowly to first, while “Tumbleweed” showed spirit in fielding the finely-struck ball.  Yet despite the Hurler’s athletic play, the fleet “Hammy” beat the play to the plate and scored the winning ace, without reinjuring his eponymous leg muscle. 

    The Aces, for the first time in their long history, gave the game ball to their man-of-the-match, “Dipper” Dan.  Not only did he win the game with his massive walk-off single, but he also made a spectacular running catch earlier in the game in the right-center field gap.

    Yet credit must be divided evenly for a fine day of Base Ball; the Cinnabars played an excellent match, and honorable mention goes to their Behind, Vinny "Uno" Pellegrini, for holding down the dish as the ‘Bars Behind.  Also, compliments to Cinnabars’ Rookie right-fielder Mark "Chester" Tellez, who recorded his first hits for the Cinnabars, stroking two balls deep into the left-center gap.

    Cranks look forward to the rematch in San Jose, Sunday June 14th, at 9.30am in Paul Moore Park.

     -Quincy Samsquanch, Dublin Recorder