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The Final Softball Report

Submitted by Editor on August 25, 2010 – 9:35 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

by Joe Thielen, manager | Cleanup hitter Arnie Swoboda kicked dirt off of his cleats before the pitch. He was ahead in count one ball, no strikes, with one out. Thielen stood on third base. If the Nightcrawlers were going to win this game, they’d have to start early. In the first inning, the team had already banked a run on three hits, and had loaded the bases. Swoboda piously awaited the pitch, and in a calm silence, brushed his red hair out of his eyes.

The pitch came in, and Arnie grinned as he waited patiently for the long, slow pitch to drop into the strike zone. Instead, it dropped just an inch left. The count was now two balls, no strikes. One more ball, and the Nightcrawlers would score another two runs. Co-ed softball rules dictate that any male player automatically gets two bases on a walk. Swoboda was quiet, and ready to do his part for the team.  The third pitch came in. Once again, it floated just over the corner.

This time, though, Arnie swung the bat. He let out a grunt, which reminded Thielen of a pre-stab Monica Seles hitting a backhand. The ball floated high in the air toward the right fielder. It was clear from the outset that the fielder would need to run back if she had any chance of catching this ball. Thielen gritted his teeth at third base and prepared to tag up. The night air was cool with anticipation as the fly ball drifted in the breeze. Suddenly, it became clear that the fielder was going to run out of room as she paced underneath the ball. And then, with one disgusted gesture, she kicked the dirt, and began running around the fence to retrieve the ball. Arnie Swoboda had hit the first grand slam in Nightcrawler’s history.

Arnie did not round the bases, however. Arnie instead walked to the pitcher, got the poor fellow in a headlock, and wrestled him to the ground. Players from both sides cleared the benches. Arnie looked frighteningly determined and bloodthirsty. In the end, it took four players to pull Arnie off, and a taser by the umpire, who had thankfully come armed for just such a situation.  As Swoboda was dragged into a waiting police car, the pitcher lay, grasping for his final breath on the mound, and whispered, “The Horror. The Horror. The Horror.”

The umpire had no choice but to give the game to the opposing team, and with that, the Nightcrawlers’ season was over.


Here’s what really happened:

The Nightcrawlers forfeited their last game of the season against Scheel’s Sports, due to a Bermuda Triangle of injuries, family emergencies, and general laziness on the part of team members. The team then lost in the first round of the playoffs to Valleybrook Church, after a final outing of only fielding eight players. Even though the team fought hard in the game, the typical exclamation point that The Eastside Hill puts on the Mediterranean league was nowhere to be found.

Who knows. Perhaps Thielen is out of tricks. It’s quite possible the once-amazing management skills have left the old man. “He’s not what he used to be,” they say. “Back in his late twenties, he seemed to rule the world. Now, as the wave crests into his thirties, he seems to be losing it.”

Several questions remain unanswered, and will be determined over the course of the long offseason. Can Thielen can turn the team around next year?  Will Eastside Hill Neighborhood Association finally call him out for his poor management skills, and find a worthy replacement? I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to hear the answer.

Joe Thielen likes managing the softball team very much, even through the hard seasons! See you next year? Who knows…..he’ll give an answer Brett Favre style moments before the season begins!

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