June 16, 2019 - with Father's Day upon us, it got me reflecting and I thought it would be a perfect time to pass along a personal experience that could possibly help you in your own life. If you're not interested, then jump ahead a few paragraphs and catch the softball news of the week.
After graduating from Wentworth Institute I was fortunate enough to quickly land a career job and was thinking, "my life is pretty good." Later in my career, I moved around, got promoted, and began making good money. At that time I'm thinking, "my life is great." However, when I found myself skidding off an icy mountainous road knowing that the impact is going to be life changing if not life ending, I realized none of that really mattered.
As I sat in the passenger seat of my friend Harry's Jeep Grand Cherokee, just moments before it crashed on New York State Route 73 outside of Lake Placid, that April day in 2001, the things that had once seemed so important to me no longer mattered. We had a long drive ahead of us and our plan was to get home at a decent hour so we could get up for work on Monday morning; that didn't matter anymore. We didn't play well and went home empty handed in the hockey tournament, that certainly didn't matter anymore either. What mattered was we're barreling down a very steep and curvy incline and the jeep's tires are not gripping the road. I didn't want to die.
After the impact of the crash, I was surprised that I was conscious and ALIVE. It was a true miracle that we all didn't die on the road that day. As I was lying on the side of the mountain where the only feeling in my entire body was the rain drops hitting my cheeks. I thought, "wow, I'm alive but I won't ever be able to hold my kids again." That thought alone was so vivid. I had an out of body experience - I could see myself walking across the Lake Placid Olympic Center parking lot with my hockey bag over my shoulder heading towards the Jeep. These would be the last foot steps I will ever take. No more playing hockey, no more pitching at M Street Park - I'm paralyzed damn it!!
The accident, the recovery process, and the effect it all had on my life is an experience that has changed me forever. It gave me a tremendous appreciation for just how precious life is and gave me an immense amount of thankfulness for my spine surgeon, John Sledge, and all of the hospital staff who took care of me that day and the days and months that followed. While recovering from my injuries (fractured neck), I realized that I learned a few lessons from the ordeal.
The first lesson was that EVERYTHING in your life can change in an instant. Many of us have a bucket list of the things we want to do in our life but few actually go out and do them. I vowed to change this in my life. With this second chance I was so full of gratitude and was so happy to be alive. I sat there thinking about all the people I wanted to reach out to but hadn't previously, all the fences I wanted to mend, all the experiences I wanted to enjoy but never did. I thought, from now on I'm going to tell my friends and family just what they mean to me. I will book trips...cruises to be exact. I now had this sense of urgency to really live life, travel, and experience everything the world had to offer. I will no longer sit around and wait for an invite. That sense of urgency and purpose changed me.
I thought about my relationships with my friends, with people, and with my daughters. As I reflected on that, the second lesson was that I decided I would eliminate negative energy and/or people from my life. I want to surround myself with happy people and those who made me feel good.
A few months later with the fog of the accident beginning to wear off and my injuries starting to heal, I found myself on that cruise with my youngest daughter, Lilly. We were enjoying some quiet time as I was watching her sketch out on the balcony. In that moment I had time to reflect on my life and everything that had happened to me. Tears began to fill my eyes. I realized at that point that the ONLY thing that really matters is to be a great dad.
Thankfully, I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying or becoming completely disabled that day in New York. I was able to recover fully and make it back to Lake Placid and the softball field at M Street. The lessons learned through the ordeal has changed me. If you're still reading this then do yourself some good and take a moment and imagine your own life if the same thing happened to you. Would you change anything about the current way you live? More than anything, are you being the absolute best dad/person you can be?
Ok, last week wasn't a full week as we lost two nights - one to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals (congratulations goes to the Blues) and another to rainy weather.
Monday's opener saw Chris Lisek throw seven decent innings as he pitched Locker Room Talk (3-4) to a 16-4 victory over Thropic. Pat Donovan was the hitting star in this one as he went 4-4 with two doubles and 5 RBI. Backing up Donovan was Owen Snyder (3 hits, 3 RBI) and Kevin Briggs (3 hits, double, triple, 3 RBI). Pacing Thropic (1-1) was their pitcher Walker Chafee ( homerun, 2 RBI) and Jake Farrell ( home run, 2 RBI).
In Monday's middle game, Southside B got seven good innings from pitcher Pete Drummey while coasting to a 11-4 win over the Banshee (3-2). The victory was an important one in the standings as it keeps Southside in the top four and draws them even at 3-3. Rob Lerro (2 hits, home run, 2 RBI), Ed Murphy (2 hits), Zac Manning (2 hits), and Charlie Maginnis (2 hits) were the hitting stars for Southside.
The late game had the red hot Backyard Betty's (6-1) taking on the winless DataDawgs (0-4). The Dawgs came out swinging in this one as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead on home runs by Scott Patterson (2 hits, HR, 2 RBI) and Andrew Murphy. However, from that point on it was all Betty's as they answered with six runs in the second, eight in the third, and closed it out with more runs in the third, 17-5. Tim Stoops (3 hits, HR, 6 RBI), Brett Handell (2 hits, HR, 4 RBI), Nick Sours (3 hits), and Steve Dazzo (3 hits) provided the big hits for Betty's while pitcher Handell settled down after the first two frames and pitched well enough to earn the win.
With the score tied 3-3, VMT's Greg O'Neil hit a grand slam in the 5th inning and then added a two run triple in the seventh as VMT pulled away from the Handdukies in Tuesday's opener, 12-3. Luke Palma threw seven strong innings on the mound as he gave up only three hits and three runs for VMT (3-1). The Dukies (2-3) offense was led by Richie Paris who had two hits in his league debut and Kevin Moran who walked three times.
Last week I wrote about Telegraph Hill and stated that I felt they could go undefeated through the regular season. Well, the Playwright Shamrocks (2-4) quickly ended that prediction when they upset the Hill squad on Tuesday. The Hill's offense quickly went to work in the top of the first inning and plated a run for a 1-0 lead. Most thought, "here we go again." But the Shamrocks answered in the home half of the inning when Matt Aucoin and Antonio Corbia hit back to back home runs, 3-1. Hill tied it in the fourth but Shamrock again answered with a pair of runs, 5-3. Playwright was now feeling good about themselves and added to their lead with another pair of runs in the fifth, 7-3. However, Telegraph wasn't done scoring and answered the bell in the sixth when Luke Serra (3 RBI) cleared the bases to tie the game, 7-7. Back and forth it went, as Shamrock answered the call in the home half of the inning with another pair of runs when pitcher Sean Higgins launched a home run, 9-7. Telegraph (6-1) mounted another rally in the seventh and had bases loaded with just one out and the top of the order up. Higgins dug down deep and got a ground out and a line out to end the rally and end Telegraph's six game winning streak.
The late game saw the Silkworms (1-1) break into the win column with an impressive showing over the Mitchell Report. The Worms showed they meant business as they plated four runs in the first and followed up with an eight run second inning. From that point on they coasted the rest of the way and won handily, 16-4. Corey Livingston (3 hits, home run, 3 RBI) and Owen Lynch (3 hits) paced the offense while Livingston also worked his way through five strong innings (scattered eight hits and four runs) on the mound to earn the victory. Kyle Ferguson (2 hits, home run) and Cody Mercer (2 hits, 2 RBI) led the way for the (1-5) Mitchell Report.
Wednesday - the league take a night off to watch the Bruins battle the Blues in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals.
Thursday - the rain had returned and washed away another night of games.
On Friday we had a bit of a muddy infield but still managed to play the full slate of games. First up was City Tap who put their undefeated record on the line against the talented Lincoln Tavern squad. Tap was missing half their starting lineup for this one but it should be noted that the good softball citizens never said one word to the league about the possibility of rescheduling. Instead, coach Matt Harrison asked friends of friends and scraped together a team of ten players including three brothers (or cousins), Jeff Mallet, Craig Mallet, Brian Mallet and nearly pulled off the win. However, Lincoln's seven run fifth inning was too much to overcome in this one as Tap lost for the first time this season, 13-8. In that fifth inning, Conor Gleason (2-run double) and Jeff White (grand slam) struck the big blows that put Lincoln ahead to stay. Taylor Ferguson (3 hits), Leo Evriviades (3 hits), and White (double, homerun, 5 RBI) were the key contributors to the offense while pitcher Drew Atton held his own on the mound (4 earned runs).
Friday's middle game saw the Bombers pitcher Tom Powers shut down (0-13) the top half of the Pastoral batting order which gave his lineup time to get their bats warmed up. Once they warmed up they didn't cool off as the team banged out twenty-two hits on their way to a 16-6 victory. Chris Joyce (5 hits, 2 doubles, homerun, 4 RBI), Powers (4 hits), Dan McKenna (3 hits, double, homerun, 6 RBI), Alex Hertz (3 hits), and John Burns (3 hits) gave the Bombers (3-2) plenty of support while Josh Donohue (3 hits, double) was the lone hitting star for Pastoral (2-3).
The week closed with the Chiefs and the Dorchester Brew Crew involved in a slugfest as they combined for over forty hits while scoring thirty-four runs. The Brew Crew held pace early as they led 5-3 after two innings of play. But the Chiefs (2-2-1) were just warming up and began plating runs at will - six runs in the third inning, three in the fourth, and five more in the seventh all led to a 23-11 win. Dylan Warfield (3 hits, homerun, 6 RBI), Corey Brooks (3 hits), and Billy Hutchinson (3 hits, 4 RBI) provided a good chunk of the offense while Bill Murphy was a perfect 4-4 for the Brew Crew (0-5).
M Street Softball games are played Monday through Friday starting at 6pm, 7:30, and 9pm. The league does not charge a fee for entrance and encourages neighbors, former players, and families to attend the games. Have a great week everyone and we hope to see you in the stands in the coming weeks.
Important reminders from your commissioner:
Parking - guys please leave your cars at home as the available parking spaces around the field is VERY, VERY limited. Most spaces are Resident only so unless you are a South Boston resident then you will most likely get a $40 ticket that the league cannot cover. We are told that some parking relief (Thomas Butler Park on First Street will have some residential spaces available) is on the way but isn't complete. If possible, car pool, take the MBTA/City Point bus, or bike/walk to the park and save yourself the headache.
Umpire/Scorekeeper fee - please pay the umpire $25 and pay $5 to the official scorekeeper BEFORE the game begins.
Forfeits - forfeits are not acceptable in the M Street Softball League as they cost the league money and waste everyone's time. With that said, if you know there is a scheduled game that is going to be a problem then let me know ASAP and I will work with you in finding additional players and/or cancelling the game all together.
Inclement weather/rain outs - the league will usually make a decision by 5pm on whether or not the game is on or off. Once the decision is made then the league will reach out to the coaches - we will not leave you without word. The league website (sbsports.com) will also be updated within minutes of a cancellation.
Bats - just a reminder that composite bats are illegal...however, bats that have a composite handle and metal barrel are OK. DeMarini Steel is a very popular bat in our league as is the Anderson RocketTech. There was talk about banning doublewall bats and going with single wall bats moving forward. Since we told teams that double walled bats were legal last season and plenty were purchased we feel that we cannot change the rule at this time.
Equipment - the league will provide bases and also has a catcher's mask that your catcher can borrow (ask the scorekeeper or umpire) on a nightly basis.
Pitching rules - we are using the same rules as we implemented last year...that's strict modified pitching - no sling, no windmill, and no arc. It's pretty much straight back with the arm, a forward step to the plate, and deliver the ball. A great source on the "Classic Style" with videos can be found here 10manmodified.com/pitching-rules/videos-of-modified-styles/
Starting lineups - reminder, we use four outfielders, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and if you want (optional) you can use a DH and an EH for a total of 12 players. The EH can take the field and substitute for any defensive player while the DH cannot take the field (unless injury).
Playoffs - 16 teams will be eligible for the playoffs (8 from the "A" and 8 from the "B"). We will have two (A & B) champions in 2019.
Playoff eligibility - although the rosters are open there is minimum number of plate appearances or innings pitched (25) a player must meet to qualify for the playoffs.
Stats, news, etc... - please check the league website for all the latest news, standings, stats, and more.
Schedule - we tried to evenly spread out the amount of start times for each team...it's not an easy or exact science. The regular season will run from May to mid August followed by the start of the playoffs.
Wishing you and your players a great season of softball at M Street.
M Street Softball League