I Got to Second Base!

The Bellingham Bells lost last night to the Wenatchee AppleSox — yes, seriously, they’re called the AppleSox — in the third game of a three game, elimination series. That means they won’t be playing for the league championship this weekend.

With the Bells done and my dad and kid brother’s team over for the year, this will mean considerably less baseball blogging. For those readers who were getting sick of it, indulge me in one last story for the foreseeable.

This story is about a much younger version of your diarist. It was sometime during my fourth grade year. We had moved to a new house and new school in Tacoma — from University Place to the North End — called Sherman Elementary.

I was never popular in K-12, but add “the new kid” and you can understand why, when we had a T-ball game in PE, the pecking order operated the way it did. The captains of both teams figured, “He’s weird and he can’t hit,” and so I was picked dead last, grudgingly, and stuck at the back of the lineup.

Now, I had a secret: I could hit — not just connect for a base hit, but really crush the heck out of the ball. But they didn’t know that, so when it finally got around to my turn at the plate, it seemed like a fun idea to torture both teams.

“Come in,” yelled one of the outfielders when he saw I was up at the T and they moved to about midfield. I looked at them, mustered a certain look on my face and… hit the T.

They came in further. I put on the same look and missed again, this time intentionally swinging over the ball.

They came in further so that they were just on the periphery of the infield. I screwed up my face again, cocked my bat and swung away. It hit the fence on one bounce. The outfielders ran like crazy to try to contain the damage.

Several runs scored. I walked to second base and could have made third easy. “Run!” the folks on my team screamed. But remember I was picked last, so second base seemed about right.

Oh It Burns, It Burns

“Bellingham Bell[e]s, is that a girls team?” asked a friend in town for the weekend.

Onions Have Layers–Walla Walla, Not So Much

The Walla Walla Sweets beat the Bellingham Bells for the last two games of the regular season and your diarist is still a little sore about it. To play you out for the week, here is a song to highlight that sprawling metropolis’s second largest legitimate industry.

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Hells Bells

The Bellingham Bells baseball game last night was highly contentious and a little bit tragic. The Bells overtook the Walla Walla Sweets’ early lead, then fell apart.

Both the coach and the starting pitcher got tossed for yelling at the umps over bad calls. The Bells almost but didn’t quite manage a 9th inning attempt to put the egg back together again. They lost 7-6.

Tom Hanks reminded us that there is no crying in baseball. Yet shouldn’t there be an exception when you lose to a team whose city is known globally for its onions? (Or its prison, thanks to The Offspring.)

Tonight is the last game of the season, with fireworks after. Of course I’ll be there. Saturday is the only guaranteed home game of post-season play. Unless they’ve sold out by the time the box office opens tonight, your diarist’s attendance there is a lock.

“Why?” you might wonder:

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Bunt Instruments

“I want to kill that coach!” That’s what the normally good natured Bob Lott, father of this diarist and a life-long baseball/softball coach, growled near the end of last night’s Bellingham Bells game.

The boiling point was bunts. The Bells, our local West Coast League baseball team, are obsessive about bunting to advance the runner. They’re actually very good at it but a) bunts are extremely risky; b) you’re effectively trading the other team an out for a base; and c) drilling to get them right comes at the expense of other vital things.

Twice last night, the Bells loaded the bases versus the Corvalis Knights and came back to the field with nothing to show for it. A couple 2-run early innings proved vital. They finally won the game 6-5 in the bottom of the 10th, proving, once again, that it’s good to be home.

Here’s the official write-up of the game. It does not mention the between-innings entertainments: the antics of team mascot Dinger the Bellinghamster; the running of the children; or that high school girl’s unique interpretation of the Star Spangled banner.

And then: fireworks. Our crowd got the show that had been scheduled for the July 3rd game that got rained out. When the rockets went up a little after 10, it was a little bit chilly — high ’50s, low ’60s — but we surely didn’t mind that.