Lead Story - 10/4/2018
Season 7 ALL-STAR GAME RECAP
Mudville lived up to its name as the "Mudiest Place on Earth" as a long drawn-out All-Star Game occurred there over the past 42 hours. Rain delays were the name of the game, as the weather was wet and wetter, causing the field to be almost unusable. The players rose to the occasion, though, and put on a great performance for the fans, who came out in droves, excited to see the Stars, but also excited for the many off-the-field festivities put on by the Mudville Nines' management team.
Lick Skillet Rednecks' cool cat, Derrel Thomas was hot at the plate in the Season 7 All-Star Game
Mudville is set up well financially for the next few years too, as they quadrupled their usual profit at the concession stands during the 2-day affair. Dommod was quoted as saying "Las personas deben ser alimentadas con alimentos de buena calidad" which I believe is loosely translated to "People gotta eat." Indeed, there was some fear that the concessions would actually run out of food, so some local hunters were employed to head into the bushes and shoot some squirrels and rabbits. The PETA folks, led by a very animated woman in a Durham Bulls jacket (with "Owner" on the sleeve) wouldn't let them past, however, and no animals were harmed.
Before the game even began, the fans were entertained by music legend John Fogerty, who was brought in to sing the national anthem as well as 2 of his hit songs "Centerfield" and, very appropriately "Have You Ever Seen the Rain". Unfortunately, Fogerty's contract specified that he only sing the 2 songs, plus the anthem, so there was much worry that there would be nothing else to entertain the fans for the initial 10-hour rain delay. Fogerty, though, was quite happy to go above and beyond with his time and very generously offered to keep singing until the game started - although, being 74 years old now and not having the memory he once had, he had to stick to just the 2 songs over and over and over again as he didn't bring words for anything else and didn't have anything else memorized. So the fans were serenaded with 97 renditions of Centerfield, and 98 of Have You Ever Seen the Rain. By the 3rd time through, all the fans were singing along and having a great time. By the 10th offering, fans were heading for the concessions to buy more booze, a lot more booze.
Fogerty was very hoarse by the time the game began, but the fans were grateful for the marathon performance and gave him a very drunk standing, more like staggering, ovation as he walked off the field, accompanied by the 4 men who had held umbrellas over his head during the entire 10-hour performance. Just like in the words of the song, Fogerty spent some time with the Mudville Nine (Nelson Briles), watching it from the bench. He took some lumps when the mighty Critz struck out. He asked, a number of times, if he could play centerfield, but was denied each time.
Tim Wiles, director of research at the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown was invited to throw out the first pitch. Wiles often dresses as Casey at the Hall and recites the poem “Casey at the Bat” for fans. He dressed the part in Mudville too, to the delight of all.
As for the game itself, it really was a marathon with multiple rain delays, and spanning almost a full 2 days and nights. The pitchers from the South Pacific squad were at the top of their game throughout and dominated the East-MidWest bats.
Mudcat Grant and Johnny Vander Meer, the two starters, each threw 2 shutout innings before the relievers were called in. The South Pacific side struck first, with 2 runs in the top of the 3rd as Derrel Thomas tripled to drive in both U.L. Washington, who had walked, and Jamie Quirk who had singled earlier in the frame.
In the bottom of the 5th, the East-Midwesterners cut that lead in half with a bizarre play that could only have happened in Mudville. After Hughie Critz struck out, (sending Fogerty into a pathetic state of uncontrollable sobbing, stopped only when Bob Veale snapped him out of it by tossing a couple of baseballs at his head at non-lethal speed but just hard enough to cause some lumps to form later that inning), Pete Redfern gave up a walk to Choo Choo Coleman, the surprisingly speedy catcher from the Springfield Isotopes. With Coleman on 1st, Mike Cubbage hit a hard liner towards the right field corner. Rob Deer, running more like a moose through the soggy outfield grass, looked like he would cut it off and perhaps hold Cubbage to a single and keep Coleman from gaining 3rd, but instead of fielding the ball on a bounce, Deer overran the ball when it literally stuck in a muddy patch of field and didn't bounce at all. It took Deer a moment to figure out what had happened. By the time he did, Thomas was standing on second base and Coleman was rounding 3rd. Deer might still have had a chance to get Coleman at the plate, but it took him a couple of seconds to dislodge the ball from the mud. Coleman unnecessarily slid into home just so he could spray fellow catcher Jamie Quirk with a nice wall of water that had pooled around home plate. Quirk loved it and the two shook hands after the play with huge smiles on their faces. Catchers are weird. Rumor has it that Q and Choo Choo went out for Chinese Food after the game and that moment began a life-long love of Asian cuisine that would eventually lead Coleman to run his own Chinese Food Restaurant along with his second wife and her family. I'm not making this up.
Another delay followed as fans were asked to go out onto the field and help sop up some of the excess water accumulating faster than the grounds crew could pump it away. Fans soaked up water into their jackets, Mudville Nine towels, and over a thousand sponges that were purchased at local hardware stores earlier in the day by Mudville management. You have to give the front office a lot of credit for pulling this off under such unenviable conditions.
Back to the game. In the top of the 7th inning, Barry Foote pinch-hit for Dean Palmer and singled into left field off Kirby Higbe. After a Jerry Adair ground out moved Higbe over to second base, Craig Grebeck came to the plate, subbing in for U.L. Washington. Higbe was pulled in favor of Diego Segui who had been practicing a special pitch in the bullpen. He had been using a kind of submarine motion and was actually skipping the ball off the water on a bounce just in front of the plate and then back up into the strike zone. He was getting pretty good at it after practicing for 2 hours straight through one of the rain delays, and he decided to try it on the third pitch to Grebeck. Grebeck wasn't fazed, though, and smoked the skipping ball into the gap in left centerfield for a run scoring double, giving the South Pacific squad a 3-1 lead. They would add another in the 8th with three straight singles from Johnny McCarthy, Tom Tresh, and Roy Howell who drove in McCarthy with another freak play. McCarthy was on second base when Howell smoked a Jim Winn offering right at 1st baseman Walt Dropo. Dropo fielded the ball on a bounce, but the bounce also caused water to splash up into his eyes, temporarily blinding him and allowing McCarthy to score all the way from second base before Dropo could clear his eyes and reorient himself. By this time the official scorers were well into their 9th beer and were just calling everything a hit. There were no errors recorded in the game, officially.
Durham Bulls' ace Sam Jones came in to mop things up in the bottom of the 9th and finished off the East-MidWest crew with a three-up, three-down frame. South Pacific outhit their opponents 10-2 on the night (or nights, as it were).
The East-Midwest still lead the all-time BNBL All-Star Series 4 games to 3. Derrel Thomas was named the game’s MVP with a double, a triple, and 2 RBIs.
The Season 8 All-Star Game will be held in ... ... ... ... wait for it ... ... ...
the Zoo, in Durham, NC.
For more info on the game, please contact your friendly Commish.
Good luck to all in the 2nd Half!!