How Many John Travolta References Can You Find?; or, Week 5 Preview

I don’t really know where this came from, or why I even decided to do it, buuuuuut I did and you’re just gonna hafta deal with it. Or not. I don’t know. Anyway. These previews are loaded with references to John Travolta. Films, television, songs—you name it! And if you can find them all first, you win a prize! Fuck yeah!

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Jazzhaus vs. the Rockets @ Lyons West, 5 p.m.
The Rockets are coming off a close game versus the reigning champs, Happy Shirt, ultimately losing 14-9 or something. Those two squads seem to face off every year anymore, and the experts like to pick the Rockets as a sleeper team in spite of its struggles against upper echelon teams. It’s off to a pretty good 2-1 start, though, having beaten the Free State Growlers 15-3 and the Woost 12-3. Looks like 3 is one of the Rockets’ lucky numbers. (Hint. There are three John Travolta references in that paragraph alone.)

JOHN TRAVOLTA, IN CASE YOU FORGOT

The Jazzhaus, meanwhile, has a single win against the Liberty Hall Late Fees, 17-12, but don’t expect it to put up those kind of numbers against the Rockets, especially with its talented rookies. I wouldn’t expect another blow out for the Rockets, though—this Jazzhaus squad has improved (from what little I’ve seen), and we all know how the Rockets can struggle against reasonably matched teams the pundits predict them to beat.

Rockets > Jazzhaus

Channel 6 vs. Love Garden Squids @ Holcolm Red, 5 p.m.
The old dogs of Love Garden may not take the field these days, and Channel 6 may not play the prettiest game of kickball, but these teams are two of a kind. Both are undefeated, and both must take this game inning by inning, moment by moment, if it wants to stay alive and at the top of the Langston Hughes division. (That was an easy one.)

Last year, these were two of the best defensive teams in the league, challenged only by Happy Shirt and Wildman Attack Force. This game could also be the deciding factor for the top spot in this division, depending on how games six and seven play out with Red Lyon facing the Squids and Channel 6, respectively. The biggest difference between these two teams is how offensively effective the Squids are compared to Channel 6. The Squids are a high-octane, scoring machine. Channel 6 can certainly score, just not nearly as at-will—especially not against a team about as defensive-minded as its own.

I don’t really know why this isn’t the actual Game of the Week. Seriously. This ought to be one helluva game, and whichever team decides to take a chance (with Olivia Newton-John) with its base-runners will probably be the victor.

Love Garden Squids > Channel 6

AsteroidHEAD vs. ThunderkiXXX @ Lyons East, 7 p.m.
Last week, Thunderkickz had an ultra-close game against the Merchants of Death, winning 12-11 in 10 innings at South Park, while the off-and-on underdog-darlings in the Kaw Valley of Violence Kickball League, AsteroidHEAD, was decimated by Channel 6, 27-3. This could be one of those surprise wins for AsteroidHEAD, though, with a fresh-faced Jason “Gummy Bear The Movie 3D” Barr back on the team, and Capt. Pat Watkins having wrangled his team in a bit and put it back in the mix. (Oh—John Travolta might actually wear Wranglers—it seems like something he’d do, I don’t know—but that usage of the word “wrangle” wasn’t a J.T. reference. Just so you know. I wouldn’t trick you like that.)

Thunderkickzzzzz played a great game on grass last week. It struggled defensively at times, allowing a grand slam in the first inning, but had some clutch kicking in a couple innings to put it ahead. The Merchants of Death fought back, though, taking the lead late, until Wiggins and co. forced extra innings. It was a crazy game, really, and I had a blast as a part of it. The refs were great putting up with Austin W. and James W. shouting at everyone, and Rachna in particular helped keep Merchants in line. Literally, ‘cuz it almost kicked out-of-order. Man, Rachna—she’s so lovely.

AsteroidHEAD is off to an all right start with a killer win over Sacred Sword. Its problem is it’s also been crushed by Red Lyon and Channel 6. A win would put it back at .500 and in a legitimate position to earn the 4-spot in the Langston Hughes division. This could ultimately be a deciding win for AsteroidHEAD if it can stave off the razzamatazz of Thunderkix0rz.

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And as a reminder, just because I wanted to get a couple more John Travolta references in, let’s all remember that while we all may be committing criminal activities out there every Sunday, let’s be cool and take care of the city we love so much, take care of our ourselves, and take care of each other.

OH, AND THIS GUY’S A CUNT. HE TOLD ME TO WRITE THAT, DON’T BE MAD AT ME. <3 YOU JOEY

So? How’d you do? If you’re the first person with a perfect score (hint hint!), I’ll buy you a six pack! Fuck yeah!

I Asked My Friends Which Games to Write About and They Chose These; or, Week 4 Preview

Like the title says—I asked my friends which games I should write about. They chose these and, being true to my word, I rolled with it.

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Thunderkickz vs. Merchants of Death @ 5 p.m., South Park
Yes! my game comes first! Fuck yeah! James Wiggins is going to get the best pitches of his fuckin’ life!

Taco Tuesday vs. Mario Chalmersiz @ 7 p.m., South Park
After Taco Tuesday’s impressive win in Game of the Week last Sunday, we’ll get to see what it’s really made of. Wait? Am I still doing this looked-into-the-future schtick? Lame. Ahem.

Taco Tuesday looks to build on its 2-0 start against one of the league’s best defensive teams, the Mario Chalmersiz. We can probably all guess the outcome of this game, but if Taco Tuesday can keep it close, it will be a Pyrrhic victory, if nothing else.

We’ll also miss seeing you on the fields, Rachna! Show up and smile when you can. Also, just so you know, Chalmersiz—Brittany just asked me when and where she plays. I could have told her anywhere else, so consider this a huge solid from Your Humble KVKL Narrator.

Mario Chalmersiz > Taco Tuesday

Nick Lerner’s “Homies” vs. Ladybird Harpies @ 5 p.m., Edgewood
Both teams are winless on the season, but both teams have looked better since last year, especially the Harpies. The Homies lost 3rd baseman Colin, but has picked up a handful of quality players—several from K.C. Waka teams, as I recall. I don’t really know a lot about either of these teams anymore, but it wasn’t my call to write about this game. My friends picked it and I had to go with it. It should be a good game, though, right? The Harpies’ defense is better than in year’s past, but if it can handle some of the new Homies’ speed, and contain Mr.-Only-Man-More-Self-Deprecating-Than-Maybe-Me-Cougar, then the Harpies have a shot at earning its first win of the season.

Nick Lerner’s “Homies” > Ladybird Harpies

Three Predictions:
o1. Cougar (Homies) will kick a triple
o2. Katie Markus (Homies) will make a double-play
o3. Staci Taylor-Ahlvers (Harpies) will yell at Grant at will and it will be awesome

Woost vs. Liberty Hall Late Fees @ 7 p.m., Wrigley Field, Do. Co. Fairgrounds
The Woost had a tough time against the up-and-coming Rockets (we say that every year, don’t we? up-and-coming?) but this will be a good come-back game for Dan and co. The Late Fees had a tough draw to start the season against Kansas Tree Care, followed up by an improved Jazzhaus team, but it has the experience to keep the Woost at bay if it can adjust its defense appropriately. (Pro-Tip, Mick Cottin: Prevent the runners ahead of Dan and Esco from getting on base—they’re the RKI machines of the Woost. Remember: most runs wins. Fun doesn’t account for shit in this league!)

As is a common trend here at Sundays in the Park, especially early in the season, I haven’t gotten a chance to watch many teams yet, so knowing what and who to focus on is particularly difficult. And also, just a reminder—I didn’t choose to write about this game. I came up to Henry’s to write and asked my coworkers, “Hey, pick some games for me to write about. I’m not gonna tell you about the teams, just pick.” So don’t blame me for not knowing exactly what to say.

But I think the Woost will win and the Late Fees will score some runs in a few innings, somewhat sporadically.

Woost > Late Fees

Three Predictions:
o1. Mick Cottin (Late Fees) will kick 1.000
o2. Dan Mauga (Woost) will have an unprecedented three home runs
o3. Sean Jolly (Woost) will have an equally unprecedented double!

Love Garden Squids vs. Brewballers @ 9 p.m., Holcolm Red
This will be a test of the Brewballers’ mettle. Knowing its tendencies to implode (mostly at each other) in the past few years, even if it’s blown out and manages to maintain some dignity while doing it, I’d say it’s a good day. I mean, I know the Brewballers are different this year, but it’s hard to run from your past—believe me, I know. Oh, and just to reiterate—I didn’t pick this game to write about. It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong, but there are a few other games that probably could have been better to preview. Sorry the guys I asked don’t really follow kickball. Now that Brad “B-Rad” Everett and Chris “Smilez” Reilly have left Lawrence, Henry’s isn’t quite Kickball Central like it used to be. I know at least one of them will be back soon, though!

I’ve played against both these teams a collective six times in my KVKL career, and while the roster for each team has changed, the core surprisingly hasn’t changed that much. The biggest departures for each team are, of course, Phil Mitchell and Adrian Proctor for the Squids, and Tracy Flores and Mason Pine of the Brewballers (who went on to play for Red Lyon before bailing on KVKL entirely. <3). But you’ve got still got Rob Z. in charge of the Squids and Adrian Meneses drunk-reffing at 1st base. Some things never change.

Anyway. The Squids will run away with this game early on, and win by, like, 15.

Love Garden Squids > Brewballers

Three Predictions:
o1. Walker (Squids) will have a Grand Slam
o2. Brewballers won’t get on base until the 3rd inning
o3. Rob Z. (Squids) will be part of a triple play

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Good luck out there! Drink coconut water and bring me some whiskey! It’s gonna be a hot one!

The Week that Didn’t Happen; or, Or Did It? — Sixteen Missing Games

Goats > Rats @ 5 p.m., YSC
The Goats struck early and put up a few runs before the Rats’ defense tightened up, and the team got pretty close before the Goats pulled away in the 7th with some clutch kicking by the top of its order.

Love Garden Squids > Thunderkickz @ 5 p.m., YSC
Thunderkickz scored a few runs in the first inning, much like last week against Red Lyon, but it couldn’t handle the Squids’ offensive prowess before being shut out the rest of the game. This Love Garden team may legitimately be better than last season.

Wildman Attack Force > Nick Lerner’s “Homies” @ 5 p.m., YSC
Wildman Attack Force almost pitched a perfect game against the newly sponsored Homies, but in the 8th Ryan Ward barely missed a ball in the outfield that allowed Cougar to get a nice double. Still, a double alone couldn’t outscore the high-flying Steven Seagal reference.

Red Lyon Tavern > Brewballers @ 5 p.m., YSC
Red Lyon put on a show over the new faces of the Brewballers, scoring 7 runs in the first, and then, you know, continued to do that for the remainder of the game. Brewballers put up a few runs late in the game, but Red Lyon also played four girls in the outfield and Nick Lerner at 1st base. I mean, who does that? Zing.

I’d like to also take this time to offer my sincerest condolences to former Brewballers teammates, Michelle and Ryan. They recently lost their son, Greyson. Whether you know them or not, please dedicate a moment to them. They are genuinely amazing people. All our Love.

Woost > Free State Growlers @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Red
Dan did what Dan do and had two base-clearing triples and the Woost used an efficient offensive strike to take control. The Growlers kept it close for the first 5 innings, but a handful of defensive mistakes allowed the future Best of Lawrence winners to take advantage on the base path. Wait, both these teams win Best of Lawrence categories! Good job!

AsteroidHEAD vs. Merchants of Death @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Gold
I don’t know what happened in this game. I was too busy watching every other game . . . from the future!

Los Matadores > Screamers @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Blue
The Screamers’ offensive (and defensive) woes continue while Los Matadores just keeps winning—and winning big. Well, beside that game against the Ghosts, who knows what happened there. But at least the Screamers had a full squad show up this week—small victories, right?

Hurtz Donut D-Holes > Ladybird Harpies @ 7 p.m., YSC
This was a pretty fun game to watch, all things considered. Hurtz didn’t score a lot because the Harpies’ defense has significantly improved in the offseason, but Hurtz knew it was the better team and just rolled with it.

Bad News Bagels > Mario Chalmersiz @ 7 p.m., YSC
Wow! what a game! It went and back and forth the entire time but the Bagels took the last lead in the top of the 8th. Mario Chalmersiz had a couple last shots to take the lead (and win it in the 9th), it just got stuck in some unfortunate kicking situations and one bad call by James Wiggins at 3rd base. Still one helluva game to watch!

Jazzhaus > D’s Nuts @ 7 p.m., YSC
D’s Nuts had its best kicking day of the season so far, though its defense still struggles to know exactly where to place its players effectively—and Jazzhaus fully exploited that.

Pizza Party!! > Where’s My Pitches? @ 7 p.m., YSC
Pizza Party!! finally got its kicking struggles under control with its lead-off kicking 1.000 and its ladies racking up 5 RKIs. Where’s My Pitches? put up a fight, though, striking first and putting up three in the 1st inning. A high-scoring affair, just like in 2013, these two teams really battled, scoring a cumulative 33 runs.

Rockets > Liberty Hall Late Fees @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Red
Future Best of Lawrence winner James Findley had three home runs and six RKIs alone, and the Rockets won big against the struggling Liberty Hall Late Fees. (I deliberately used the word ‘struggle’ three times in three descriptions.) When the Rockets are clicking it can be a tough team to beat, while the Fees keep having fun? I guess? it looks like it does. And Everett’s still pretty cool.

Das Boot > Corksuckers @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Gold
After a tough loss to Taco Tuesday last week, the Corksuckers wanted to get a nice win for its resume, it just couldn’t handle a hungry Das Boot team. Even without the short field at Holcolm Left, Das Boot put on a bit of a clinic, earning its first win of the season. Weird, right?

Channel 6 > Sacred Sword @ 7 p.m., Holcolm Blue
Sacred Sword is still winless for its first 0-3 start in its long, long history. Channel 6, meanwhile, improves to 3-0 with solid defense and versatile kicking. I never would’ve thought I’d see Sacred Sword without a win three weeks into the season, and it won’t be much easier next week against Red Lyon.

Happy Shirt > Kansas Tree Care @ 7 p.m., Hobbs
This game wasn’t nearly as exciting as it looked on paper, but it played out about as expected. These two could easily be Final Four teams (and probably will be) so get used to hearing about them the rest of the season.

Taco Tuesday > Ghosts @ 9 p.m., Hobbs
After having some tough years, both Taco Tuesday and the Ghosts look to be improving. Taco Tuesday is 3-0, and while the Ghosts are 1-2, it had a close game against Los Matadores, 4-2. The Ghosts’ defense looked good for the most part—and the two teams were evenly matched—but a couple errors late in the 8th doomed it. Congrats, Taco Tuesday!

That got weird.

Games and Stuff, week 3

When I first looked at the listings for tomorrow, I was all, like, That’s it? Not that exciting of a week overall, but there are a handful of games that ought to be pretty killer, assuming we’re not flooded city-wide.

Note. These are my weekly picks for games you’ll probably want to watch. Like usual.

Also note. Several games have been moved around from what was originally listed, specifically YSC games. If you’re unsure, be sure to check the Facebook group.

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Mario Chalmersiz vs. Bad News Bagels @ 7 p.m., YSC

Mario Chalmersiz won the Governor’s Cup (again) over Das Boot in a come-from-behind game after being down 7-2 early. The defense clenched and it held on to a 9-8 win. Bad News Bagels, meanwhile, crushed the Screamers 31-0 last week, and beat Das Boot in the first week, 10-8. People will probably say “This game could go either way.” It will probably go in the Bagels’ favor. Chalmersiz’s defense has always been legit, but the Bagels are just a better team, strange as that may be to say.

The KVKL has changed—we all know that. Ever since 2011, more and more teams are becoming contenders. Happy Shirt is, of course, still the favorite (even after they all retire, they’d still find a way to win), but the Bagels are becoming the new HS—and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ben and co. in the title game this year.

Don’t get me wrong—the Mario Chalmersiz are still a great team. But, kinda like the real Mario Chalmers and the Heat, they’ve lost their LeBron and are gonna find it hard to make it back to its first Final Four since 2012 (when it lost a contentious game against Happy Shirt).

The winner of this game will have a strong lead in the Carrie A. Nation division with only one other contending team to play against (Los Matadores).

Bad News Bagels > Mario Chalmersiz

Happy Shirt vs. Kansas Tree Care @ 7 p.m., Hobbs

The pre-Game of the Week actual Game of the Week pits two of the best teams of the past five years of KVKL against one another, again, for, like, the fifth time in as many years. In fact, in the past three years alone, they’re a combined 78-12 (not including 2015).

Last season against KTC, Happy Shirt rallied from a 10-run deficit before winning 16-12. The year before, Happy Shirt prevailed 12-9, and in 2012, it went on to win 12-2. The last time KTC beat Happy Shirt was in 2011 when it decimated Happy Shirt in 2011’s Final Four game before going on to win the championship over Love Garden.

This year, KTC is a bit different. For starters, the obvious: no Kris Marshall. Of course, Kris is not the identity of this team. It has other players (crazy, I know), the majority of which have been a part of those deep tournament runs (championships in 2011 and 2013, Elite Eight in 2012, and Final Four in 2014). It has a near-impenetrable outfield, smart infield, and a fast top of the lineup. They’re all capable of getting on base—except Hannah—and some of the biggest legs in the league, still, including Josh, who definitely already has a home run or two this season, and definitely had one last season against Wildman. KTC’s game plan will be about the same as always: Fuck it, it’s not the playoffs.

Happy Shirt, though, is still Happy Shirt. It’s pretty good, doesn’t often lose games, and actually cares about this game. So much so that Tyler and co. were scouting both games KTC has played—the Liberty Hall Late Fees and the Free State Growlers. It’s also probably going to win.

Happy Shirt > KTC

Taco Tuesday vs. Ghosts @ Game of the Week

I never thought I’d live in a world in which Sacred Sword and Das Boot are 0-2, while Taco Tuesday is 2-0. In an unusual twist, Taco Tuesday has a big win over the Screamers (23-4) and a quality win over the Corksuckers (7-6). This is clearly a significantly different team than last year, already almost reaching its win total from last season. Capt. Adam Patterson must be having a hard time finding his team in the standings.

http://www.theonion.com/article/royals-unable-to-find-themselves-in-standings-6706
Zing.

I’ve still not seen the Ghosts play an actual game since one of its Game of the Weeks a couple years ago. (That’s still weird, right? two Game of the Weeks in one season?) Anyway. The Ghosts are 0-2, including a close loss to Los Matadores last Sunday, 4-2, and an expected loss to the Chalmersiz, 14-5. If it can play as well defensively like against Los Matadores, the Ghosts have a decent shot at taking down the behemoth that is Taco Tuesday. (That sentence was really entertaining to write.)

This game, in spite of having a collective 2 wins, ought to be pretty entertaining as a whole. And if you really want to get into the spirit of the game, start following the Ghosts’ Katie Keating and Taco Tuesday’s Sarah Geo on Facebook as they relentlessly assault each other with kickball memes.

Taco Tuesday > Ghosts

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Well. That’s it. Good luck and stuff and whatever.

Unsung Heroes, Sung; or, Simply, Player Profiles, Vol. 2 — All-Ladies Edition

Good morning, KVKL! Welcome to another edition of Unsung Heroes, Sung; or, Simply, Players Profiles—Ladies Edition. Let’s just get right into it, shall we?

Leading off is Brittany Fellers, Mario Chalmersiz

Brittany here has also been a teammate with me in city league and probably some KVKL-related events that didn’t involve going to Tonic one Thursday night, ‘cuz that totally didn’t happen and it was pretty totally not awesome I promise. . . . Anyway, I’ve known her personally for several years now, having met her through dodgeball in, like, 2010 or something. (Is that right? Jesus. Old.)

She joined the league in 2009 mid-season with Balls Deep (now Taco Tuesday), back when Simon Skinner and Cathe Decena were still on the team, and her first game, no less, was Game of the Week. After a couple seasons, she joined the Mario Chalmersiz (2012) and has been with them since. You’ll usually spot her at Rover, Short Stop, or 2nd base, and usually with a can (yes, Erin, a can!) of Shiner’s Ruby Red Bird or PBR with a side of Fireball (gross).

Brittany’s most memorable play happened in one of her early games with Chalmersiz: While playing Rover, a kicker blasted it toward 3rd where (I’m presuming Adrian) tipped it up to where Brittany could catch it. The runner on 1st didn’t tag and before s/he knew what to do with themselves—boom

YOU’RE FUCKING OUT

Brittany really is an awesome person, so if you see her out on the fields (or the Replay or Red Lyon, wherever), say Hi! or Kick ass! or Party! or whatever else people randomly say to strangers from adult rec leagues.

And on deck, say Hello to my fellow Wildma’am . . .

Betsy PedersonWildman Attack Force

Betsy’s been a part of Wildman for the three years she’s been in the league, and predominantly plays Short Stop and Rover—although more recently she’s been playing more at 2nd due to Abby’s absence. In those three years, her most memorable game she’s been a part of is Wildman’s Game of the Week last season against Hotel Lobby—you know, the one it barely won. “[Wildman] didn’t play [its] best, but goddamnit it was fun as hell to finally play in a Game of the Week!” she says. It was also her first GotW in the league, and, as I recall, she played pretty damn well.

Last season, she also filled in at 2nd for Abby in a tough Rank Play game against the Love Garden Squids. Maybe my most memorable play of hers comes from that game (and she agrees): A runner was on 1st and Simon was there on defense, with Betsy at 2nd. The kicker blasted a line drive right to her, much to the base-runner’s delight, but she caught it, much to the Squids’ chagrin. She quickly threw it back to an extending Simon who caught it and got the double play. Trust me, it was sick.

She loves playing against Happy Shirt, “mutual respect,” and her go-to kickball drinks are PBR and Fireball (gross!), but if you see her at Henry’s, order her a Tom Collins—a good one, not the well one. She’ll love you for it.

And last but not least, we have the Ladybird Lady in the hole . . .

Lane “Cookie” Eisenbart, Ladybird Harpies

Lane’s been a part of the team for all five of its years in the league, and is usually playing Rover, though occasionally she’s Short Stop, and less often Catcher. Some of her most memorable games have featured strippers, but, really—who actually remembers the games when there are strippers?

Wait, she wrote “streakers.” I just automatically went to strippers for some reason. . . . Ahem. Well, it’s bound to happen one of these days, right? Anyway.

As for her favorite non-stripper/streaker-involved game, it was one of the Harpies’ games against SpacePussy (now D’z Nutz). It was a couple years ago, she said, and the two teams shared a dugout because of the heat (comrades in arms, after all). “Best of the Worst lovefest,” she called it. “I really loved that game with the Ghosts in the rain last year. Grass game. Swam home on my bike,” she continued. Kinda sounds like last night.

And her most memorable play? It’s probably something so simple we can all relate to to some degree, especially in one’s early years: “I’m just ecstatic every time I cross home plate or catch a ball.” What’s not to love? Definitely not the cookies—I keep hearing good things, but I’ve never had the fortune to play against the Harpies, so I wouldn’t know. But what’s not to love about cookies? She has a special dinosaur-shaped one that she’s pumped to use for Kristin C-S and D’z Nutz, the proprietor of her new favorite jersey among the league.

So if you see Lane out there and have a spare Happy Camper, share. She does a lot for her teammates (and who else regularly brings cookies for their opponents?) and loves the league—“the sense of community, the exercise, the long socks, the group public drinking, the dancing with [her] ladies Sunday nights.”

Seriously. What’s not to love?

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Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I’m done. Good morning/afternoon/night! See ya somewhere, sometime, some Sunday.

Games and Stuff, week 2

As much as I’d like to write about every game every week, I feel like the podcast handles that well enough to a certain extent, so this time I’m going to write more about matchups that ought to be awesome. And this week there are certainly a few that look more like week 8 games than week 2. Catch ‘em if you can!

CHOSEN GAMES

Pizza Party vs. Wildman Attack Force @ 7 p.m., YSC
Last season, these two teams squared off in what may have been one of the more epic Games of the Week, resulting in a wild Wildman win, 9-8—a game that easily could have gone the other way. As I recall, Wildman’s last run was on an abso-fuckin’-lutely crazy bunt home run by a super-drunk Matt Geier, after Pizza Party’s pitcher overthrew the ball to first base. Matt stole 2nd and on his way to 3rd, the ball was overthrown again—right through his legs.

With that run, Wildman had a bit of a cushion and a couple innings remaining. Pizza Party put up a couple runs to bring it within one, though. But in the top of the 9th, with runners in scoring position and only one out, Travis popped it up short in foul territory where Wildman’s first baseman caught it (that was me). The following kick was a grounder, also right to this guy, and that was game.

So, yeah, that game could have gone either way. Wildman had a handful of errors, didn’t play all that great defensively (not to take anything away from Party, by any means), and certainly had better kicking days, but it eked out a win . . . and Party was pissed. This time around probably won’t be much different, except I’m predicting Party to win, albeit barely.

Pizza Party > Wildman Attack Force

Mario Chalmersiz vs. Das Boot @ 5 p.m., Holcolm Gold
Yet another battle of age-old nemeses—Chalmersiz vs. Das Boot. It wouldn’t be a season in KVKL without these two facing each other. Das Boot has to be sick of this matchup by now, having lost to Chalmersiz their last two meetings (both in Game of the Week, no less). Maybe this time, away from the lights, will be just what the seasoned team needs. I unfortunately couldn’t watch either team play last week, so I don’t have much in the way of insider information, but I do know Capt. Das Phil had some defensive changeups from years past, including Das Josh (a.k.a. Terminator) pitching for the first time. Das Boot has also lost two of its key ladies, Caitlin and Kylie, for most, if not all, of the season, both of whom were stalwart defensive players, and consistent on offense. (But I guess that’s at least one less person to yell at me.)

Both teams have always been stellar on defense, and capable of scoring, although Das Boot has been the more run-heavy team of the two. I want to say the last two games were in the 9-8 territory, though, which is pretty high for Chalmersiz on both ends. It also has home court advantage again, and that could definitely be a factor in the waning innings after winning in the bottom of the 9th last season. This ought to be one helluva game and if you’re fortunate enough to play at 7, you should probably check it out.

Das Boot > Mario Chalmersiz

Rockets vs. Wu-oost @ 7 p.m., Hobbs
Neither the Rockets nor the Wu-oost have changed much in the past couple years, and perhaps the biggest difference is the loss of Kyle (1B) from the Rockets. The hardest thing to maintain for the veteran-laden Rockets is, naturally, the veteran Dan Mauga, who, as we all know, is evil. The Rockets as a whole are probably the better team, but the Wu-oost has been doing this for a while, too. This could be one of those high-scoring, 21-17 games. If the Rockets can manage its new players and contain Dan and Esco’s high-caliber kicking, then it will probably pull away with the win. Of course, doing that isn’t easy, and those two can put up RKIs all day.

Rockets > Wu-oost

Goats vs. Nick Lerner’s Homies @ 9 p.m., Hobbs
The Goats put up 19 runs on Where’s My Pitches? and the Homies lost 8-6 to the Rats. Both teams keep losing and adding players, but the Goats’ core is still playing—Shaher, Joe, and the Laurens—and their collective leadership put a damper on Cougar and the Homies’ first Game of the Week in a while.

I honestly didn’t see either team play much last year, nor their first games this season, so I don’t know what to expect. The Homies improved over the season, especially once it had players showing up consistently; the Goats haven’t had quite the success it did a couple years ago with its first Final Four appearance in 2013, but it’s still a top 15 team. It will also probably win big.

Goats > Nick Lerner’s Homies

Good luck and stuff!

Unsung Heroes, Sung; or, Simply, Player Profiles, Vol. 1

Welcome to the first edition of the newest addition to Sundays in the Park—a little thing I like to call “Unsung Heroes, Sung: or, Simply, Player Profiles.” I’ve asked all of the captains in the league to send me the names of a couple players who are detrime—ahem, fundamental to their team, but are also players underappreciated among the league. The league has plenty of fan favorites, and fan least-favorites. But what about the middle-class, so to speak? the 99% or whatever? Well, I present to you my season-long project, “Unsung Heroes, Sung.”

Up first:

COLIN FLANDERSMario Chalmersiziziziziziziziz

Mario Chalmersiz’ very own Colin Flanders, or as people like to call him: Flanders. (Not to be confused with Kenny Flanders of Los Matadores, though they are related, which might explain his speed.) Colin began his KVKL career with the Bulletproof Tigers last season—a team that desperately needed players last year. Not only did I play against him last year with Wildman Attack Force, but I was fortunate enough to call him teammate during my stint playing city league. He’s quick on his feet, knows the game, kicks well (thanks, soccer!), and is genuinely a solid dude. And that’s not just me talking—his captain, Brian Costello, said that. Well, his words were, “[He’s] most importantly, just a real nice guy.”

Colin is a fan of playing 3rd, especially, but wherever he’s needed is fine with him, and he’s kind of a team player (he did play with Cougar, after all). So if you see this guy out on the field or wherever, give him a cheers, offer him a Pale Ale if you’ve got one, and tell him welcome back to the league.. Oh, and his favorite thing about KVKL: the people. What’s to argue with that?

Someone get this man a drink!

Up next . . .

OWEN COX, AsteroidHead

Owen Cox, here, or as friends like to call him, Cool Owen (italics included), is in what he thinks is probably his sixth year in KVKL. And Lord knows I know that feeling—half the time I feel like it’s my 12th; others, my . . . well, sixth. It’s easy to forget. Anyway, he’s been a staple on AsteroidHead all those years, and you’ll generally find him in Center Field, or Kansas City, where he and the lovely Caitlin Dix recently purchased a house—so of course now we have what Capt. Pat Watkins and co. have always wanted: the lovely union of Dix and Cox.

Cooooool Owen’s favorite KVKL moment is perhaps what a lot of ours is: when Mick Cottin forced his amazing wife-to-be Robyn to play Catcher for an inning. And then he went all Let’s-get-married on everyone, and then topped it off by winning in the bottom of the 9th in epic-comeback-fashion As for his favorite game played—it was a big win against Los Matadores in the first round of the tournament a few years back (2011, maybe?). They followed it up with a close loss to Das Boot (which I believe was its first trip to the Final Four, after beating Sacred Sword).

His favorite jersey? Just about anything from AsteroidHEAD. Apparently I’ve missed out by not being around a season-opening tie-dye party, but it sounds pretty goddamn awesome. He loves playing against the Ladybird Harpies because they embody the spirit of the game, and his favorite part about KVKL? Well, he said it best: “[It] gives us the chance to regularly see many of our good friends on the team. Sometimes connections can be hard to maintain, but I know that every week in the summer I have the chance to get together with some really amazing people.”

There you have it. Someone get this man a Shift (New Belgium—it’s available in cans).

And then . . .

CAITLIN DIXAsteroidHead

In 2010, Caitlin “Dix” Dix joined the AsteroidHead Art Club, but she’s been a part of the community since ’06, and she’s been there ever since. (Rhymes!) She’s played a handful of positions (3rd, SS, 2nd, P) in her years, and while I haven’t met her, just reading her answers from my questionnaire-thing really gives me an idea of, well, pardon my French, her indomitable spirit and total awesomeness. She understands genuine competition, loves the game, and loves the community. The teams playing isn’t what’s important, she’s seen some great games under the lights. “The skill level of the team doesn’t matter as long they are evenly matched. Watching a competitive match when Hobbs is full is a one-of-a-kind experience,” she writes.

She’s right.

She loves playing on grass—and who can blame her. AsteroidHead has dominated at South Park and Water Tower Park over the years. And like Cool Owen up there, some of her favorite jerseys have been AsteroidHead originals, in particular, “Kitten Hanging on Basketball Goal,” which if is half as awesome as it sounds, then . . . fuck yeah. As for her favorite plays she’s been a part of: “kicking it over the head of the short-porched outfielder . . . so sweet every time.” Oh, and the team’s End of Season barbeques. And I don’t know who Raelean Finch is, but once they made a cake that was “shaped, colored, and textured like a kickball, but tie-dyed on the inside,” and, well, that sounds awesome.

CLINT
MASTER OF FABRICS, CLINT THRASHER

Much like her partner Cool Owen, the Ladybird Harpies are her favorite team to play, and, similarly, the best part about the league: you guessed it—community. That’s something we can probably all agree on. (Theme of the season!)

Somebody, get this lady a Kanbucha, quick!

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Well, that’s it for now! Stay tuned—I’m here all summer! Send these three your love and appreciation, and be ready for more.

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