“Where do you want me fielding this inning Joey?”… “I don’t care, wherever someone else hasn’t gone yet”. And so the Manly-Warringah Minor League commenced on Monday night at Aquatic Reserve Baseball Park.
With the focus of the competition very much on fun and good natured banter rather than the baseball, the competition includes teams from Forest, Pittwater, Mosman/Warringah and a Seasiders team on debut. Come Monday, it was time for the elder statemen of Northern Beaches baseball to have their time in the sun (or under lights).
Pulled hamstrings, bung shoulders and absolutely no bunting. The three certainties of having players over the age of 35 running around a baseball diamond after a Christmas of inactivity for our intrepid members.
With summer holidays marred by the Northern Beaches lockdown, questions were being asked as to whether the season would get underway, but after delaying the season by a week, Super Gladys and Baseball NSW came to the party declaring “Baseball is for the people – the show must go on.”** Cue frantic ground maintenance.
“Are we playing Pittwater? Have they all been tested to come back over the Narrabeen Bridge?” joked one player. [Insert inappropriate comment here – then redact to protect the innocent]. Hilarity ensues. As is the way with Masters, where the humour is often much better than the quality of the baseball, and often unprintable.
The Mavericks lined up against Pittwater first up. “Did these uniforms shrink since the Pan Pacs?” asked one Mavericks player. Much agreement was heard in the dugout as players realized that indeed the uniforms did seem to be tighter than when last worn before lockdown and Christmas feasts. “I’m sure they’ll stretch back over time…”
For the record the Mavericks won 18-3. Pitches were thrown, balls were hit, errors were made, at some point everyone stopped hitting the ball because the sun was at the perfect setting position that no-one could actually see it. Draws were redone for future rounds. Nimble decision making by the MWML committee.
On the other diamond, the Forest Padres took on the Ballers, a team that had invested in shiny new uniforms but neglected to actually get proper button up baseball shirts. “Kind of feels like they missed a trick there” came the view from the much vaunted Aquatic hill. Much agreement from other teams. “New caps look good though”. Ballers won 6-4.
In the 8.15pm game under lights, the banter got better from the hill as Mosman took on Seasiders. However, the game was almost thrown into disarray as two banks of field lights failed to turn on prior to the game. Cue a mad scramble of unqualified electricians to stare blankly at a fuse box. Between them a landscaper, a gardener and a recently retired telco exec figured out which button to flick – whilst teams from the early games continued to look on amused. Quality Masters baseball. Seasiders won 11-6.
The action returns on Monday the 25th, with Mosman vs Padres, Pittwater vs Seasiders and Mavericks vs Ballers.
Full draw and results can be found here: https://manlybaseball.com.au/minor-league/masters-tough-dog-cup-draw-autumn-20189/
* Technically the Masters grand final from last year was delayed until September 2020, but...details.
** Not actual attributable quotes from Gladys Berejiklian or Baseball NSW.