Fantasy Camp Update: It's Almost Playoff Time

We are through 3 days of camp and 4 of the 8 teams have a 2-3 record. Unfortunately, one of those team is the Toyota Recalls - my team. After losing our first game on Sunday, we went 1-1 on Monday and split another double-header on Tuesday. The two losses on Monday and Tuesday were fairly disgusting - Tuesday we lost the morning game by 2 touchdowns.

The big win came Tuesday afternoon when we beat the previously unbeaten team managed by Bill Hatcher and Ted Power. To say that Hatcher was pissed would be an understatement. Even as a coach at Fantasy Camp, he sure doesn't like losing. He was cursing up a storm and bitching and moaning for a good hour after the game. But the fact was, he was owned by our pitcher - a 47-year old banker from Houston - who threw a complete game, striking out 6 and inducing 8 ground balls back to the pitcher. It was probably the most boring game to play the field, well, ever. It was still a beautiful win.

The morning game on Tuesday started out well. My brother Tim was the starting pitcher and we jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Our opponents - managed by Pete Harnisch and Joe Price - battled back and took a 7-4 lead. Then we got to the 6th inning and the wheels fell off. A hit batsman, a walk, and a string of hits - including an inside the park home run - turned a tight game into a major blowout. It got so bad that one of our coaches, Joe Oliver, had to finish off the inning, and even he surrendered a run. We took our lumps, but that happens sometimes. The shame of the whole thing was that it was the only win so far by Harnisch's team.

My day was pretty quiet. I was 1 for 3 in the first game - my only hit was of the infield variety again. The second game sucked as the umpire had a gigantic strike zone. Pitches that I watched cross the white line of the batter's box were being called strikes, which meant that you had to swing at anything that was close. I didn't adjust well and struck out twice. I took a walk in my third plate appearance after the brought in a new pitcher who had trouble getting close to the strike zone. I played left field all day, but I only had two balls hit my way - one a dinker that was too far out in front of me to get to and the other a shot that went over my head and reached the wall. Otherwise I had a quiet day defensively. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get some time back at 2B, but the old guys are having trouble moving in the field right now so those of us with younger legs have to do the running in the outfield.

I had my first minor injury today. I rolled my ankle as I landed weird trying to beat out a ground out at first base. It didn't hurt for long, but it has swollen up. I'll be fine, but you should still feel sorry for me. :)

In other camp news, Monday night saw the first Kangaroo Court. For those not familiar with the concept, everybody is brought together to discuss the transgressions of the players and coaches to that point. I wish I could describe it in detail, but I'm sure I'd ruin it. Let's just say that it's the most I've laughed in a long while and Doug Flynn and Bobby Wine are two hilarious mofos.

The evening wrapped up yesterday with a bull session out on the hotel patio with Tom Browning, Joe Oliver, Kent Mercker, and Eric Davis. The highlight of this trip is the opportunity to sit around and listen to stories from the players, and those four guys have some of the best stories around. Probably the best part of the night was when Jack Billingham came out and started talking Big Red Machine trash to the guys from the 1990 team. E.D. was adamant that the 1990 team was the better team, but Billingham wasn't having any of it - though to be fair, I'm pretty sure Davis was just trying to start trouble. It's great to see the camaraderie among all of the players, and even better they include every one of us in that relationship. It's one of those things that you really have to experience to appreciate it. Maybe there is something to this team chemistry stuff. :)

That's all for tonight. We've gotta win two games tomorrow to get ourselves into the playoffs. Both of our best pitchers are ready to go though, so as long as we can put some runs on the board, we have a chance. Wish us luck!

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