Minor Athletic Achievements

May 08, 2020

Minor Athletic Achievements

Not counting the Quarterly updates or the "Twins Report" this is the third in the "Get to know Ken" Blog series.


I still play baseball. It's an "Over 30" league meaning you have to be 30 years old to play (sort of loose definition). We play 7 inning double headers on Sunday's and optional practice Thursday's. It's not high level or anything but it is wooden bat and a couple of guys in the league can still bring it from the mound. The guys on my team are a second family over the summers and they actually laugh at my jokes, so I can't stop playing ever...I need the self esteem boost!

Lots of stories over the years but I thought I'd share one from my previous team in a more competitive league, it's likely my "crowning athletic achievement". If he ever reads this, Bruce Springsteen would probably be inspired to write a sequel to Glory Days!

This was written Tuesday May 29, 2012:


Friday was opening day for my sandlot baseball team. Barring anything drastic, this should be the last year I play in this league. - EDIT I played in this league through 2014 and we won the league title in 2013 & 2014 - It is a competitive league, wooden bats, slightly modified AL rules and it is made up of mostly college kids and a few of us elder statesmen. I was the oldest guy on my team 2 years ago, and though I skipped last year (I was working 2nd shift), I have returned to the team with that same distinction.

I haven't played in nearly 22 months. Barely picked up a bat. I told the coach the arm feels great, but I'm not sure about my skills at the plate after the complete lack of swings I've had. He said I might use you on the mound today. I thought he was joking. Regardless, I went and warmed up in the bullpen, which is a relatively flat mound. I was throwing darts. Catcher's glove is popping, throwing the slider for strikes. I told the coach that yeah, I could do an inning, and he said ok. Out of the 7 or 8 or how ever many years I've been in this league, I've pitched a total of 2 innings. It was 2 years ago, and the game was a blowout, so I'm a little apprehensive about it but at my age, I figured what the heck, it'll be fun.

5th inning rolls around, our starter is done for the day. Being early in the season, we don't want him to throw his arm out. Coach gives me the nod. Score is 2-1 (bad guys). Out I go. Now, I told you I was doing well on the mound in the bullpen, but the real mound is a whole different ballgame. Easily the highest I've ever thrown from. I start warming up, and the first ball is high. The second goes over the catcher's head. Pitch after pitch, high. They only give you a certain number of warmups, so they call "Batter Up!" and I'm thinking "Oh crap". Incidently, due up were 9-1-2 in the lineup.

8 straight balls high. (two of them I thought were in the strike zone, but they were still up). 1st and 2nd, nobody out. I figure, lets try the slider, after all, the fastball isn't working. I throw it, and it's in the dirt, wild pitch. This is now getting embarrassing. 2nd and 3rd, nobody out and I have yet to throw a strike, and the infield is already playing in. (I heard later my Shortstop was motioning to the coach to get me out of there). Well for whatever reason, the slider seemed to correct my motion, and finally on the 10th pitch I got one over. The next pitch is a good one as well, and it jammed the hitter a little and he hit a weak grounder to short. SS looks back the runner and makes the play at first. One out. Next batter inexplicably swings at the first pitch and is also jammed, another weak grounder to short. Two outs. I'm feeling much better now, but then I look at the guy strolling to the plate.

Guy by the name of Melvin Dorta. Now I hadn't forgotten that he was over there warming up, but it is a whole different feeling when he is actually walking up to the plate to face ME. I don't belong on the mound, and this guy used to get paid to come to the plate.


He retired from professional ball last year and has signed up with the team we are playing, the defending league champs to boot. He played for a few games in the big leagues in 2006 and he was an Eastern League (AA) all-star that same year. In the second inning, he hit a rocket to the fence in right-center and it barely looked like he swung the bat. According to a teammate of mine he was neck and neck and maybe better than Ian Desmond, but Desmond had the big contract, so Desmond got favored coming through the farm system.

Up he comes, and I'm thinking that I better check my pants. I then think, well first base is open. I didn't get a signal to put him on from the coach, so my mind, going a mile a minute quickly shifted gears again and said, "ah, what the hell, let's go for it!"

Fired the first one down the middle which he took for a strike. Now at this point, my coach has just seen me groove one to him, and he makes some sort of motion to the catcher. I think he was trying to say walk him, but the catcher interprets it as "pitch around him", so he sets up for the 0-1 pitch well outside. I fired in again, but I didn't quite get it out enough. Dorta gears up and takes a mighty hack at the letter high outside fastball and I cringe.

I don't know whether he missed it or my fastball moved just enough (It's like the very junior version of Mo Rivera's cutter - hence the jam jobs), but he got under it and flied out to left. Got out of the jam, and I feel like a million bucks. How many people can say they got a guy out who has 4 major league hits to his name?

Coach asked if I had another, and after 5 straight strikes I said heck yeah! The 6th inning was largely uneventful, I walked the second hitter, but we caught him stealing, and then struck out a good buddy of mine that I played with for a few years to end my stint.

Final line:
2 IP 3 BB 1 K 1 WP 1 CS - 26 pitches

If I don't play again all year it'll still be worth coming back just for that. It's just too bad we couldn't pull one out and get me a win, we loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, but struck out to end the game and lost 2-1.


I pitched 7 innings in that league over my "career" - and only allowed 1 inherited runner to score (ERA 0.00) and I think had 7 strikeouts.
Fast forward to 2017 when I pitched in my first game in the Over 30 league and faced 3 batters and gave up 3 hits, they scored 2 runs and ended the game via 10 run rule. My ERA in the Over 30 league is, actually, infinity. They haven't asked me to pitch since!