Monday, August 15, 2005

Episode III: Revenge Of The Portuguese

The third edition of this titanic rivalry resumes Sunday, August 21st, 2pm at the Palomares Hills Park in Castro Valley. A barbeque and trash-talking after the game. Here's a brief history of the first two games honoring Suzie's birthday, her friendships and her joy of playing the game of softball:

It all started at an A's/Giants game in 2003. A rivalry steeped in proximity and playful jostling between the two Bay Area baseball teams seemed the perfect template for what was to come.

We met Suzie's best friend since fifth grade, Michelle Garcia, affectionately known as, "Beaner", when the idea of celebrating Suzie's birthday in August might be combined with a softball game pitting Beaner's family against ours was first dreamt. A tradition was born.

Mexicans Win Game 1
Game 1: Controversy Erupts As Mexico Easily Wins Inaugral Game
Portugal's fortunes seemed bleak as some of its players arrived late pushing back the gametime by an hour. The Portuguese never really woke up, briefly holding the more athletic Mexicans until finally capitulating to a 26-18 loss.

TRIVIA: Who is the oldest player to ever participate in the Softball Game for Suzie? The answer is at the end of this posting.

Controversy erupted, though, that would instigate rule changes in subsequent years. The Mexicans recruited against rules that forbide any players not of the family's ancestry. A fellow looking vaguely like the then Red Sox shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, clubbed two homers over the high centerfield fence to win the first MVP award.

2003 MVP: Nomar!

From the start, the Mexicans seemed stronger and more athletic than the soccer-loving nation of Portuguese descendants, but a little known hurler named Julian Tavares single-handedly stifled the Aztec attack through six innings.

Masterfully mixing zero knowledge of pitching a softball, cockiness and guile, Julian had the Mexican hitters off balance with his new fangled side arm tosses that look more like an indifferenly flagman than pitcher. Nonetheless, the complaining Mexican hitters lost their discipline and were conjoled into swinging at bad pitches until tragedy hit.

Already short on players, Portugal's Mark Dawson pulled a hamstring rounding third base. Unable to field a full team, Dawson volunteered to pitch for the team, switching positions with Julian.

Losing Pitcher Pulls Muscle

The Mexicans, relieved at the sudden pitching change feasted on Dawson's offerings and began to pull away from what was previously a tense matchup.

While Game 1 was a success, the barometer of great games would have to wait until next year when controversy occurred once again along with treason and late-inning heroics.

Danny: Oldest player in series history
TRIVIA ANSWER: Danny Tavares (pictured above), the honorary manager of the this year's Portuguese team, played the first three innings of the inaugral game going 1 for 3 with a single at the age of 67. He was chosen manager this year not because of his baseball intellect, but for his close resemblance to Tommy Lasorda.

GAME 2: Coming Up.


code43 said...

I will be there early to practice!! Team Portugal Plz arrive at 1pm.... see you there!!

wonderbread74 said...

Calling all Portuguese! I will be at the field at 10am to prepare the infield. Be there. This madness ends Sunday.

Also, our new nickname, in addition, to being from Portugal, will be the "Baleeiros", which is the portuguese term for a whaler. A logo is in the works with a ferocious sailor wielding a harpoon towards a whale.

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