Few things are as surreal as baseball in Buenos Aires, and even fewer things can compare to the experience of playing for the Buenos Aires Shankees. If we take a look back at the five-plus years that the Shankees have been competing in the Liga Metropolitana de Beisbol, we can recall phenomenal pitchers like Andrew Terry, Eddie Nadel, and Jimmy Ray Jr., all of whom totally dominated every batter they faced. And the plate, names like Smokin´ Dave Beaton, Walter ´Voodoo Magic´ Cabrales, and Jonathan ´Poker Star´ Cantrell quickly come to mind. These are just a few names representative of perhaps the best baseball players ever to compete in the A2 Division. However, none of that seems to matter right now, as I, a humble sport enthusiast with a passion for the Shankee Nation, prepare to share with you some of the events that unfolded on the last day of August 2013 at field #2 in Ezeiza.
Under clear sunny skies and with warm temperatures cutting through the winter like the Shankee Bus cut through traffic, the Shankees took the field to face a Ferro team consisting of mostly A1 players. But that didn’t seem to bother the Shankees; as they felt confident about the team they managed to put together in less than three weeks. With renewed energy coming from the Shankee Front Office, the Shankees have once again regained that “Give it all you got attitude” and combined it with the ever-present Buena Onda characteristic of the Shankee nature.
Leading the way, was starting pitcher and last year’s Shankee MVP, Andrew Hidalgo, who pitched six superb innings, striking out ten batters and giving up no earned runs. David Mickelsen came in for relief of Hidalgo and also pitched flawlessly and also gave up no runs. The Shankees drew first blood in the top of the third when their awesome new Shankee Catcher, Martin Cato, drove-in Pete Mitchell from third. The Shankees then took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Suddenly, it got dark, as the gloom of that one disastrous inning rolled-in to cast a fearful shadow upon the Shankees once again. With Hidalgo tiring and the hefty Ferro bats into their third time round the order, a pair of tricky fly-balls proved a little too much to handle for the lackadaisical Shankee outfielder, who had not seen many balls get past the infield all game. Ferro capitalized on a subsequent string of Shankee errors and took a 7-3 lead into the top of the ninth. There seemed little hope of the Shankees coming back to win against a tough A1 team. “It’s rally cap time,” stated Hidalgo.
“How do you spell ´Rally´?” asked the Wizard of Ozwald Parks. And with that, the Shankees loaded the bases. Mark Zuñiga, a phenomenal player from the Shankees original 2008 squad, hit a shallow fly ball into center field. Pete Mitchell, once again on third base, received the tag-up call from the Shankee manager, Ben Atkins. Mitchell then fast-trotted towards home as the outfielder´s throw bounced into the Ferro catcher’s extended glove, which he swung around totally missing the tag. Unfortunately, another bad call by the umpire would prove fatal for the Shankee finale. However, this Shankee team has a new spice of life, a new pizzazz, a Give it all you got Attitude, and thus the Shankees loaded the bases once again. With two outs, newcomer and submarine pitcher Mike Hudson, stepped up to the plate. Hitless all day; what do you think happened? He crushed one into deep right-center and sprinted around the bases like a gazelle dashing through a cornfield, making it all the way to third. Beating out the throw, which lady luck rolled into the opposing dugout, all you could hear was the shout of; “Go home, go Home!” He then trotted to the plate to tie the game at 7. The Shankees held their ground, as all the Ferro could do against the never before seen submarine pitcher, was try to bunt the ball. Even the umpire stood in awe of the new Shankee pitcher. However, a costly walk would lead to a stolen base and put a runner in scoring position.
With tensions running high and the game on the line, a deep fly ball sailed over centerfielder Pete Mitchell’s head, and thus bringing the game to a disappointed opening day end. When asked to comment after the game, Shankee President and Founder Paul Perry stated; “This is the best Shankees team I have seen in a long time, and I think it can only get better!” His words hold considerable truth as the Ferro team only had one earned run on the day. In my personal opinion, what led to the Shankees ill-fated demise today were: two extremely bad calls by the umpire, two fly balls, and an unnecessary tagup from third. But hey, live and learn.
Reporting for the Shankee Press – Jack Green, back from Iraq and back in black…and white!
All Shankees Box scores available at https://www.gamechanger.io/t/spring-2013/shankees-521438f0c6775d63a5f3ce81