Welcome to the Ghost Man on Third blog, the Worldwide Leader in Austin WAKA Kickball & Social Sports. Posts are player-generated, please email waka.gmot@gmail.com to contribute.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Suck My Kick (TX Republic)

Next time we'll bring condoms cause all we do is score. This just in, kicking instead of bunting is fun. Several of our players went all the way en route to a 16-3 win. If it was this easy to score at the bar, you'd all need a shot of penicillin.The other team played well for their first game in the new league, but their table full of booze, rainbow decor and labradoodle makes me think their priorities were in the right place, partying over winning. We're going to keep corking our legs and taking PEDs in hopes of hitting homers again next week.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Welcome to the GMOT!

Listen up kids: it's business time. If this is your first time perusing this mighty beast we call the Ghost Man on Third (GMOT for short), WELCOME! This is a player-contributed blog meant to serve as an outlet for anything you want in regard to kickball, your team, your costumes, or any general awesomeness you feel like sharing. To make sure our fun is good and clean(ish), we have some guidelines:
  • No hate speech. This means attacking someone on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else along those lines.
  • No nudity. People usually read this blog on Thursday while they're killing time at work wishing they were playing kickball instead. Keep it SFW!
  • No excessively harsh language/cursing. It's ok to drop a bomb here and there, we're all adults, but that also means we don't just call each other names.
Now, why (aside from being awesome/entertaining) would you ever want to contribute to such an amazingly fun blog? Because we 'gon get you DRUNK. There will be a special bottle of PREMIUM liquor at the end of season party, and each team that submits a write up every week (not including this week, it's ok, you didn't know) will get to line up and do a shot of it with your league rep!
    Sounds BALLER, right? Just send an email to waka.gmot@gmail.com to make a submission. Our GMOT Czar Kimberly Fortanely will be checking the account every Monday and posting all of the emails in there, so make sure you get something in by the end of the week if you want it to appear in the next week's blog! If there are any other hopes and dreams you hope the GMOT can fulfill, don't hesitate to ask!

    If you have pictures to include (you will!) try and just send us the URL of where it's hosted rather than emailing the file, it's a lot easier to just hotlink rather than download it and then re-host it on the blog!

    Stephen & Kim

    PurpleSaurus Rex - TX Live

    Alright Austin WAKA, we are PurpleSaurus Rex and we are here to do two things: make out with you and chew bubble gum. Yeah, you guessed it, WE'RE ALL OUT OF BUBBLE GUM.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the Purple Stuff, Rex is an homage to a very cherished part of my childhood: Kool-Aid. There was once a flavor, the perfect Kool-Aid flavor, a delicate balance of grape and lemonade, known as PurpleSaurus Rex. It was delicious, it had a cool dinosaur on the little packet, and it had awesome commercials like this:

    Long considered extinct, the brilliant scientists in my kitchen two years ago discovered a method of cloning the noble PurpleSaurus Rex! An elaborate process involving a 5 gallon cooler, a tub of grape Kool-Aid mix, a tub of Country Time Lemonade mix, a liter of grain alcohol, a bunch of water/ice and a big ass wooden spoon yielded the second coming of this glorious concoction, and there was much rejoicing in the world!

    Come gather around the jug, partake in the Purple, and join us in our merriment! Be warned though: we get a little weird. The standard theme nights are awesome, but we tend to do more. Some nights we'll be wearing tutus:

    Who tu? Tu tu!
    Some nights (ok a lot of nights) we'll have on sexy sexy tights:

    The end of game RAWR!
    And every night we'll be ready to hoist that freak flag, play some kickball, share our booze with you, and make Thursday the best goddamn night of the week!

    Also we have fun socks. And hats.
    Our hearts and cooler are always open to new people, so come by and say hello at the fields and have some punch, snuggle up and whisper in our ears in a booth at Gibson, invite us back to your apartment "to watch a movie", and then wake up all hung over and wonder in terror why there's a GODDAMN DINOSAUR IN BED WITH YOU! RAAWWWWRRRRRRRRRR!

    Stephen & PurpleSaurus Rex

    Pitches be Trippin' - TX Live

    How did the dinosaurs die?  A volcano?  Disease? The ice age? An Asteroid?


    According to data compiled by Bill Nye the Science Guy the dinosaurs (Purplesaurus Rex) died in the first Round of Summer 2013. 

    We had a strong offseason recruiting, due to the result of drunken bar conversations.  Sorry in advance, kickball is back, so I will be too drunk to remember any of your names. 


    Walk Of Shame - TX Live

    Hello Texas Live,

    We are Walk of Shame. You might remember us from such seasons as all of 2009-2012 and winter 2013. Since most of the teams we knew are gone, I thought we'd introduce ourselves to you.

    This is Andre. He's the captain. He's big. He's black. He yells a lot. And he'll probably drop every single ball I throw to him at 1st base this season. Don't be fooled by his size, play in cause he'll probably try and bunt. We all want him to dress as Winnie the Pooh for Halloween, so any encouragement is welcome.

    This is Slob. He comes from a land where Manny Pacquiaos grow on trees. He has joined 14 different teams in the past 4-5 months in search of a championship, but it seems every team he goes to suddenly sucks. Coincidence? Who knows.

    This is Leeho. He gets hurt pretty much every game. In fact, he probably ruptured his achilles reading this GMOT. I can almost guarantee he'll miss 50% of the games this season while injured or in Laredo. Lock.

    This is Butler. He comes every now and again. WHATEVER YOU DO, don't include this man in a group text. Your phone will NEVER stop ringing/buzzing/dinging/whatever sound you have. Seriously, it's the worst.

    This is Will. He doesn't always make out with girls, but when he does, he puts it on Facebook. He's a product of Relax, so he is in therapy for his PTSD right now. Years of Jay will do that to you.

    This is Clay. He's a modern day hippie in all its glory. He will certainly not be sober at any game this year, but I'll be damned if he isn't faster than you. I could never get him out, so you probably can't either. He's also a Relax product, but just doesn't care enough to let Jay's nonsense get to him, he uses "natural medicine" as his therapy.

    This is Chris Wright. He's extremely tall. He played basketball. And....that's all I got.

    This is Aaron. He once punched a hole in the moon just cause. He's somewhere between 6'10 and 5'1 tall and...ummm....Sorry I don't know Aaron yet. Update to come.

    This is Tom. He definitely scored higher than you on the SATs. He's also no less than 3 Mizzys in size. He can kick the ball really far, so beware. He's a really good indoor soccer goalie too. But I still scored 2 goals on him.

    This is Hip Hip Jorge. You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but he's actually kind of a NASCAR-lovin' redneck. He's also a Braves fan, which irks me. He hasn't played kickball in a while, so hopefully he can still kick far. He's also a fantastic cook if anyone needs some tamales or something.

    This is Mizzy. She's tiny, but I bet you a Lonestar she can outdrink you. It's pretty amazing to watch. She's been playing kickball since the dawn of time. And she's single, fellas, so give it a shot. 

    This is Erin. She used to go out and binge drink at least 9 times a week. Then she met Ty and stopped doing that. I kind of miss the old Erin. If you want to have a fun argument, go talk smack about the Longhorns in front of her. Enjoy.

    This is Jessica. Seeing her out in public is kind of like seeing a real unicorn. It's pretty cool, but extremely rare. Come out more, Jessica; I think you'll have fun. Jessica likes cats. Same comment as Erin too, but replace Texas with A&M.

    This is Alli. She catches EVERYTHING. Don't kick it near her if you want to get on base. Seriously it's impressive.

    And lastly, this is Tanker. After having a top 5 kickball career of all time, he's hanging up the cleats at the end of this season and riding off in the sunset. Gifts at every game, a la Mariano Rivera, are expected and appreciated.

    So that's us. We will see you on the fields, and if it's anything like the past seasons, we'll be at the bar but no one else will, so I guess we'll just see you at the fields. We'll either be really good, or really rusty, so catch us early cause it's been a while since most of us have played. Happy Thursday, Texas Live.

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    TX Live Summer 2013 Survey Responses

    Hi everyone! I want you guys to know that we really value your input and feedback, so here our a few great comments from last season's survey with responses from the league:

    “I wish that the league reps would enforce the "no dog off leash" policy on the fields. Not only do the dogs get in the way of games sometimes, more importantly they will approach other dogs. When you come and bring your dog on a leash, you are being a responsible dog owner. Some of the dogs on our team aren't good with random dogs running and approaching them. It isn't fair to punish the owners who follow the rules and bring their dogs on a leash. Our team has begun to not bring our dogs due to the stray dogs running around. The most fair way to handle this is enforce all dogs on leash.”
    This is a perfectly valid concern, and one I sympathize with as a dog owner. The park rule at Gillis which states that all dogs must be on leashes WILL be more consistently enforced throughout all our leagues in WAKA Austin to make your game day a more dog-friendly experience for ALL of our canine buddies.
    “Deal with the police. Getting harassed by the police once a week has affected the overall experience.”
    The police were present for three league nights this past season due to a complaint called in by a neighborhood resident. Gillis Park, like all Austin neighborhood parks, is and always has been an alcohol free park, and the only way to avoid visits from the police is to adhere to the park policies in such a way that neighbors are not inclined to call in complaints. After the initial visit, the league leadership was proactive about asking players to put away their booze if they were seen openly drinking alcohol, and will continue to do so this season.   
    “Go over rules day one!”
    Among the captains’ responsibilities is to have a clear understanding of the rules and make sure that their players do as well. (You can find a full list of captains’ responsibilities HERE). We recognize there is a lot to learn for new players however, and have a pre-season open play night every season which includes a rules clinic for new players to help everyone adjust to the game. Additionally, your league representative is always available by email to answer any questions!
    “It would be awesome to have a bar with food, I loved it when we were at 3rd base. It would also be awesome to play at a park with more fields so we could mix and mingle with more teams and also play more consistently, it really sucked having a bye week every other week or so.”
    We hope you enjoy the awesome food at Gibson Bar this season, I know I’m looking forward to it! Now that construction at Gillis Park has ended we’ve added a third field to each time slot for the Fall season, which means you’ll always be playing alongside 5 other teams. Additionally, bye weeks have been eliminated (and will only be used in the future if absolutely necessary)!
    “Team consultants. Each team gets a designated league spirit captain assigned to them to help brainstorm random-ass ideas for theme weeks or just for normal weeks to add some more spice to the leagues. I think this will become more and more important as more of the corporate teams join. Theme weeks were pretty tame this year.”
    I don’t know who you are because these surveys are anonymous, but I love you and I love your idea. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources for paid staff to fulfill this role, but our community has always thrived on volunteers lending their talents. If you wrote this or you love this idea and would like to help make theme weeks a bigger hit, please contact me right away at stephen@kickball.com and I’ll find a way for you to help!
    “The price of the league is getting very expensive.”
    The $2 increase in the league’s cost this season was the result of an unexpected increase in field costs from the city which left us with a budget deficit for the past season. We’ve worked hard to resolve this issue with the city and will be able to maintain stable and consistent pricing across all of Austin in the future.! 
    “I know it's hard to enforce, but having consistent line refs would be nice. For the majority of our games, we had no first base ref, which led to some controversial calls.”
    Even with first base refs, there will ALWAYS be controversial calls due to the nature of the human error. That’s part of kickball! Our head refs are all amazing volunteers that do what they do because they care about the WAKA community and their league, and we love the vibe that brings. Line reffing is a huge part of getting involved with other teams in the league and learning more about the game, and failure to provide a line ref always results in a paper forfeit being recorded for the team. These paper forfeits do not affect the team’s win percentage, but are the first tiebreaker for seeding playoffs.
     “I really enjoy the parties when they rent a place out and buy bottles if liquor and kegs. So much more fun to have beer pong and other games like we did at Schultz Garden and not have to deal with the hassle of the bartenders.”
    I loved it too! We’re going to be working to have at least one of these types of parties each season moving forward, and this season’s End of Season bash will bring all three of our Fall leagues back to Scholz Garten for a November blow out!
    “Better fields! Please, please, please get us back to pleasant valley or any real field with no divots/rocks.”
    Fields are always a top priority for us, and we actually used to receive many more concerns about the location of our fields at Krieg Softball complex than we do about the quality of Gillis Park. We believe that a central location in close proximity to quality bars is a much better combination for the league than the higher quality softball fields which are less convenient to our players.
    “Capital teams should play all Capital teams and Live teams should play all live teams.”

    There are no longer any divisions within Live, and the reign of hyper-competitive teams appears to be drawing to a close in Austin WAKA. A focused and concerted effort has been made to balance the schedule this season, and I believe I’ve done a good job of making a schedule that will maximize fun for everyone. You can pick over the nitty gritty of it in THIS GOOGLE DOC, where you’ll find a “strength of schedule” tab including preseason rankings for all of the teams (in which I gave my best evaluation with the information available to me), and a derivative season difficulty rating and ranking. The delta column indicates the difference between the two rankings, with a positive number indicating your team’s schedule difficulty ranking is stronger than your team ranking, and a negative number meaning your team has a weaker schedule ranking than your team ranking. I am constantly working on ways to balance our leagues schedule, and am always open to ideas and input!

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    Apologies from the GMOT Czar

    It won't happen very often, but I'll admit it when it does: I made a mistake. Last week, I assumed teams wouldn't be submitting their wonderful prose to post on our warm and welcoming corner of the internets, so I diligently focused on my job instead opening up our lovely gmail account. My B! Sorry to those teams! I posted last week's submissions today so that your creative genius does not go unnoticed.

    And with that, I retire as GMOT Czar. It's been nice/weird writing the Candy Van GMOTs for all of you, but it's time for me to retire from kickball after 4 years of debauchery. It's been weird. Keep it that way!

    Your friendly, neighborhood GMOT Czar, Valerie

    And for good measure, please think of this when you think of me:

    The Legendary Red Rockets

    It’s not every day you get to wrestle a gator—but that’s exactly what happened last week, sort of—Red Rockets overcoming adversity once again and kicking out the jams and rockin it.

    In my absence, Editor-in-Chief-Power Lunger for The Legendary Red Rockets has been receiving digital high fives to pass on to the Peanut Butter and Leo “bad ass girl in left field!”

    Apparently she knows how to handle herself in the outfield—if you were looking for a ball joke, I’m sorry to disappoint.

    From William Murray and The Legendary Red Rockets.
    To the PB&L vixen in left field:

    Now on to the real biznasty-- The Legendary Red Rockets.
    We beat PB&L – not knowing more than that, I can estimate we looked damn good, the proof’s in the pudding- he’s a pic from our after party at Icenhauer's.

    There was no beer... wah wah! |There was however, a giant thing of water and Emergen-C. That was pretty legit. | Fun after party at our team sponsor Icenhauer's.

    Apparently we have a make-up with our boozy and joint white trash theme compadres: Candy Van – so yeah it’s going to be loco. I’m looking forward to mullets, wife beaters, jean shorts and anything else you might expect from states that start with the letter “A” –Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, etc.

    Redactions: None –everything I predicted last week came true: Deep lunges. Warm embraces. Power high fives. Incognito libations.
    Here’s my selfie.

    See y'all on the pitch.

    Ahhhhh We Rocket! Ahhhh Nous Fusée! Ahhhh nós foguete! Ahhhh vi raket!

    Pitches Be Trippin'

    Week 1: Every Week is Rivalry Week

    The first annual Pitches be Trippin’ fantasy football league kicked off last weekend with a draft at Third Base.  Fantasy Football brings people together, tears them apart, and as it turns out, there are no shortage of bitter rivalries in an intrakickball-team fantasy football league.  Captain Robert was able to get us a nice quiet table for 10, despite the fact that Warren forgot to make a reservation and almost ruined the draft. James showed up late and intoxicated (as usual), and Justin avoided an onslaught of verbal abuse by drafting from home. Everyone else was present and accounted for, though Rena opted to auto-draft after letting her emotions get the better of her and her team just one year ago. Julie was as excited as ever and was even heard using fantasy football terminology like “waiver wire”, which she will need to get familiar with. Tessa and Michelle looked as if they were taking an online Exam, while Geoff and I sat back and made pretentious remarks about players and their likelihood of success in the coming season. All the while, Carter was silently absorbing football knowledge and plotting his evil fantasy empire. Jessica and Galicia showed up to hang out, but stayed above the fray and out of the draft.

    Almost two hours later, all of the picks had been made and we all went home brimming with anticipation of the start of the regular season. Who will get the trophy, and who will be forced to carry a chip of failure and shame around on their shoulder throughout the entire off-season?

    Commissioner’s Awards

    Best Draft Performance: Longhorns (Geoff)
    Best Team Name: Vick in a Box (Julie) – Honorable Mention: Off in the Woods
    Most Likely to Win Championship: Carter’s Cool Team
    Worst Draft Performance: The Tigers? (Justin)
    Worst Team Name: The Tigers?
    Cinderella Sleeper: Tessa’s Team

    DunderSaurus Rex

    We’ve lost our mojo. After starting the season at 3-1-1 and riding high in the standings and earning some cred in the power rankings, we've just fallen flat. Three losses in a row to finish the season 3-4-1 and limping into the playoffs. It baffles the imagination really -- a three game losing streak and two of those teams I think we could be 3 out of 5 times. These games have been a series of ‘what could go wrong has gone wrong’.

    But the more I think about it, it’s really not surprising at all. Hmmm, is there some “event” that coincides with Dunder’s three game losing streak? Could there be some other external forces acting on Dunder … blocking our regular good-time, keep winning mojo? What could that be you ask gentle reader: the Austin Police Department putting the kybosh on all drinking at Gillis. Seriously, we haven’t won a game or been the same team since alcohol went on the ‘no-no’ list. I don’t think any team has been as impacted as we have. Sure Dunder is still closing down G&S each Thursday but on the fields, we’re a shadow of ourselves. I knew I should have bought the green house right across from the fields 3 years ago – that way, I’d be fully entrenched in the neighborhood HOA by now and could have blocked the call to the police – I blame myself.

    Anyways, the playoffs will be at SARC and while they also have no alcohol policy, they just don’t want you to be blatant about it. So hopefully, by bringing back the hooch, Dunder can get back on track.

    We’ll face a tough task: One Kick Wonders. This isn’t the same team we played early in the season, they were without Rock (starting pitcher) and that Cody kid (starting catcher). Scott will have them ready to go and looking for a little revenge on Dunder. We’ll also be playing without Ben “The Red Viking” Hegleson while several other players are doing some sort of obstacle course 5K that morning and are questionable on their availability, let alone their condition to play intensive kickball after doing a 5K. We’ll still field a team, go out there, give it 110% and have a good time.


    Tony “Nemesio” Gonzalez – There's not much that can be said about Tony that doesn't illustrate his coolness. He's calm and collected. He's friendly and welcoming. He's a busy guy but always has time for a beer and a few words with his friends. Tony is easily the most laid back member of Dunder. He's got solid range in the field, a good kick, and no matter what happens in the game... his hair always stays perfect. He’s the man … look at the picture.

    He came to Dunder from the North Austin Free Tail Monday league, where he was playing just about every position on the field, but had been moonlighting in Live for a while playing on an older version of ‘Sons of Pitches’. JDL recruited Tony to come to Dunder and hold down the charger position which he's coolly done ever since. And speaking of JDL, Tony and JDL are about to be parents to the newest Dunder baby -- another future Dunder player in the making.

    Tim “The Anvil” Barnhart – Some might argue that we've saved the best for last... Tim MF-ing Barnhart. Browns fan, great dad, man of few words, perennial Dunder All-Star … and no one wears more accessories for kickball. There's a reason we call our end of season award “The Tim Barnhart Male MVP Award”. Tim is the standard by which all other players are measured.

    If you kick the ball towards Tim, he will kill himself trying to get to it. Line drive back to the mound? Tim will break his wrist diving for it and still catch the ball. Lazy pop up out of play to the 3rd base side? Not for Tim, Tim will dive into the flip cup table, shatter the table, douse himself in beer, and still catch the ball. Pop up right behind 1st? Tim will ditch the over-sized cowboy hat, slide in on his knees, make the catch and fire it to second for the double play. There’s a reason why the people on Dunder can be heard during a game saying “Tim would have caught it”. Tim's kicking is equally impressive. He's quick on base, gets good power, gets the ball down and past the infielders.

    Now what truly makes it all special? I’ve seen other players make great offensive plays and diving catches in the outfield and they jump around celebrating it. Not Tim Barnhart – he makes his play and rolls the ball back to the pitcher – completely nonchalant. To paraphrase the immortal words of Vince Lombardi: Act like you’ve been there (and done that) before. And that he does, it’s not about him; it’s about playing great kickball.

    Occasionally his better half and original Dunder member Jenny, along with their brood of future Dunder All-Stars, will make an appearance to root Tim on.

    Tim's only weakness? Sparkling water. Dude loves his sparkling water.