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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

PurpleSaurus Rex - TX Live

Big "back down to Earth" game for us after we were feeling all pleased with ourselves following our 1-0 win in week 2, as we kinda got dominated all night. Yeah we only had 6 guys available and were playing with 5 of them for a few innings, but damn we gots some work to do to hang in this conference! Fortunately, the Mardi Gras spirit kept us going and we got to show off our strongest assets in sequins and spandex, so the night was far from a net loss!

MVP of the night went to Mr. Clayton Porter, repping the Mardi Gras theme the hardest of them all with his ridiculous get-up, while our on-field woes were offset by what may have been a career performance by Kristie Kelly, who I believe was 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs on offense and made some clutch stops at 3rd base to stop the bleeding.

Huge shout out to Kickin the Punt for absolutely dominating in Life of the Party last week, we're pumped to hand off the belt to a worthy successor and will be doubling down trying to win it back this week!

Speaking of this week, we've got Relax and Let it Happen on the schedule this week. My relationship with this team has gone from adversarial to downright loving in the 4 or so years I've known them.

First time I ever played them, they were short a few ladies and picked up subs from Walks, Teabaggers, and Candy Van to put together a super squad that was full on shitting on our dreams. We were NOT expecting a team on that level and wounded pride combined with (understandably) mistaking Shannon's good-natured shit talking to be some crazy malicious bitch on the sideline, led to me pulling out out the rulebook and pointing out to the ref that they didn't have enough girls to play and the game should be a forfeit. I believe Jay called me a "fucking douchebag" at the plate, I told him I was a "fucking douchebag with a W", and we may have parted ways on not the best terms.

Not the best start! And yet now I love those guys. Since that first game, I've grown steadily more and more fond of their unique brand of fun, and they've been pretty much instrumental in demonstrating to me that taking the game seriously and having a great time are not mutually exclusive.  I've partied with them at Third Base, Shangri-La, G&S Lounge, Gibson Bar, The Park on South Lamar, Vegas clubs at multiple Founders Cups, and LSKO pre-parties for going on five years now, and we'll party with them again tonight (assuming their old asses actually make it to the bar instead of going home to watch Matlock). So here's to you Relax: looking forward to the game tonight.  My only regret that Alex isn't on the roster so she can go 0-3 again.

Relax and Let it Happen - TX Live

This week, we play PurpleSaurus Rex. They are horrible and we will kill them. PurpleSaurus Rex is a team that has been pissing me off for a while now. A few weeks ago, Stephen informed me that there are “fun points” this season, and that Relax had garnered some for simply writing a weekly GMOT – while insinuating that Relax could not possibly ever earn “fun points” in any other way, because we aren’t fun. I don’t know where to find the rankings but I’m willing to bet PurpleSaurus Rex is leading this imaginary “fun race”.

I see this as a fierce injustice that needs to be addressed. PS Rex, just because you wear lady-colored spandex and jewelry and wigs, does that really make you “fun”? Because you carry a mobile speaker blasting Calvin Harris and dance like no one is watching, do you really deserve applause? When it all boils down, all you really are is a more obnoxious version of Relax. Think about it. Relax is having a goddamn blast every time we pull down our pants to shit on this league. Dominating you guys every week is better than an annual pass to Six Flags. Just because we don’t prance and sing and sport the colors of the rainbow, doesn’t mean we aren’t out-funning you in each and every moment of life. Winning is fun – and Relax is ALWAYS winning.

And I get it. It’s not fair for Relax to win EVERY single thing. We live in a world where every kid has to win at something, and participation and sportsmanship awards are handed out like Kind Bars at Whole Foods. So league, have your “fun race”. Have your competition where Relax isn’t in the lead. Have your tiny sliver of sunshine that peeks through our shadow as we lay spread-eagled, basking in the glory of the UV rays. Enjoy. But don’t for one second let yourself be fooled. Relax is STILL better than you at every single aspect of life, including fun.

Can’t wait to see PS Rex on Thursday night. We will outwit, outplay, and outfun you once again. Smooches, y’all.

Kickin the Punt - TX Live

Did any of the other teams notice this season that you don't have some random free agent that no one knows on your team? That's because Kickin the Punt saved the day; we are a team made of solely of free agents/small groups. We love it because we all became friends quickly, but as many of you know it takes time to play well together as team. 

During the first inning of our first game, the other team scored 9 runs!! We lost our first game by a landslide. Our second game wasn't quite as bad, but we still lost. We won our first game last night 8-5. Considering that in previous games 3 runs a game is a big deal to us, we were shocked to not only score 8 but also that we score 6 runs in an inning. 

We are still trying to determine if we are just finally playing as a team or if the addition of crazy mardi gras themed outfits helped us win. It's a little difficult trying to play in masks and wigs. The big play of the night goes to Neil in his Lucha Libre mask making a catch on a pop fly in the outfield. 

We are going to explore the playing a team first before we show up every weekend looking like we might be a little crazy. If you didn't see "Socks" at the field or bar you missed out, she was running around looking like the Mardi Gras version of Rainbow Brite in a wig, mask, flashing glasses, a petticoat, and the infamous beer mode socks.  We heard that she got quite a few strange looks from her neighbors and from people on the drive to the game. 

Win or lose, our team is basically here to have fun and meet new people, so don't be surprised if you see the team in the pink shirts wandering around The Park visiting with other teams. You should stop by our very large table at The Park and say hi to us and our lovely Flamingo mascot Punty!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ball Blastin Hood Rats - TX-Republic

So last week Ball Blastin Hood Rats went up against Babe Truth, a team that, although new this season to Wednesday nights, are definitely a well-oiled team of kickball veterans. And like most well-oiled people, they slickly slid into the game and came to win.

Coming into the game from last week, I’m sure that they expected another high scoring game, but Hood Rats don’t go down so easy!

We managed to hold them to a one-run game, and even though we didn’t get any runs on Babe Truth, I definitely think that we had a heck of a game holding a strong team like that to only one score. Which means that the playoffs can only get more interesting. There's going to be a lot of contenders for the championship and you'd be silly to think that the Hood Rats aren't one of them!

This week we face another newcomer team Four Ways to Score! Don’t look at past games as an indication of a team’s talent because (as I’ve said before and I’ll keep saying) we have learned time and again NOT to underestimate teams! It WILL come back to bite you in the ass. So, Four Ways to Score, the Ball Blastin Hood Rats will be showing up, ready to play some ball and do some Hood Rat things with our Hood Rat friends.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rules Feature: Interference and Obstruction

This week we're going over another frequently messed up scenario: interference an obstruction! First, to clarify the terminology, interference is when a defensive play is hindered, and obstruction is when a baserunner is hindered. Two different types of calls. Let's go over interference first!

INTERFERENCE can occur in several ways (and one related instance which isn't actually interference but we'll still go over for relevance). Here's the full text of the relevant rule:

15.02 Interference is: 
a. when any non fielder or non permanent object except a Referee or a runner, touches or is touched by a ball in play in fair territory. This interference causes the play to end, and runners shall proceed to the base to which they were headed; 
b. when any runner on or off base intentionally touches a ball, or hinders a fielder. This interference causes the play to end, the runner to be out, and any other runners shall return to the base from which they came, unless forced to advance (see Rule 14.02e); 
c. when any kicker intentionally touches a pitched ball by hand or arm before the pitch is called a Ball or Strike, or intentionally touches a kicked ball to render it foul. This interference causes the play to end, the kicker to be out, and any runners shall return to the base from which they came (see Rule 14.02e).

So in section A, we're talking about anything that isn't a permanent object like a fence, overhanging wire, batting cage, or tree. The most common incidence of this: players in another game! Since the setup of our fields puts the deep outfield in the midst of another game, it's not uncommon for a player in an adjacent game to inadvertently interfere with a kicked ball in fair territory. In such a case, the play should be called dead and all runners must stop at the base they were on their way to and no further. Definitely a bummer if you just blasted one into next week, but them's the breaks. Of note: interference is NOT called when the defensive PLAYER runs into someone, but when the BALL touches another player or non-permanent object. Intentionally throwing the ball into such an object to cause interference is unsportsmanlike conduct and should NOT result in an interference call.

A related sidebar: what about PERMANENT objects that are in play? Here's the relevant rule on that:

13.02 A foul ball is:
h. a kicked ball first touching a permanent object, such as a batting cage or fence.

I've never seen it happen, but it's possible that a fly ball on Field #3 could hit the overhanging power wire in fair territory. In such a case, the call would be a foul ball. The defense cannot catch a ball called foul in such a way for an out. This isn't specified in the rules but is clarified in the FAQs. Same thing goes for balls that hit trees, fences, nets, poles, or any other permanent objects. You can't get a ball stuck in a tree and then catch it when it falls for an out.

Back to interference! In section B, we deal with runners intentionally touching the ball in play. The ref must make a judgement call as to whether the contact was intentional. If so, the runner is out and other runners must return to the base they came from unless forced. (Note: if there are runners on 1st and 2nd and the runner on first interferes with a ball, they are out and the runner on second is no longer forced to third: they must return to 2nd base). If the contact is deemed unintentional by the ref, it is considered a deflection: the runner is out but the play remains live!

A runner may also hinder a fielder. This is a judgement call on the part of the ref, but if the ref determines that the runner intentionally hindered the fielder, even if they did so within the baseline, they should call interference on the runner.

Section C is much more rare case, and deals only with the kicker. Basically this rule prevents a kicker from popping up to the catcher and then swatting the ball away to render it foul: the kicker would be out in this scenario.

OBSTRUCTION occurs when a fielder illegally hinders a baserunner. Here's the text of the rule:

10.02 Obstruction. Fielders must stay out of the baseline. Fielders trying to make an out on base may have their foot on base, but must lean out of the baseline. Runners hindered by any fielder within the baseline, not making an active play for the ball, shall be safe at the base to which they were running. Runners may choose to advance beyond this base while the ball is still in play.

The basic idea here is you can't block the baseline, with the very important caveat that a defensive player may enter the baseline when necessary to make an active play on the ball. This is a really important rule that has player safety implications, so pay attention! If you are not making an active play on the ball, there is no excuse to be in the basepath. As a defensive player it is your responsibility to know where you are and NOT hinder the baserunners. When attempting to make a force out on a base, you must place your foot on the base and lean out of the base path such that the runner can safely reach the base. If you are just hanging out on top of second base, you are obstructing the base path and, more importantly, causing a safety hazard to yourself and the runner!

Again, all of this comes with the caveat that if you must enter the base path to make a play on the ball you may do so, so collisions that are not obstruction are still possible, but the rules seek to avoid them to what extent they can without placing an unfair burden on the defensive player.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PurpleSaurus Rex - TX Live

We approached our first season in the competitive conference with an appropriate measure of trepidation: what if we get pooped on every week? Will that still be fun? Can our fun-ness out-fun the un-fun-ness of as-perceived-by-us-un-fun teams?

Friends, I am here to tell you this: I don't think there are any un-fun teams in this league. For serious y'all. Even though every fiber of my being cried out against it, I made a lineup last week that actually took advantage of our strengths instead of just putting whoever showed up first at the top of the order. I put players in positions where we could protect the field and make a play on any ball instead of having gaping holes because I told people to just play "wherever". We BUNTED for god's sake, it was like some bizarre dream world! But guess what: IT WAS FUN. AND WE WON. It was a sorta sloppy 1-0 win but count it! Scoreboard!

Of course, we weren't done winning. Not by a long shot. As promised, our BA new jackets kept us feeling hot and looking fly, and paired well with the Party Belt (which I'm told we've hung on to for another week after another week of dominating the bar.)

A pre-game pep talk from Hollywood Ivan Hogan got us started:

And our sexy Purple Ladies looked particularly delightful in satin and tights:

Do you KNOW how hot Robin is?
If you haven't met Denver yet, he's our official team mascot and game ball: he goes home with the ballingest baller of the night after every game for some sweet sweet dino loving until the next Thursday. In week 1, breakout pitcher Dan Hain took home the beast, while last week Heide Danysh took a goddamn knee to the head at first base but still managed to kick the game winning RBI! Why is Denver named Denver? Jeez, it's like nobody watched shitty cartoons in the late 80s. Let me EDUCATE YOU:

So to recap: a dinosaur that plays guitar in a rock band, wears ridiculous clothes, and is friends "and a whole lot more" with a bunch of children? Yeah that's us.

This week we take on Better Red than Blue Balls, and something tells me we've already won because Brim doesn't like to dress up (unless its a full method-acted version of Elmo), and our Mardi Gras-ness will overpower them before the first pitch is even thrown.

Relax and Let it Happen - TX Live

Hello, GMOT world. It's me, JG. Some of you may not know me but I've been around the Waka Kickball block a couple of times. I've been #blessed to participate in all of the great pastimes of this storied league: hoisting the championship cup (lost track of how many), laughing at Dre trying to catch routine fly balls, being afraid but secretly excited about what Joey is going to do/say next, and finally, shaking my head as lesser teams (i.e. all teams) try to play on the same level as Relax.

As the guest writer (shouts to K Rut) I'd like to talk about the last point. The lesser team in question this week just so happens to be the Teabaggers. To be honest, I haven't stepped on the fabled fields of glory that is Gillis Park in more than a year, but one thing that'll never change is our complete domination of the Teabaggers. Just to recap, they're the Washington Generals, and we're the Harlem Globetrotters. They're the Bad News Bears, we're the 1985 Chicago Bears (I'm Walter Payton). They're Yoplait yogurt, we're Amy's Ice Cream. You get the point.

This Thursday isn't going to be any different. We're gonna stroll in looking all swagged out, probably warm up or some shit IDK, then we'll track down each and every single dream the Teabaggers have, and promptly shit on them. Last week my colleague Kate said that we'd shit on any dream we found in a 30 mile radius, but this week I'm upping the radius to a gaudy 40 miles. Does that seem impossible to you? Do the logistics of not only locating, but defecating on every dream in a 40 mile radius seem difficult? Well then you're probably not a member of the Relax dynasty.

Our revamped roster is full of talent, beauty and the type of athleticism that only comes around once in a decade or two. Come on by and watch as the Teabaggers get dealt with in their normal fashion. Until then, Relax and Let It Happen, bitches.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ball Blastin' Hood Rats - TX-Republic

Another season and another name change! Ball Blastin Hood Rats (formerly known as Snap Lords formerly known as Snappin’ Da Base) have been prepping our minds, bodies, and souls for the opportunity to get back to the finals this season! (Seriously….it’s been like crack for the mind...)

Last year we got stomped during the semi-finals in a beat down that would make a professional MMA fighter curl-up in a corner and cry. But this season the Ball Blastin Hood Rats are ready to throw down! And we started our epic Lord-Of-The-Rings-like journey to the top by promptly LOSING our first game against Candy Van 11 to 8. Normally, I’d be all bravado and rationalizing our loss by the extreme injustices of the universe and claiming that we were somehow tricked by the other team into a bad performance!

But in reality, it was just a really good game and we got out played by the returning Candy Van squad. They’ll definitely be in the running for the finals this year and the Ball Blastin Hood Rats are gonna be right there with them, ready to punch in our championship!
mean girls animated GIF

This week we go head-to-head with Babe Truth! I don’t know if we’ve played them before, but it looks like they had a dominating game against Don’t Be Rikikulous. We’ll see if that flows over to this week. Ball Blastin Hood Rats are looking to reclaim our spot in the ranks, so get ready! It’s. About. To Go. Down.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rules Feature - Does the Run Score?

The problem to be addressed here is understanding whether a run should score when 2 are out. There are three basic tenants to the run being legitimately scored or not scored to keep in mind, which are required for all umpires to understand.

First: No run can score when the third out is made by the kicker-runner not reaching first base safely. If a base runner on third crosses the plate with two out before the kicker-runner is put out on a ground out or a fly out, the run does not score. Similarly, with runners on first and third, if the runner on third scores before a conventional double play (i.e. 6-4-3) is completed, the run does not score.

A trickier example is bases loaded, 2 out. The kicker kicks a home run but fails to touch first base. After all runner have circled the bases, the ref calls the kicker out at the conclusion of the play. All runs are nullified (no runs score) since the kicker-runner is out at first and did not reach first safely.

Second:  If the third out is recorded on a force play, no run can score. For example, runners on first and third, 2 out. A slow roller is kicked to the third baseman who charges and throws home, but the tag is not made before the runner crosses the plate. The runner from first had stumbled and fallen before touching second. The kicker-runner has reached first base. The catcher then throws to the second baseman who tags the runner for the 3rd out before he reaches second. Though this is a tag play, the runner from first is still forced to second, hence the run does not score.

Keep in mind that if a runner misses a base to which he is forced with 2 out and the ref calls them out at the conclusion of the play, no run can score regardless of any action that takes place after the missed base. Also, a force play occurs only when runners have to advance because the kicker becomes a runner.

Third: There can never be a force play when a fly ball is caught. Here is an example that is often called incorrectly. With runners on first and third with one out, the kicker kicks a fly ball to the outfield that is caught. The runner on third legally tags and scores, but the runner on first goes half-way and fails to tag. The outfielder throws to first and the throw beats the runner attempting to return to first. The run from third counts, since this is a time play and the run scored before the 3rd out was made at first. When the ball was caught in the outfield, the runner on first is not forced to second, but is free to return to the base. Since a tag at first is not required (the ball must only beat the runner to the bag and be in legal possession of a defensive player), many umpires incorrectly interpret this as a force play and do not score the run.

A time play is a play where if the runner crosses the plate before the 3rd out is made, the run scores. A common example is runner on second, 2 outs. The kicker kicks a ball in the gap but is thrown out at second. If the run crosses the plate prior to the 3rd out, it counts. The kicker-runner safely reached first and there is no force out.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

PurpleSaurus Rex - TX Live

They're here. Tonight we debut our CFAF (Certified Fly as Fuck) team jackets. We're gonna be walkin in all like.

Except with WAY less defined cheekbones. And as if our ridiculously awesome jackets weren't enough, we're going to be wearing around the brand new Party Belt as the inaugural weekly winners and throwing down a pitcher of beer on WAKA's tab tonight.

Some people they learn it at school. Some people learn it on the streets. But PurpleSaurus Rex? Baby, we were BORN with it. 

Don't bother hiding your erections when you see us, it's cool.

Rules Feature - The Foul Line

Hey Folks! I'm going to try and write a weekly post about rules so you guys can learn some of the nuances bit by bit instead of trying to absorb the whole rulebook at once. Today? The foul line!

One of the biggest confusion points for new (and experienced!) players is what constitutes a foul ball or fair ball when it's near the line, so let's lay it out with the aid of a handy dandy chart.

Click to zoom
For grounders, as in baseball, the ball must stay in fair territory until it passes first or third base to be fair. This means a ball can start fair, and then roll foul and be a foul ball. In an important DIFFERENCE from baseball, a grounder which starts foul cannot roll fair. Any ball which touches foul territory before reaching first or third base is immediately called a foul.

With fly balls, it's much more straightforward. The ball lands with any part in fair territory it's fair, lands fully in foul territory it's foul. Of note, the line is considered fair territory.

Now the tricky stuff: what happens when a player touches the ball in the air? The most important distinction is where the ball is when it is touched. A ball in touched in fair territory is fair, no matter where the defensive player is standing. A fair ball cannot be made foul by reaching in from foul territory. The inverse of that rule is NOT true though: a ball that is in the air in foul territory CAN BE MADE FAIR if touched by a defensive player in fair territory. Here's the exact text of the rule:

1.04 Any player or Referee wholly or partly in fair territory is an extension of fair territory. Any live base runner outside the kicking box is fair, even when wholly in foul territory. A player jumping from fair territory is in fair territory while in the air. A player in foul territory does not extend foul territory by jumping or reaching into fair territory.

This means that if you are running to make a play on a ball that is just outside the foul line and touch the ball while you are partly still in fair territory, the ball is fair even though it was in foul territory as your body extended fair territory. You can do this by jumping as well. A baserunner wholly in foul territory on the third base line could be struck by a kick and called out, and the ball would be fair and still live! Basic rule of thumb, you can't make a fair ball foul, but you CAN make a foul ball fair (so long as it hasn't already touched the ground fully in foul territory).

That's it for this week, let me know if you have a rule you'd like me to go over in the future!

Relax and Let it Happen - TX Live

It’s a nice thing to know you’re wanted and loved. Every time I skip out on writing a GMOT – thinking, who am I to think the good people of this league care to hear from me each week? Who am I but a small blip of a person on this great big earth? And then, I am corrected. The good people of the league seek me out, asking why I deprived them of the solid gold that is a weekly Relax GMOT. They assure me that I am not a mere blip on this earth – I am a literary Adonis and each week isn’t as bright without my sunshine pouring down on their souls.

League – you have been heard. I’ll make a bigger effort to provide you with a weekly GMOT where I tear you to shreds and you keep coming back for more.

Some of you may have noticed that Relax has a huge roster this year. Some of you may have noticed that you recognize less than ¼ of the names on that roster. Some of you may have noticed that the color of our jerseys is as black as the empty pit of our souls. Some of you would be right. But Relax continues to prove that no matter what situation we are presented with, we will always dominate. The moment you join our team, something changes in your body and in your mind. You immediately become a champion. Some aren’t cut out for it. Take Sweet Baby Dre - he could only handle a few seasons of championship. For others, it sticks like glue (see Jeremy, Jimmy and Daniel, joining us for their second season and thirsting more ravenously  than ever at the teat of greatness).

We hope the glory will stick for this season’s newbies, because they came in last week with a tremendous attitude and joined us in ruining the lives of the Recess Rockstars.

League – we’ve heard you, we love you, we respect you. We’ll keep the GMOTs coming and the shit flying all over any dream we find in a 30 mile radius.

Til Thursday night, smooches y’all.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

PurpleSaurus Rex - TX Live

You're going to get to the fields tonight and think "Oh my goodness who are those incredibly attractive people in purple and leggings and tutus? How can I meet them? Are the interested in having sex with me?"

The answers to those questions:

1. We are PurpleSaurus Rex!
2. Please approach with your best mating display.
3. Probably.

You see, due to the Week 5 Rule we have to look outward for our hawt hawt dino mating opportunities for the first part of the season, which means now is the time to pounce! The real challenge is just the raw mechanics of doin' it with a friggin dinosaur. Fortunately, there's this helpful video!

Before you ask, YES a few of us have spiked, spiral, crazy murder penises. No I will not tell you which ones, that would ruin the fun. Just be confident that Life Will Find a Way.