The 2005 season for amateur baseball ends last week, with my beloved neighborhood team—the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts—wedged in fourth place. But in post-season playoffs the 'Bolts march triumphantly to a final climactic battle with arch-rival Bethesda Big Train ... at which point the weather gods intervene and, after multiple rain-outs at multiple fields, the Cal Ripken Sr. League Commissioner declares SS-T and Bethesda co-champions. A tie is a sister-kiss, perhaps, but in this case a sweet one.

Now for the record, some idiosyncratic observations of the 14 games I witnessed:

  Date   OpponentScore (Visitors-Tbolts)Comments
8 June Maryland Hurricanes 3 - 10pre-season game against an Eddie Brooks League team; the Thunderbolts give 7 pitchers a turn on the mound; Matt Capece (SS) and Sam Boone (2B) execute two fine double-plays
11 June Bethesda Big Train 3 - 1Opening Day attracts a big crowd, ~250 fans; I sit on the third-base side of the stands and meet Dr. Pedro Saavedra, a statistician and enthusiastic Big Train aficionado
18 June Maryland Redbirds 12 - 7lovely weather, cool and clear; the Tbolts lead much of the game, but are blown out of a 7-7 tie by a 5-run Redbird 8th inning slugfest, sadly helped along via a couple of SS-T errors
22 June College Park Bombers 2 - 1rain in the area throughout the day and sporadic light drizzle during the game; the Tbolts score in the bottom of the 9th, but a controversial "runner interference" call ends the contest before the tying run can score
24 June Bethesda Big Train 5 - 4I greet Dr. Saavedra on the way in to the ballpark; a heckler insults the home plate umpire with "You're missing a great game tonight!"
25 June Rockville Express 2 - 7spikes make crunch-crunch sounds on the sidewalk as players walk by; a three-run Thunderbolt 7th inning includes clouds of dust from multiple stolen bases by Andrew Greene and Mickey Shupin, as the home team bats all the way around the order and leaves the bases loaded; see BlueButter for my banter with the umpires before & after the game
7 July Rockville Express 1 - 0raindrops begin to fall 15 minutes before game time, and showers become heavier until after five innings, scorebook waterlogged and fingertips pruned, I give up and open my umbrella; play is stopped after the 6th; as I leave, the Tbolt players line up to roll a tarp out to cover the infield
9 July Maryland Orioles 1 - 4an extremely fast game, finished in less than 2 hours; the visiting team's coach gets into a major-league argument with the umpires about what he saw as interference by Tbolt players sitting on a wall outside their dugout, when a missed strike three gets Tbolt designated hitter Andrew Russell on base to start the 2nd inning
23 July Maryland Redbirds 2 - 1violent thunderstorms earlier this day have blown down trees and destroyed a segment of the center field fence in Blair Stadium, so red traffic cones now designate a "ground rule double" zone there; this rain make-up game starts at 5:45pm, and electrical power abruptly fails at 6:00 when a transformer dies nearby; the game finishes at 7:45 as shadows from the setting sun lengthen across the field
23 July Maryland Redbirds 0 - 1 *the second game of a double-header starts at 8:05pm, but without stadium lights play must stop after one-and-a-half innings
26 July Maryland Orioles 1 - 2a hot and humid day; I bring frozen juice tetrahedrons with me and sit with a bag of them nestled in the small of my back, producing the illusion of comfort via local cooling of the blood and spinal column; behind me in the stands two baseball scounts wield a radar gun to measure pitching speed while they chat about recruiting players for the big leagues
27 July College Park Bombers 4 - 2 *weather is extremely hot and humid at 5pm as another make-up game begins; sunscreen mixes with sweat and stings my eyes; light rain starts to fall in the third, and play is abruptly stopped after four innings when tentative rumbles explode into a full-fledged thunderstorm with nearby lightning strikes and a torrential downpour
31 July Rockville Express 2 - 1#1 Son Merle accompanies me to this unusually-scheduled 11:30am contest, where I huddle under #2 Son Robin's huge umbrella; the Tbolts are technically "visitors" and lose the 7-inning make-up; to avoid sunburn we leave before the second game of the double-header
1 August Maryland Redbirds 3 - 7a 5pm start for the first game of another double-header, noteworthy for an excellent throw from center fielder Andrew Greene that catches a Redbird runner attempting to tag up and race home from third

Huge kudos to Ed Sharp, Dick O'Connor, and all the Thunderbolt players, associates, and supporters who make baseball such a glorious summer pastime—and a special salute to the Tbolt snack bar crew for their wonderful work!

(cf. and TboltMonkeysOnMyBack (19 Jul 2002), TboltSignoff2003 (3 Aug 2003), ThunderboltsHomeAndAway (19 Aug 2004), ...)

TopicRecreation - TopicEntertainment - TopicPersonalHistory - 2005-08-12

(correlates: BaseballBlues2006, BaseballNotes2007, ForestDialect, ...)