Softball season opening day June 7

Same old game with a few tweaks

Thank God it’s time for softball, far and away one of my personal favorite times of the year for a number of reasons.
First of all, it marks the official start of summer as far as I’m concerned.
Secondly, softball often exposes the competitive underbelly of this seemingly mild-mannered, mellow town in a seemingly mild mannered, mellow sport.
Thirdly, grass.
Fourthly, home runs.
Fifthly, double plays.
Sixthly, ITPHRs.
Seventhly, inane arguments with umpires.
Eighthly, the women who play softball.
Ninthly, the women who play softball and are better than most of the men.
Tenthly, when covering softball I can use words like fourthly, fifthly, sixthly, seventhly, eighthly, ninthly, tenthly and write sentence fragments.
Now to the rumor mill. The Mountain Spirits Likkers have disbanded. They were one of the few teams that played hard but not too hard and were always in the hunt for the recreational league title. Not to mention their fan base was an integral part of the scene, often led by the outspoken Austin and his band of merry pranksters (and by “pranksters” I mean hecklers).
Unfortunately, a handful of Likkers’ players have moved, leaving the team a couple players short of a full squad. Those who are still here are now up for grabs making for one of the strongest free agent classes in recent history.
Also, the Crackers, last year’s recreational league champions, are making the move to the competitive league with a new sponsor, Western Holistics.
I would now like to offer some new names for strains of medicinal marijuana that Western Holistics could provide. There’s Slowpitch, which will provide anxiety relief. Wreck League, potent enough to wreck your day but not your softball swing. Comp League, think Wreck League but more intense. ITPHR will cure lethargy, take a hit and just start running. The list goes on.
As for the Gas Holes, as of press time they have yet to decide whether to remain in rec league or make the move to the comp league.
Currently, five teams are signed up for competitive league and six teams in recreational league. You have until Friday, May 28 to get your roster in. After that, it’s too late.
There are a couple of rules that are new this season. In an effort to speed up the games this year, every batter steps to the plate with a 1-1 count. It was first proposed for use during the playoffs because they will be starting a week later this year when the sun disappears behind Mt. Emmons earlier. The softball board then decided to just enact the rule for the entire season.
“It’s actually a rule mandated by ASA [American Softball Association],” says recreation program coordinator Lauren Alkire.
In addition, each batter gets a courtesy foul ball on their “first” third strike. In other words, if you’re standing at the plate with one ball and two strikes and you foul the ball, the first foul ball does not count as your third strike. Foul it again though and you’re out.
Then there’s the shift rule. As of this season, infield players must be positioned in the infield prior to the ball being hit and outfielders must be positioned in the outfield. No more shortstop shifts to shallow right field, ahem, Mikey Weil.
Furthermore, to remain both safe and legal only 3.2-beer is allowed in the parks before, during and after games and absolutely no glass is allowed.
Now, I’m not sure why only 3.2-beer is permitted and regular strength beer is not, but I can take a guess: to reduce public drunkenness. Actually, it’s not a new rule—it’s the law here in town for all parks. Not just softball fields.
Side note, in 1933 the country was suffering financially and prohibition was still in effect. In an effort to offer citizens some reprieve from their financial stress, Congress determined that “intoxicating liquors” were any beverage with alcohol content higher than 3.2 percent by weight. Therefore, 3.2 beer was created to offer said reprieve, just not face down in the gutter reprieve. Or, in Crested Butte’s case, riding your townie into a planter box reprieve.
I’d never heard of 3.2-beer until I moved to Colorado 23 years ago. I recall Coloradoans claiming that it worked just as well as regular beer (and by “worked” I mean got you drunk).
In an effort to prove them wrong, my friends and I sat down and fired down copious amounts of 3.2-beer one afternoon without any results (and by “results” I mean got drunk).
One thing is for sure: We took a lot of leaks. So, there’s a chance that while an automatic 1-1 count is in place to speed up the games, the 3.2 beer rule may ultimately slow down the games as players will inevitably make several trips to the bathroom.
Or, I guess one could wait until after the game to enjoy their beverage of choice but that would be crazy.
Beer is to softball as EPO is to bike racing, specifically Floyd Landis.
Back to the facts.
Competitive league will be Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 and 6:30 p.m. on Gothic, Pitsker and/or Tommy V Field. Recreational league play will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 and 6:30 p.m. on Gothic, Pitsker and/or Tommy V Field. Men’s league, if they get four or more teams together, will take place on Thursdays starting June 17 at Tommy V Field at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
No roster additions after 5 p.m. July 9.
All information about registration, rules, standings and statistics can be found on the parks and recreation website, crestedbutterec.com.
PLAY BALL!
Finally, don’t forget to head to the Eldo on Thursday, May 27 at 5 p.m. for a fundraiser for softball standout and all-around great guy Pete Basile. “He had brain surgery, on his brain. He’s doing just fine, it’s the bills that are killing him.” There will be items up for auction and music by Stretch Johnson and the Children of the Horn.

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