Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baseball and "The Hawk"{aka, The Wind Howls}....

Blue Creek Baseball and the Wind....

One thing you can usually, almost always, count on in Blue Creek Township, up in Paulding County, is the wind will be blowing strong when you arrive for a baseball game.  Yesterday was no exception, in fact the wind was about as strong as I have seen it up that way....not gusty, but a constant blowing wind at the 30 to 40 mph range.  At least the sun was out and the temperature, at least when we got started was in the upper 50s or so.
   

Baseball, Rules and BS....


April it seems, after the warm winter and very warm beginning to baseball season has reverted to "normal"...windy and a mix of mild and not-so-mild days.  Yesterday, my 3rd game involving Western Buckeye League's Ottawa-Glandorf Titans was played in anything buy pleasant conditions...it was also my third game with O-G in the past week, all on the bases...the old saying that "familiarity breeds contempt" was starting to ring true by the time the 12-1 Titan win, in about 2 1/2 hours, ended.

Wayne Trace spotted O-G a 7-1 lead early, held on long enough to keep the game to a full seven innings {rather than getting run ruled} before giving up a 5 spot in the top of the 7th to make the final 12-1.  In addition to the wind, which caused it's own problems, there were a couple of situations that brought conflict with umpires and coaches.  The first one was that the veteran Raiders coach, who was their skipper back in the 1970s through early 90s, and decided to return this season, decided to "appeal" a runner leaving early...which he, the runner, didn't, to try to prove a point.  I guess that he knew more than the umpires, or more likely to show them up.  Not a good thing....he finally brought out the NBF Rule Book to "prove" his point between innings...which didn't need proven, the call was what it was and it wasn't changing...so my only guess is that he wanted to show his players he know more than the umpires...His Point?  Hell if I know?....the runner didn't leave early, but don't bring the freaking rule book out on me....especially if you want to show me a page with a rule that has four different interpretations.....That is something I put in my memory banks, like an old elephant, I don't forget when someone is trying to "prove a point, or show me up".

Infield Fly Rules when "The Hawk" howls...

The second pissing match, albeit mild, came when with runners on first and second and nobody out for O-G, the batter popped one high in the wind on the infield....this would be a normal "infield fly rule" situation....not so today, with the wind, and we had discussed it with the coaches before hand.  I pointed skyward to my partner Brett, that this would likely be a "Infield Fly", with runners advancing at their own risk....I waited till the last second and called "Infield Fly", the Wayne Trace first baseman promptly let the ball fall to the ground{not on purpose}....didn't matter, the batter was out, the runners, on their own, took off.  I watched the runner heading for second, Brett took the runner attempting to go to third.

Here comes the coach from WT...I stopped him at the first base line....in no mood to argue this call.  He came out anyway...now I'm pissed off for a second time....

I pointed to Brett, he calls the runner out at 3rd, saying he was tagged before he reached the base....O-G not happy....frankly the entire play was a cluster fox trot....but we got it right.  Now the assistant coach on Ottawa yells at Brett that it wasn't his call...."Oh yes it was"....the plate umpire always takes the lead runner in that situation.  This resulted in mistake #2 for O-G followed quickly by mistake #3.  The basic rule now days in High School baseball....The assistant coaches need to shut up and coach...they don't argue the calls.  I don't mind giving some leeway, but I'm not taking any guff...as I walk back to my position, the first base coach yells at me..."you have to be more vocal"...now given the fact my of my recent surgery and the fact that this coach knows my voice is somewhat conflicted, him knowing the fact, along with the wind, really pisses me off.  I yell at him that I know my voice is screwed up, but still loud enough, even with the wind, so stow the comments.  After that things settled in, and the rest of the game went somewhat more smoothly...

I was actually pleased that I didn't fly off the handle and set somebody on the bench....but more than a bit pissed off that my voice is still not 100%....and even more so that a coach would try to use that as an issue, given the wind and conditions, and the fact that my partner heard my call loud and clear.  I hate "Red Herrings" and crap like that also goes in my memory banks.   I don't hold grudges, but I do remember when someone tries to pull BS on me....it's all a matter of checks and balance.  Having played, coached, and umpired this game for over 55 years, it's not a stretch to say, I've seen and heard just about all there is, but on occasion something new does come along.

"The Hawk" in years past.....

Over 40 years ago, while in the Air Force, working security at Dover AFB, Delaware, we security guys were well versed in the lingo of "The Hawk"....it was the term, not so fondly, we used for the wind that howled down and around the Nuclear Storage Mounds on the outer perimeter of the base that the Security Police guarded.  That winter of 1968-69, was a cold and windy winter by east coast standards...just my luck. 

That fall and winter that saw Richard Nixon elected President, was my first touch of Air Force life and my first taste of "humping" the outer reaches of air bases and around aircraft parked with nukes on the out edges of Dover....I knew right then and there, that four years would be the extent of my Air Force time....the duty, the lifers, the weather, and the assorted Chicken Shit, were not in my future nor in the way I could live my life.  I never did take well to being ordered around, or having to be somewhere, cut my hair, or listen to some asshole with a room temperature IQ telling me what to do, can you read this Jack Adkins? and how to do what I didn't like doing.

Anyway the wind, much like the wind in the homestead county of my Great Grandparents, Blue Creek Township, was something I came to remember about a place in time...."The Hawk" always brings a memory or two from my past years and life.

Dodge City was another place that I called "home" for a short while back in 1979-80, that had a constant wind....most days the southwest prevailing "Hawk" would blow in excess of 30 mph by the time the clock rolled around to the afternoon.  In the summer however, that wind, rather than cooling things down, served more as  a blast furnace...blowing the hot dry 100 plus degree heat around with the prairie tumbleweeds....

Dodge City, Kansas, Dover, Delaware, and Blue Creek Township, Paulding County, Ohio....three places I have lived that 'The Hawk" was a constant.....

 back later>>>>

Photos-The Winter of 1968-69 At Dover Air Force Base...down in the bowels of the Nuke Storage Area...hiding from "The Hawk"....Blue Creek Township, located in southern Paulding County, Ohio, is dead center in the middle of the old Black Swamp, and home to as flat of land as you'll find, windmills, and the strong wind that drives them...Jack Gates and Ron Turcotte, two fellow Sky Cops who worked the wind and hills of "the mounds" at Dover...and Front Street in Dodge City, Kansas, where, like Dover and Blue Creek Township, the wind is always a constant.

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