Game 6: “A Taste of Our Own Medicine”
Verdasys faces off against a competitor with roster issues of their own
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Game date: Aug 3, 2010

Score Box
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Mass Medical
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Ashish and Naren take some practice swings before the game. (Moffitt)

This afternoon’s match-up has Verdasys going-up against Mass Medical Society (MMS). The two teams have a rich history of competitive games with exciting moments, such as the winning final-inning rally in the 2008 play-offs or the tight 15-13 contest during the 2009 regular season. With that said, there was plenty of reason to believe that this afternoon’s match-up would also be memorable.

But in order for the game to live-up to all the hype, the Verdasys Softball team will need to overcome some internal issues. First, the team will have to function without the guidance of Coach A-WOL. The team skipper is away in Delaware playing in a 356er’s playoff game. Next is the seemingly never-ending roster issue, which only seems to be getting worse due to low team morale. And if that weren’t enough, the team will need to find a way to resolve a new and growing tardiness issue, which plagued the team in Game 5.

Will the team be able to overcome these obstacles by game time, or will they be forced to negotiate a loss yet again? Will Usha come to save the day? Is this the best introduction the writing staff can come up with for this game?

The 3-Step Plan or The Team’s Three Troubles

In order to overcome the team’s three issues (missing coach, participation issues, and tardiness), the team needed to take action. Though no formal plan was created, several members of the team would step-up to help address each issue individually so that, as a team, they would all be overcome.

1) Leadership

The first issue was team leadership. With the 356er’s playoff game occurring at the same time as Verdasys’, Coach A-WOL knew he would be unable to provide guidance during the game remotely from Delaware. What was needed was a substitute team captain. Who better to lead the team than the wife of the 2009 league champion himself, “Mike Ditka”?

Known to have a hard-noised softball coaching style, “Mike Ditka’s Wife” will not only lead the team, but will not tolerate tardiness to the game, stating that she’ll make all late-comers run laps around the field.

After several phone conversations and some negotiation, “Mike Ditka’s Wife” agreed to come to the game as long as there was a need for her to come. Otherwise, she would stay home.

2) Participation

The next issue is the season-long issue of game participation.

At first the roster situation for Game 6 was looking bad. Colby had to back-out due to personal issues, leaving the team with just 2 women. The team was also in need of 2 men to help balance out the roster and no one seemed interested in stepping up. Short of a few players, it seemed like a forfeit was in the team’s future.

A spoof ESPN commercial with A-WOL trying to recruit a person to the team. (Wolan)

The problem was team spirit. A season plagued with roster and other issues had taken its toll on the team. What the club-house needed was a jolt of enthusiasm to jump-start some motivation.

To help supply that jolt, Coach Wolan presented a spoof ESPN commercial with himself trying to recruit a person to the team. This commercial was a secret project co-produced by A-WOL’s All Female Fan Club(c).

As for a motivator, Elliott Eno said he would bring the team’s favorite beverage, coffee, to the game. Everyone who came and played would be able to enjoy a refreshing cup of Joe.

Their efforts paid off as a handful of players agreed to help fill-out the roster. Past player Naren Patel agreed to step-up and play, as did cricket professional Ashish, who scouted Verdasys Softball in 2009. In addition, Jenna, the fiancée of recent recruit Shelby, agreed to play.

There apparently was a serious misunderstanding of Jenna’s identity; a rumor was circling that Jenna was instead celebrity Jenna Jameson. It is probably for this reason that tickets for this game were sold out, much to the delight of the City of Waltham. The rumor is believed to have been started by blogger and renowned ticket scalper “Batman_RE217”.

Regardless, the roster was looking good with 11 people total.

3) Tardiness

The final issue is the recent and growing issue of game tardiness. It had gotten so bad that in the team’s previous contest, the club had to negotiate a loss because a vast majority of the team was late coming to the field. With the way the season has gone, the team cannot afford to let this happen again.

To help discourage this behavior, some deterrents were offered.

As mentioned previously, “Mike Ditka’s Wife” would provide a deterrent to on-going tardiness by making those who were late run laps prior to the game. Elliott Eno, who agreed to play despite battling a nagging ankle injury, said that if the team was late and had to play another exhibition game, then the free coffee he was bringing would be held for another game.

And if that wasn’t enough, perhaps a little tongue lashing would get the message home. Grimard, the normally reserved star outfielder, had some words about the team’s inability to come-in on time. “… if you’re not going to make it for 6pm, don’t bother showing up” said Grimard. “It’s embarrassing…”

Game Summary

With a plan more or less in place, all the team needed to do now was show-up and play. But as sound as the game plan was, it relied on one major assumption: that the other team would show-up!

ExpectedAttended Game 6Played Exhibition Game
Ryan G.Ryan G.
MD's Wife  

Shortly before game time, Coach Wolan made a quick call to check in on the team. At this time, around 5 players had checked in for both sides. Things appeared normal. However, while the rest of the Verdasys team was expected to trickle in, the MMS bench stated that they did not expect the rest of the team to come.

“I think we’re looking at a forfeit” reported acting team skipper Theo Emmitt. “It looks like we’re getting a taste of our own medicine.” Indeed, the situation was not looking good for MMS.

As word of a likely forfeit spread, and that a real game was unlikely, a few players from the Verdasys team en-route to the field turned-around and went back. This included Shelby and his fiancée Jenna, as well as “Mike Ditka’s Wife”, who previously stated that she would only come if the team needed her.

After the standard 10-minute grace period, and despite some people returning home, the Verdasys Softball team had still amassed a line-up of 9 players while MMS only had 5. It was clear that MMS did not have enough players and would have to forfeit.

But as in previous games, the forfeit was negotiated down to a loss. Acting team caption Theo Emmitt presented the MMS team captain the option to take a 9-0 loss instead of a forfeit and he agreed. In exchange, the two teams played a scrimmage game. To read about that game, refer to Game 6s (Scrimmage) Summary.

The win is the first for the team this season, and the second “under unusual circumstances” in club history. The win seals A-WOL’s coaching record of never ending a season winless.

As for the 356er’s, they won their first playoff game of the playoffs 15-0.

Post Game Show

On hand for the “Christina Hilton Hotel Post-Game Show” in Newark, DE was Coach A-WOL. The team skipper took questions from the press via satellite.

(Q) What do you think about the win? And how does it reflect the team?

(Wolan) With the way this season has been going, we’ll obviously take whatever break we can get. As for the win, I think it shows that no matter how badly the season is going, we still show-up. They say that half of success is just showing-up. The difference today is that we did and our opponent did not.

(Q) Today is the third time Naren is credited with playing in a game with Verdasys. Two of those times the team won. Is there a correlation or is this just a coincidence?

(Wolan) It seems like whenever he plays the team wins.

After the press conference game, Coach A-WOL gave fans at the bar a free round of drinks.

A-WOL Watch:

Andy was away so he could attend a 356er’s playoff game. Did not field but he did step-up to bat once. After taking a pitch, the other team said they wanted to quit on grounds of the mercy rule. 356er’s won 15-0. First shut-out Coach Wolan was ever involved in.

… There’s More?!?

So the MMS team agreed to a 9-0 loss because they did not have enough players. Sounds simple enough, so what could one argue about? Apparently a lot.

After the game, the MMS bench contested the loss, claiming they never spoke with Theo about a forfeit. Furthermore, they claimed that their win in the scrimmage game was the official result of the match-up and claimed victory. Is the MMS team being a sore loser by back-peddling from an agreement, or do they have a point? This story continues in Game 6p (Protested Results) Summary.

Game 6s (Scrimmage) | Game 6p (Protest) | Game Photos | Stats from the Game | Scorebook

Andy Wolan is a reporter and photographer for Verdasys Softball. This story was not subject to the approval of the league or its clubs.