Monday, January 13, 2020

Whitby Men's Slo-Pitch League still going strong 40 years on

Columnist Taylor Retter provides brief history of league

Forty years ago, a loaf of bread cost 30 cents according to Statistics Canada, the Happy Meal made its debut, and the Whitby Men’s Slo-Pitch League (WMSPL) played its first game.
The league was formed in 1979 with four teams, which represented the subdivisions they supported. They were Otter Creek, Pringle Creek, College Downs, and West Lynde.
Now, there are 12 teams and more than 180 players who meet up 38 times a season to catch up and play ball.
The season features a league tournament and is capped off by playoffs and an awards banquet.
But for some players, this league is about more than just showing up to see who can run the fastest, or hit the most home runs.
George Clay, pitcher, is the longest-tenured player in the WMSPL, and has been dutifully playing for 33 years.
He first gave it a shot after hearing from some friends about a league that was close to home and well-organized — but stayed for the quality of play and the connections he made.
“I’ve made a number of friends in the league. It doesn’t matter what team I play against; I have friends on every team in the league at this point,” Clay said.
And those connections span beyond just casual post-game conversations or friendly chirps across the field.
“One of the great pleasures I get is that both of my boys play on the team with me,” Clay said. “A number of the players on the team I’ve coached in their minor careers, and it’s a family. That’s what we say about these teams, they’re family.” 
And while he says he only signs one-year contracts, Clay is waiting for his body to tell him to retire and plans to continue to play as long as he can with his friends and family … much to the chagrin of every team they have to play against.
He has nothing but praise for the league and wishes it success in the next 40 years.
“I hope it continues to grow the way it has, that it continues to be a fun place for people to enjoy the game. They just have to follow the pattern of what they’ve been doing for the last 40 years, and I have no doubt the success will continue.”
And how has the league changed since his first game?
“It’s gotten a lot younger, a lot more competitive. Everyone plays to win, but if you don’t win you can come back and play the next night and it’s all good,” he said.
And the players have been coming back, as evidenced by the fact the average player in the league has 8.6 years of WMSPL experience, and the league average age is 43.8. The Storm takes the trophy for longest average tenure, with 13.9 years, which makes sense considering their average player age is 47.
This year's teams were supported by: Awakened Life Chiropractic and Wellness Centre, Swiss Chalet, Broadway, All Organic GreenThumb, Hanet Plastics, IG Wealth, RE/MAX Crossroads Realty, Creative Harbour, Mantis Investigation Agency, CMD Electric Ltd. and Sidewalk360.
This year everyone received custom hoodies and the annual year-end banquet was elevated by a live band, “Two for the Show,” as players celebrated the 40th anniversary of the league.
Are you looking to be a part of the next 40 years of Whitby slo-pitch history? Head to www.wmspl.com for more information or to join a team for the 2020 season. Who knows, you might just become part of the next playoff championship team.
Written by: Taylor Retter who is a Carleton University journalism graduate and daughter of a player in the Whitby Men’s Slo-Pitch League. Written for Durhamregion.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

2019 Playoff's Day 2, Offensive drought ends Storm’s season

After raining down runs against Greenthumb and Coulas on Saturday, Storm’s bats lost their thunder. Storm did not score in the first three innings, spotting the Falcons to a 9-0 lead. This should not have been insurmountable. Storm seemed to wake up in the 4th and scored five runs. Suddenly they were right back in the game. In the 6th, Brian led off with a triple. That’s right, a triple. This looked like a promising start. However, Brian must have used up all the gas in his tank, because two batters later he would be thrown out at home trying to score on a fly ball to right. Storm added a run in the 7th, but it wasn’t enough. Storm only scored in two out of seven innings. That’s not how you win in slo-pitch.

There were some good defensive plays. Craig made a fantastic running catch in the outfield, and Duran made a couple of nice catches in the outfield, and a really nice play running from second to make a grab in foul territory in short right field.

After winning the regular season for the 5th straight season, Storm fell short in the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. There’s always next year.

Better Luck next year Storm. Congratulations Falcons!!

HR's: None
HR Out's: None

Boxscore

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total
Falcons
2
7
0
2
1
1
1
14
Storm
0
0
0
5
0
0
1
6

Saturday, September 14, 2019

2019 Playoff's Day 1 - Game 2

Scoop's is warming up the electric typewriter.... It's old like scoops, and apparently takes quite a long time.












HR's: Lance, Joey, Craig
HR Out's: Craig

Boxscore

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total
Coulas
0
0
0
2
4
2
2
10
Storm
4
4
0
7
0
4
x
19

2019 Playoff's Day 1 - Game 1

Scoops Jockovitch,your intrepid reporter here…Ah what does it matter.
After waking Sunday evening from a Iaaswca and Jagermeister fueled celebration for what I was sure was going to be another Storm Championship! I was dismayed to find out that they were done... Like Dinner and my first 3 marriages.
So these recaps are like writing about your favourite dog that you know has already been taken to the “farm” up north.

The Green Falange’s started off quickly with a double and 4 singles to make Jack, Chrissie and Janet very happy scoring a 3’s Company.
I love that episode where they had that misunderstanding!

Facing the Verté Digit the boys in orange needed to shake off their end of season slump.
Scoring ( just like my latest girlfriend) a 9 in the first! The street cones seemed to be off and running, well a fast jog really…I’ve seen most of them attempt running.
Highlighted by 9 hits and Joey visiting PEI and bringing back a tater!

In the second those guys who are really great with plants mirrored my dating history with alot of X’s and no scoring.
Whereas hurricane El Stormo blew another 5 runs across the plastic rectangle we call home highlighted by Mr.Spray and his Mr. Simpson.

The one sided game of tic tac toe continued in the top of the 3rd for GT ( I like mine with a little cucumber and just a splash of tequila) with 3 more X’s

Bottom of the third for our lads was very farm animal based. Durans Rooster sacrifice was starting to prove well worth it batting wise with one HR already.
However, as he stepped to the plate, the bases were loaded and it wasn’t a chicken that was needed but a horse and one of it’s shoes as Big D smoked a ball over the fence for the ever exciting... 3rd Out.
If only there was a way he could get this opportunity back you ask?

Storm scored 2 that inning to bring the score to 16-3 for the Tangerine Dream

Since we’ve had farm animals its feels about time that we bring some baking into our little tall tale today.
We’ve all become accustomed to the pre dinner favourite The Left Field Greg Roll. It doesn’t appear on the menu as much as it used to but its quite fulfilling and enjoyable. Well, we have a new item on the menu as of this game and we call it the
 Groskopf Stumble Tumble Crumple. This delectable treat had never been experienced before but will live on in memory. It consists of a ball being hit to right centre field, the fielder then stumbles as he catches the ball and yet somehow this causes him to tumble backwards in a crumpling somersault. You really must try it!

Off to the 4th for a 4 up 3 down scenario for the team named after the Jolly Green Giants favourite hitchhiking finger. While add on another 4 spot for those lovable, huggable Pylons!

The 5th brought the most underwhelming Star Wars movie to life for Greenthumb scoring a Solo HR and for Foghorn Leghorns biggest fan an opportunity for redemption.

The pond was once again full of ducks for Duran. What would he do? Where would he hit? How the F*ck did he get so jacked?
As the ultimate team player he is, he took the walk and as we have all been directed to do…he let Joey hit the Grand Slam. 
All praise our Overlord Joey! He is all knowing and we must obey!
All praise our Overlord Joey! He is all knowing and we must obey!
All praise our Overlord Joey! He is all knowing and we must obey!

7 runs were scored giving Marilyns former team a sizeable lead

The remainder of the game went by without incident with a final score of 28-4

This start all but guaranteed that the Storm would once again be returning as Champions on Sunday…right? RIGHT

HR's: Duran, Joey (2)
HR Outs: Duran

Boxscore

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total
Greenthumb
3
0
0
0
1
0
0
4
Storm
9
5
2
4
7
1
x
28

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Storm Season Summary

Storm had another first place finish. Unlike last year, which came right down to the last game of the season, this one was wrapped up pretty early on. This could be bad for Storm as their last two games of the season were pretty pathetic. Sloppy defense and lackadaisical hitting was problematic. They’ll have to turn it around if they hope to be successful in the playoffs. While their season record is impressive (31-6-1), they lost twice each to the 2nd through 4th place teams (one of the losses to Broadway was in the mid-season tournament).

The theme of the season was defaults. Storm had five default victories, which helped with the record but hurt people trying to put up individual statistics.

As a team; Storm led the league in runs scored – 719 (tied with the A’s), and fewest runs against 415 (though this statistic as aided by the five forfeit victories).

The two new players were solid additions to the team. They both hit very well and played solid defense. As you can see below, their names appear all over the Storm leader boards. We’ll see if they are enough to help get Storm  win the playoff championship.

Team Leaders:
AVG. – Joey - .807, Rene - .720, Jeff -.688
HR: Joey – 22, Craig – 15, Duran, Lance, Bob – 12
RBI: Joey – 86, Duran – 74, Lance – 73
Hits : Joey – 92, Jeff – 88, Lance – 84
Runs : Bob – 74, Joey – 72, Duran – 69
Doubles: Jeff – 21, Duran – 20, Rene – 19
Triples : Duran – 6, Bob – 5, Jeff and Craig – 4
OBP: Joey - .792, Rene - .716, Craig - .689
SLG.: Joey – 1.570, Rene – 1.440, Craig – 1.333
OPS: Joey – 2.362, Rene – 2.156, Craig – 2.022

Individual Season Bests:
Kenny – Doubles – 10
Lance – OPS – 1.756
Brian – doubles -- 2
Bob – Walks – 12
Al – triples – 2
Jeff –  AVG -.688, doubles – 21, triples – 4, SLG. -.961, OPS. – 1.642