World’s worst softball team

This season was going to be different. This season, we were going to win at least half our games.
This is my second year as coach of the Ventura County Star’s softball team. Last year, we went 1-11, which made me the second winningest coach in the team’s history. Going into this season we were 5-47 (or something like that) over five seasons. There’s no telling how many of those 47 loses were by 15 runs or more, which is the demarcation of “mercy” after five innings.
Dave Montero, who coached the team in the last fall league, is out this season with a broken collar bone. He broke early in the summer league while diving for a ball. I had positioned him in right field, not a position he has played much and now vows never to play again. Injured, and inspired by our ineptness, Montero decided to film a documentary about our team — the worst softball team in the world. Since he couldn’t play, why not film?
I asked him before the season started, “What if we’re a better team?”
“I’m not worried about that,” he said with a wry grin.
I made some adjustments from the summer league to the fall league. The main thing was, we weren’t going to play every guy who showed up — only a 10-man line up every game so our best hitters could get more at bats every game. We recruited a new shortstop — Jeremy — who is a natural athlete, and I anchored some key guys in regular positions.
Coming into the season, I felt good about our chances.
Our team name this season is “The Fred Mertz Experience.” We change team names every season, picking the odd names of obscure rock bands. We’ve been the “Swinging Udders” and the “Rats of Unusual Size”. We are, after all, a team made up primarily of journalists, so words are important to us. Our esthetic sense would never let us be the “Outlawz” or the “Beer Bellies.” We want a team name that no other team in its right mind would pick.
In our first game, “The Fred Mertz Experience” took on a team that shall remain nameless, to protect the innocent. And for the first time in team history, we mercied the other guys.
Dave Montero was seriously bummed. How can you do a documentary about the worst softball team ever and show that team winning its first game of the season?
But Montero did not give up hope.
He showed up to the second game with camera in hand. This time, our foes was Possas.
We played them well. We played them tight. We hit, we caught the ball, we made good throws. We were never more than four runs down and at one point, we held a one-run lead. But walks killed us. We walked 10 hitters and lost 16-13.
Such a tight game convinced Dave that we were no longer the worst team in history. We were playing well, so he stopped showing up.
Too bad. In our third game, we failed to catch the ball, our throws were weak and off line and our hitting was abysmal. I won’t even go into our base running. In other words, we reverted to form. We were mercied by VACCO by more than 20 runs.
Tonight, we returned to the field of battle to take on Possas again. We felt good about our chances — cut down on the walks, we thought, and we win. We had the same pitcher going, but he’s proven before he can throw strikes, so I wasn’t too worried. And tonight, he threw strikes and only walked two batters. Unfortunately, tonight Possas decided to hit the ball. Really smack it. Add to that some horrible fielding blunders and anemic bats and you wind up with a lopsided score of 18-5.
We were supposed to be better this season. We’ve got eight more games to go. Let’s hope we get good again real soon. Next week, we go against the first place team (VACCO) again. We’ve just got to play better.

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