The Parrots Return to the Field

The Parrots finally got to play softball again last night, for the first time since the lameass COVID lockdowns cancelled the Spring 2020 season.

We did manage to get in one practice last week, and, although everyone was able to make it, man, were we rusty. I’ve been playing baseball with Los Cervezeros since the spring, so I was a little less rusty than the other guys, but baseball and softball are different. I mean, duh, it’s easier to hit a softball…but it’s not just that. The whole rhythm of hitting a softball is different from hitting a baseball, and playing softball can fuck up your baseball swing if you’re not careful.

I’m so excited about playing with the guys that I decided I’d take my chances with my swing.

I guess I should begin by introducing y’all to our newest player. Dave, who used to play right center and go to strip clubs a lot lol, left LA with his girlfriend during COVID for Las Vegas. She’s a massage therapist and got a good job at a fancyass spa in one of the big hotels and he’s got a waitering job, not as good as the one he lost when California closed all its restaurants, but he says he’s doing ok and that he’s thinking about going back to school.

Josh never made it a secret that he wants Dylan to join the Parrots, but Dylan keeps saying no…partly because even Josh admits that Dylan’s not a great ball player, and partly because Jacqueline doesn’t like the idea of giving up her husband one evening a week while she’s pregnant. (Yeah, Jacqueline and Dylan are expecting their first kid at the end of April. Hard to believe it, but their second anniversary is coming up this Christmas.) I also don’t think that Travis likes the idea of having his big brother join the team: the Parrots are Travis’ thing, and he kinda wants it to stay that way. (He’s also a little nervous when it comes to Dylan, who, of course, tells their parents everything…and they all have a way of protecting Travis that goes against his efforts at becoming independent.)

So the search went on. There’s a dude at the sober living where Ryan’s at who seemed a possibility, but he finally said no. “Too many straight guys,” he said. (I don’t get that: if he joined the Parrots, there’d be 3 gay guys on the team. How much gayer does he want it to be lol?)

It looked like we might be one outfielder short for the season opener when Keaton came up with the dude we should have thought of first: Jesse, the other bouncer at the Volcano. Jesse’s been taking boxing lessons with me and Keaton (and, before he went back to school, Lucas), and he’s pretty dang athletic. You should see him jump rope.

Keaton finally asked him last week if he could play softball. Turns out the answer was “fuckin A!”: he’s been playing recreational softball since high school (he liked the game after little league but didn’t make the high school JV team so he switched to softball) and even has a couple trophies from when he was playing for a Monrovia team in a league a little deeper into the SGV.

We did change things around a little in the outfield: David’s always wanted to play in right center, but Dave had the spot. So, now, with Jesse being the new guy, David moved to right center and Jesse is going in at left center.

It’s been so long, maybe I need to refresh y’all on who plays what and what’s our batting order:

  1. Josh             3B
  2. Keaton 2B
  3. David             RCF
  4. Hunter SS
  5. Sloppy Joe 1B
  6. Trey             RF
  7. Travis             LF
  8. Adam             C
  9. Jesse             LCF
  10. Ryan RHP

Josh is probably gonna move the order around some: he put Jesse in batting 9th since he didn’t know how he could hit. I told him I had a feeling he was gonna need to move him up, but Josh is a great manager without my help. Heck, Dave Roberts could take lessons from him lol.

This was our first game in our new cool jerseys, which are pretty easy to spot from a distance, since they’re in ‘parrot colors’. Keaton says we look like we’re dressed for a drag queen Christmas pageant, but the rest of the guys think the jerseys, which Josh’s wife designed with his help, are dope.

We were playing the Trash Pandas, a pretty good team mostly put together out of guys who work together in the same office. I don’t think they’re as good as we are, but, then, I’ve always been proud of the teams I’ve been on. It wasn’t like we were playing the Barracudas and the question would be by how many were we gonna win; this was a real game that we had to play to win…which is what we were all looking forward to.

We had a couple question marks on our side. First off, how was the new Sloppy Joe going to play now that he’s dropped 100 pounds? He was always our power hitter: he didn’t always make contact, but, when he did, the ball was smoked. He couldn’t run, but that worked out fine, since, if the ball was fair, odds were it was a home run and all he had to do was trot.

Turns out the new Sloppy Joe still can’t run. I think I need to take him aside and make a few suggestions. I reckon he’s getting used to his new body. He’s still got plenty of power, though: he hit one out and had what would have been a triple if he could run. Instead he got trapped in a run-down between 2nd and 3rd. That happens, but Josh was pretty pissed off: the rule about not wanting to make your 1st or 3rd out at 3rd base carries over into softball…and Sloppy Joe’s rundown was the 1st out of the inning.

But, then, Josh wants us to win. There are teams in our league who are just out there to have a good time, maybe get a little sweaty and dirty…but Josh is determined that the Parrots should have a winning season every time we play. His goal is the league championship, and, yeah, he takes it pretty seriously. Hey, I don’t like to lose, either – I really don’t like to lose – but, for some reason, I’m more chill about the Parrots than I am about Los Cerverzeros. Maybe because one is softball and the other is baseball. That only means I don’t get as pissed off as Josh does when we lose…but I do still get pissed off.

I went 3 for 4 against the Trash Pandas, with 1 home run (a 2-shot; Keaton doubled before me) and knocked in 3 in total. We won 7-5. It was a pretty hard-fought game on both sides, meaning it was a fun evening and a great way to get back into league play after all these months of having the team get together on Zoom. (I haven’t had to use Zoom all that much, but, even from the little I’ve used it, I can tell it’s bullshit. I don’t know how Joyce manages to do so much of her job on it.)

The other question mark was Jesse, and he’s clearly gonna get moved up in the batting order, like I thought he would. He homered, went 2 for 4, made one dang good catch and definitely has an outfielder’s arm. Oh yeah…although this should come as no surprise after seeing how he can jump rope…he’s the best runner on the team. He kicked my ass when we practiced running the bases, and that doesn’t usually happen. So the only question with Jesse is why it took us so long to think of getting him to join the team.

After the game a we decided to hit the taco truck on Fair Oaks. Josh had to go back to his wife, Sloppy Joe had to go back to his girlfriend and Adam hates Mexican food, so it was just the other seven of us. It was super fun when we all had our plates heaped with tacos and our big paper cups of horchata: I forgot how much the tacos were part of the Parrots experience.

I can also report that Travis looked great. Not just good, but great. He was super happy to be back out on the field, and he was super happy to be with his buddies at the taco truck. It’s maybe the happiest I’ve ever seen him…and that’s pretty amazing to be able to tell y’all.

So the Parrots are 1 and 0. And Brookside softball’s back!

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