Son of Stickball • October 25th, 2020
ROSE CITY SLABYARD — A blooming gale sang a violent song upon the window panes some cold October morning, a biting reminder that although the skies were clear and bright, the memories of summer were quickly fading.
Harried by the Autumnal squall, Rose City’s Misfit Diptshits filed in and settled around a table of an abundant spread. There were urns of spiked cider prepared by Rose City’s eternal Madonna, JOOSE, a simmering pot of gumbo, the Son of Stickball’s humidor filled with stogies and gummi bears, and the pièce de résistance, the Rose City Fall Classic Trophy, summarily described as a disembodied hand catching a Penn ball (with a branch of freshly dehydrated marijuana between its fingers) standing atop a pedestal suspended by a sacrificed stickball bat and wearing the engraving of a championship two years long since past.
The gumbo (as well as the suggestion to remove the cannabinoidal ornament from the trophy, as we were technically “trespassing” on “school grounds”) was provided by Hotdog The Human who had flown into Portland three days previous in order to witness the only worthwhile sporting event happening that weekend, literally, anywhere in the country. We ignored his pleas to join the limpdick game, determining that no crawfish shucking motherfucker was going to waltz into our burg and pilfer Northwest glory (Sugar, Monk, and Jolly Roger notwithstanding and with enthusiastic invitations extended to Diamond, Ay Carumba, Czarbrah, Katfish, that guy who plays with a bucket on his head, the Natural, and that guy who wears a trenchcoat that kidnapped Big Trip on Halloween to go to a mushroom fueled warehouse orgy). Limpdick participants weren’t exactly Johnny on the Spot at the gruelling 10 am start time and so the Neil Diamonds and Red Heart Chili Peppers set to the grass and ash to fet out the first of three games.
Game One - The Neil Diamonds v The Red Heart Chili Peppers
Wearing ridiculously green pants, The Wanderer’s preamble to his performance lacked some confidence. “I’m wrecked,” he said, filling a steaming cup of Jungle Cider. “This is the only thing keeping me alive.” The Wizard grinned upon the mound, the singular mushroom tweaking his perceptions, honing in on the plate. It was the first pitch for the first at-bat for the home team. The Wanderer sent his first ball over the wall, setting the intensity for the game at maximum RPM.
Lobster, the steel eyed marshal of the Neil Diamonds, let few things slip between his crepuscular claws as Booyah cleaned the plates of Always On and Professor with three dingnuts throughout the game. Yet they were down a player and without Rookie Nate’s “decapitate-your-face” signature swing, the game remained a cat and mouse game with the Hearts barely edging a lead.
It was about this time when Bidness Casual rode in on his BMX stallion and tossed a heavy grocery bag of goodies onto the accumulating pile of food, drugs, and liquor. Apparently, he’d spent the night baking three ounces of weed into scone-like granola confections. There were not many of these. “Should I eat half or the whole thing,” inquired the Diamond’s Professor, gazing at the pastry dubiously. “How the fuck should I know?” was Bidness’s reply with a nonchalance previously reserved only for Humphrey Bogart’s Marlowe work. Professor demolished the treat within seconds and would later report, “I was soooo high.”
Game 1 cont’d
The game remained on a taut wire of 2v2 runs for two whole innings… until the scones began kicking in. This first game came down to who loves weed more. All of a sudden, the Neil Diamonds began swinging at pitches half a second too late, grooving to sweet tunes of that sweet triplicate swish until finally they got two bops across the plate. The Red Heart Chili Peppers answered with four RBIs. The next inning cranked up the sludge from those cookies, removing the heat with another round of 2-2. Bidness’s scones burned like jetfuel in the bellies of Big Trip and Wizard who both routinely smoke spliffs for breakfast and suddenly the Hearts roped together four consecutive dingers over the wall.
The Diamonds knew they were fucked and also pretty fucked up. Thing’s wrapped up fairly quickly after the devastating bomb-a-thon while the Hearts piled on more hurt. The Neil Diamonds lost 18:8.
Bombs: Big Trip-4, Wiz-3, Wanderer-2, Pickle-1, Booyah-2
After a brief intermission of noshing gumbo and refilling the urns with spiked cider and brief exchanges between the Iron Spadens and Clublime (“I love you, brother, but I hope you fucking choke on andouille,” “Your mom called, she told you to suck it?” “DOMINATION,” “Your dad called, he says he’s sorry about everything and wants to make things right,” “DOMINATION,” “What’s the aperture of your sacrum, bro?” “DOMINATION,” “Wendy, please,” “I bet it’s about a lobster’s claw agape.” DeepTish with the finisher: “Yall foolin’.”) the least anticipated sporting event of YFS Rose City began.
Limpdick Saggy Cervix Circuit
And it began as you might expect with a few innings of dashed hopes, scraped asphalt, and errors on both sides. The conditions of the field had changed slightly now with direct sunlight in the pool and a balmy 35 degrees in the shade that covered nearly the entire outfield. Clublime’s Rookie Samantha (AKA Avon Bakesale AKA Woof of Ballstreet) and DeepTish (AKA Dr Ma-Seuss) both hit a consistent stream of would-be singles, only to be robbed by Trees and Slapstick. The tortoise walk towards glory made the sitting teams anxious to play again.
“This is taking a long time,” complained Wizard, frying in the sun. “We’re losing as fast as we can,” SK replied.
“Fuck off,” complained Professor, who grew understandably irate at everyone throwing check-ins his way while he was surfing the sick gnar of Bidness’s edibles under a closely drawn hoodie and nearly yoga-like sitting fetal position.
It was Trees that broke the levy first. This motherfucker, who’d been stewing from last week’s defeat against the Neil Diamonds, finally let his brain cool and when the stakes weren’t so drastic, he loosed bomb after bomb off the pine, running a total of five in one inning (some credit to the Portland OG Outdoorsman’s steady-on-the-road pitching). It was this bestial display of sport that inspired his brothers and sisters. Wendy (AKA #4 with Large Fries and a Frosty) and Outdoorsman came out batting like a champ though Cricket could dismantle these hits easily in the outfield. However, Bidness Casual’s bop-drops singled everywhere unexpected. Wendy finally hit the big boom boom and Cricket finally found his swing and broke the embarrassment of Clublime, signaling their first home run.
Feeling either the cider, Cricket’s leading bomb, or Trees’s vibe of glory for glory’s sake, JOOSE was let LOOSE in a fury of fuzz on stick and battle howl. BOOM! The bomb passed easily over the wall. That would’ve been her greatest moment if she hadn’t replicated the same perfect swing at her next at bat. BOOM! This one cleared the goddamn building entirely. The crowd was in an upset, finally shirking their hangovers and stew burps. There was a rousing chorus of “JOOSE! JOOSE! JOOSE! JOOSE!” as she was paraded with accolades.
The Iron Spadens won the Limpdick / Saggy Cervix game 12-5, but Bidness Casual’s chant of “We’re not the worst!” faltered upon the rocky shore of Clublime’s “JOOSE! JOOSE! JOOSE!” The confusion of the win was widespread. The afore-mentioned Dirty Southerner approached this journalist and asked, “You win?” “No.” “Weren’t you on Joose’s team?” “I was. Trees just had a bone to pick with that wall.”
And so it was that our dicks limped, our cervixes sagged.
Bombs: Trees-5, Joose-2, Cricket-1, Wendy-1
Game Two • The Neil Diamonds v The Red Heart Chili Peppers
Wanderer was the only uninjured player. Big Trip had torqued his back. Wizard had an injured miniscus. Robro had broken his neck (HIS FUCKIN’ NECK, PEOPLE). Pickle (AKA Unsolicited Rick Pix) had nearly died because of sepsis. The Hearts came out to the Slab broken. The Wiz made a lot of errors straight out of the gate, admitting “I knew we were losing this game from the first.”
Booyah took a shot of Fireball, a gift from JOOSE for the champions. After three innings of scratches, Booyah broke free, sending them just. The fuck. Over! Lob added to the stack with a few more homers himself.
Trees and SK took bets, Trees favoring the Hearts. Wendy got in the gambling action, backing the hearts as well.
Trip showed up to add a few bombs over the wall despite several detractors claiming that he’s washed up, old hat, a hat’s old hat, a Kangol atop my grandfather’s Kangol.
Here’s when the Diamonds went rogue on the mother. Professor and Always On dug into base hits and if Lobster didn’t run them across with a homerun himself, Booyah would, running six through the inning. Lob couldn’t keep from blasting out of the water and slapping digits on his bomb tally. It took six well oiled men to subdue Booyah’s homers to prevent nuclear fissure, a delight for all who witnessed it.
RobroTussin shot one over with perfect mechanical precision and then Wiz swatted another in an attempt to even out the score. The Wanderer: “We had a HUGE spark at the end of game two.” The Hearts remained hot while the Diamonds laughed at their 9th inning attempt at a rebuttal. It was done. The Neil Diamonds WON 14-9.
Bombs: Lobster-3, Booyah-3, Big Trip-2, Robrotussin-1, Wander-1, Wizard-1
Trees went double for nothing on the next game while Wendy has yet to pay SK for this upset. *cough*
Game Three • The Red Heart Chili Peppers v The Neil Diamonds
Pickle has heretofore been ignored as a monster in the outfield (I myself have called him “a deceptive beast of quantum physics,” “a zen monk of whoredom and larceny” and have him saved as “Debating Restraining Order on Me” in my phone contacts.) But I watched as this dude slid to his knees to catch a ball with his hands clasped as if in prayer. It was a fitting spectacle as this is a game about faith.
And we’re taking this one on faith, largely because few who watched it remember the plays, brain bleached by Hamm’s, cider, and that sweet, sweet sticky-ishy. What I do remember is that the sun had finally infiltrated the Slabyard, and that there were nearly no errors in the outfield. The Wizard (AKA Encino Man but from Haight & Ashbury ‘68) and The Lobster (AKA The Craw Father, AKA Loud Chowdah) kept the scores tight. Big Trip (AKA GOJIRA, AKA Someone Drew Eyes and a Mouth on a Whittling Stick and Taught it to Swear and Fuck), perhaps inspired by the competition or the possibility of a Ship Hat Trick, was BANGING them the fuck out. As Wanderer put it, “Big Trip came through like the [redacted] champion he is.”
I also remember the yuks from the bleachers, Slapstick roasting the bejeezus out of Wizard on the mound. “Too fat, too old, Wiz. Go home. Gross, too young now. Grow a beard, Lolita.”
The game began with a bang, Neil Diamonds leading for the first two innings. The Red Heart Chili Peppers ran 8 in the third against the Diamond’s stacked 6 runs.
As the Wanderer remembers, “The gang was able to find a couple sparks in there— singles, little hits we built off of and despite the Lob gang comin [sic] back at us wave after wave we just kept finding a way to fight back…”
Then the Hearts slacked behind as the Diamonds steadily regained their numbers (Booyah was absolute fire), taking the lead once more in the 6th. Hearts jackknifed them again with a five run inning in the 8th due to a clutch bomb by The Tussin. This brought the score to a one run difference.
Let that number sizzle inside you. It drove us watching this shit insane.
Then The Neil FUCKING Diamonds ran three in the ninth, ala un bomb de Lobster.
As Always On put it, “The last game was down to one run, last inning and victory was in sight.”
All the Neil Diamonds needed was just one fucking run to a tie game. Blame lethargy, blame booze, weed, blame God, blame Rookie Nate (who texted me during this showdown asking for updates and responded “Jesus.” when I gave him the rundown.). But the Neil Diamonds, much like Neil Diamond himself, couldn’t score a hit after their spree.
Lobster: “I remember hitting a homerun in the 9th, only to lose by one.”
Always On: “We couldn’t squeeze out a run. But it was the best series of stickball I’ve ever played.”
The Red Heart Chili Peppers won. 14:13.
Bombs: Booyah-4, Lobster-3, Big Trip-2, Wander-2, Robrotussin-1
The crowd went goddamn bonkers. Once the tears and champagne were dry, we politely simmered down, as per Portland style, and we all told each other how much we loved each other, shared our DMT experiences and how that corresponded with our tarot card readings, which supplements we’ve been taking for our (ugh) mental health, engaged in a pissing contest of who got tear-gassed more, compared notes of who’s seen indie rock legend Isaac Brock around town, and other insufferable pedantry associated with our chapter.
But one thing stands, an immutable sentiment rooted deep in our hearts as solid as the granite beneath our feet: the feeling of some grand accomplishment no less intricately planned than a casino heist or a really sick skating video. The amount of work poured into making Dipshittery seem effortless is staggering and we only pulled it off by agreeing to collective madness, a beautiful regression to an infantilized state of being when the sky’s hue shone brighter and there’s wonder in every moment. If only on Sundays.
Trees put it eloquently, “Best game of stickball I’ve ever seen. Best event I’ve been a part of for that matter. Completely shits on my wedding.”
And then I paid him ten dollars.
G1: 18:8, Hearts
LD-SCC: 12:5, Spades
G2: 14-9, Diamonds
G3: 14-13, Hearts
Bomb totes: Booyah-9, Big Trip-8, Lobster-6, Wander-5, Trees-5, Wizard-4, JOOSE-2, Robrotussin-2, Pickle- 1, Cricket 1, Wendy-1