Monday, June 14, 2010

Softball Department (brought to you by guest sportscaster, Becky Tuch)

Word-Slingers 11, ConSultans of Swat, 8
ANDOVER-- On Sunday, Grub Street Word-Slingers went head to head against The ConSultans of Swat. Grub Street started fierce, with power hits and aggressive base running that instantly put the ConSultans on guard. Through the first few innings, Grub Street's hits remained strong and they worked their way through the short line-up, rounding base after base. On defense, their smaller-than-usual team (nine instead of the usual ten players) did not prevent them from catching pop-ups, calling flies, and staying tight and organized...Until players got tired. And the captain made a sloppy error at second. And one thing. Then another. And soon the ConSultans had caught up, closing in on Grub Street's lead...But losing? That is so 2008! The Word Slingers managed to rally their defensive mojo and in the end held their opponents at just a few runs below them. The game was won. The Word-Slingers, at last, exhaled.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Softball Department (brought to you by guest sportscaster, Clarence Lai)

Necessary Roughness 11, Grub Street WordSlingers 2.

After winning two of two games thus far, the Grub Street WordSlingers were vanquished this Sunday by Necessary Roughness, ending hopes of a perfect season. Playing without a full squad, the Slingers fell behind early and were unable to claw back, despite clawing extremely hard. The hits and walks simply did not materalize for the Slingers. A sudden passing tornado threatened to literally blow the team away, suspending play for ten minutes. But fear not, true fans! The team has vowed to rise from defeat to sling words, strikeouts, and home runs as in their days of not-forgotten greatness.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let's Just Forget About This One

Java Junkies infinity-seven, Grub Street Word-Slingers one

By Matt Frederick

Fresh off a dominating victory the previous week, the Grub Street Word-Slingers took the diamond Sunday expecting big things. The big thing to emerge was an early deficit, as the orange-clad Java Junkies scored several billion times in the first inning to take the lead, several billion to zero. The Junkies added several dozen more dingers in the second and third innings to increase their lead to eleventy-twelve skillion to nothing, despite Matt Biewener's conscientous patrolling of Church Street beyond the left field fence.

Fueled by several swinging bunts, the Word-Slingers built a two-out threat in the bottom of the third, putting runners on first and second. But the rally died when Matt Frederick's drive toward the warning track in left was hauled in by the Junkies' pitcher a little bit in front of third base.

Jon Papernick relieved the starting pitcher in the top of the fourth and finally quieted the Junkies' attack with a variety of illegal pitches. Papernick then led the offense in the bottom of the fourth by singling and scampering all the way home on a double by someone or other; no one is sure who as we weren’t paying much attention by this point.

With the Word-Slingers prowess having been made apparent, the game was called by the umpire after the bottom of the fourth inning on account of it not resembling softball.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Word-Slingers 19, Other Team 5.

While the rest of the world was cozily dozing on Sunday morning, Grub Street’s dedicated Word Slingers woke at the crack of dawn to stretch their hamstrings and pound their mitts into shape.
“It’s turning into a beautiful day,” team captain Becky Tuch observed, as the mist rose from wet grass and deep layers of mud dried around second base.
“Yeah,” agreed outfielder Matt Biewener, swilling from a bottle of Muscle Milk and wiping sleep from his eyes. “Beautiful.
Plied with gusto and coffee and delicious farm-picked apples, it wasn’t long before the disappointment of the team’s early-season losses evaporated like dew. At third base, Ted Weesner—who has been studying ballet in his free time—was quick, organized and graceful. No ball got past him as he dove, jumped and hustled like a man—or ballerina—on fire.
But what would a third baseman be without a first baseman to receive his throws? At this post was medieval fantasy freak, Ethan Gilsdorf. Clad in chain mail, clutching his sword in one hand and his mitt in the other, Gilsdorf stopped many a gnome and woodland creature from arriving safe at the plate.
Notable infielders included Jon Papernick, who likes to wear stretchy white leggings, Wayne Feldman who donned the season’s latest hiking boots, and Mike Whose Last Name No One Actually Knows. These three fashion icons caught pop-ups, dug in for grounders, backed up the pitcher, and called out plays, all while giving George Clooney a run for his money as next GQ poster man.
Then there was the outfield. Cunning and sharp, these stalwarts knew how to stack the field. Engine Purring Matt Biewener, Motor Oil Matt Frederick, Elbow Grease Jeff Stern and This-Author-Wishes-She-Knew-More-About-Cars-Because-She’s-Out-of-Metaphors Clarence Lai, lined up in rows, spread apart like star clusters, and generally organized themselves into complex algorithms to safeguard against homerun hitters. It was like watching, well, a car. Run. Without making chugging noises.
And finally, Bestsy Lawson proved once again how vital she is to the team. Not only did she recruit the incredible Kristine YoungPerson, but she stepped right up to the mound and did an outstanding job, pitching a solid and consistent game that left the other team shuddering in their cleats and oversize tee shirts. She is a pitcher who can field, a fielder who can pitch, a mom who can coach, a coach who is a mom, an all around powerhouse.
Team Captain Becky Tuch is happy to report that, indeed, Sunday turned into a beautiful day. Final score: Word-Slingers 19, Other Team 5.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two East Boston Seniors Meet Twenty East Boston Kids

Here at Grub Street we have been truly impressed with all the unexpected journeys that the Memoir Project has taken since it began in 2006. Last Wednesday, the Boston Museum hosted an event at the East Boston Public Library where two seniors read their essays from My Legacy Is Simply This. The audience was twenty rowdy students from Umana Middle School Academy.

It was not a traditional reading. The seniors, Ann Papapietro and Alice Christopher, punctuated each paragraph of their essays with additional unwritten thoughts and comments, and the students responded with questions and comments of their own. The result was a dialogue on the past and present of East Boston - from the days before the tunnel when a ferry cost a single cent, to the food carts along Porter Street, and even a short talk about the importance of using cloth napkins and tablecloths.

After Mrs. Christopher read from her essay the focus changed from history to heritage. Her essay ‘A Nice American Girl’ is about being the youngest daughter of a large Italian family. And Mrs. Christopher wasn’t shy about how hard it was to be the only one in her family born in America, about having to translate for her parents, about never learning Italian, and about her childhood dislike of traditional Italian food. The same issues were presented to the students: Did they have parents and siblings who were born in another country? Did they ever have to translate for their parents? And for each question, more then half the students raised their hands.

Through the skill of the humanities teachers at Umana Middle School Academy and the foresight of the Boston Museum, several connections were made that day in the basement of the East Boston Public Library. The seniors were able to share the personal stories of their lives, but also add their perspective to East Boston history and the challenges of being an American immigrant. And in that quiet, fidgety way twenty middle school students learned something they didn’t know before- even if it was just that going to the movies used to cost ten cents.

-Whitney Ochoa

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Why The Word-Slingers Should Have Won Sunday’s Game

1. The team played at Veteran’s Field, which is the most beautiful of all the North Boston fields, with a glistening lake just nearby and a pleasant atmosphere of dog-walkers, joggers and elderly sports fans.

2. Jen LaVin pitched like an ace, earning numerous strike-outs.

3. No ball was too high or too low for Brian Runk, whose uncannily long limbs make him a star first baseman.

4. Short-stop Jon Papernick didn’t let a single ball go past him. While many balls were stopped, he, himself was unstoppable.

5. Outfielders Betsy Lawson, Mike Last-Name-Unknown, Jeff Stern, Clarence Lai and Ethan Gilsdorf caught fly balls high and fast and deep, and they made it look as easy as reading an email.

6. The umpire had lovely blue eyes, a sturdy physique and a charming Boston accent, all of which did not go unnoticed by team captain, Becky Tuch.

7. A local park ranger came by to remind the team to clean up afterward. His orange tan and waxed chest did not go unnoticed by outfielder Matt Biewener and third-baseman Tom Meek.

8. Power-hitter Steve Rubman beat that ball into the clouds again and again.

9. Wayne Feldman.

10. Finally, while the other team was short a woman, the Grub Street team had just enough, including Kristen, who came from outer space.

Sadly, the game was a tie up until the very last inning, at which point the Team In Lime Green earned a final two runs, ending the game, 10-8. Next time, Word-Slingers. Next time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too Bad It's Not Preseason

(Other Team 15, Grub Street Word-Slingers 11)

While no rain fell on the Word-Slinger’s Sunday game, arbitrary rules and goose droppings spilled from the sky. To start things off, pitcher Jen LaVin was told to stand 600 feet from home plate.

“These are East Coast rules!” said Umpire Pouty McPoutface.

Adaptable as always, the Word-Slingers brought good spirits, high energy and a slew of valuable rookies to the field. New-timer Michelle Hoover hustled into home plate only to later fall victim to McPoutface’s willy-nilly One-And-One rule, which called her out after only two strikes. New-comer Steve Rubman also proved to be champion.

When asked about Rubman’s particular strengths on the field, fellow teammate, Clarence Lai said, “I don’t know. He got a hit.”

When not trying to make sense of the Inside-Outside-First-Base rule, the Sliding-Into-Home rule, the Game-Ends-After-1.25-Hours rule, and the horrendous Girls-Get-Their-Own-Rules rule, and when not sliding in goose droppings, other players proved outstanding as well. Betsy Lawson made vital outs in right field and hit the ball with gusto and grunts. In centerfield, Matt Biewener stared at his toes and wondered why the team was playing in P&G’s pharmaceutical office park, and if the goose droppings may not have in fact been clumps of toxic waste.

Meanwhile, Matt Frederick, Jon Papernick, Wayne Feldman, Brian Runk and Ted Weesner protected the infield with skill and panache, making numerous double plays that looked at once graceful and full of power, at once humble and mighty. In short, they are the voices of our generation.

Ultimately, the Word-Slingers couldn’t get much leverage on the other team’s pitcher. “He was a cheater,” says team Captain Becky Tuch. “Or at least, he was a diaper-wearing, Backstreet-Boys-loving goblin.”

Adds Clarence Lai, “There were a lot of goose droppings.”