The Big Leagues are overrated. Long lines for the restrooms, $12 beers, and a record book peppered with performance-enhanced asterisks.
Thank goodness for Ad League softball. America's Game. The way it was meant to be played. By marginally athletic, slightly inebriated, 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-somethings. Any Manny, Barry, or Sammy can knock a ball beyond the wall with a little boost from their friends at Balco. Try doing it after three Natty Lights.
It's Opening Day for Ad League softball tonight at Forest Park. The RT Chickens are out to defend last season's respectably middle-of-the-pack fourth-place finish. "This off-season was a rough one for the team," manager Laura Yarbrough mumbled through a wad of chew. She spat and continued, "We're a different group this year, no doubt. We'll have quite a few new players when we take the field next week. We'll need to rely on our veterans to establish quick chemistry and lead by example."
First baseman and lover of gratuitous chicken puns Ben Brown recognizes the need for leadership from tenured team members. "This is my third year returning to the RT roost, so I'm no spring chicken," he noted. "I know the new fledglings will be expecting a lot from players like myself this season."
Rookie outfielder Jeremy Hagen expressed both enthusiasm and nerves, as he faced the media: "I'm excited for my first game. Everyone remembers their first time. I'm pretty inexperienced, so I'm just hoping I can perform." Awkward.
But Brown sees the team's new roster as a potential advantage over the competition. "We're looking to come out beaks-a-blazin'." He continues, puns and wordplay at the ready, "We have a pretty strong pecking-order this year; from top to bottom." He offered the following warning to the rest of the Ad League: "One thing's for certain: if you come into our henhouse expecting to dish out a tail-feathering to our flock, you gotta another thing coming … because, well, we don't give a cluck."
Confidence, or perhaps a little overconfidence, seems to be a hallmark of this young team. Veteran Tim "Timbo Slice" Rodgers Jr. fearlessly proclaimed, "If you come into our coop, expect to lay an egg." Oh, snap.