Ducks pre-season happenings

2009 Ducks Baseball, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
Fantastic White Stripes video

South Oakland’s first practice, last Sunday at the Greentree Sportsplex was well attended especially for a mid-January workout.

Our next practice will be Feb 8th at 5pm. Then a controlled scrimmage against the Black Sox the following day at 7pm at the Sportsplex.

Seven of us met earlier to discuss fund raising, uniforms for new players, and yellow road
jerseys (T-shirts).

Here’s the gist:
  • We have plans for an NABA golf outing sometime in early to mid-May. Ideally this will cost around #120 per foursome, it will be a scramble with half the proceeds going to the league and the Ducks, the other half as prize money.
  • Clear your calander, St. Patrick’s Day Party at Guthrie and Gies’s.
  • We’re going to try to have another event on the South Side at Town Tavern.
  • Visit Adam’s South Oakland Ducks Myspace Page, which will be linked to the blog soon.
  • We’re still working on how to offer t-shirts at a lower price than the current online store. (although you can save on shipping cost per item if you order in bulk. )
  • The blog will be upgraded by the end of February.
  • We will soon be operating on
  • Everyone do your best to find sponsors.

Groundhogs vs. Prowlers Tonight

Bad News for the Prowlers.

Lethargic Groundhogs Drop Opener,

2009 Ducks Baseball, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Sharks 6, Groundhogs 0

The sharks starting pitcher was a poor man’s Dan “Venkman” Morgan.

Venkman is nursing a shoulder sprain. Godspeed, Dr. Morgan.

He had a beard, but his breaking ball was terrible.
He was good pals with the umpire. No lie. The strategy was to throw the ball shin high and a foot off the plate, forcing the opposition to swing at bad pitches.
The strategy was effective.

Joe Graff pitched four innings allowing 3 unearned runs.
Vinny Gala allowed three more unearned runs in 3 innings of relief.

The Sharks played error free ball, the Groundhogs did not.
a couple walks and a coupel errors and the game ended 6-0.

The Groundhogs couldn’t get anything going.
Vinny Gala got on base a couple times, but Mike Martin left his Bullldogs teammate stranded.
This angered Gregg “wino” so much that he challenged Martin to a wrestling match between innings


The Groundhogs infielder Randy Soles played a manic depressive game at three different infield positions, making some spectacular plays, but throwing away a routine ball that allowed the first of the Sharks runs.

Gala threw two shutout innings before a couple walks in the seventh led to more errors and more unearned runs.

Graff and Wino singled.
Gala walked twice for a .500 obp.
Gwin was 1-4 with a triple.
Graff singled and was picked off first before Gwin tripled in the sixth.
He was safe, the umpire was mud.

The Groundhogs look to bring more energy to their next game against the Prowlers.

We still need a pitcher.

Larry Zalewski was a late drop from the Groundhogs roster. A family emergency was taken by Zalewski as a sign to forgo the Winter session.

As much as Larry deserves to be given grief for not naming his team the Grays, he’s a good man who loves the game.

Keep Larry’s family in your thoughts and prayers.
Some things are more important than playing modified rules, indoor baseball.

Why Don’t You Call Yourselves the Grays?

2009 Ducks Baseball, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Gray Bats Coach Larry Zalewski, an alleged baseball aficionado, hates this man.

The Gray Bats are getting off to a great start in the trash-talking department. Too bad they don’t have a shortstop.

go to this blog and leave angry comments:

or this blog:

The Gray Bats have more blogs than outfielders.

Zalewski has seriously missed a great opportunity to incorporate a piece of Pittsburgh history into our league, by taking on the moniker of a great Negro League team, instead naming his team after a blind, bug-eating, cave-dwelling winged, beast.

From Wkipedia:

The Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens) is a small bat that lives in caves throughout the southern United States. It usually chooses caves which are located within one mile of a river or reservoir.


The gray bat typically weighs 8-13 g. Its diet consists predominantly of insects. All species of the genus Myotis, including the gray bat, rest by day and forage at night. They often hunt and feed over water. The feeding flight usually alternate with periods of rest, during which the bats hang to digest their catch. Colonies of the gray bat travel up to 14 km from roosts to foraging areas. The gray bat has a wingspan of about 11-12 inches and is uniformly dark gray. The grey bat is aptly named due to its pigmentation.

The Gray Bats is the nickname of an amateur adult baseball team in the Pittsburgh NABA. The Pittsburgh Gray Bats won the PIttsburgh NABA Fall Ball title, and will compete in their first full season in the summer of 2009.

The Gray Bats were founded by head coach, Larry Zalewski, an aging hippie who has a thing for endangered species, and jogging. Coincidentally, Zalewski is also blind and lives in a cave.

Star pitcher Ben Sorosky (of the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcats) joined this team (which refuses to call itself the “Grays” after the Homestead Grays of the Negro League) out of pity, and will rue the day he committed to the Gray Bats, who, despite winning the fall title, will surely finish with a mediocre record in their first season in the Pittsburgh NABA summer league.


Gray bats use warm caves in the summer where they establish maternal and bachelor colonies. Few have been found present outside caves. In the winter they hibernate in a few cold caves.

[edit] Range

The range of the endangered gray bat is concentrated in the cave regions of Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, with occasional colonies and individuals found in adjacent states. The species’ present total population is estimated to number over 1,500,000; however, a study in 1982 estimated that about 95 percent of the bats hibernate in only nine caves in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri,Illinois,and Tennessee. Another study published in 1991 indicated the number of important caves to be eight: two in Tennessee; three in Missouri; and one each in Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas. The gray bat’s range overlaps with that of the Indiana bat, also endangered.

[edit] Endangered status

Although gray bat numbers are still relatively high, their total population has decreased significantly during recent years. The gray bat is thought to have declined mainly due to destruction by vandals and disturbance by spelunkers and tourists. The reliance of the species on relatively few hibernacula is also a major reason behind its endangered status.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray bat as an endangered species on April 28, 1976.

Zalewski and I are teammates on the Groundhogs this winter. My goal will be to get him to change the name of his team to the Grays.


Winter Baseball… Pitchers and Catchers Report Next Week

2009 Ducks Baseball, pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
I’m on the Bulldogs indoor baseball team, I think we may be able to add a player or two to the roster if anyone is interested, we have no pitchers.

Bulldog Mike Martin shares a video of his off-season training regimen.

I’m going to push for a name change, how about the Groundhogs, in honor of Groundhog Day.

Bill Murray, Genius.

In fact, the Bulldogs indoor team will be referred to as the “Groundhogs” on this blog for the remainder of the winter season.

Go Groundhogs!


Opening Day is April 18th, three months away.
We’re going to start winter workouts next week.
Mark Guthrie, Les Gies (sp.?) and myself will run practice while Dr. Jones coaches basketball.

Indiana Jones does not like the call.

We have two choices;
We can roll the dice with the Cost Center by Pitt’s intramural field, which is free, but it’s a crap shoot as to the availability of the cage, or we can meet at the Greentree Sportsplex once a week as a team, where we will be guaranteed cages, room to throw, and our pitchers and catchers can get in some work. This will cost $15 per hour for the bullpen, and we’ll have to pay for tokens, but we have an NABA discount, which is nice.

Either way, three weeks from now, the Black Sox have invited us to play in a few controlled scrimmages at the Sportsplex, on Mondays starting Feb. 10th.
Look for an email regarding this.

NABA Legend Kenny Rayl; Black Sox owner, GM, head coach, player,
equipment manager, water boy, bat boy, statistician, advanced scout, Head of Player Development, and Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.


Check out the previous post for Dr. Jone’s address.
Send him a check for the first installment of league dues.
Feel free to root through his garbage.

Sponsorship Money will be hard to come by, but we have to try. Ask anyone and everyone.

A Message From Dr. Jones

pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball

Memo From Ducks HQ, Bloomfield Office:


Its about that time of year again when the NABA office starts bothering me about getting our $500 deposit together. So I will make this short and simple, if you plan on playing for the Ducks this upcoming year I am going to need a $50 deposit from each of you.

Make your checks payable to: “Pittsburgh NABA”

and either send them or drop them off at my apartment:

Dr. Theodore “Indiana” Jones

434 South Graham St. Apt. #4
Pittsburgh, PA

Winter Meetings will commence this Saturday at a location to be determined.

Number 9

pittsburgh NABA, South Oakland Ducks Baseball
In response to your comment last post…

The news is, #9, you should move back to Pittsburgh. The economy is great right now I’m sure you’d have no trouble finding a job. Maybe Faust is looking for a roommate.

There could be a lot of competition for playing time, and we appear to have some depth at key positions such as middle infield and pitcher (Seriously, depth, imagine that). On this note, A.Smith showed some versatility in fall ball’ playing error free outfield and finishing the fall season with a better batting average than his coach, the Ducks’ all time hits leader.

I will get to play outfield primarily.

However, there is still a lot up in the air, if everyone who has made even the most remote commitment to play on the Ducks this summer is a go, we’ll have about 20 guys on the roster (and will never forfeit), but who knows, there’s a lot of time for people to move away or decide they want to play on the Gray Bats.

South Oakland could lose several starters from last season, so we’re hedging our bets. Barring a series of catastrophes the Ducks will have a better team than last year, it will just be a matter of different guys stepping up in clutch situations.

The key is pitching as always, and we will definitely have Homa, Guthrie, Smith and Schwartz, and the Kuhnses out of the bullpen. If we can put Necheff in that rotation it will be huge, if we get Necheff and Barchie that’s the best 1-2-3 in the PGH-NABA, if we get this other kid we have a line on who has pitched at a very high level, it will be unfair to everyone else, given the pending debut of Tony Cassale and Mike Watson in the infield, who are absolutely sick. (the guys from the Ghostbusters), but we don’t know how the rotation will fill out yet, either way defensively we will be better, if Novak and McCray return they could move to the corners, or beat out the newcomers for their spots up the middle last season (we don’t know if they will be back this spring) we also had another infielder who has played at a high level fall into our lap, (also named Bob), so who knows. I’m cautiously optimistic.

We could wind up just ridiculously stacked, and then the biggest test for Dr. Jones will be keeping everyone happy, playing time wise. this is always easier when the team is winning, though. We’re assuming we will lose all the incumbent “maybes”, Jones doesn’t want to turn anyone away who can help, and then have a shortage of ball players so we’re loading up as usual. A lot will depend on who leaves.

More as this develops and we get the roster set, and begin working out as a team. Winter sucks. I turn 28 soon, “Old man Gwin”, they’ll call me.