Thursday, September 08, 2011

Meet the Flyers: Shab, Toad & Hammer

Welcome back for the fourth and final “Meet the Flyers” post! We are now less than 48 hours away from the beginning of the Greater Ottawa Fastball League’s Final Weekend Showdown in Quyon. That’s right…by tomorrow night, I’ll be parked in the bleachers and ready to cheer on the first-place Quyon Flyers as they attempt to bring home their very first GOFL title. I.can’t.wait.

So far, you’ve already met Coach Papi, Albie, Bakeshop & Tron, Timmy Ball Player, Gerv, & Micksburg, and Coon, Hatty & Mo. Today, I’m posting the final three Flyers player profiles.

First up, we have the catcher, #25 Joe McCleary:


The Joe Cat’s 2010 Worlds mustache, which he called “Hulkster”

So. Ummm… I don’t really know what to tell you about Joe. I’m kind of scared of Joe. I have been ever since he laughed at me in Grade 7 French class when I tried to say “les Bruins de Boston” in a French accent. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like me. He might deny that, but I’m pretty sure.

Despite this, Joe had no choice but to communicate with me a few years ago. It was two years ago on this very weekend that Joe was in an accident, ending his season while his team was in the midst of the playoffs. Even though he was confined to a hospital bed, he didn’t want to be left out of the action. So for that reason, Coach Kenny ordered me to keep him updated on the games via Blackberry Messenger. I remember when Kenny first asked me to do this. I was like, “But…but…Joe hates me!” I got the eye-roll from him. “Doesn’t matter, Jill, just tell him what’s happening,” the coach ordered. I was scared. What if I wrote the wrong thing? What if I didn’t use proper fastpitch terminology? Would Joe laugh at me all over again??

He was pretty patient with me. That was probably difficult for Joe, since he was already completely frustrated with his situation. For a guy who lives and breathes fastball, not being able to play was like the worst punishment in the history of the world for him. And then, to have me giving him the play-by-play? Couldn’t get much worse, really. But the guy they call “Shab” vowed to return from that injury, and while it may have felt like eons for him, the following Spring he was back in a Flyers uni, in his crouch behind the plate.

Joe catching

Now in his 6th season with the Flyers, Coach Kenny calls him one of the leaders in the line-up, adding, “He has great control of the game behind the plate.” Considered one of the best at his position in this part of the country, there’s no doubt in my mind that Joe will do everything in his power to help the Flyers win their first GOFL Championship. Good luck Joe! (See? Trying to get on his good side.)

The next player I’d like to put the spotlight on is Steve McCord, or “Toad” as he’s better known:


Steve and his stache, “Tim”

Steve is, quite simply, one of my most favourite people in the world. He can make me laugh like nobody else. He’s the best. In a group of funny guys, I anoint Steve The Funniest. One of my favourite Steve stories is one my brother brought home from the 2009 Worlds in Quad Cities. Luke said everytime the guys decided to go down to the hotel pool, Steve would run to put on Kenny’s swim trunks before he got a chance. I wasn’t even there to see it, but the image of Steve walking around in Kenny’s shorts – which, I imagine, fit him quite nicely – always makes me laugh.

As one of the team’s outfielders, #10 has been with the Flyers since the beginning and remains one of the cornerstones of the team. When I asked Coach Kenny about Steve, he was quick to compliment, saying, “Toad’s another veteran of this team, and he can play almost anywhere.” I’m not sure how many years ago it was now, but I recall sitting in the stands at a tournament in McNab and watching Steve hit FOUR homeruns in one game. Impressive, to say the least!

steve batting

I’m sure nothing would make Steve happier than to be a part of a championship-winning team, so there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be gunning for it this weekend. His girlfriend, Lynn – one of my roomies in Midland last summer and a big Flyer fan – will be cheering him on along with the rest of us at the Final Weekend Showdown!

So that leaves us with one last Flyer…My very own little brother, wearing the #8 jersey, Luke Young:

The Red Princess

Luke’s mustache, “The Red Princess”

You know, it’s tough growing up in the shadow of a “superstar”. I mean, how do you think I felt when my own DAD cut me from the little league team, but Luke made it? And you know, once Luke started playing sports, we no longer went on fun family vacations. Instead, our holidays were spent at ball tournaments in such beautiful locales as Otter Lake and Fort-Colounge.

No. It hasn’t been easy being “Hammer’s” sister. (And don’t even ask me why they call him “Hammer”. Not only would it be inappropriate to write on the blog, it’s just inappropriate for a sister to know such things. And our mom reads this. Ew.) But his coach, Kenny, had this to say about the 2nd baseman: “Hammer is not only my cousin, but also my best friend. He’s a pleasure to coach and I’m so grateful to have him on the team. He’s a veteran of the Flyers, and he can play either side of 2nd base. He truly is a superstar, and I want to be more like him.”

…Or something like that.

As if the title of “superstar” in the family isn’t enough for him, Luke also occasionally tries to steal my thunder as the “writer” in the family. From time to time, he will pen game re-caps to send out to his “fans” by email, to let them know how the team is doing. He had been noticeably quiet this season, claiming to be too busy to do his game reports…That is, until he hit homeruns in back-to-back games earlier in the summer. Luke isn’t exactly known to be a homerun hitter, so he was understandably pleased with this feat. And wouldn't you know it? That very week, we all got a lengthy email to let us know how the “Flyers” were doing!!

Luke playing 2nd

But at the end of the day, I guess I’m proud of my brother’s athletic accomplishments. Because of him, the ball field is one of my favourite places to be. Of course I want to see him win at home this weekend. I’m hoping to celebrate the Flyers’ first-ever GOFL title with him and his teammates. So I think I speak for us all – his girlfriend Amanda, and our whole family – when I say…Go get ‘em, Lukey.

OH, and by the way…Luke will be turning 26 at the ball field on Saturday. If they’re able to win the FWS Tournament, this could be the most epic birthday celebration yet…But NO PRESSURE GUYS!!!

The Flyers play their first game of the weekend on Friday evening in Quyon at 7 PM vs. the Ottawa Blitz, to be followed by Barrhaven vs. Kars at 9 PM. Games will continue all day Saturday. For the full schedule and tournament details, please visit the Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog here.

So that concludes the “Meet the Flyers” series!! I’d like to thank Kenny for the “in-depth” interviews he gave me, as well as the other players who helped out when I had questions. Also, to the Facebook pages that I stole pictures from (especially Britt & Lynn’s!), and to the guys who posed for those infamous mustache close-ups last summer. These posts wouldn’t have been complete without them.

Good luck to all of the teams competing for the GOFL Championship this weekend.

And of course…GO FLYERS!!!


ashley said...

Jill!!! As if you are afraid of Joe! Joe's my favoritest ever and you need to know that he is just acts like a tough/mean guy. Give him a hard time and you'll see the real him. He's sooooo much fun and a little bold, but one of the best friends ever, even if his 'stach is disgusting.

I so agree, Steve is likely one of the funniest guys ever. There is never a dull moment with him around.

Have a great time this weekend, I hope the guys do well and wish I could be there to cheer them on with you crazy ladies. Have a celebratory drink for me please and happy birthday to Luke!

Impulsive Addict said...

I seriously am laughing that MOST of them name their mustaches!! Tim should be called Tiny Tim! Or Sporadic Tim! lol

Good luck to them on Friday!