Any statistician worth his scorebook will tell you that the average baseball player peaks around age 30.
Clearly, this is not true for slow pitch softball, as a ''veteran'' (read: downright geriatric in some cases) Grady's Bar team defeated RFT last night 15-10, dropping the alt-weekly squad's 2008 record to 2-3.
It was sweet revenge for Grady's, who lost 9-7 to RFT in a hard-fought matchup three weeks ago. Last night's game was neck-and-neck in the early going, thanks mostly to stellar play from shortstop ''Tall'' Tom Kavanaugh. Tall Tom absolutely crushed a short pop fly to right field -- which dropped for an all-hustle inside-the-park home run. Misplayed by a Grady's fielder, the flare landed as Tall Tom was rounding second, leading to an overthrow and a round-tripper that both sides could only shake their heads at.
Kavanaugh also made the defensive play of the game, leaping to catch a sharp line drive that would have shot well above any mere mortal’s head. The play showed that not only does he possess near-superhuman speed and strength; apparently he can also see while staring directly into the sun. Both sides battled the blinding orb for the entire seven innings as it set directly behind home plate after the 6:45 p.m. start.
Ultimately, it was timely and well-placed hitting from Grady's that won the day. The pitcher, right fielder and shortstop (the former two old enough to be Julio Franco's grandfather) repeatedly peppered line drives and seeing-eye singles alike across the diamond, making particular use of the opposite field. RFT cut the lead to 8-6 at one point, but Grady's stretched the gap to a demoralizing 15-6 going into the final frame. The home team made it interesting by rallying to score four runs, but alas, in the end all the Bud Select in the RFT cooler could not wash away the bitter taste of defeat.
Kavanaugh and left fielder Ray Richards deserve honorable mention for player of the game, the former for all his Herculean heroics and the latter for his steadily improving left-field defense.
Tom ''The Boss'' Finkel, however, is the official recipient of the honor. In his first appearance of the year, The Boss drove a couple of base hits hard to the right side of the field using his lefty stroke. Battling a bad back, he also ran the bases effectively and didn’t seriously injure himself while playing left field -- accomplishments the Grady's old folks no doubt appreciate.