Slow-pitch solution to the Ponson predicament

August 28, 2005|By David Michael Ettlin

WITH ALL the turmoil swirling around Sidney Ponson, the Orioles could use some help on the pitching mound, and I figure I could offer my services.

This season, I compiled a 5-1 record as my team won its Catonsville Rec League championship. Sure, it's slow-pitch softball. But I've been watching a lot of baseball on TV, and those major-leaguers have a tough time with slow throwers.

Imagine what effect my 20 mph (or slower) submarine pitch will have on a slugger's timing.

I even have a knuckler, just like that Wakefield guy with the Red Sox, and you know how well they're doing lately.

When you account for fielding errors, which happen a lot in slow-pitch softball, my earned-run average was probably better than Mr. Ponson's this year.

What's more, I haven't been arrested - ever. Not for fighting with a judge on a beach in Aruba, not for drunken driving in Florida or Maryland, not even for shouting things at Oriole games like, "Let's go, O's!" - which, the way this year has gone south, ought to be enough to merit a psychiatric commitment.

I will admit, though, to using a performance-enhancing drug.

I pop an ibuprofen half an hour before game time, 200 milligrams, sometimes the gel-cap type that works faster. Helps my 59-year-old knees and elbows, you know.

Does cortisone cream for that annoying skin rash mess up a steroid test? Probably not. I should be OK there.

And I'm cheap. I'll pitch for free.

We had a lot of fun playing softball this year. It was a little company team, from the newspaper. We call ourselves the Muckrakers, but we don't really rake a lot of muck. It just sort of happens, as it did with Mr. Ponson a few nights ago on the side of the interstate, unable to put one foot in front of the other or balance on one leg.

"I had three beers," he told the police officers, who reported in their District Court affidavit that Mr. Ponson, attempting to walk a straight line in one of several roadside sobriety tests, missed all nine heel-to-toe connections.

And that's much easier stuff than throwing a good fastball, slider, curve or change-up.

One problem if my offer is accepted: I can only pitch day games. I work nights. I have to make a living.

David Michael Ettlin is night metropolitan editor for The Sun.

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is on vacation.

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