« | Main | »

Longest Kickball Report EVER


It started as a friendly, drunken game. No one really cared who the winners were because, deep down, all the players wanted to be losers.

But after years of finding themselves consistently on the low-scoring end of the Homegrown Kickball Classic, the Friday bands grew bitter. And after years of coming out on the winning end, the Saturday bands grew cocky.

A rivalry was born.

The 2006 contest was the most hotly contested and controversial of any that came before it. In the end, Saturday was ruled the winner for the seventh consecutive time, remaining undefeated.

(Photo hijacked from Peter Scholtes blog.)

2006 Homegrown Kickball Classic Summary
In the most hotly contested and controversial kickball game ever, Saturday bands prevailed in dramatic fashion. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with one out and runners on second and first, Mark Lindquist kicked a fly ball to right field that bounced off Frank Nichol’s chest. Before the ball could be recovered and relayed to Bryan Johnson at home plate, Mike Ferrin had slid in safely to score the game-winning run.

Saturday’s leadoff kicker, Eric Pollard, scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. After reaching base on a Friday error, Pollard was driven in by Tony Derrick, who also reached on an error.

The first controversy of the game -- and the bitterest -- occurred in the top of the third inning. Some guy, who scorekeepers think might be named Jesse, reached on an error and advanced when Jamie Ness singled. With two runners on and no out, Seth Gronli singled and attempted to advance to second.

Ness, meanwhile, was attempting to advance to third, but “Jesse” was occupying third, so Ness retreated to second. Meanwhile, a wild throw from the outfield went over second base and rolled toward first. Lindquist gave chase and recovered the ball as “Jesse” was heading home. As both men sprinted toward the plate, Lindquist attempted to hit “Jesse” with the ball, but his throw went wild and ended up in the woods.

Noticing the overthrow, Ness left second base and headed for third and eventually home. But umpire Rick Boo had already ruled him out for occupying second base at the same time as Gronli. The run was not recorded, Ness was ruled out, and play resumed, though the controversy remains (see below for further details).

Another argument erupted in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Friday team left the field after only two outs and, during the confusion, Gus Watkins raced home from third and scored. Umpire Rick Boo chose to give Friday a break and forced Watkins to return to third. The inning ended on the next play, and the game remained tied 1-1.

Getting runners on base was a challenge throughout the game for both teams because of the record numbers of players; Saturday had 35 and Friday had 25. Other than the inning they scored in, Friday bands failed to get a runner past second base. (Al Sparhawk reached second in the fifth inning; Bill Flannigan got there in the seventh.) Saturday stranded two runners in the first, second and fourth innings, but didn’t threaten again until the ninth.

An embarrassing footnote: Ferrin almost didn’t get on base to score the winning run in the first place. He reached on a fielding error when Sparhawk bobbled the ball at third. The play at first was a close one because Ferrin tripped over his own feet and fell on his face while running to first. Fortunately for Saturday, he got up in time to beat the throw and eventually break the tie.

At the end of the game, Friday still vehemently argued that Ness' run in the third inning should have counted and the game should be tied. They challenged Saturday to allow the run and keep playing, but Saturday was already celebrating its seventh straight victory.

The Controversy
There has been some raging debate in the Duluth music scene over whether Ness should have been ruled out or whether his run should have counted. According to the rulebook, the answer to both questions is: No.

When Ness and Gronli were on the same base at the same time, neither should have been automatically out. Ness was entitled to the base under the rules, and Gronli needed to be tagged out, which didn’t happen. But Ness still should not legally have been allowed to score. Here’s why:

Because Lindquist’s overthrow went out of play (into the woods), and Ness was on second base when the overthrow occurred, Ness should have been entitled to advance only one base.

But one could argue that there is no “out of play” for kickball at Chester Bowl, since those boundaries can’t be clearly defined. In that case, the ball was not dead and the Friday team was required by rule to vacate the space between Lindquist and the ball, instead of standing in his way. Which means Jamie was out, due to his team's interference.

But ultimately, both teams have to live by the rulings of Umpire Boo. His discretion is the final rulebook.

It should also be noted that, because the rules of ASA softball are supposed to be applied to kickball, not the rules of Major League Baseball, Gronli should have fouled out during his series of six consecutive foul kicks. If that had been the case, he never would have made the kick that scored Friday’s only run.

If this year’s game proved anything at all, it was that rock-’n’-rollers don’t like to live by the rules, unless it benefits them.

Most Valuable Player
Longtime kickball standout and Saturday team captain Mark Lindquist took MVP honors for the first time since the inaugural kickball game in 2000. He is now the second person to earn the honor twice; James Moors was MVP in 2003 and 2005.

Lindquist was not an obvious choice for the honor, and was reluctant to accept it. He did commit the throwing error on the play in which Friday scored its only run and nearly took the lead. But he was solid at shortstop in several key situations and wisely placed his ninth-inning kick to right field to prevent the lead runner from being forced out, which also allowed that runner to advance to third and ultimately score when the ball was dropped.

Eric Pollard, Chad Lyons, Tony Derrick, Jason Lee and several others played well for Saturday. Hats also go off to Marc Gartman, who sucked last year but was perfectly adequate this year.

Sparhawk, David Frankenfeld, Asian Jon and Hot Rod Heartthrob played well for Friday. Sparhawk made what was easily the best play of the game with an incredible diving catch at third base.

Least Valuable Player
Although he didn’t play that poorly, Jamie Ness was named LVP for his honesty. Early in the game, after Umpire Boo mistakenly called a Saturday runner out at second base, Ness admitted the ball never touched the runner, and the runner was allowed to stay on. Then, in the top of the ninth inning, Ness was mistakenly called safe at first base and admitted he was out, walking off the field.

“He was honest TWICE,” said scorekeeper Jason Cork. “There’s just no place for honesty in rock and roll, or in kickball. Ness is LVP.”


This account was so spellbinding, yet so long, I chose to frap my pants (I should never have smoked that marlboro after eating a short stack of buckwheat pancakes) rather than walk away from the computer.

to suggest that the rulings for this game were at the mercy of umpire boo is absurd. the man was on his cell phone the whole game. (god love him.) the kickball game is an exercise in chaos. that's it's charm. but with boo phoning it in, this left you, lundgren, to orchestrate the chaos to suit your needs. not because you were paying attention (which you were, but not alone), and not because you were the only sober one there (which you were, save the children), but because you were standing right next to him and were loud. this will cause a man on his phone to do whatever you want to shut you up. you called the damn game. and poorly. perhaps you're right. perhaps there just isn't any room for honesty in rock and roll and/or kickball. but i think there is.
god bless america.


Let me be clear about this:

The Friday night bands, who strutted and swayed and drank like banshees...those honest souls who purified the peoples, who gave their electrolytes to the very grounds of this city...they were the AWAY TEAM? Oh, for SHAME.


there's a big difference between being the AWAY team and being the WASHINGTON F-ING GENERALS.

Frick this. I'll be at the bar.

Post a comment

Seriously: If you click "post" more than once, you're going to end up looking really stupid.

If you don't see your comment after it's published, try refreshing your browser.