The Dreaded “Aqua Ball” Puts in His Two Cents

A few days ago, right here in the Scrum, I jotted down a few thoughts on the thirty year sandlot baseball reunion I was fortunate enough to be part of.  A couple of days later, one of the most colorful figures to ever take the mound in those games sent me his memories. Steve “Aqua Ball” Menges was famous for hitting triples in the gap and confounding batters with his loaded (and I mean loaded) up spitter…the Aqua Ball.

Take it away Steve:

Friends, Baseball and the Passage of Time 

Earlier this month marked the 30 year reunion game of a baseball “league” in Dallas, PA.  The loosely organized Sordoni field baseball group spent their spring and summer weekends back in 70s playing baseball (not softball mind you, real baseball!), on the Sordoni’s beautifully manicured property (which happened to resemble a baseball field, complete with a short porch treeline in left field.  There were no umpires, uniforms or official teams then and the teenage boys had only 2 rules: 1. Prospective new players had to be “sponsored” by an existing player,  and 2. Keep it fun (meaning aggressiveness and competition are great, but no fighting).  We thought we’d catch up with the boys, see how it went and ask them, “What’s changed in 30 years?”…

“Not much really.  It was like not a year had passed since our last game.” said Tom “Al Buddy” Alexander [now of Florida]. “Seeing the Kubasti and Cuba brothers, that guy that calls me ‘Al Buddy’, Joe, Ed and the rest of gang was great!  It was hard to recognize the guys at first though, what with them all getting fat, going grey or bald and the like…and of course because of my bad eyesight.”

“One difference from 1978 may be a decrease in the fitness level of the players,”, said Ed Jewell, “I don’t recall people (other than that Ramirez kid), ever getting hurt.  Today, the injuries began during the warm-up and stretching period and the ‘popping’ sounds and groans got louder from there.”  Pitcher Steve “Aqua Balls” Menges defended their fitness level, saying, “We all had good wheels and played well today. Look, it’s been 30 years between starts and I lasted 5 innings, –pretty good by today’s standards.”

Tom Alexander added, “Injuries were not a problem and we’re not getting old. With all the medical and technology improvements available now, we were able to spike the water cooler with Vicodin and schedule the surgeries in real-time via Blackberry.  Steve’s Tommy John surgery starts right after the pizza party at Grotto.”  Steve’s brother Dan added, “Not even a torn labrum and a mean case of the gout could keep Steve from his pepperoni!”

 

“We’re hoping that at the next reunion we can actually have replacement limbs and organs on hand and have a robot do the surgeries between innings.”, said outfielder Mike Cuba.   Mike added, “Sordoni alumnus Dr. David Lewis wants to try that Star Trek beaming technology to switch out the pieces, but I guess we’ll have to see if the field has an ‘anti-matter generator.”

Finally, when we asked the guys how they were holding up during their extended 5th inning water break, they all said, “Hey, let’s play two!”   -As the game wound down, their smiles and sweat sweaty faces seemed to glow like kids sitting by the tree on Christmas morning (or it could have been a reflection from the ambulances’ lights as they lined up in the parking lot).

One Response to “The Dreaded “Aqua Ball” Puts in His Two Cents”

  1. mengesd Says:

    was a great time