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Coral Gables A’s Stories: America’s Funniest Men’s League Baseball Team

The Coral Gables A's played a double header last weekend, and kicked ass amidst all the insanity.

The Coral Gables A's: America's Funniest Men's League Baseball Team

I play baseball for the Coral Gables A’s on Sundays. I don't know if admitting this gets you on some sort of government watch list, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. For over two decades, the Coral Gables A’s have trotted out some of the most degenerative humans imaginable. Picture the kid in elementary school who couldn’t sit still, probably ate a little glue, and had that special type of strength reserved for special types of people. Then throw nine of those on a baseball diamond. That’s the Coral Gables A’s. We're a talented, insane family.

A man named Miguel managed the team for much of its history. When I first joined the A’s as a way to get at bats in the offseason while I was still playing professionally, he summed up his recruiting strategy with the following statement, “I don’t collect talent, I collect personalities.” Accurate. The Coral Gables A’s are a riot. And the Coral Gables A’s win.


Someone could write multiple 500-page volumes of Coral Gables A’s history, but for now, I’m just gonna keep you up to date on how our season is going, while mixing in a little necessary backstory.


Sunday Doubleheader


We had a double header this past Sunday. Our game a few weeks ago got rained out with us needing two more outs in the bottom of the 5th to make it an official game and a win, but it started pouring buckets and we ran out of time. The game was suspended and none of it counted. I hit a grand slam for no reason.


So this would be our second game last Sunday. Our first game was against a team we’ve always dominated, though they’re never a cake walk. They go by Super Auto Hialeah; I guess that’s the dealership that sponsors them. They have talent, they’re young, and they have a super fucking annoying manager that nearly caused a fight because of how goddamn annoying he is.


This game was started by Alex, an A’s OG who’s the star of an article I wrote on Medium one time. He “retired” last fall, but told me he’d be available from time to time if it’s an emergency and we give him ample notice. Well this Sunday, with 18 innings to cover, was that emergency. We sent up the Bat Signal, and he answered the call.


I told him he just needed to get us through about three innings. He ended up going two. The first inning was business as usual: a lot of strikes, mixing pitches, hitters off balance, soft contact. He ran into some trouble in the second inning, giving up four. This was not helped by a disastrous error that brought in two runs. The other two were earned. We put up three the following half inning after back-to-back jacks by me and Juan, we call him Juany, our centerfielder. Unfortunately, with a pitching change mixed in and the constant bitching from the opposing manager, our turn at bat took up too much time for Alex to stay loose. He was done after two.


Insert Mike, who pitched at the University of Miami and has all-in-all filthy shit. We spotted him a three-run lead and he proceeded to pound the zone with four offerings, just pitching to contact. We tacked on a run in the third, then they added two in the fourth on the back of a pair of errors. If you’re noticing a trend here, the A’s can hit, the A’s can pitch, but the A’s can’t field worth a goddamn lick.


The 5th inning was when things got funky. All courtesy of Jazz Hands.

The Incomparable Jazz Hands


Let me tell you a little something about Jazz Hands. Jazz Hands is the worst umpire this side of the Mississippi. He’s the perfect storm of bad umpiring: horribly inconsistent strike zone, zero control of the game, stubborn, and worst of all, available. The dude lives for this. At least one third of our games will feature him behind the plate.


Why do we call him Jazz Hands, you ask? Homeboy loves to add a little flavor to his strike calls, especially the big ones. Curveball two and a half balls outside? “Heeeeeeeeeee,” he roars, accompanied by fluttering fingers like he’s Salt Bae. After a few seconds of zest, he finishes the call by dialing down the magic fingers and stabbing the air with just his index finger, like he’s popping a bunch of tiny balloons. The man gets more use out of his hands than any umpire ever. He’s Jazz Hands. Don’t even know his real name.

I've included a grainy clip below of this legendary call, for reference. You get the picture.

The Home Run That Wasn't

Matt, a utility guy who’s been mashing as of late, smoked a ball down the left field line in the 5th inning with two men on. Left field at this park is not unlike right field at Fenway, in that the wall curves inwards as it nears the foul line. If you hit one right down the line, the fence is at least 40 or so feet shorter. The ball Matt hit probably would have one-hopped the wall and been a double had he hit it to straight away left. But down the line it had a chance to go.


It did. Three-run jack. Hooked around the foul pole and was fair by about four feet. Matt was halfway down the first base line when it went over, let out a “LET’S GO,” as one does, then began his trot around the bases. No one batted an eyelid as to it being fair or not. Except for one man.


It wasn’t until he was a few steps past first base that ol’ Jazz Hands called it foul.


We couldn’t believe it. Dy’lan, who we call Dee, was videotaping Matt’s at bat. He rushed the field, along with pretty much all of us, to plead our case with Jazz Hands. We were mostly just pissed, but Dee was presenting evidence. “IT’S ON CAMERA!” he yelled, showing him a still shot of the ball going over the fence in fair territory. This then caused their manager to lose it and call for Dee to be kicked out. I don’t know what it takes for Jazz Hands to throw you out of the game, but no one seems to have reached that point in all the times he’s gotten lit up.


A shit show. Three runs off the board. Matt ended up walking, but we didn’t score that inning. Here's the video.

Not to fear, though. The A’s just kept on hitting no matter who they threw at us. To their credit, they were swinging it pretty good themselves; someone hit a two-run bomb off Mike in the 6th, maybe the second or third home run I’ve ever seen hit off him. We were winning 12-8 at the end of the 6th. A comfortable lead, but we weren’t putting them away like we wanted.


Luckily, their manager lit some extra fire under us.

Backswing Shenanigans


Nick, our manager and usual third batter, has a huge backswing. It’s Marcell Ozuna-like. As such, he’ll occasionally clip the catcher after a big swing. This happened in the 7th when the end of his bat got the catcher in the shoulder pretty good. He was in obvious pain and spent about five minutes shaking it off. The manager, who is the catcher’s dad, decided almost immediately that Nick had done this on purpose. Words were exchanged, Nick and the manager were separated, and then Armando got involved…


Armando is Nick’s dad. He often hangs out in the dugout with us and gives unwarranted hitting tips to everyone who makes an out (I kid, he actually knows his stuff). He, like Nick, does not back down from a challenge or any form of disrespect, and at that moment, his son was being disrespected in a silly, petty way. He came marching out of the dugout like Stone Cold Steve Austin making a surprise entrance to set shit straight. Fully ready to throw hands if need be. The man is maybe 150 pounds and in his 60s, but let me tell you, I would not have gotten in Armando’s way.


Jazz Hands eventually did his job and broke up the tomfoolery. The catcher was able to keep going, Nick continued his at bat, Armando and the opposing manager went back to their dugouts.

See Ya, Armando

Remember when I said this manager was a buttface? Sure enough, an inning later he decided to ask Jazz Hands to throw Armando out, saying people in the stands didn’t feel safe and that he wasn’t in uniform and wasn’t allowed to be in the dugout in the first place. This, coupled with consistently refuting the score of the game (we had our book, they did not keep a book for some reason, so you don’t really have a leg to stand on ther, bud. Jazz Hands had no idea, of course.), makes this guy near the top of the Coral Gables A’s current shit list. Jazz Hands bent the knee and asked Armando to leave, which he did. Loudly and profanely. But he did.


They really poked the bear by doing this, and it came to a head the next time Matt, who you’ll remember was cheated out of a home run earlier, came to the plate.

Poetic Justice


There was no calling this baby foul. An absolutely textbook piece of hitting saw Matt take a fastball outside and drive it to right center. Gone. Grand fucking slam. The dagger we needed to finally put the game away.


The Baseball Gods are real and they are good.


They went out without a fuss the rest of the way. We tacked on one more. 17-8. A’s win.


Game 2 Dub, Onto the Next One


Game 2 started a half hour later. Nothing major to report. The good guys won, 6-2. The team we played, the Blue Wahoos, are very young and talented. We’ll probably have to worry about them in a season or two if they stick together. For now, though, the savvy old A’s can still get it done.


It was a great Sunday to be a Coral Gables A. We moved to 7-1 on the season. The competition will be more intense next week, as we play our biggest rivals and the only other team in our league to win four titles: South Dade Suela. Stay tuned to see how we did!



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