Hot Rod Beck's blog

This is the PeaceMaker

This is the PeaceMaker. It has served as my trusty wiffle bat for over 25 years.

We all lose pieces of our life along with bits of ourselves as we travel through time. Wiffle represents this for a good part of the population, both physically and emotionally. It is truly a kid's game and the vast majority left their childhood behind years ago, along with the bits and pieces.

For whatever reason, I held onto wiffle through-out the years. It is a place I can always go that is void of all the responsibility and stress of adulthood. It is a place where I am free to act like the wide-eyed energetic child deep within my soul. This beautiful piece of yellow plastic was born in what I consider the greatest era of wiffle bats. It is easily identified as an 80's vintage wiffle bat by the square block logo. The early edition bats of this vintage used more plastic for the barrel and thus created a stronger bat. The ball flies off of it with much more consistent power and the bat stands up to abuse and age much better.

It was during a trip home that I stumbled upon my faithful bat and resurrected into the LowBall league. We didn't name our wiffle bats back in the day. No we kept the names for the bats we carved out of fallen trees. I sat for hours, days carving until it was finally complete and the wood burning set would come out. If the bat was good enough, the simple word PeaceMaker would be branded into its mid section. The name PeaceMaker dates back to the single action Colt revolver favored by the lawmen of the Wild West, including one Wyatt Earp. And in this sense the name pays homage to two of my childhood passions, wiffle and Westerns. The bat currently sports a katana sword style grip. This is the second time she has been wrapped in such a manner, however this wrap uses hockey grip tape. Given its history and the unique handle, the bat is one of my prized possessions. Since resurrecting it, I have only swung one other bat and it was another find from my childhood. I only swung it during one at bat.

HST is ready for wiffle

Wiffle Ready

Scientology backs the Loggers

Hot Rod Spotted in Bristol, TN

LowBall doctors have been unusually tight lipped about the status of Hot Rod Beck following a late night trip to the ER.  Reports have been confirmed that he suffered a significant laceration to the ring finger of his pitching hand.  Confusion has swirled over the severity and the impact on his availability to throw in the big game fast approaching.  Word started to spread that Hot Rod was in Bristol, TN on Monday and would be ripping up the local speedway.  The LowBall snoops quickly ran off and arrived just in time to see HR claiming to have won the race.  Many questioned if any race had ever taken place.  However, HR can be seen in the above photo acting as if he did something of consequence.  The over the hill pitcher was asked a few timely questions as he departed.  When his ability to throw was questioned, all he said was, "I have a thumb and at least one finger, I don't see it as an issue."  

What Dreams Are Made Of

"What are you afraid of? To wake up and find this is what dreams are made of"

- Prev1, Swollen Members "Groundbreaking"

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Hot Rod Beck Shocks Wiffle World | Places Self on DL for Month

Hot on the heels of the El Guapo saga, the LowBall league has been hit with another controversy. Hot Rod Beck announced today that he would miss a minimum of one month to "focus" on outside pursuits. The announcement was met with an uproar of disapproval from the league's regulars. Hot Rod, known for his ability to write articles about himself, lack of hair, and league leading insults of Howard Howell, will undoubtedly be the center of speculation for the month of September. He has vowed to dominate the Wifftober Fest and keep Lord Wiffle's trophy at HST for another year.


As the 2007 season came to a close, El Guapo was on top of the wiffle world, charging hard towards his first LowBall Player of the Year. He dominated the field from both sides; destroying batters with a pocketful of punishing pitches while bashing virtually every ball within the vicinity of the zone into the long grass. It should have been his year and his league. Unfortunately in LowBall, success can be fleeting and reality unforgiving. This is the El Guapo story.

The start of Guap's slide can be traced to a contract dispute with the Commish. In the early fall of 2007, Guap sent a formal contract extension request to the offices of LowBall. Bolstered by an incredible year, he demanded that his salary for 2008 be increased from the league minimum (and maximum) of no bottles of beer to a 40 ounce of High Life. The Commissioner swiftly issued a public statement reinforcing the league's long standing rule of not paying players a dime. Guap continued to press the office and eventually the dispute spilled onto the field as the league's star sat out the Wifftober Finale in protest.

It appeared that the snows of winter had cooled the dispute and all would be forgotten on opening day at HST. However, the day arrived without the larger than life El Guapo in the starting line-up. Rumors swirled that he had chosen to take up softball or worse yet tennis. The truth was even more painful for a league swirling in controversesy. Guap had elected to have a scheduled offseason surgery during the opening week. He was quoted as saying,"They're paying now, I am taking it easy recovering on 'company time'."

Despite looking dire for fledgling league, the Commish and Guap reached a resolution in early May. Guap would make a commission on all El Guapo bobbly head figures sold during games played on Monday. Some estimates have put the worth of this contract between $2 and $3, slightly lower than the 40 ounce he had sought.

With his much desired contract in hand, Guap appearred to be concentrating on a return to the top, even scheduling an opening day game at his homefield. Once again misfortune struck the star as tenants of The Friendly Confines filed a lengthy and scathing legal complaint against El Guapo. He was forced to break from his training regiment to make repeated appearrances against the wooly prosecution. Ultimately an amicable resolution was reached but not before the cancellation of the Confines opening day and many weeks of missed training.

Perhaps it was stress of a lengthy trial or complications with the recovery, whatever the case El Guapo struggled to regain form. There were flashes of his previous dominance here and there but largely it was a muddled mess of mecrocrity. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see his slow mental dismantling. At the time, no one saw it coming.
It was at GapBridge on a stormy Sunday morning, that Guap's sweater of sanity finally was pulled one too many times. Ironically, it was his contractual nemesis that dealt the roundhouse brainbuster. With a single pitch, The Commish sent Guap away with another K to add to his bulging collection. An ACL makes an audible pop when it ruptures. There was no such sound when Guap's fragile mental state snapped. With the ferocity of a hungover beast, he brutally attacked the sacred strike zone of the hallowed grounds of GapBridge. At the conclusion, a stunned crowd watched as the deflated hero struggled back to the bench muttering, "I have issues."

El Guapo disappeared off the LowBall map after the tragic incident. Rumors have run rampant that he moved to Port Henry to live the "island life." The above photo surfaced on the internet suggesting that there may be truth to the nasty tale. Though some have questioned his ability to grow such a mean mullet and not have a mean mustache to match.

As the debate of Guap's future in LowBall and his eligibility for the hall rages on, a small coalition of supporters has started to demand his reinstatement. Led by Lonichiro, they have instigated a campaign called "oBamBama for President". Despite the incoherence in the coalition's message, the Commish has issued a statement saying that Guap will always have a home in LowBall amongst the other flawed purveyors of the plastic.

This is not a story of sorrow, but instead a story of hope. Hope that one of the league's brightest stars and most vibrant personalities will return to the top. I am sure the fans and players will welcome him back with open arms.

The Wiffle Effect

Wiffle ball goes big time—well, not so big

by Lee Green
The Wiffle Effect

If the phrase "organized adult Wiffle ball" has a slightly ludicrous ring to it, that's because we invariably associate the white plastic sphere with childhood, backyard fields, and quirky ground rules. A one-hopper off the tool shed was a double, a shot over the boxwood hedge was a home run, and a foul ball into the fenced province of the neighbors' dog meant the game was over.

That version of the sport still exists, fostering, as one enthusiast's Web site puts it, "the ruining of America's backyards." But in the mid-1990s isolated groups of adult players—usually in their twenties or thirties—discovered on the Internet that plenty of others out there shared their passion. Adult tournaments have been around for years, particularly in the Northeast, where the Wiffle tradition runs long and deep, but competitive adult Wiffle ball has now grown into a thriving subculture of self-described "touring pros," structured competitions, cash prizes, and slick playing fields. Forget the boxwood hedges; these guys swing for low, Fenway-green outfield fences eighty to 110 feet from home plate. And forget those plastic Wiffle bats, too. "That little yellow bat just doesn't cut it today, especially against the pitchers you're facing," says Mike Palinczar, the organizer of two annual tournaments in Trenton, New Jersey, and one of the game's premier pitchers. "If you're up there with a yellow bat, you might as well give up." Today's players wield sturdier plastic or aluminum bats (including one manufactured by Palinczar) with names like Ledge Sledge, King Stick, and Wiffle Pro. A carbon-graphite model, the Moonshot, sells for $120.

The sport reached a milestone in January of 2001, when six players from various parts of the country, frustrated by bitter rivalries and a lack of organization, convened in Baltimore to see if they could invest the game with some semblance of order and uniformity. Two days later they emerged as the United States Perforated Plastic Baseball Association, a governing body that publishes rules, sanctions a series of tournaments on both coasts during baseball season, and conducts post-season playoffs that culminate in a fall national championship. The organization's name may suggest a lack of seriousness, but the players, most of whom played baseball in high school or college, intend nothing of the sort. Billy Owens, of Costa Mesa, California, a thirty-four-year-old electronics distribution manager, is one of the association's founders and the editor of an online Wiffle-ball newsletter called Fast Plastic. Owens bristles at the notion that he is consumed by a child's game. "For ex-baseball players," he told me, "this is the closest thing they can get to playing college-level baseball or even semi-pro."

Now Let's Wiffle You Hosers

About once a year I get the inkling to spend a couple all nighters rebuilding web sites. A month ago I promised to put forth the same effort on the LowBall site. Little progress was made in March, and then the snow melted. Suddenly HST became visible and the memories flooded back. I went to work. After around 48 hours of near continuous work and a few cans of the old good life, the site is live and revived. I hope it gets you as excited as I am for the season.

A brief background, the header/background design was developed out of these source images. When I started working on the site, I really wanted to get the feeling of old time baseball across. To me, that is LowBall, the pure spirit of baseball without all the pretense; just friends and competition. These two images caught my eye and I really worked to make them a part of the theme.

I went through a lot of iterations to reach the end product. Since in my mind, I feel that Lonny was the LowBaller of the Year, I worked him in place of Hank Greenberg. I figure getting the header image for a year is a decent reward for 142 at bats. I like the merging of a modern wiffle photo with an old time baseball photo. That really is the thing, every time you take the mound or step into the batter's box, you step into something bigger and for a brief moment you are part of the big show. If that made no sense to you, you should stop reading and start playing in your company's slow pitch softball league.
I also quietly revised the LowBall Coat of Arms. This ended up being a real chore. I really did not want to use a photo of myself in any of this. However after spending hours cutting and pasting different LowBallers into the crest, it became apparent that this photo worked best. Having built the site and built a lot of baseball cards, I now know what photos I need and what angles work best. Next year should go smoother. I would like to have the LowBaller of the Year (voted by committee) emblazoned on the crest for their reign as LOTY. That's a long ways off.

As a note, I put up some base posts for the individual fields. These should be expanded upon by the appropriate owners.

For now, all this staring at wiffle photos has got me amped up for some wiffle. Now let's wiffle you hosers.


LowBall Online | Season Two

Alright lads,

Believe it or not, the long winter is slowly losing its cold grip on the fields of wiffle. Within mere months, the thrill of an epic battle between pitcher and batter will once again be the center piece of lazy weekends and long summer nights. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting a return to greatness and my sophomore season amongst the hallowed ranks of Lincoln's Old School Wiffle league.

In preparation for the fresh season, I will be spending the month of March working on a redesign on our lovely internet home field. With the relaunch in early April will come the much anticipated final 2007 stats. In the interest of this much discussed delay in release, I believe we all agree that we must come up with a better system of keeping and releasing stats. My suggestion is that we start to treat the site as a weekly newspaper, "The LowBall Wiffle Weekly". In this way we would have designated roles and a "semi" set schedule for the release. In the weeks to come, I will expand on my ideas for this and invite you to add your suggestions for the site.

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