Logger Mike spices up Sointula’s baseball weekend

His appearance on Malcolm Island caught me by surprise as well as the rest of the team

“Paul’s Balls! Now what kind of team name is that?”

I was in Sointula for the annual May long weekend baseball tournament and this was a voice I hadn’t expected – or wanted – to hear, especially so far away from Campbell River.

But there he was, Big Logger Mike, striding into our dugout. He was still dressed all in yellow and his cork boots kind of passed for cleats, but instead of his trusty axe, he carried a bat jauntily on his shoulder.

The world’s biggest yellow baseball bat, I should add, but not quite as huge as the hockey stick in Duncan.

His appearance on Malcolm Island caught me by surprise as well as the rest of the team who gawked in wonder until he got rolling again.

“Come on Mr. Manager, speak up, why the heck would you pick such a stupid name?” he asked, shaking his head in wonder. “You know, there are little kids who are going to hear this name and then ask why…”

I couldn’t stand the ribbing much longer, “I didn’t pick the name! I was saddled with it!” I hollered.

Big Mike laughed at me and the rest of the guys chuckled too. They knew that at least one of the all-pickup squads have funny names chosen by the Finn fishermen who are slightly better pranksters than they are ball players.

I sighed, smiled and then muttered to Ross, the funny guy who named the team, “Next year we’re resurrecting the Clam Guns,” a previous team name that resulted in more shellfish jokes than I ever thought possible.

But, whatever, you just go with the flow in Sointula. We’re all here for the fun, the barbecued skewers of shrimp, oysters on the half-shell with hot sauce, and a few icy wobbly pops.

Oh yeah, we’re also here to play ball…real baseball with wood bats, 90-foot-long base paths and overhand chuckers whose command of the strike zone is somewhat spotty.

“Come on coach, where are you putting me in the line-up? It better be clean-up,” Big Mike ordered.

How could I say no to an eight-foot man wagging a huge bat under my nose?

So I batted Big Mike fourth and hoped he had at least once in life played ball. The first two batters went out, the third walked and then Big Mike stepped up to the plate.

The anticipation of the crowd was broken as I called for, “Time!”

The ump complied as I walked out to the opposing pitcher and whispered, “Bean him with the first pitch and I’ll buy you a beer afterwards.”

He smiled and plunked Logger Mike right in the backside. The ol’ logger winced just once and then smacked the next pitch clear over the centre field fence. It kept rising over the straight until it hit a black cloud which immediately burst and poured rain on Port McNeill.

On sunny Sointula, Big Mike rounded the base paths, high-fived the rest of the team and ran straight to the beer garden.

“My work is done here,” he pronounced. “Now get me a Lucky.”