See­ing as I have the time, here are a few gripes ...

The Dundalk Eagle - - SPORTS AND RECREATION - by Bill Gates

The Bal­ti­more Belt­way Over-60 Se­nior Soft­ball League was to be­gin a much-re­duced and be­lated sea­son this week.

There will be six teams in­stead of 20. For­tu­nately for those six, among them is not in­cluded the Howards Reds, who have dom­i­nated the league the past sev­eral sea­sons.

Dun­dalk was to pen the sea­son on Wed­nes­day at Ca­tonsville, which is kinda dis­ap­point­ing to me, for per­sonal rea­sons.

At first, the league planned to play its usual Mon­day-Wed­nes­day dou­ble­head­ers all at Bach­man Soft­ball Com­plex in Glen Burnie.

I was look­ing for­ward to that, even if it meant deal­ing with the toll at the Fran­cis Scott Key Bridge. Se­ri­ously; I still haven’t got­ten around to get­ting one of those win­dow-mounted giz­mos the toll booth scans to deduct the toll cost and I haven’t used a toll road since early fall, so I have no clue what the pro­ce­dure is now.

Do the scan my li­cense plate and email a bill, which is what hap­pened last time. Do I get fined? I prob­a­bly shoul;d find this out.

Any­way — among lots of other things, some maybe more im­por­tant, the COVID-19 pan­demic that shut down the spring sports sea­son also post­poned (for now) a bruhaha be­tween my­self and the MPSSAA peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the state soft­ball tour­na­ment.

See, the Bach­man Com­plex is an ex­cel­lent place to play soft­ball. It’s a great place to watch soft­ball.

It is not, how­ever, even a medi­ocre place to pho­to­graph soft­ball.

All the play­ing fields are sur­rounded by fences. High fences.

Prior to 2019, the MPSSAA com­pro­mised by al­low­ing pho­tog­ra­phers in­side the fence, as long as we were far up the line into the out­field, re­mained pinned to the fence, and would kill our­selves rather than tak­ing the chance of get­ting in the way of a layer chas­ing a live ball.

It wasn’t the best an­gle, and it meant all of our pho­tos were taken from the same an­gle, but it was okay. Not good, not great.

Then last year the me­dia was told we weren’t al­lowed in­side the fence any­more, for mum­ble mum­ble plain sim­ple non­sense mum­ble rea­sons.

I man­aged to get some good pho­tos from the Spar­rows Point state semi­fi­nal game (the semis are played at Bach­man; the state cham­pi­onship game at the Uni­ver­sity of Mar yland) be­cause I asked the Point­ers if I could shoot from their dugout.

Alas, in the sixth in­ning of a close game, an MPSSAA of­fi­cial with too much time on her hands no­ticed I was in the dugout and or­dered me to leave.

The play­ers ob­jected, say­ing they wanted me tak­ing pho­tos from the dugout. But, of course, when the MPSSAA says it’s all about the stu­dent-ath­letes, they’re ly­ing.

One of the lines we’re fed is they don’t want us “dis­tract­ing” the play­ers (the same non­sense we’re also fed in the state soc­cer semi­fi­nals when our move­ment is re­stricted).

Teams that have reached the state semi­fi­nals and cham­pi­onship games are ac­cus­tomed to me­dia at­ten­tion. By that point we’re in­vis­i­ble; we’re back­ground.

You know who is al­lowed where we’re not? School sys­tem bigshots. Higher-ups, su­per­in­ten­dents, big au­thor­ity fig­ures.

Now tell me: which group is more likely to be a distractio­n?

An­other puz­zler: I’ve never had any trou­ble pho­tograph­ing a base­ball state semi­fi­nal or fi­nal. The state track and field cham­pi­onships?

The state of­fi­cials or­ga­niz­ing the meet do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ac­com­mo­date the me­dia. All we have to do is not blun­der out onto the track and into the path of a run­ner.

When Dun­dalk played in the state foot­ball cham­pi­onship game at M&T Bank Sta­dium? As long as pho­tog­ra­phers stayed off the field and a few yards from the side­lines, we were good.

Could even shoot from be­hind the end zone. State soc­cer cham­pi­onships won’t let us shoot from be­hind the goal.

Any­way, back to my orig­i­nal point — it’s up there, a bunch of para­graphs or so above — I was look­ing for­ward to the Over-60 Soft­ball League play­ing n the Bach­man Com­plex.

I would shoot the game from in­side the fence. While roam­ing around to shoot from dif­fer­ent viewpoints, while stay­ing out of the way.

I would have some­one pho­to­graph me pho­tograph­ing from in­side the fence. I would send a copy of that photo to the MPSSAA soft­ball peo­ple.

And there’s a slight chance I would have been mak­ing a rude ges­ture. Never said I wasn’t petty.

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