Interviewer: Tell me about why you started the Bulldogs.
RKDeem: I founded the Bulldogs slow pitch softball team about 8 years ago. We started as a coed team comprised of friends and family as a means to get together and have fun. We were pretty terrible in the beginning. After a couple of seasons, we started to get pretty good, even winning a championship. We all fell in love with the game and were soon playing in the Sunday morning men’s league and then playing in the Coed league on Sunday afternoons, every so often, we’d play a double header in the morning and in the afternoon, 4 games in a single day, couldn’t be beat.
Interviewer: You’re still a capable player and an asset to the team, why are you ending your career with the Bulldogs?
RKDeem: I remember one time several years ago when our team was in a real slump, a couple players suggested that our team needed a change. We started thinking about the lineup and began to think about which player or players should be replaced. It would be awfully hard to ask someone to leave the team, especially if you cited their athletic prowess as the primary reason, but our team was losing all the time and it wasn’t fun for anyone. We determined that it would be for the greater good to make one guy unhappy, than to have the whole team miserable for always losing. I finally agreed to the idea and agreed to remove the player at the end of the season. My only concern about it was, if our objective is to continuously improve, we may end up all being replaced one day. Fortunately for me, the player we wanted to leave, left right in the middle of the next game, he dropped a pop fly, threw his glove, and walked off the field right in the middle of the game, never to return. Right now, I feel like our team’s in need of a change and it is easier for me to change, than to change the team.
Interviewer: Do you want to discuss some of your career highlights?
RKDeem: I think my coaching has played a larger role than anything I’ve done on the field. Without me, we wouldn’t have had the Bulldogs, so that’s pretty big in itself. I’ve enjoyed pulling a group of good people together and seeing the team gel. I think anyone on any of the Bulldog teams has had a moment where they made an outstanding contribution, I probably can’t take too much credit for that, but it has been the most satisfying. Baseball has given me such an appreciation for statistics, when something happens that defies probability, I find bliss in it. Even if you’re not trying to, you are always calculating your odds in baseball “Geez, we got two outs in the last inning and we’re down by 3 runs, our chance of winning is unlikely”, but then someone gets a hit and your odds start to improve, then a walk, then another hit and the bases are loaded, “Now, if Mike can hit a homer, we can tie this baby up! Mike is a good power hitter, he hits a homer every 16 at bats…there’s a chance!” I love that there’s always a chance and you have a good idea of the statistical probability of that chance happening, that makes the game very exciting to me, especially when probability is defied!
Interviewer: Can you tell me about your all-time favorite players?
RKDeem: Everyone was awesome and I could tell you a story about everyone, but couple stand out, my sister, The General, she’d sit behind the plate and yell, “This hitter stinks, he’s got nothing.” She was right next to the guy and would yell that, I couldn’t believe my ears. She must have really annoyed our opponents, but she backed it up. Very focused and motivated player, we called her The General because she was always telling our team what to do, it is good to have a player like that to force alignment. I remember being in left center field trying to throw a guy out at home, I was caught up in the moment and unleashed the ball as hard as I could throw it. Immediately after it left my hand, I regretted throwing the ball that hard at my sister. The caught the ball and tagged the guy out at home and I was very proud. I always enjoyed watching Moose hit the ball, anytime someone that big and strong is up, it is hard not to lean in and wonder what’s going to happen. While Andy wasn’t the fastest guy on the team, I loved watching him run the bases, he always knew where the ball was even if he couldn’t see it, he just has a great feel for the game. Like I said before, everyone made great contributions at different times, but they stick out as real characters. Jim, San Diego Dave’s father was an incredible player and a wonderful teammate.
Interviewer: Any regrets?
RKDeem: Not really, wish we didn’t lose Matt and Ed, they were very good constants on the team.
Interviewer: What’s next?
RKDeem: Well, I plan on playing Wednesday nights for a new team. Weekends are becoming too precious for me, so I plan on playing mid week. I’ll be playing with a team filled with people I don’t know and I’ll just focus on making myself a more complete player and respected teammate.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time.
RKDeem: My pleasure.