When the call went out from Swa that he needed 8 teams to fill the Blade Memorial Tournament on July 11, my wife and I were pretty quick to make the decision to put up the money to sponsor a team. The passing of Steve Hess left a hole in the heart of the Kenosha softball community, and a memorial tournament in Blade’s honor was inevitable and welcome. The softball tournament/bags tournament/memorial event takes place at the Moose on Saturday, July 11 starting at 10 AM.
So what does one call the team? Well, this team is playing in honor of “Blade” so there certainly must be some kind of nickname. And the team from KTown that goes to Fon du Lac every year has had great names like “Off In The Corner” and “My Pen Is Huge” so again, a good nickname here is paramount and can not be taken lightly.
The nickname we came up with was The Right Field Reporters or RFR. Allow me to explain. Like 13 years ago, I had the first version of my radio show called “Instant Replay” running on local radio on Saturdays from 11-2. Blade always was my go-to guy for what I called The Kenosha Softball Report. Local softball had not died yet but it was already on life support and as I always have, I devoted any time necessary to the survival of the game I loved playing for over 3 decades. Well, Blade had an idea.
“Fuck it, I’ll just call you from Fon du Lac”, was his plan and I agreed, it sounded good to me. Well the designated time came and Blade was supposed to call in but I had no one on the line. We took a commercial break and I called out to him. “Hey, I was just gonna not play so I could do this but one guy didn’t show, and one guy is hurt so I’m playing right field”, was what I got when he answered his phone. And he did not mean he was his team’s right fielder for the game…he was PLAYING right field while we did the interview!
So we bantered back and forth for a few minutes about who was playing, how the party on Friday night had progressed, did they like their chances for the weekend..the usual stuff. And then he was asked to put his phone away by the ump. Yeah right, ha. About 3 minutes later Blade said, “Hey, that ump is getting pissed, he said I can keep my beer and my smoke but I got get off the phone”. And we still kept talking. About 3 more minutes later he said, “Dude I really gotta go, now the ump is walking out here and threatening to make us forfeit if I don’t get off this phone”. And he STILL stayed on the phone for another minute until the ump literally had made it into the outfield grass! And then he was gone.
That is my vintage Blade story and why this team associated with my wife and I will be forever called The Right Field Reporters. It represents everything Blade was. A softball vagabond, beholding to traditions, advancing the sport, doing a solid for a friend, an understanding of the need for quality nicknames, and always pushing the envelope in a very lovable manner. I’m confident Swa will always run this tournament for the rest of my lifetime and I am equally confident we will always sponsor a team. Our hope is that however many sponsors or logos are printed on the shirt, that the three-letter RFR always appears on the sleeve. It represents the spirit of the man we all gather to pay homage to. See ya Saturday