This Week in Milford

June 25, 2020

What Did You Expect From This Rec League Scenario? Dutch Rennert?

Filed under: Gil Thorp — tdrewhardin @ 8:43 am


Gang, in the 2+ years you have known me, I’m guessing you can conclude that I’m not one to gloat but after today’s strip I have something to say that I just never say: I told you so.

Thorpiverse tried to sneak this past the readers, thinking nobody would notice that this really would never happen if any State Athletic Association had anything to do with it.

But OK, Thorpiverse, you did a great job of leaving the beer keg in the trunk until the Revenuers or the College President went to The Bucket for lunch, then you shanghaied it to the equipment box by the diamond. Hey, the College President wouldn’t even THINK to look there. He would just assume there’s catcher’s mitts, protectors, bats, batting helmets, but no beer keg. And you laid tarp over the box. Good move. You can always say you were just drying it out. No harm no foul.

Well, looks like you succeeded as the fraternity party is well under way. Heck, Dr. Pearl and the College President might stop in for a brew. If you manage to smuggle this plot or the beer past security, well, this Bud’s for you, Thorpiverse.

“Coach, I can’t find that other catcher’s mask.”

“Did you look under the keg of Bud Light?”


And you old-timers know who I’m talking about. Dutch Rennert was about as colorful an umpire as Major League Baseball has ever seen. Gotta give him credit, he was voted most consistent several times when calling balls and strikes. And he had that manner that was hard not to notice when you were watching the game.


Turn towards the backstop, kneeling



And I’d swallow this if they had a Dutch Rennert out there keeping order. I mean, this is flat-out ridiculous. Rec League SOFTBALL UMPIRES????? Thorpiverse, you better check your procedural manual again. Umpire procedures for Rec League Softball and High School Baseball are about as different as professional journalism and Marty Moon.

The obvious is the strike zone. In Amateur Softball Association (ASA) , a strike is called when the pitch  is at least 6 feet and no more than 12 feet and it enters an area between the batter’s highest shoulder and his knees when he is square at the plate and is in a natural batting stance. A baseball strike was basically between the armpit and the knee with no height restrictions under roughly similar batting stances. Guys like Rickey Henderson, great as player that he was, was a nightmare to call at the plate with that exaggerated crouch. You just had to use your better judgment. The point is that calling a pitch that is going 15 feet that you call “illegal pitch” on and you have to extend your left hand out and make a fist and the batter still swings at anyway for (perfectly legal) is entirely different from calling a pitch from a high school pitcher that is going 70-80 miles/hour and you can’t say anything until the ball lands in the mitt.

You factor in different position procedures, such as base umpire in Rec Softball NEVER starts out within the baselines, stays out roughly halfway between 1st base and 2nd base when runners are on base (though he many times indeed goes within the baselines so that he is in position to make the call for tag plays at 2nd or 3rd base whenever the ball is hit) , and this unsanctioned Charity League event, complete with part-time umpires with emphasis on part-time, wouldn’t be worth the drama at a 3rd-grade school play.

Who did the calling anyway? Gil? The Mayor? I think we’re safe to say Dr. Pearl didn’t extend the contracts for these Bush League umpires to sign, not that anybody bothered to extend a contract. Shove a contract in front of a guy with a beer gut that can barely fit the umpire chest protector over his powder blue shirt he wore at his wedding and his girlfriend sewed the ASA patch (one inch below the left shoulder, Ma’am) to keep it legal (swallowing hard) and is doing this to supplement his income at Milford Foundry? And the players in the infield/outfield can see his crack when he’s brushing off home plate (never brush dirt towards the batter and/or catcher) ? Dr. Pearl, now where do I sign my John Henry?


“He still has to have an ASA-approved cap, Dr. Pearl. I got one in my office when I umpired the Mudlark 50-and-Over Classic last year.”

“And Gil, I think I have an indicator in my desk under my Officiating Payroll Report-2015. All right, well, I’m going to go make triplicates of these contracts and we should be good to go. We’ll see you both Sunday. Incidentally, your fly is open.”



CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!! SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


“Oh Gil, look what you’ve done. Now I’m going to have to get more potted plants at Milford Nursery. Did you have to work on your mechanics on the patio????? And Thatch Rennert, you aren’t.”

“That’s ‘Dutch’, Mimi”

“Whatever, don’t quit your day job.”


P1-“More dentists and Valley-Alternative-Players-That-Were-Benchwarmers-Or-Kept-The-Stat-Book-At-Their-Former-High-School recommend Trident over the leading brand. Keep that toothy smile and that fist pumping and enjoy Trident in Regular or Cinnamon even while you’re enduring an old-fashioned, non-sanctioned butt-whipping.”

Today’s headline in the Milford Enquirer

“O.J. Will Not Umpire Game This Sunday; Could Not Get Patched In Time.”

sub headline

“I couldn’t attend the necessary number of meetings because I had a Milford Summer Adult League Rec Football commitment.”


And the holes are beginning to show. Many of you readers have had kids in sports, so you know what I’m talking about. There’s always some team that puts up its best face for 2-3 innings or 2 quarters, then the bottom drops out. You admire them for its valiant effort but it’s clear overachieving can only go so far. Good coaching and a talented roster many times prevail over a team that’s trying but is clearly overmatched. Just a matter of time before the warts show through.

Pretty much the case in P2. I guess the exclamation mark on the shirt that you’d buy at Six Flags over Milford after knocking over the bowling pins pitching underhanded with a spongy softball can only intimidate so far. As Coach Stuard used to tell me, they can only put 9 players on the field at one time. And 9 guess-we’ll-call-them-players with shirts that would be part of the Up With People troupe dancing to “Shiny Happy People” with Michael Stipe as guest vocalist at Milford Outdoor Amphitheater really isn’t going to strike the fear of God into Thorp’s troops. Gil’s a lousy coach but we’re assuming he knows how to map out strategy against a team with pseudo-talent and even lousier fashion statements.

One year, the high school I support went up against a team twice its size in a football playoff. At the start of the game, while our team was warming up, they spread their 100-odd players along the sidelines. Trying to intimidate. Our coach said it best at the beginning “Still can only put 11 on the field.” Coach Wilson, I knew we hired you for a reason.

That said, I think we might have been blown away with 100 Bozos with exclamation points. That’ll stare down the opposition.


If ya wear a shirt with a profile of a tiger with a semi-colon on his molars while yuz got camouflage makeup on cuz ya think it’ll give ya an edge on yore huntin’ buddies when yore tryin’ to bag a rabbit, ya might be a redneck.


Come to Jeff Smith Marathon in Edwardsville, Indiana. They are still going strong even with the pandemic hitting. Pumps were still busy and they were still fixing cars. And as long as people do indeed practice social distancing, I bet the place will STAY busy. Georgiana was there to greet me today and Crystal is also a friendly face. Gang, with 2 courteous people and great gas and service, why go anywhere else? Take Exit 118 off I-64 in Indiana, head on 62 West and it’s the first road to your left off the freeway. You can’t miss the station. Come in where they know your name.

Support Small Business, Gang. They keep America rolling.


That’s right, Mr. Mayor-cum-Casey-Stengal-wannabe. Bring ’em in because NOBODY can play this game around here. And tell the Bad News Marines that you can still hold off Santa Anna and his 1 ×10*6 Mexicans at the Alamo. Just put down the tailgate when you’re fielding the ball. Watch the ball all the way in when you’re at bat. 2 hands and squeeze. That oughta hold off the 1st 2 regiments. And tell Davy Crockett not to waste so much ammunition. It’ll throw out his arm.

And one can only guess what that wayward caption to the right is supposed to signify. My money says it isn’t Miss Othmar cheering on Linus and exhorting him to hang in there after he’s dropped 10 in a row. Gotta get under them if you want to catch those cans of corn.



“I know I should have brought my shades along, Miss Othmar. I could have caught a couple of towering shots anyway. But it’s water under the bridge now.”


The only other viable option is that Gil may be wanting to call a truce. Oh, don’t kid yourself, he STILL wants to add another victory to his non-sanctioned-coaching ledger but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is tired of watching the ball go through Alfalfa’s legs at 3rd, Spanky run the bases the wrong way like a pig running from its master, Buckwheat miss the bunt sign and swing for the fences and spoil the big inning for the Rejects, Butch the Bully miss the cutoff and the throws wind up on the DRINKS table, and Darla the Attitude ask the home plate umpire what’s on the menu at The Bucket. Unwarranted fraternization probably tipped the scales. Eisenhower is willing to not besiege Normandy Beach if the Germans will go quietly and get on the next Greyhound bound for Berlin.

But that of course remains to be seen. But I did see a couple of Deutscher Panzer Korps packing their Nike bags in the stowaway section covered by the dog logo when you shut the hatches.



Turns towards the bag of Scott Mulch in Gil’s garage


“You still got it. You’ll be perfect for Keri’s Instructional League this Saturday.”


And what in the name of Thurman Munson are people doing wearing blue jeans?????? Hello? You ARE a baseball team even if that is liberally defined. At least the Bad News Bears didn’t wear Haggar Action Slacks when they were getting run-ruled.

Phil Niekro made a good point at a seminar when he told a group of ladies that if they wanted to play baseball, play BASEBALL not softball. I couldn’t agree more. No wonder why that may be Gil calling time out. I mean, thank God he didn’t cross the line so that he otherwise woild have to replace his pitcher. With the Bad News Marines in their road Levi’s, saints be praised that’s not an issue. STILL, I am having nightmares what P4 could be entailing

“Time, ump. No, I don’t have to replace my pitcher. That’s when OUR team is in the field. You’d know that if you were patched for State Athletic Association games. And you don’t call ‘Illegal pitch’ on a knuckler. Get to the required number of meetings with a grade of 75 on the open book exam before you go jacking your jaw on the baseball rules.

But I didn’t come to bitch about Fat Boy having to slide when a tag is immanent. I have some extra baseball pants in my U-Haul trailer out in the parking lot. I’ll even allow for a 1/2 hour for them to get changed. We agreed to no time limit anyway. We play until Dr. Pearl steps out of the meeting at the wrong time and calls the State Police. And I’ll even throw in cups. No way they can fit those damn things in their denims.”


Overheard behind a mutant poplar

“How do you put this thing in?”

“No, dipwad, the OTHER way. And those have got to be the nastiest-looking Underroos.”


Or it could be Gil wanting to call time to call Mimi about what’s for dinner. Third straight day for Spam and Gil is wanting variety.

But the previous outline seems more feasible.


Speaking of Casey, and really just about sums up the Bad News Marines, there’s a true story about when Casey was managing the Mets and one of his batters hits a smash that’s a sure triple. The runner rounds the bases and indeed winds up at third. But then one of the umpires says he missed second and calls the runner out. Casey, livid as the day is long, goes out to argue. While he’s arguing, the first base umpire comes over and says the runner also missed first. Casey is fit to be tied then points towards the runner and says “Well, he didn’t miss third because he’s standing on it!!!!!!!!!”


Because I was befuddled at a warehouse that claimed to be a funeral home that I observed while making a run for my dad

“And Gil calls time on the field. Looks like he wants to extend the right hand of fellowship because he’s already extended a size 12 up the asses of the Bad News Marines. Time to take a break, with the score, Milford Mudlarks, 15, Bad News Marines, 1, on the inside-the-park homer by Spanky. Folks listening on the radio, I wish you could have seen his Hanes on fire. This is Marty Moon and you’re listening to WDIG, a division of Learfield Sports”

“It is never a festive occasion when we lose a loved one. I know when I lost my cousin in The War of the Roses, a piece of my heart got ripped out and wound up in the pocket of a Bad News Marines’ Levi’s

But you also want piece of mind when your dearly departed croaks, sure, we all do. Greetings, this is Dr. Pearl with Milford Funeral Solutions. And they have gone out of your way to enhance your funeral experience. No more throw the rice on them and watch the tractor lower them in the ground. MFS has constructed a warehouse where it essentially acts as a mausoleum. Some people want a little more time to bid adieu and for the cost of a key at Milford Storage, they can see that dream come true.

All they need to do is pay a nominal security deposit and a reasonable installment plan and they’re practically walking with them to Beulah land. That’s correct, one slide of the card and a simple pass code and they can view their own personal Lenin’s Tomb. I remember when my uncle was killed at First Bull Run. Lord have mercy, the number of times I slid my card so I could go in and share my girlie secrets with him. He always understood. And later, when they moved him next to General Grant after he died, it was like watching the War Between the States unfold in fromt of your eyes.

And even better news, the warehouse is on Milford Climatrol temperatures. The sensors pick up when your dearly departed is about to fumigate and decay and answers the crisis every time. My neighbor who witnessed the Treaty of Paris has been well-preserved in his pickle jar because the Climatrol knew when his skin was going to croak. John Jay has never lost his epidermis in this warehouse, let me assure you.

And with affordable rates for funeral planning that includes a free minister of the denomination of your choice, it is safe to say Milford Funeral Solutions has you covered from death to warehouse to grave. You won’t need flea powder to rid your loved one’s person of fleas. With Climatrol, I never saw my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother wear a flea collar when she was lying in state. Come get true satisfaction and comfort at Milford Funearl Solutions. The only thing you have to lose is your loved one.


Aren’t you waiting with bated breath for this game to end? Anyway, thank God YOU aren’t a Bad News Marine. God bless you, Gang.


Dutch Rennert practicing his mechanics in Ms. Rizk’s room


Ms. Rizk typing an article on Dr. Pearl’s parking tickets at the Administrator’s Enrichment Symposium


“Be careful, Mr. Rennert. You almost knocked over the ink bottle. I want to publish that article on The Mayor’s aborted affair with Phoebe Keener this Friday.”


At the ballpark


“C’mon, ump. 6 feet, 12 feet. Their pitcher is throwing flatter than Dr. Pearl’s 3-day-old Maxwell House in her office.”

“Coach, this is baseball. We’re not using ASA rules, remember?”

Coach Kaz interjects

“Sit down, Gil.”




  1. This is dumb af, dumber af than most GT stories lately, which is hard to believe. What about insurance? There’s no way that this stupid game would even be played, just because of that alone. Obviously, MHS is a stickler for rules since they gave Mayor McDouche the boot for carrying a guckin butter knife. Rubin has lost it

    Comment by franku2016 — June 25, 2020 @ 9:40 am

  2. Are they playing baseball in MOTHER FUCKING BLUE JEANS?! I just threw up in my mouth a little…

    So how has Peppermint Patty been doing at the dish? She talked a big game and damn well better deliver…

    Comment by Hitorque — June 25, 2020 @ 5:06 pm

  3. Tomorrow, the entire VM team except for the mayor. walks off the field in the middle of the game sayin’ stuff like “…this is bullshit…” and “…fuck this..” and “…I’m gettin’ real tired of this fuckin’ guy…”

    Comment by franku2016 — June 26, 2020 @ 7:03 am

  4. I don’t take drugs and I’ve given glue up but this plum don’t make sense. Is it just me?

    Comment by Neo-maxi zoomdweebie — June 26, 2020 @ 11:38 am

  5. Neo-maxi zoomdweebie, you sound to me like the Gretchen of the piece. In German pop culture, Gretchen is the ordinary maid or serving girl who is, unknowingly, twice as smart as her “betters,” and thus asks “the Gretchen question” which punctures the gassy nonsense the important people are pushing. Sloppy plot developers, in this case Whigrub, hate Gretchens. There have been a number of Gretchens in American pop culture too, including the Loni Anderson character in WKRP in Cincinnati, the wonderful Annie Potts as the receptionist in Ghostbusters, and perhaps the greatest of them all, Audrey Meadows in virtually everything she ever did.

    Comment by vaganova — June 26, 2020 @ 3:05 pm

  6. SUPER JOB, GANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAY TO BRING IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Frank, you are beating this plot pillar to post AND YOU SHOULD. Lousy development, questionable credibility, silly storylines, oh, I could go on and on. Great job, Frank.
    Hitorque, LOVE the Peppermint Patty analogy. And as Steven A. once said, if you’re gonna talk the trash, you better deliver. Well done, My Man.
    Neo-maxi, your take was hilarious and you ALWAYS have an audience with me. Keep your poignant comments coming.
    Vaganova, I loved your Loni Anderson observation. She was great for a show I laughed myself sick over. That show had radio programs down to a T. Superior acting, well-timed comedy, I could go on. Thanks for bringing back a show that gave a black eye to the radio industry. You are always da Man.

    I look forward to reading what you got on the table. You make TWIM operate at full capacity. God bless you, Gang.

    Comment by tdrewhardin — June 27, 2020 @ 6:49 pm

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