A Pitcher of Perfection

Updated: October 4, 2019

by Roberta Umor

Although no award will be given at the annual PEBAverse banquet this year, Yuma pitcher Vinnie de Brouwer deserves kudos for the PEBA record he set: 0 wins and 23 losses in 2029. Perfection, any way you look at it. A record that will likely stand for years to come.

Vinnie escaped disaster on September 19 when, after 5 innings of 2-run pitching, his club held a 4-2 lead. But the Borealis came to Vinnie’s rescue scoring twice in the top of the sixth off reliever Ohayashi, thereby tying the game and removing Vinnie as pitcher of record. Perhaps equally remarkably, the Dozers went on to win against Aurora 7-4!

Will wonders never cease!

In a postgame interview, Vinnie, whose record at that point was an unblemished 0-21, expressed relief and gratitude to the Aurora batters. “They saved my bacon,” he said.

Shortly after the game, Yuma spokeswoman and part owner Emma Span phoned manager Billy Hawk and said, bluntly, “Don’t let that kid de Brouwer start again this season, you moron! Let’s preserve that perfect record.”

Hawk said nothing to his boss, but later muttered to one of the coaches, “That’s not how we play baseball.” Vinnie de Brouwer started the next game for Yuma … and lost!

Span threatened to fire Hawk if he disobeyed her again. Hawk merely replied, “Yes, ma’am,” but later penciled Vinnie in for his last start of the season. De Brouwer lost that too. Span was on the phone before the game ended, but the Bulldozer front office staff never answered. They were all pulling for Vinnie—to lose. When he did, an impromptu little party was thrown for Yuma’s Pitcher of Perfection. When office worker Roberta Tipitina finally noticed the phone ringing, she disconnected it. Span was unable to contact anyone in Yuma until the next day, when the staff opened the front office again. 

Span’s phone call was put on speaker phone, and everyone in the office listened, including manager Billy Hawk, while Span vented at Billy, Roberta and anyone else in the office. The variety and number of vulgar epithets she managed to come up with quite amused the staff. Then, spitting with anger, she fired Roberta Tipitina and demoted Manager Billy Hawk to Yuma’s minor league team in Calgary.

The Yuma front office suddenly was as silent as a backhoe with a quart of honey in its fuel tank.

Finally, Manager Hawk spoke up. “Ms. Span? You still there, Ms. Span?”

“That’s boss to you, Billy, and yes, I’m still here and will be, long after you’re gone.”

“Yes, ma’am, I ‘spect that’s true, but—”

“No buts, Billy. Pack your things and get yourself to Calgary, pronto!”

“No, ma’am, I—”

“Don’t ‘no ma’am’ me, Billy Hawk. I’m running this ball club now. I don’t know where the other owners have gotten to, but there’s no one here to appeal to. You’ve been reassigned. Calgary. So get out of my ball park—now.”

“Yes, ma’am, I’ll be leaving, but I ain’t going to Calgary.” Billy paused, then added, “I quit.”

“Did you say you quit?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You can’t quit. You have a contract.”

“Expires end of the season, ma’am.”

“I’ll fuckin’ sue you, Billy Hawk!”

“Yes, ma’am, I ‘spect you will. Just tell your lawyers to look for me in Calgary, ma’am. That oughta keep ‘em busy for a while. Good night!”

With that, former Dozer manager Billy Hawk hung up. A cheer went up for Billy. When the phone rang again, Roberta unplugged it.