Three Up, Three Down: From tutus to great catches, tourney defies expectations

Guys were swinging for the fences and guys were stretching singles into doubles and guys were throwing seeds from the edge of the outfield grass and while guys weren’t painting the outside corner with nasty sliders, it was because this was slow-pitch softball. And if you paint the outside corner with a nasty slider in slow-pitch softball, the umpire will frown and issue a warning.

One guy raced down the left-field line to snare a long line drive in the manner of Sandy Amoros extending his glove hand to rob Yogi Berra of extra bases in the 1955 World Series. Then this guy did a crow hop and threw a seed to home plate that would have nailed the runner dead to rights … had only the cutoff man let the throw go through.

It was baseball, or at least softball. And if you’ve seen one softball game, you’ve seen them all, except that none of these guys was playing left field with a can of beer in his pocket.

Oh, yeah, and almost all of these guys were gay.

The Sin City Classic is billed as the world’s largest gay/lesbian softball tournament, attracting more than 250 teams and 2,500 players. Each team is allowed two straight players. Except Big Slick from Las Vegas, which has three and, to the chagrin of at least one player from the rival Las Vegas Card Sharks, gets away with it. This would be like the Toronto Argonauts sneaking an additional American import into the offensive backfield when nobody was looking during a Canadian Football League game.

The guy who did the crow hop before throwing a seed to home plate? Gay. The kid played some Division III ball, one of the players told me. You could tell.

I guess I didn’t know what to expect. Three guys on the team from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were wearing tutus, and I didn’t expect that, and the other team kept hitting balls to the effeminate, tutu-wearing guy playing right field. Only this guy kept catching ’em as if he were the gay Roberto Clemente. And I didn’t expect that, either.

Gay guys swinging for the fences and gay guys stretching singles into doubles and gay guys throwing seeds — and gay guys botching the cutoff play, just like straight guys do. And lots of gay guys slapping high-five with other gay guys — and two (or three) straight guys — and having a hell of a good time.

It was a beautiful day for a ballgame at Arroyo Grande Sports Complex in Henderson, regardless of which team you play for.

THREE UP

■ The Dixie State women’s basketball team from up the road in St. George, Utah, is ranked No. 20 in NCAA’s Division II, thanks in no small part to Centennial product Johnna Brown, the team’s leading scorer. Johnna’s dad is Clark County commissioner Larry Brown, a member of the original Las Vegas Stars and a former Harvard quarterback who is planning to run for mayor of Las Vegas. Dad’s earned-run average in two seasons (5.58) with the Stars was significantly lower than his daughter’s scoring average (15.9). Dad also once completed 15 of 22 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns against Brown (no relation).

■ Bowl Championship Series executive director Bill Hancock said a playoff is out of the question, adding that a return to the old bowl system tie-ins, while likely not to happen, “is in the spectrum of options” for 2014 and beyond. He also said bringing back leather helmets, eliminating the forward pass and requiring Erin Andrews to sideline report while wearing a poodle skirt and a bulky sweater with a megaphone stitched on front also were in the spectrum of options. But also not likely.

■ Cookie Gilchrist died Monday. What I remember most about the former Buffalo Bills fullback is not what a great self-made runner he was, but that one of the old American Football League announcers — Al DeRogatis or Jim Simpson, maybe – once said he played his college ball at “Knownee.” This was because under “College” by Cookie’s name in the program it said “None.”

THREE DOWN

■ It’s not just me and UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood: “The only drawback to (Jimmer) Fredette’s brilliance,” wrote Yahoo.com’s Jeff Eisenberg after the Brigham Young scoring machine dropped another bushel of points (47) on Utah, “is that not enough of the country had the opportunity to see it. Since BYU-Utah aired on The Mtn. and that network is unavailable on many cable systems …” Perhaps the Mountain West Conference can hire a courtroom artist to sketch Fredette’s picture the next time he flirts with 50.

■ Two days after the United Football League’s Florida Tuskers folded, 389 respondents (as of 11 p.m. Friday) to polldaddy.com said they are “going to miss” the Tuskers, 220 respondents said “good riddance,” and 1,040 respondents wanted to know “Who were the Florida Tuskers?”

■ The Mountain West is dropping men’s swimming but is expected to let Aquaman out of his letter of intent. Aquaman’s father said his son will be taking his talents to the Miami Heat or the first Southeastern Conference school that ponies up $200,000.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352.

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