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RedsBaron
05-10-2006, 10:20 AM
I have occassionally made posts here celebrating the joys of little league baseball, which I have particularly enjoyed in recent years as the Reds, until this season, were hopeless.
Yesterday evening was the exception, as much of what can be wrong in kids' sports came to the surface. My 13 year old son's junior league baseball team played a game at another field I will call "M". Fans, umpires and coaches combined to make it an ugly evening.
During the game, the mother of one boy on our team became very upset. I could hear her muttering about wanting to, well, physically confront (her words were stronger) the "M" fans or players, whom she said had been calling her son names. Given my aging ears, I hadn't heard anything, but my son later told me that the "M" fans had been calling her son a "fat ass" repeatedly during the game; the boy is overweight and probably sensitive about it. He really seems to be a gentle kid who tries his very best.
After the game, a "M" parent came over to our dugout, claiming someone had called her son an ethnic slur. I hadn't heard that either, and my son told me he had heard nothing.
Meanwhile, although the home plate umpire seemed to be well intentioned, his concept of the strike zone was limited, and he made admissions of not totally knowing the rules. Worse, while he complained, he totally failed to control the behavior of the "M" coaching staff, which regularly had three coaches in the first base coaching box and whose behavior was often obnoxious.
The "M" head coach made numerous trips to the mound each inning and repeatedy called his hitters back to the dugout for discussions, as if he didn't want a full seven innings to be played on a field that lacked lights. Very early on, as "M" took an early lead, we were speculating that he was in effect playing a game of "running out the clock."
My son's team was losing, 6-5, entering the top of the sixth inning. We tied the game and had two runners on base when my son, in a horrible slump, came to the plate. He promptly lined a two run single to give us the lead, 8-6. Not another pitch was thrown, as the umpire promptly announced that it was too dark to continue play. Since the inning had not been completed, the score reverted back to what it was at the end of five innings, and "M" had "won."
The head coach of "M" came over to our dugout. His only concern was verifying that he had "won."
The score of that game will not long be remembered, and I had no wish to become involved in an argument at a baseball game. But had not discretion prevailed over valor, I would have told "M"'s coach that no, he didn't win--he lost his integrity and honor.
Ugly.

Reds Fanatic
05-10-2006, 10:39 AM
It's pretty sad that it is usually the adults that ruin the game for the kids.