Coaching my kids (Rachel and Sam) in baseball this summer helped to take my mind off the Red's woes. I found more solace and joy in teaching these kids the fundamentals of the game, then watching the Reds not knowing what they were.
This was Sam's first year at facing another kid pitching to him (Farm League). He was in a Coaches Pitch League last year. And he had his troubles this season adapting. he did fine in the field, but hadn't gotten a hit most of the year. In fact, the coaches and I couldn't even get him to swing. When he learned what a walk was ("You mean I can get on base witout ever having to swing?"), that is where he took his chances. Of course I worked with him consistently in the bakyard taking batting practice - showing him the proper stance, how to swing, teaching him the strikezone, following the ball, pitch selection, etc. And he'd hit the heck out of the ball. But when in that game he'd just stand up there. The coaches and I kept encouraging him and telling him that he can't hit if he doesn't swing. We tried every approach with him (and a few other boys who had the same problem). You almost have to be a psych major anymore to get into these kid's heads. Sam had mentally convinced himself, after numerous failures/attempts, that he couldn't do it.
This kid ran me through the wringer as a coach and a Dad.
Finally, in the last game of the regular season, I told him this is it - there's nothing more I can say to you....JUST SWING THE FRIGGIN' BAT BOY!
Everybody in the stands had been encouraging Sam all year. In his 2nd A/B he finally made contact and fouled off a pitch. He looked over at me with this surprised look on his face, and Dad was pumping his fist telling him to do it. He ended up swinging, but struck out. Next time up I again encouraged him- watch the ball, wait for your pitch, and do like we have been doing in the backyard.- but you aren't gonna get a hit if you don't swing. Even if you strikeout, you are trying. There were two outs and the last batter in the game. He nailed one that the SS fielded and threw him out. But Sam didn't care... He had hit the ball! We drove home, with the tourney starting the next week, and the kid was filled with new hope. He had a grin from ear to ear.
So to make a long story short, here are pics of Sam after his first hit, and afew other selected shots from that game. They ended up geting eliminated from the tourney, but they played very well. I was proud of them. Sam is the red-headed one with glasses.