Monday, February 15, 2010

The end of an era

Wow, that seems overly dramatic for what just happened. Rabbit played his last tournament with Blue Wave this weekend and starting on Tuesday the 16th he joins Mizuno full time. The tournament took place over Valentines Day weekend and we figured we were safe making dinner plans for Saturday night. Nope. They played at 6pm and 8pm that night. Think about that a second. They scheduled youth baseball (most of these kids do have parents after all) for Valentines night at 6 and 8pm. Sheesh. We made arrangements for Rabbit to stay at a teammates house for the night and went to dinner. I got text updates every inning. I have become that which I loathe.

It turns out we picked a good set of games to miss. 2 losses by mercy, and not too much positive. Rabbit threw one inning, and left the ball up. Against a good hitting team that is trouble, and he got pushed around a bit. At the plate it was an equally rough night, 0-3 with an RBI fielders choice. Time to wipe the slate clean and come back Sunday with a renewed vigor. Well, that lasted about two innings. They lost game 3 13-5. The one great positive was that they staved off an early mercy ruling by rallying for 5 runs and extending the game. This was a great rally that involved all of the players and helped remind the boys that they can score runs. Sure, we were 0-3, but we were not the last seed, and we had a chance to play a little closer competition in the playoff rounds. In fact, the three teams that beat us finished with the 1, 2 and 4 seeds for the whole weekend. Ouch.

We ended up playing Sunday night at 6. The team we played was another annoying softball chanting squad. Lots of screaming, poor sportsmanship, and some pretty pathetic gamesmanship. Oh well, we never responded. It was a relatively close game, but we never looked like we believed we could win. In fact, it was 4-4 in the third inning and the boys looked like they were down 8. We scored our 5 runs with hits. We then walked in 4 runs, and allowed another 2 on errors. It was frustrating, another good opportunity for a win slipped by.

On the plus side, Rabbit was amazing at first base all weekend. In the last game we counted four outs he saved with amazing stretches and great plays. It was particularly a good effort since Steve Garvey was sitting in the stands. He was there to watch his grandson (we assume it was his grandson, but the kid was wearing number 5) play for the other team. After a particularly great play I looked over to see him applaud the grab. That was a cool moment in time.

So we are done. I put away the Blue Wave hat. We wash the jersey and hang it in the closet instead of putting it on the gameday pile. The coach said some very kind words to and about Rabbit after the game. He said some nice words to us as well. It was much more emotional than I expected it to be. After 2 years we ended Blue Wave on a down note, but full of great memories and amazing progress. We are excited for our future, and the games to come. But we will always look back fondly on Blue Wave, and Coach Louis, and Jordan.

I will remember "I could have died from having so much fun" in Moreno Valley. Winning their first tournament in Paso Robles, Hitting his first HR in Lake Forest, Throwing a 45 pitch 5 inning complete game. And a Vegas trip where he went 9-13 against the best pitchers in the Western US. But more importantly, I will remember his growth, as a player, a leader and a teammate. He is a damn good kid, and I have many people to thank for that.

Pitchers and catchers report this week. Perfect timing to start fresh. Our own "spring training" if you will. In March we are off to Arizona for a great tourney. Then who knows what the summer brings.

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