After the San Diego tournament we had a week off before we hosted a two day tournament as a fundraiser. These fundraisers help us keep the costs low so that the boys can go on the overnight trips as well as get all the nice gear they have. It requires a bit of extra work by the parents, mostly grounds keeping and snack bar, but the end result is very much worth it. The reason we took the week off is because everyone on the team was sick. Fevers, coughs, aches, you name it, they had it. The play as a team, they get sick as a team.
We had invited an old friend from Blue Wave to come play with us for a weekend and luckily the schedule worked out that he was able to join in the fun. Well, Saturday was not much fun. Two ugly losses plagued by mental errors. There are plenty of excuses to fall back on, yet this was distressing. Rabbit played CF in game two, at my request, and looked like it was his first day on a diamond. Brutal! Missing pop ups, throwing to the wrong base, not backing players up. It was frustrating, but he needs to learn these positions. If he is truly destined to only ever play 1B he needs to be a significantly better hitter.
He pitched fine, but erratically. He hit 3 batters, and all three came around to score. The team lost by three. Yuck. To be fair, it was a team effort, yet giving the other team 6 baserunners (3 hbp, 3 walks) in two innings puts extra pressure on everyone. A lousy day that ended with a bad call going against us that cost us the opportunity to get one more at bat. When you are losing, you can't help but collect bad calls like candy wrappers.
Sunday morning we played wayyyyy to early. 7am call time for an 8am game. We got up at 6, got ready and were there, ready to help, at 7. We had 7 players there 15 minutes prior to game time. I was starting to panic. Our last two players showed up and we could already see the father/son tension before they got to the dugout. This was not going to end well.
The game was great. Several lead changes, great defense (now that everyone was playing in their spots) and some timely hitting made this very close. The same team that had beat us via mercy, 12-4 the day before, was scratching and clinging to a one run lead. In the end, we lost 6-5. At one point in the game a ball lodged in the backstop. Since the bases were loaded it cost us a run. We then got out of a bases loaded, no outs situation, but a ball that lodged in the backstop was the deciding run. When you are losing games, those are the things that happen. The game was much better, and more enjoyable to watch. Rabbit twice had RBIs by hitting hard grounders to the right side. His hitting is improved dramatically. He had a good day on Sunday, and lots to be proud of.
My concern lies now with the coaching relationships. I will stay out of a relationship between a parent and a child unless I see something that truly concerns me. This weekend concerned me. One parent asked Rabbit to go out in the field and instruct his son to "play better and shape up." It is not my sons responsibility to get in the middle of this situation. I am speaking with the organization about this and while this is not a dealbreaker, it has the potential to end up that way. Our friend who came to play with us said that he would not join the team so long as that particular parent was in the dugout. It is no longer a family concern, it is now effecting the entire team.
It is very easy to pass judgement, and I try to remain reasonable and keep my nose clean. However, there are less than 5,000 people in this world that make their livelihood playing baseball. These boys are 9-12 years old. Nobody does it right every time, not even in the pros. I just hope that Rabbit does not feel anywhere near that pressure coming from us.