August 12, 2006

Sounds VERY familiar!

My curiosity was piqued when I saw this MSNBC headline: When youth baseball goes bad . . . really bad. Why was it piqued? More on that in a moment. But now, check out what two a**hole coaches did in a 9-10 year old PONY league:

... none of these guys would ever consider pulling the stunt Bob Farley and Shaun Farr pulled in the 9- and 10-year-old Mueller Park PONY baseball league in Bountiful, Utah — ordering an intentional walk.

If the story were just about ordering an intentional walk, Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated and others outside of Bountiful wouldn’t have bothered this week to dissect Farley and Farr’s action, which took place in late June. But it so happens the weak hitter they wanted to set up for the last out of the championship game against, naturally, the Red Sox, was a 9-year-old brain cancer survivor.

Reports from the game have the fans booing, the pitcher — one of the league’s best — visibly shaken, and the child himself, Romney Oaks — who has a shunt in his head, and who, unlike major leaguers, requires human growth hormone to keep up his strength — crying almost before he got to the plate.

And yes, poor Romney struck out. F***ing a**hole coaches.

Now, my curiosity. It was aroused because there were a couple of coaches eerily similar to morons Farley and Farr in my daughter's softball league this past year -- a husband and wife duo. Their daughter, destined to become one of the premier pitchers in the state (if her parents don't make her psychotic before her senior high school year, that is) inexplicably was playing in the division for 10-12 year olds. Granted, this girl is twelve years old, but her ability is that of a 17 year old. Her pitching is fast enough to be considered "fast" at the high school level. Without a doubt, she should have been playing up in the next division, where she still would have been dominant. A large portion of her teammates, like her, played on the "traveling team" -- essentially the girls with the most talent in the league. This team had many more "travelers" than any other team in the league, and lopsidedly so.

My daughter's first game against this team was a travesty. "The girl's" dad put her on the pitching mound, and during her warm-ups my daughter and her teammates were petrified at her speed. (Indeed, this girl was not allowed to pitch for a few games later in the season because she had beaned -- and consequently injured -- too many batters.) Many of our team's girls were crying and did not want to bat. Our coach (a guy whom I've known since grade school and who is the complete antithesis of the other coach and dopes Farley and Farr) consoled the girls as best he could, indicating that if they were really frightened at the plate, they didn't have to swing, and could stand as far away from the plate (within the batter's box) as they could. And, as I learned later, after this bit of advice when he was walking back to the dugout (alone) he said under his breath "This girl is gonna kill somebody."

Oops. Not only did the wife half of the opposing team's coaching duo hear his batting advice, but she also caught this stray comment (which was well out of earshot of our team's players). When she informed her hubby of what she heard, all hell broke loose. He summoned our coach behind the backstop (while play was going on) and proceeded to scream and yell at him for his supposed "unethical" advice, using much profanity in the process. Our coach, who also possesses one of the longest fuses I know, did not argue back. He apologized for his stray comment, but not his batting advice. This did not assuage his opponent. He continued with his tirade. Our team's girls, already upset at the prospect of facing this coach's daughter at the plate, were now bawling about this coach's obscene behavior.

By now, many parents' (including mine) concern was reaching critical mass and began slowly approaching the two coaches. But they parted, and we thought all was settled. Wrong. At the end of the inning, this coach charged across the field screaming at our coach "RIGHT NOW, YOU AND ME" -- in other words, demanding to fight!! Thankfully, the umpire restrained this mental pygmy, and tossed him from the game (and the field). Most of the parents on our side of the field (including, again, me) wanted the game over and to take off. But our coach, the consummate diplomat, said "no." "It's for the girls, not us. And they want to play."

The sad thing is, every team in the league plays every other team twice. A few weeks later, our teams met again, and things went almost as badly. After the first two innings, remarkably our teams were tied 5-5. (This other team routed every other team in the league, went undefeated and won the championship. Surprise.) So here comes the dad portion of our coaching duo who calls his daughter in to pitch. Thankfully, our girls are mentally prepared for her this time, although physically they didn't do much better than they did the first time against her. And there's dad standing behind the backstop (which is against the rules, mind you) commenting on each call the umpire made about his daughter's pitches -- including yelps of "Bullsh**!" when a ball was called that he thought was a strike. This umpire, though different from last game, knew of what transpired previously. Instead of making a [potential] scene, he chose to ignore the mentally defective coach. But then, between innings, coach proceeds to argue the rules about when a runner can leave the base, and when they're allowed to advance to another base. (This league, being for 10-12 year olds, sets certain limits so innings are not interminable.) Coach doesn't back down until he gets his way. The delay in the game takes almost ten minutes. Our coach is off on the side subtly indicating to the umpire to "give him (the other coach) what he wants so we can play."

I was coaching first base during this delay. When I came back to the dugout, I saw the umpire's wife crying because of the treatment her husband received at the hands of this idiot coach. I was furious. I decided to leave the field because I knew I would say something I'd regret in my seething anger at this pathetic coaching couple. As I packed up my chair and belongings from the field, the wife portion of the coaching duo was standing by third base. I told her, "You people are pathetic. You live through your kids and you ruin it for everyone else. It's appalling. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves." And I left the field. Later, I found out that hubby-coach was yelling and having a fit later in the game about some inconsequential minutiae, and our team's assistant coach (who wasn't present at the first game between our teams and doesn't have as long a fuse as our head coach) challenged him on it. This led to further verbal scuffles, despite the fact that our team ended up getting crushed in the final score.

Needless to say, my daughter and many others are not returning to this league next year, mainly because of those two coaching cretins. The league had received many complaints about them over the course of the season, and were told (as I was, after I e-mailed a complaint) that, indeed their behavior was (is) unacceptable, and that the league higher-ups would talk to them. Hopefully they will not be back next season to ruin it all for other parents, but, unfortunately, the damage was done.

It's just, well, amazing that "parents" can act like that in front of not only their own children, but those of others, as well. So, just like the Utah state house nominee noted in the MSNBC story who was "so stunned" by such behavior that he "took to a state party operative’s blog to thump that the free pass was a symbol of 'society’s incivility,'" so too am I.

So there. I feel a little better.

Posted by Hube at August 12, 2006 10:08 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Do you folks have concealed carry? Next time the clown charges someone yelling "Right now,", he should be appropriately ventilated.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at August 12, 2006 04:01 PM

Nail on the head....living their lives throught their kids accomplishments....so, they must succeed no matter what the consequences.....it is ashame that the effect must be to pull your own kids out of the league though.....you should get the other coaches in the league to band together and say, if you want us to coach, then those two cretins and no way are allowed to be anywhere near the ballfields.....but it sounds like a league that wants no confrontation, even when confrontation is needed..

Posted by: cardinals fan at August 12, 2006 07:49 PM

I was nervous about little league havibg heard the stories of deranged coaches and parents.

But Bear Babe Ruth turned out to be a great experience for us. The league takes parent/coach misbehavior very seriously.

Posted by: jason at August 12, 2006 08:20 PM

Is there any way you can talk to the people running to league to ban this guy? I'd suggest videotaping this moron's tirades and showing it to whomever you need to.

Why the umpires put up with these people is beyond me. If it were me, I'd kick him out at the first infraction. If he gets booted enough times he might learn his lesson. Better yet, toss his kid out of the game, might produce better results.

What the hell is wrong with people?

Posted by: Duffy at August 14, 2006 10:07 AM

Do you folks have concealed carry? Next time the clown charges someone yelling "Right now,", he should be appropriately ventilated.

Yes, because shooting and killing an unarmed man in front of his wife and kids for being a huge jerk is proper use of proportionate force. I certainly hope you don't have a CCW permit with judgement like that.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at August 14, 2006 01:39 PM