Monday, May 07, 2007

You're a good man, Charlie Brown

My son loves sports. He must, given the way his teams get pummeled. It was a grim weekend at Sitzer Park for Ben’s Brewers, who were routed twice by the Cardinals, 18-2 and 19-4. A few thoughts amid the wind-blown carnage of the weekend:

  • Ben played pretty well for the most part. He ended up 1-4 between the two games, with a well-placed infield single in the second game. He also made a few nice plays at second base, which is clearly his best position. He had a few outfield misadventures in the second game, but overall he’s clearly a better player this year and I’m encouraged by his progress.
  • His teammates are really a good group of kids this year. The problem is they are, in the main, modestly talented. The Cardinals team had 2-3 very good players, most notably a large, intimidating starting pitcher who threw four perfect innings in the first game. They also had another hulking youngster who routinely launched balls deep into the early evening sky. The pitcher, who also clearly shops in the husky section, also took out Ben on a play at third base. I’m guessing this kid outweighs Ben by about 50 pounds and he sent Ben flying. It looked like Ty Cobb blasting Jimmy Austin off the base in the 1910s. But Ben dusted himself off and went back to playing. Had to admire that.
  • The rules in the American League are less compassionate than they are in the Junior Minor League. The meaning of this is pretty simple – there is no limit to the number of runs that a team can score in an inning, and teams can steal bases pretty much at will. Baseball is a game of rules, but there are also mores involved, too. In my experience, if a team is up by ten runs or more, they won’t keep stealing bases at every opportunity. Someone forgot to mention that to the Cardinals, who were absolutely relentless and ruthless and kept stealing bases, even when they were up by 15 runs or more. There’s an argument to be made that our kids have to stop the other team from doing that, but after a while you have to wonder about the sportsmanship of a team that is stealing bases when it’s already up 17-2. Is that extra run really necessary? Our kids definitely sensed that the other team was rubbing our noses in it. I know this – if our kids find themselves on the winning side of such a situation, we will call off the dogs.
  • It was a tough weekend to play baseball weather-wise. The winds were really howling on both Saturday and Sunday; one gust even toppled a Port-O-San at the park. Perhaps the additional ballast on the Cardinal players made a difference; I know that Ben and a few of his similarly slight teammates were really struggling with it at times.

    Still, hope springs eternal and the mighty Brewers will return to action on Thursday, May 10 against the Rangers, back at Sitzer Park. Game time is 6:30. Don’t miss it!


Anonymous said...

Are the Cardinals coached by those same punks who ran up the score in Ben's Basketball Game? It's the job of the coaches to speak to the league commissioner about tactics like this. It demoralizing the team that is getting stomped, and it isn't good for the kids on the winning team either. Unless you want your kid to grow up with the attitude of Randy Moss, I'd think winning graciously would be a quality that one would want to endear. If I was the coach of the team, I'd have let the Cardinal coach have it during the "hand shaking" portion of things. The word "Cad" would have certainly been appropriate at that point in time.

Mark said...

Not the same punks, but a coach we've had history with. Last year he had his pitchers intentionally walk our best two batters. Mind you, this was in a game with 9-10 year olds. The guy really wants to win. We've also encountered him in basketball, where he had one of his kids goon our best player; fouled him hard about 6-7 times before the refs figured it out and kicked the kid out of the game.

Some day, Ben will be on a team that has the talent to beat this guy. And we will, but we won't rub his nose in it.