39 thoughts on “June 11, 2019: Ceasefire”

  1. Last night the Twins traded Tyler Jay, their 2015 first-round draft pick, to the Reds for an undisclosed return, which seems even worse than a PTBNL. Jay, a cold-weather college reliever Terry Ryan thought could be converted into a starter, was the sixth overall pick. With the next pick, Boston chose Andrew Benintendi. Later in the first round, the Dodgers chose Walker Buehler.

  2. The midge population here is currently biblical proportions; I'm going to have to wear a mask when I mow the lawn, as they are camped in the grass, on every bush and tree, the sides of the house...everywhere. I'm concerned by the lack of dragonflies (I've only seen a couple, and not recently) and with all the flooding it's only a matter of time before it's mosquitos instead of midge that we're dealing with.

    1. While burning up branches til 2 in the morning last night, I only had one 1/2 hour span of mosquitos (around 10pm). But, with how wet my neighborhood is, it is just a matter of time. Set my sprinklers to go off as the fire was dying out last night. Checked on the pit once over night, and this morning. Moved some of the coals around and it started right up. So I ended up hosing it down for another 1/2 hour before work. It was kind of a fun night just sipping a few beers with the boy and watching a raging fire for 6 hours last night. Like everything else, cleaning up afterwards is always a downer.

  3. Had an interesting baseball weekend. Aquinas had a 3-game round robin tournament on Saturday. His team is 3rd and 4th graders. Coach at the beginning of the day says "4th graders are going to play all day. We can only play 11 in a game, so that means 3 3rd graders will sit out. First game I'll sit 3 of you for the whole game, but then you'll play the whole 2nd game, and vice versa."

    Our games are spaced out so that we have the first game of the day, the middle game, and the last game. A loooong day.

    There are 8 3rd graders on the team. First game Aquinas plays (HBP - scored a key run for his team, strikeout, but looked good doing it). Second game he sits. 3rd game... he also sits. The other worst kid on the team is also sitting for a second time. A 7th 3rd grader is also sitting (he's a good player, but hasn't sat yet). The 8th 3rd grader, who is a very good player, is still playing the whole game. Their team is up by 5 late in the game, so the coach makes a substitution - pulls out one of the other bad 3rd graders to put in the 7th player, so that he doesn't have to sit the whole game and they can protect the lead.

    So... 2 players sat two full games, 1 sat 1.5 games, and 2 sat less than a game. Grrr. Especially because Aquinas played in the first game and then we sat around all damn day for him to not play again.

    I said something to the coach immediately afterward (and mind you, Philosofette just had surgery this week, so us being away all day was already an issue, not that the coach knew that). He was 100% unapologetic. "It's a tournament. We're trying to win. I do it differently for tournaments, and that's how it'll be." He just didn't even see a problem with this approach. "It's also easier to bench the kids who don't seem like they're paying attention out there," he added at one point. Of course, if you only ever play RF and bat 9th, how much attention do you think you'd pay? I made the point that it takes real effort for kids who aren't naturally good to come out and keep working on stuff, to keep grinding to get better, to practice harder. That all fell on deaf ears.

    Sunday had another game, and Aquinas was again HBP. Quite hard that time. His next at bat, you could see he had suddenly developed a fear of being hit. So... now we've got that to deal with too.

    Ugh.

    1. A couple things from a guy who coached baseball from T-Ball up to 8th and 9th graders: At your son's age level, your coach is doing a huge disservice to the sport. At that age, the goals should be 1) develop a passion for the game (have fun) 2) player development 10) winning tournaments. Sounds like a jerk. Regarding the HBP fear. Sucks at that age level. One thing I did was buy a bucket of wiffle balls. Get your son some reps hitting in the back yard or at the park. No fear of getting hit. It will help accelerate his confidence, his hand-eye coordination, and removal of his fears.

      1. Re: the fear:

        We've got a pile of "soft" baseballs that we use at home, which has helped with that. A couple years ago he had some fear too (even during coach pitch), and we ran a drill where you learn how to turn away and bend so that the ball just hits you on the back/butt, and it hurts less. I'm gonna run him through this drill again (and it should help him with plate discipline too). Both of his HBPs he had started to swing, and ended up getting smacked in the chest/front shoulder.

        Re: the coach:

        I followed up yesterday with an offer to help. Hey, if I'm criticizing, I should be willing to step up and volunteer, right? He said he'd be happy to have the help. I specifically offered to work more closely with any kids he wanted to run drills with, or take the team so he could do that, or just set up a station where we ran them all through a drill, etc. He was very clear that they're not interested in that. What he thinks they need is to just be in a "game situation" and get experience with that, so that means practice is "4 or 5 kids bat for a while while everyone else fields, then rotate." So... that's super productive and gets everyone the most reps possible... But, I'll show up and do my best to help all the same.

        This appears to be a case of extremely different approaches to the game/coaching. It might not help that the local athletic director and coach both have sons on the team, and they appear to approve of this approach (for most of the local youth sports...).

        1. Grrr... different philosophies is right. Sounds like you are taking the right approach to this. There is so much scientific study out there that supports repetition at these younger ages in all sports and activities. I will say that organizationally, it doesn't make sense to put together a youth baseball team of 3rd and 4th graders and have more than 11-12 kids on the team if you are going to play tournaments with a "winning" mentality. It just demoralizes kids and families. What it does is create a "pecking order" in which the "good" players with a "future" are decided before they reach puberty. Looking back at the players from our area. Not many of the "good" players in 3rd and 4th grade got to play high school baseball and some "not good" players blossomed in the 9th or 10th grade and are studs on the field. You just never know. That's why a coach at that level needs to inspire and develop everyone on the roster. With my hockey admin. background, I have used USA Hockey's ADM Model as a guide book for youth sports development. It is based upon a ton of research done around the world to identify why certain "hotbeds" of talent have emerged. Brazilian Soccer, Swedish Hockey, etc.

        2. My dad coached me from ages 8-12. Our practices were usually half drills, half game situation/scrimmage stuff. His main goal was to get every body practice at everything. The good kids batted on top the order, but even though the league minimum was two innings in the field per players, his own rule was three, even in tournaments. Every kid got the chance to play every position on the field (unless they refused) except pitcher and catcher throughout the year, even if they were terrible at it.

          My dad knew very little about baseball as far as mechanical stuff and didn't always even know the rules, but we had a winning record four out of five years, won two division titles, and always had a lot ot fun.

          1. I also had my dad for a coach for a few years. He was very much about instruction and he tried to get everybody some experience at any position where they showed an interest. He wanted everyone to love the game as much as he did. Every year before the first game of the season, he'd host a picnic for all the families on the team where he would get all the parents together and go over his coaching methods. One thing he always stressed was that during the regular season, everybody on the team who showed up would play every game, but when the tournament rolled around, they played to win. As it turned out, my first year on his team we finished second or third on the season. In the semi-final of the tournament we were in the last inning against a tall guy on the mound who threw hard but lacked control and we were down by a run. We got a couple of guys on base, and then my dad pinch hit for the next three hitters with the shortest guys on the team, all of us rookies. He told each of us as we went up to bat to crouch low and crowd the plate and only swing if it was right down the middle. I drew a walk, the next guy hot hit by a pitch, and the guy after him drew a walk. We ended up taking a one run lead and holding it in the bottom half to win the game. We also won the tournament championship, but not as unconventionally.

            1. I also had my dad as a coach, and a very similar experience as yourself and Beau. Except that we were never any good. But! I still have vivid memories of so many exceptional moments throughout those seasons, and, more times than not, it was the players who struggled coming through in heroic ways that I remember.

              I can understand "trying to win" in the tournament, but... it needs to be a real tournament, not some mid-season, one day round robin thing, with no real consequence. And you still need to at least include all players a reasonable amount. That's what really irked me here. That last game, you'd better play everyone for at least an inning or two, so that all can get an at-bat. If not, you're sacrificing much more important things (kids' psyches, kids' desire to participate) to the goal of winning.

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