Classy Move

In a season filled with loss after loss, it has become tougher to find glimmers of anything positive or things to make me feel better.  This JV baseball season has worn on me more than any other.  Being 0-8 has been one of the most difficult things I have had to deal with as a coach.  Monday I got something to make me feel a tad better.

It’s not like we are a bad team.  In fact I still don’t know how we haven’t even fallen into a win yet, but hey, that’s life sometimes.  We have talent and the want but sometimes we just don’t have that little bit extra you need. 

I thought Saturday was going to be the day we broke our season-long swoon.  We were playing a team we hadn’t lost to since 2001 and frankly, the games weren’t close.  Everything was lining up so perfectly.  The weather was finally nice, we were starting our best pitcher and I felt we had done enough the previous practice to rectify some bad habits we had fallen into.  It worked out that all those things did line up perfectly, that was until the umps got involved.

Now some of you may take the next few paragraphs as a coach making excuses and looking for a scapegoat and trust me that’s not the case.  No matter how many we lose, my team and I will always look at what we did rather than other outside forces but when you are 0-7, sometimes the universe just works against you.  We were winning 3-2 with two outs in the last inning.  My starter had the last hitter in a 2-2 count and threw a beauty of a curve that everyone on the field, both teams, fans and coaches, thought was strike 3.  Of course only one opinion matters and the home ump, being scared to ring up a kid to end the game, called a ball.  Fine, that’s baseball.  The tying run came across on a fluke play.  The hitter had a 3-2 count, the runner on 1st was off with the pitch, the hitter singled to shallow center, my centerfielder overran the ball and the runner came all the way around to score when the ball popped out of my catchers glove while attempting the tag.  Tough way to go, but we still had extra innings. 

In the 8th, we didn’t score.  The other team got a runner on 1st with one out, then bunted over to 2nd.  A wild pitch moved him to 3rd with two outs.  Hitter then grounded to short where my player fielded and threw to 1st for the 3rd out.  Well, the throw was a bit high and my 1st baseman jumped up, caught it and came down on the bag, well before the runner hit 1st yet the umpire called the runner safe allowing the winning run to score.  That was a brutal call. 

After shaking the other teams hands, the other coach and I talked for a few moments and he asked me if his runner was safe.  He said he could tell by my reaction that the ump blew the call and I told him, yep he was out.  Bad calls happen, but it drives my nuts when they affect the outcomes of games and the emphasis goes from the game the kids played to the paid umpires.  He apologized for winning like that and was very complimentary of my team.  He said we were one of the 2 or 3 best he played all year and was shocked we had no wins yet ( join the club.)

Fast forward to yesterday.  My AD came up to and asked me about what went down on Saturday.  Strange question considering it was just a JV game.  My 1st thought was that someone filled a complaint against someone at the game.  He told me the others schools athletic director called him and wanted to relay an apology from the coach and his team for the way the last two innings were umpired.  The coach felt so bad about winning the game that way theat he and his team offered to replay the game and give us a hot dog lunch as part of it. 

Wow, I was blown away.  I have never dealt with a coach willing to take back a win because he felt like the result was controversial.  He felt the ump made the wrong call on the last play and felt the only fair thing to do was replay the game.  Not because of me complaining (which I didn’t do) but because he felt awful about winning in that fashion.  He said that the team and I handled the loss in such a classy and humble fashion he wanted to give my kids another shot at it.  He was impressed with our composure and attitude in the face of such a tough beat.

My AD thanked the other school for the gesture but knowing me and how I look at sports he knew I would say no thank you and he politely declined the offer.  Still though, when is the last time you heard something like this?

It’s nice to see this kinda thing happen.  If it was me, I honestly would not offer to replay the game.  I will always live with the outcome of a game.  I’m not one to look for fairness but I respect this other coach so much for seeing a wrong and trying to right it. 

This was a team in such turmoil with their previous chump of a coach and if this guy sticks around, this school will be better for it.  I commend the coach for his actions but we want to get a win in the proper fashion and I am hoping that today is the day.

Cause frankly, losing sucks but in a weird way, this made me feel better about my team and my kids.

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3 Responses to “Classy Move”

  1. This is a great story. These kids are lucky to have such classy coaches.

  2. But what about the hot dog lunch? Seriously coach… priorities.

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