A Moral Victory, Roster Notes

Along with three friends, I am coaching a Little League team of seven, eight, and nine year olds. All four of us are in our early twenties. Needless to say, we are the only coaches in the league without kids of our own. Our goal? Utter domination. Throughout the season I will keep Pitchers & Poets readers updated on the goings on surrounding the team.

It’s trendy right now to whine about the length of major league baseball games. I can assure you the people who make those complaints do not coach little league teams. If they did, they would marvel at how the Yankees and Red Sox are able to play nine entire innings in just three and a half hours. They would wonder how a game, taking into account warmups and bullpens and commercial breaks, is ever actually finished.

The Killer Bees, for example, played an epic game this weekend. It was a see-saw battle against the rival Beekeepers. It saw blood and tears (more tears). It saw real defense. It saw throws accurately made, and then caught. It saw a play at home plate (on a sacrifice fly!). It saw lead changes each half-inning. In the end, despite a late comeback, the Killer Bees found themselves down 8-7 to the Beekeepers when the game was called because we had played our allotted two hours. It was the fourth inning.

It was a tremendously exciting game in chilly, slightly drizzly weather. The parents were on the edges of their lawn chairs and bleachers. The kids were up against the fence screaming their one, extremely obnoxious cheer through the chain links.  Young John Kruk, who normally asks for the time twice every inning –aware that the game will finally end for him at three — only asked once. And I won’t lie, even the coaches were competitive. Our word of the day was not focus, or defense, or aggressiveness. Rather, it was victory. And because in Little League, the moral victory is a very real thing, the Killer Bees achieved their goal.

On that note, I’d like to take some time to introduce the team.  Coach Kenneth (an occasional PnP contributor), has compiled some stats for us as well. Here are some notes on the roster (aliases in effect, of course) and the players’ wOBA’s through 5 games. This does not include our most recent matchup, so stats are a bit on the low side, especially for Frank Thomas, who absolutely crushed a double early on, and Darin Erstad who collected some clutch runs batted in.

If you are interested in more detailed statistics, Kenneth will be happy to answer all questions in the comments.

6 Responses to “A Moral Victory, Roster Notes”

  • Hypothetical scenario: Say there is a player that has an unorthodox batting style. It may look uncomfortable and you don’t think it would be very effective. However, in the first game or two, the batting style is moderately effective. The player goes 3 for 8. You still don’t think the odd batting style is going to be effective in the long run.

    Do you work to change the players stance/swing to the traditional or do you let the player continue batting in the unusual manner?

  • If we had a kid go 3 for 8 and those were real hits — not infield singles or favorably scored errors, then we’d let him hit however he wanted. The only things we might insist on are that he’s standing parallel to the plate and that his hands are together. Otherwise, go for it.

    That said, when it comes to stances, the main concern is getting them to have one at all. Most of the kids love to go up there and stand around like they are waiting for a bus, then when the pitch comes they try and get ready too late, and end up striking out or fouling balls off.

  • “It was the fourth inning.” Very nice. Still trying to decide if Joe West would approve.

  • I do like the seeming overrepresentation of Twins on this team. Talk about small-market success.

  • That Twins thing is a total coincidence, but I like what it suggests.

  • I’d like to say I was like the Zach Grienke kid, but I was probably more like the Darin Erstad kid.

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