Archive for the 'Killer Bees' Category

The End

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.

You may have noticed by the relative slow-down in posts on the Killer Bees. I am running out of things to say about the team. In any case, this will be the last post. The season is over. The Killer Bees are no more. We end the year with a record of 4 wins, 5 losses, 2 ties, and one unknown.

As it is for the players, the end of the Little League season is a bittersweet time for the coaches. We will miss the kids, we will miss (as they do) the time spent out of doors. But we won’t miss the baby-sitting aspect of the job. We won’t miss the weekday and weekend obligation that often felt like a chore due to the dreariness of the Seattle spring.

The kids, meanwhile, are on the cusp of summer, of camp, of family trips. Young Zach Greinke for example, missed our last game for a month-long trip to Italy with his family. This coach would have gladly traded the season finale (but not the ensuing picnic featuring great quantities of watermelon — by far the best post-game snack ) for a month in Italy.

The final game was a thriller. Down 10-6 going into the 5th and final inning, we managed to score three runs and load the bases. With two outs, young John Kruk emerged from the dugout wearing a sheepish grin. On his way to the plate, he said to me – I was coaching first base – “I guess it’s all up to me.” Aware of the gravity of his at-bat, yet completely apathetic about winning and losing, young John Kruk proceeded to strike out swinging.

Despite the result, highlights were plentiful: Young Frank Thomas made his first appearance on the mound. Young Eric Bruntlett nailed his first clean single of the year, between third and short, to an eruption from the spattering of team parents. (His dad jogged over to first base, camera in tow, to pat his boy on the back).

This group won’t be coaching together next year. So there is a tinge of sadness: we won’t get to see whether Young Shawn Green, who batted over .700, continues progress into actual Shawn Green or chooses to pursue another hobby at which he excels, like chess. We won’t get to see young Bruntlett take even bigger strides next year, or whether the team’s only girl, Dottie Hinson, sticks with baseball (she totally should; she rocks!).

But that’s okay. We are, or were, after all, just Little League coaches. These kids have awesome, engaging, (and generous – thanks for the gift cards!) parents, who will see to that stuff. We just hope they had as good a time this year as we did.

Some Killer Bees 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.

Our season is almost over. Before the final wrap-up post, I thought I’d post some interesting statistical notes sent by coach/statistician Kenneth:

  • Young Roy Oswalt has come up to the plate 25 times this year and has walked or struck out 24 times. He gets a free pass in 60% of his trips to the plate, the best rate on the team.
  • Young Shawn Green has 8 of our 18 extra base hits this year (you could probably write an entire post with his more impressive tidbits…*
  • Young Joe Mauer and Young Craig Biggio both have 11 hits, but Biggio has 18 RBI while Mauer only has 4.
  • Past two starts by Dottie Hinson: 4 IP, 10 K’s, 6 BB’s, 0 Runs, 49 total pitches.

*Young Shawn Green has a slash line of .700/.769/2.019. On Balls in Play, his batting average is an even more insane .870.

The Click

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.

There is something pleasantly meaningless about the scoring in our Little League games.  A book is kept (for the purpose of future statistical analysis, obviously), and balls, strikes and outs are counted. The runs are tallied quietly and casually. Only when a team reaches its limit of five in an inning do runs become much of an issue.

The unofficial nature of score-keeping and the fact that nobody cares that much about winning, result in an environment where results are pliable. For instance, on Saturday we played our final game of the season against the dreaded Beekeepers (ed. note: we have more games, just no more against this team). It was a stunning match-up: the base umpire* was simultaneously oblivious to on-field events and high on the scent of his own power, the kids were focused from start to finish, and only once in two hours did a pitcher walk three consecutive batters leading to a coach-pitch situation — and it was one of their guys.

*Even in Little League, umpires shouldn’t be allowed to wear sunglasses. It looks totally incongruous.

Entering the sixth inning, we had reached our two hour time limit. But the consensus was that the teams were tied at 15-15. Since ours was the last game of the day, the coaches agreed to play one last inning. This decision did lead to one moment of confusion. When asked in the dugout if they wanted to play the extra inning, the Killer Bees players were very clear in saying no, they did not want to keep on playing.  They were content to take the tie. But once reminded that we were the home team, and not just the bad guys would get to bat, the kids were ready to continue.

“Free baseball,” said one Killer Bees father, his tongue clearly in cheek. “What more can you ask for?”

We wound up allowing four runs in the top of the sixth, to fall behind 19-15. Despite getting a couple of runners on board in the bottom half, the Killer Bees were unable to score. By the time we finally shook hands, the prospect of free snack was far more enticing than that of free baseball. In the end, it was revealed by our scorekeeper that the score going into that final inning was actually 19-14. Whoever had been keeping score for the Beekeepers made the mistake of counting a runner who crossed home only to return to third base on a controversial “one base on an overthrow” call by the aforementioned base umpire.

This was not the first post-game scoreboard correction, and obviously nobody assigned it much meaning. The kids got a competitive game, in which runs were scored as a result of baseballs colliding with bats (as opposed to runs being scored because of baseballs missing the strike zone). The fact that we thought it was tied — the fact that they still cared what the score was so late in the game — was impressive in itself.

The Killer Bees faithful were on hand Saturday.

As the kids get more competitive and become more interested in baseball, rather than say digging in the dirt or dancing in the outfield, we coaches have raised our expectations.  We expect them to focus, to judge flyballs before taking off for the next base, to stand at the plate as if they are actually interested in hitting the ball. We have a steal sign. They generally follow it.  All this has contributed to another new phenomenon: as coaches, we have become a little bit competitive.

Generally this competitiveness is directed at other coaches, some of whom seem not to share our good-natured approach to the job. They might, for instance, scream a little too quickly, argue a little too frequently, gesticulate a little too wildly. Or maybe wedon’t like them because they are more interested in winning than stressing skills and fun. Either way, the temptation then becomes to stress winning ourselves, and thereby teach the villainous dads a lesson.

The other thing that has led us to think more competitive thoughts is the kids. There comes a time during every Little League season when things begin to click. This has little to do with the coaching and little to do with the talent. It has to do with age, with repetition, and with the steepness of the learning curve. For a nine year old, the mere act of playing baseball a few times a week for a few months is enough to generate huge improvements. You play enough, and eventually the muscle memory sets in.  This week, all of a sudden, it felt like all those drills caught up. The Killer Bees finally clicked.

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.

Bryce Harpers and Joe Mauers

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.

Bryce Harper is seventeen years old. He will most likely be selected with the first pick by the Washington Nationals in June’s MLB Amateur Draft. As he continues to hit baseballs arguably harder than any other person his age ever has, his myth only grows. When he was sixteen, Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His talents are so blatant that denying them would be akin to denying the existence of gravity.

Young Shawn Green is nine years old. He will most likely be picked first or second for soccer or football at an upcoming recess. As he continues to hit baseballs farther than any player on our team, his spot in our batting order only improves. To my knowledge, Young Shawn Green has yet to grace any magazine covers, but if he ever does, it will probably not be Sports Illustrated. One possibility is Chess Life, as he will be missing our game next Saturday to compete in a statewide tournament.

There is a catch with Bryce Harper. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus recently wrote about fears surrounding his mental makeup. Every baseball professional who has scouted Harper, Golstein writes, “genuinely dislikes the kid.” One GM even calls Harper “the anti-Joe Mauer.” It is perfectly possible, as Rob Neyer points out, to be both a great baseball player and a lousy human being. And it is certainly possible that Harper will turn out to be a good person – after all he is only seventeen. Either way, like many other child prodigies, his story can be a cautionary one.

So far as I can tell, there is no catch with young Frank Thomas. His bat speed leaves much to be desired, as does his foot speed. His focus on the diamond is questionable at best. Sometimes he occupies himself between plays by digging holes in the infield, others by building dirt mounds. In the dugout, he enjoys climbing chain link fences and other such silliness. Yet young Frank Thomas can really hit. Line drives jump off his bat. He can also play guitar. He missed a game last week for a recital.

To get as good as Bryce Harper has, as quickly as he has, requires a determination bordering on the inhuman. Sacrifices must be made: other sporting interests fall by the wayside, social lives get put on hold, schoolwork becomes less than a priority and any other interests are relegated to the distant background. These sacrifices, for all their benefits (likely tens of millions of dollars of benefits), come at the expense of, well, a well-balanced humanity.

There appear to be no young Bobby Fischers in the bunch.

The Killer Bees roster is not short on balance. Young Shawn Green has chess tournaments, Young Frank Thomas has guitar recitals, half-a dozen more have soccer practices; all of them, it seems, have Pokémon in their lives. This is an extracurricular world, and Little League coaches are just living it.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay on the mechanics of coaching: “This post is not about building character,” I wrote, “this is about building baseball players.” Well this post is about character, I suppose. Character is not something that can be coached – unless you are willing to engage in absurdities, which we are not. Character is something that goes far beyond what Little League coaches who see these kids only a few hours a week are capable of. So how do we address it?

First off, the way to address character is not by teaching it. Little League is not Sunday school. Our job is not moral instruction. By third and fourth grade, these kids have an idea of right and wrong. They know how to listen to their coaches and they know not to hit each other in the head with the baseball bats. That said, character is not something to ignore completely.

As coaches, we try to se a good example and encourage positive behavior. We try to be fair and consistent with the kids, we try to keep our swearing in check. And we try to commend them for cheering one another on, and supporting one another when things go wrong. But beyond that, how do we address it? How do we fulfill our league-assigned duty as Double Goal Coaches? The lines of sportsmanship are blurry, as we discussed after last week’s post on getting blown out. We want to foster a desire to succeed, partly so the kids will learn to cope with both victory and defeat (there is no avoiding failure in baseball). But we also want to teach perspective.

Of course perspective is easy when baseball is just one of a dozen activities every week. These are the joys of the short attention span. We won a very close, exciting game last week. For five innings, the Killer Bees were locked in. They knew the score, they knew the outs, they even knew the counts. But five minutes after snack was handed out, it was on to piano lessons, on to Pokémon, on to play dates. Win or lose, home run or strike out, it’s the same story.

There are no Bryce Harpers on this team. Nobody cries, nobody taunts, nobody hits 450 foot line drives. We are more easily distracted than easily set off, more oblivious than we are anxious. The Killer Bees, it turns out, are populated by a bunch of Doug Glanville and Ross Ohlendorf and Bernie Williams types. It turns out that we resemble Joe Mauer – a multi-sport superstar in high school and amateur musician –more than Bryce Harper.

Mauer’s well-roundedness has always struck me as a result of his varied interests, his awareness of the fact that the cliché is true: it’s only a game. Unfortunately, there are not, as Neyer points out, many Joe Mauers in the world of baseball. Perhaps that’s why displays that people playing baseball are more than ballplayers come as a pleasant surprise to me. Perhaps that’s also why I’ve been so surprised by the character of the Killer Bees.

The credit for this, of course, goes to the team’s parents and schoolteachers and other more durable adult role models. They are the ones who instill balance. For us, coaching character is as easy as instinct. Tell them they did a good job. Remind them that winning is no big deal, don’t worry about the score. The rest of it is taken care of by the sum of all their other experiences. It’s taken care of in the places where a kid like Harper may not have spent enough time. It’s taken care of at soccer games, at guitar practice, at chess club, and at the dinner table.

Beekeepers and Blowouts

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.

My previous Killer Bees update was more philosophical. The following is quite simply, a recap of our last few games:

We have played three games now. The first was an exhibition for the league’s Jamboree. The Jamboree was supposed to be a big party and a double-header, but gray skies and frigid weather cut things to one game. The weather also forced the league to do without the pomp and circumstance of roster introductions, and the Mariner Moose to cancel his appearance at the field, much to the chagrin of the Killer Bees roster.

For our Jamboree game, we faced a team that will heretofore be known as the Beekeepers for three reasons: 1. They are much larger than the Killer Bees. 2. They easily control the Killer Bees. 3. They are very mean to the Killer Bees. The game went fine defensively and on the mound. But we were beaten soundly (I don’t really pay close attention to the score). Our Zach Greinke struggled with his control, but our Roy Oswalt impressed. The game was never a major blowout, but our batters (including our Frank Thomas) struck out looking an alarming number of times. The Beekepers also —portentiously– ran wild on the base paths.

Two great interactions from before this game:

Young John Kruk screaming to friends on another team (not the Beekeepers): “MUFFINS MUFFINS MUFFINS MUFFINS”
Coach (and author): “Hey John Kruk, why are you yelling muffins?”
Young John Kruk: “Because it’s annoying them.”
Coach: “It’s annoying me, too.”
Young John Kruk: (Silence)

Young Corie Koskie: “Drop and give me 10 pushups!”
Young Eric Bruntlett: “No, you drop and give me 20 pushups”
Young Corie Koskie: “No, you drop and give INFINITY PUSHUPS”
Young Eric Bruntlett*: “Infinity is not a number, it’s an idea. You can’t even do infinity pushups.”

Due to spring break, our regular season opener was against a patchwork team that included a few callups from AAA (a younger coach pitch division). Young Brad Radke started for us and was lights out in his two innings. The bats woke up too, possibly due to pregame wiffle ball batting practice. Another highlight from young John Kruk, spoken before the game: “Hey coach, doesn’t that cloud look like Yoda?” We went on to win easily, with strong hitting and pitching performances from players about whom we had some doubts.

At one point in the 5th inning of this game, a player on our team who I’ll call Young Craig Biggio was taking his defensive turn on the bench. We had just allowed the opposing team its first run of the game. At this, Young Biggio rose to the front of the dugout and screamed out to his teammates – showing a remarkable sense of perspective – “Hey guys, don’t worry, it’s only 17-1. We can still win!”

Game two of the regular season was a rematch with the dreaded Beekeepers. We lost by a score in the double digits. Here is how the Beekeepers scored their runs: base on balls, steal of second, steal of third, overthrow by our catcher to third, run comes home. This was a fine strategy until the lead opened to be about ten to nothing. Aside from hitting and pitching very well, which the Beekeepers players certainly deserve credit for, they piled on by taking bases on every wild pitch. There was even a delayed steal at one point.

They just kept running. And it became absurd. At one point, the father of young Eric Bruntlett ours came over to the coaches and thanked us for not “tainting the souls of these children” like the opposing coaches. Finally, late in the game, we were able to get a few base runners on and apply some pressure of our own, scoring our only two runs this way.

The game, however, was slightly revelatory. It marked the return of a player I’ll call Junior Joe Mauer. Junior Mauer is not a catcher because he is a lefty. However, much like The Joe Mauer, he is America. He pitches. He hits. He has a good attitude. He just turned nine. Junior  Mauer’s return from vacation on the East Coast could very well mark a turning point in the Killer Bees’ season.

More importantly, by watching some opposing coaches run up the score, we learned something about who we did not want to be as a coaching staff. We do not want to make this primarily about winning – not at this age at least. It’s important the kids know that there are consequences. It’s important that they are competitive. But at this age, it’s far more important that they improve, that they swing the bat hard, and get in front of the ball, and play fundamentally aggressive baseball.

We’ve been in two of them, but we are definitely not here to teach the kids about blowouts.

*Stanford graduate.

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.

Fundamentals: The Key to Success

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.

When I played high school baseball, we wore practice t-shirts with the slogan “Fundamentals: The Key to Success.” I found the slogan to be (ahem) fundamentally true, but imprecise and insufficient. We practiced the fundamentals. We were not successful by any definition. But now that I’m wearing the goofy non-cleated coaching shoes, my definition of success has changed. We don’t seek a success based on wins and losses or academic excellence. We seek a success based entirely on fundamentals. Success for a team of eight-year olds means throwing and catching the ball, knowing what base to cover, and not bailing out of the batter’s box.

There is a whole literary universe of coaching essays and books that teach our youth leaders how to mold kids into fine citizens as well as fine athletes. The main catchphrase right now is that we should be Double Goal Coaches, who aim not just to win, but to teach life skills and good attitudes. The whole Double Goal Coach program – and it is certainly a program – is based on the idea that we are either “win at all cost” coaches or Double Goal coaches; its downfall is that it forgoes all nuance for the sake of that good vs. evil dichotomy. After all, there are a million kinds of leaders in the world. It goes without saying that coaches should be good role models, but the Double Goal affectation strikes me as disingenuous.

But this post is not about building character, it’s about building baseball players. The Killer Bees coaching staff is not too many years past the other end of the chain link fence. Unlike other coaches in the league, we have the relatively fresh memories of our own youth sports practices to lean on. We also agree as a coaching staff that the only way to make this group of kids into a decent baseball team is to make sure that they all look forward to coming to practice. Above all, it has to be fun.

When I was nine years old, the age of about half of the Killer Bees players, I had a coach named Joel Spivak. That’s his real name. He was a schmuck. Spivak was like an unfun version of Morris Buttermaker: stoned, chain smoking, screaming. It was the most miserable year of my baseball life. Our practices consisted of the entire team lined up about 300 feet away from a lonely backstop, waiting for him to hit towering fungoes in our general direction between drags on his cigarette. That was it, every practice was the same. Sometimes the balls went over the fence. When they did, we chased them and heaved them in to the kid lucky enough to be cutoff man. I think about half the team quit baseball after that season.


Our goal – never really expressed in these terms – is to create practices that are the opposite of the Spivak Method. We do this mostly by keeping the kids active. There is a great deal of running involved, whether that means races around the base-paths, laps around the field, or situational base-running drills. We also try to instill a level of competition into small events. The most universal of these is the relay race: line the kids up in equally-spread out groups, and let them throw the ball from one end to the other. Whoever gets it back and forth first wins the chance to take batting practice first. When we’re doing things right, keeping their hands up and screaming for the ball becomes part of their fun, not an annoying chore.

Small groups and constant rotations are the key. Like any other good baseball team at work, we run stations. Usually this means one infield station, one outfield station, and one hitting station. Sometimes there is pitching or sliding thrown in. The small groups and constant action are even more beneficial to kids than they are to teenagers or adults. Basically, the constant action keeps the more precocious ones – the little Nick Swishers – busy. In small groups, they are less likely to distract one another.

That said, on Monday we blew it all off. For most of the players, this is the first season of “kid pitch.” We figured that getting these kids to hit a ball not thrown by a coach or sitting on a tee would be a big challenge. Getting them to throw strikes would be an even bigger one. I’m happy to report that we’ve been proven wrong. At our All-BP practice, we unleashed a few of the kids who had been working with Coach Austen in special bullpen sessions. The Killer Bees throw smoke.

Our ace is a tall kid, let’s call him Greinke. He stands on the mound like he’s done it a million times; like he’s the best player out there and always has been and always will be. Then came the lefty, not a big guy, but with a solid arm and a propensity for working fast. Let’s call him Buehrle. And finally, our third pitcher started a little slow. He didn’t bring the heat, but he threw with a quiet confidence. After a couple early walks, he settled in and hit his spot (down the middle is the only spot we’re working with) to retire the side. He’ll be Brad Radke.

In another positive development, we have gone consecutive practices without any tears shed. The kids are throwing and catching the ball with confidence. Routine plays They are comfortable making routine plays in game situations. The fundamentals are coming together. We have also learned that our sponsor is not a bar known for the creepy dudes who hang out by its pool tables, but rather a popular local chain of hot dog carts. Hurray for red and yellow jerseys!

The Killer Bees

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.

Our socks are yellow and our helmets are red. Our sponsor, as if some league executive parent was taunting us with the selection, is a second-rate college bar that was once the favorite haunt of Ted Bundy. After two practices, it’s safe to say that the difference between our best and worst player is the ability to catch the ball. The difference between our most mature and immature player is the ability to tie a shoe. Get ready, Seattle, for we are the Killer Bees.

The name Killer Bees was arrived at the way all great team names are: democratically. A lengthy nomination process and hasty hand-vote led to (approximately) the following results: seven votes for Killer Bees, four votes for Lightning Thieves, and one mildly contrarian vote for Killer Wasps. My choice was Lightning Thieves. Despite having not read a single Percy Jackson book, I supported the notion of a literary team name.  I’ve always dug that about the Baltimore Ravens.

But Killer Bees it is. Buzzzzzzzz. The first two practices have been a blast. So far, it seems that the kids all really want to be there. There are some egos, some serious shortcomings of confidence (high five, insecure kids), and some criers – a scenario that none of the coaches is at all equipped to deal with, except by saying “you’re tough right? Right? Alright! Get up!” There is also a legion of interested but not overbearing parent-volunteers. This is especially helpful for unpleasant tasks like umpiring and planning snack schedules.

What most defines Little League at this age is the wide range of skill sets you see amongst the kids. Some of them are totally ready for kid-pitch, as this level is called. Others are still working on getting the fingers in the right slots in their glove. But the learning curve is steep. Hopefully the kids who are furthest behind will be passable ballplayers by the end of the year.

As for the beginning of the year, there have certainly been some interesting developments. Our two most advanced players, by coach consensus are Jamie  and James. Jamie is a girl. She wears a bandana and has a great glove and arm, but still seems unsure at the plate. James is a boy. He is somewhat afraid of the ball when he’s on defense, but he hits like Rogers Hornsby. James, by the way, is our only returning player – this his third year coached by at least one member of our staff.

Jamie and James are just the beginning. Based purely on the first names of our players, I am very confident that we will go undefeated. In fact, I believe the Killer Bees’ 1-12 could compete with any old-time baseball lineup. Think along the lines of Sandys and Satchels, Mickeys and Lous.

More to come as the season rolls along…

*Editor’s Note: I have changed the last couple paragraphs to protect the players’ privacy. I won’t be using real names here.