BY REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
[The fun part of the season, stated by the head coach, is finally here. Even though the weather has not cooperated and it still around freezing temperatures we finally are starting baseball games. This article is the journal recordings from our trip last weekend for the community college team I am working with.]
5:15 AM and the alarm goes off and the road trip begins. Bus leaves at 6:00 but as a coaches we know that a player or three will forget something so we really expect to leave at 6 15. Road trip there was quiet but mostly because the team was asleep until an hour or so before arrival. The bus ride lasted about four hours. The first game didn’t go well. We had a better team I believe but our maturity level is behind. A lot of weak approaches at the plate and we just couldn’t put the ball in play against their weak defense. I believe we had around 6-8 strikeouts. That is way too many at this level. I felt like I was watching my little league team play. Needless to say we lost, not scoring a run and only managing three hits.
The next game we played didn’t go much better. We played a team that was a good solid overall team. Their players made plays and we didn’t. I think we had four errors. Our approaches at the plate didn’t get much better and our bickering in the dugout has pissed off the coaches. I repeat maturity is a major issue even for our returning players. We got 10-run ruled in five innings. The only bright spot was in our last half inning we managed to string a few good at bats together and collected two hits out of our three total.
A team meeting was had at night about needing to grow up and focusing on the right things. I can tell it was a long day as most of them looked like they were ready to fall asleep. I didn’t want to say anything at this time knowing the point wouldn’t get a crossed. We have two games tomorrow against the same teams. At this point we need to see some improvement or else this weekend is going to be a bust!
Day two went a lot better. We actually had time for a full night’s sleep in the hotel. I was up till past one tallying pitching stats. I was curious to see the tendency and habits of our pitchers. We had our first game at noon and ate breakfast and checked out of our rooms by ten. Oh the life of a ball player! The weather was a lot nicer and warmer than the previous day. The turf infield helped keep the heat from the sun in the right place. Our pitcher pitched well and deserved to win. We made a couple minor mistakes and it led to an extra run or two and we lost in a final score 5-3. It was a good sign that we scored this game and had more hits in our previous two combined. We had a game in between to eat and relax. I really wish we hadn’t though. The time off it seemed our team became flat and lost the intensity we had in the first. It’s a real challenge trying to figure out the right combo of players. I’ve only noticed one and possibly a second who performed well and should stay in the lineup. It’s difficult being real weak at a certain position and deeper in another. Second game we lost 9-2 I believe. We still need to figure out the balance at the plate of being aggressive once we see our pitch. Too often it seems we either walk or strike out.
My overall thought on this weekend is that the team needs a lot of work on character. But it’s something most people are working on as freshman in college regardless of baseball. To try and figure out whom we want to be as we grow up and mature away from home. Coming from smaller areas it seems like it’s harder for these kids because they are used to being the big man on campus. I thought I came from a small area with a graduating class of 350 and most of these kids graduate with a class of around 100. This weekend should have been a reality check for them. On the bus right home you can really see the delicacy in these kids. Half are asleep and worn out from the weekend. Some are still doughy eyed trying to take everything in. I might be included in this area as being on the coaching side is different. I have to be a mentor and always be the role model. It may seem bizarre but I find it comforting that these kids always want to ask questions and know more. They feel comfortable with you and give you their trust blind fully that you know what’s best for them and you’ll get them fed and home safe. The way that they want to be around you in a sense that if they’re around you nothing will go wrong. Maybe secretly it’s a paternal instinct on my end that I enjoy because I am unaware if I’m suited for the wife and kids role one day. There is just something you can duplicate when it comes to playing sports competitively. You form such strong bonds and connections always being around and doing everything together for better or for worse. I wish I could form better relationships with the players but the head coach has told me to distance myself from that. I think he believes as a young coach I will play players whom I like instead of fielding the best team. I know I do not have this issue as I’ve been a victim of this circumstance. This is definitely an area where I need to define a line though. I need to figure out how much of a friend I can be to these players verses just a coach that they see at practice and on game days.