Last night at C. Peevie's game, the opposing coach got kicked out of the game. After grumbling, arguing, and complaining most of the game, he started arguing plate calls late in the final inning when his team was down by five or six runs. The ump got tired of the abuse, and after warning him to stop, he finally gave an ultimatum.
"One more word, and you're out of here," he warned Coach Obnoxious.
"One more word, one more word, one more word!" Coach O. singsonged like a nine-year-old, heading down the third base line toward the plate.
Ump kept his cool and stood his ground. "One more word and your team forfeits the game," he said. "Keep on walking. We're not re-starting the game until you're in your car." Now that's what I call setting boundaries! Go Ump!
"I thought there was going to be fisticuffs!" C. Peevie told me later, after he had made the game-ending put-out with a back-handed scoop-from-the-dirt at first base.
If I were a parent of a kid on that team, I'd be embarrassed and angry. I'd ask the league director to get rid of the coach; and if he stayed, I'd yank my kid off that team. There is no excuse for such childish, inappropriate and unsportsmanlike conduct from anyone in Little League, let alone a coach.
In other Little League news, A. Peevie's coach continues to impress with his kindness. We coaxed, bullied, persuaded, urged and ultimately forced A. Peevie to attend his team's game on Saturday. This two hour process took about as much physical and emotional pain and energy as actual childbirth.
We finally agreed that he would play one full inning, and then if he wanted to come out and sit on the bench for the rest of the game, he could. The coach started A. Peevie in right field. He was in full uniform, his cup was right-side-up, and he was not screaming, crying or complaining, so I considered it a personal victory. I prayed that the ball would not come anywhere near him.
At his first at-bat, A. Peevie placidly watched four pitches in a row sail over his head. I suspected that he would just have placidly watched four pitches in a row sail directly through the strike zone, but I counted my blessings. Four times that game A. Peevie walked on four pitches, scoring twice. He stayed in the game the whole time, and felt like a champ.
I felt my bones melt in relief that we gotten through one more little league trauma.
This little drama doesn't even take into account how excruciating minor league baseball really is, especially early in the season: tiny ten-year-olds try desperately to get the ball over the plate while parents bake on the bleachers, or, more likely in our lattitude, wrap themselves in blankets until mid-June. Games go on and on while players walk the basepaths and teams score 14 passive runs in a single inning.
Occasionally there's a pitch in the vicinity of the strike zone, and a lucky batter makes a connection. Inevitably the ball squirts through the legs of an infielder, and comes to rest in shallow right field. The right fielder jogs over, picks it up from where it's resting on a clump of grass, and attempts to throw it to first base without regard for where the runner actually is.
More often than not, the ball squigs past the first baseman, rolling clear over to the fence, and the runner keeps running. Minor leaguers throw the ball behind the runner, so most hits end up becoming home-runs, which is the only other way a team scores other than by walks.
Only eight more regular season games to go.
Meanwhile, we've had a reprieve from having three kids playing ball at the same time because of M. Peevie's season-stalling broken wrist. Cast comes off Thursday, then removable velcro cast for a week, then she's back in the swing as well.