I was back on the diamonds last night, watching a game in the county baseball tournament. It was your average 21-0, 5 inning blowout.
WHS scored four runs on four hits, two walks, and three wild pitches in the first. Then they went down 1-2-3 in the second. I went from thinking it would be a blowout to wondering if EHS could keep it close.
They couldn’t. Ten runs in the third, seven in the fourth, game over in a tidy 90 minutes.
EHS has a bunch of young pups; no seniors, several sophomore and freshmen starting. That youth showed. Lots of bad mistakes in the field that turned a mild rout into an embarrassing one.
I was sitting on the EHS side and one dad was having a hard time keeping his frustration in. After the catcher dropped an easy throw that would have nailed a runner, the dad jumped up and muttered, “Come on, 8! Catch the dang ball!” Then he walked away and paced behind the stands for a few minutes. A couple innings later, after an outfielder dropped his second fly ball of the day, the dad popped up, cursed/grunted to himself, shook his head violently, and moved up to the top of the bleachers where he stood staring at the trees for awhile.
I share his misery because I bet I’ll be in that mode if the girls are still playing sports in high school. Badly wanting them to win and having a hard time dealing with the mental errors and misplays.
These lower tier games don’t have an official scorer. I think each team keeps their own book, so there’s never any clear statement on what is an error and what is not, for example. Which I kind of like. Because that means I get to decide for myself. And I’m firmly in the camp of people who feel that how errors are assigned is stupid. A) It’s all a judgement call by someone not on the field. B) I think scorekeepers are way too lenient in giving hits versus errors. My view has always been if a defensive player does not have to go some ridiculous range to get the ball, and it hits his glove but he can’t hang on, it’s an error.
I assigned five errors yesterday. Initially I gave out a sixth, but then I realized an outfielder had run about 30 yards to get to a ball that popped out of his glove. When I saw him take his position again, and noticed the distance, I changed the call.
A couple years ago I did a game that was played downtown at the Indianapolis Indians field. There were about ten people on my side of the press box, and the guy working the PA on the other side was someone I knew. After the shortstop butchered a sharply hit ball, the PA announcer slid open the window separating the sides and asked us press folks if we thought it was a hit or an error.
“Error!” I quickly said.
He nodded, closed the window, and E flashed on the scoreboard. A couple guys in the press box gave me a look, not challenging but more offering me a chance to provide justification.
“It was hit right at him, he had it in his glove, and that’s an easy throw,” I said to nods around the room.
Finest moment of my career!