Monday, October 19, 2009

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

I'm not much of a sports fan, but I have always thought of baseball as a Spring thing.  You know, the season of renewal, new beginnings, fresh air, warm breezes, shaking off the chill of Winter. Kids getting over being cooped up all Winter are ready for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"!  That's what they do in the Major Leagues, right?  They play from March to August and then just when Fall is beginning to slide in, the playoffs and the World Series!  The whole season is over by the middle of October....until Spring comes around again.  

Well, having a grandchild who loves softball has taught me that isn't the way they do it in the local Girls' Softball League!  Nope, at least around here....softball season is TWICE a year!  Spring AND Fall.  

The league, for reasons I don't know, thinks this is a great idea....and I guess, the kids think so too.  Maddie the Great is one of the kids who play in the league.  As of today we are nearly half way through the Fall Season.  Now the age we're talking about here is after T-ball but before Girl's Pitch, in other words the 6, 7, 8, and 9 year olds.  Like all league play for kids, the coaches are all volunteers, they choose their teams based on the tryouts, but basically everybody gets to play.  The games are Coach Pitch (an immensely wise decision). 

Most of the Coaches who pitch are not playing professional baseball for a very good reason!  They can't pitch worth a toot!  But its okay because the girls can't hit and when they do connect with the ball, the fielders don't know what to do with the ball after its hit and five girls have tried to catch it (translation:  chase after the ball as it rolls across the infield and settles somewhere out in Left Field while they decide who will actually pick up the ball.)  Then all five of the girls turn from side to side in confusion trying to figure out where they should throw the ball.  One of the mysteries is that the coaches don't seem to help the girls.  Maybe they're not supposed to coach while the ball is in play, who knows! 

Meanwhile, there are three girls on base plus the batter who got the hit. Somehow the runners all know what to do, its clear cut, "hear the sound of the bat hitting the ball and start to run very fast."   They almost always run in the right direction too!  And they frequently score....very frequently. 

Okay now, while this is going on many of the parents in the stands are screaming instructions to their own kids, to the fielders, the runners, and the catcher.  Not that it helps.  At least two runners score, nobody has been called Out yet, so the misery just goes on until they get those outs.  Then they switch teams and the roles are reversed.  Often with exactly the same result.   The scores on these games sound more like football scores than baseball. 

Today, Maddie the Great's team lost the game, I think the final score was 13-5.  There is no joy in Mudville tonight. 

Of course, I am exaggerating just a tiny bit enormously, but the basic idea is correct.  The girls are just learning the game, their skills are pretty undeveloped (to be fair, some of them are LOTS better than others) and Casey Stengel (look him up if you're under the age of 50!) hasn't made an appearance to help with coaching!  Still, they try hard and seem to be having a good time, so I guess its a good thing all around. 

This is the third "season", M-t-G has played (i.e., fall, spring, now fall again).  Her first season, her team won all its games!  The second season her team lost all its games!  So far this season her team has won one, lost two, and had three rained out!  Kind of hard to get the experience they need with this lack of consistency.

Being the loving GPs that we are, the Big Guy and I have gone to nearly every one of the games that M-t-G has played.  Sometimes it is painful to watch, but we're there cheering her on along with her mom and dad.  And we'll continue to be there for the rest of the Fall Season.  And when Spring comes around, we'll keep going for as long as M-t-G continues to matter how badly they play!  Who knows, they might actually start to improve!  After all, what is it they say?  "Wait till next year!" 

Oh goody.


  1. Has she played through a dust storm yet? That's a treat to look forward to! :) LS

  2. At least Austin doesn't get any of those. Yet another reason Austin is superior to Phoenix!!!

  3. Oh, that brings back fond memories - mostly. So far none of my grandkids are in sports. The parents are just too busy which is sad. My kids were in soccer and baseball so I spent most of my after work life at the park. The worst was when Joe was in "Winter Baseball". Now, in Tucson there is no winter. And certainly NOT in September! But he was so excited to get into this select team. With temps well over 100, most of the boys wound up with heat stroke and a couple actually threw up in the dugout! They had to put blankets over the dugout to give them some shade because some braniac choose a new park with trees that were basically twigs without leaves. The whole "season" was lovely and I told my son never again!

    And why is baseball still going on at the end of October? What happened to World Series that were over by now???


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