Sunday, May 1, 2011

The LL Chronicles #7: Five Things I Learned from Jalen's Most Recent Game

Yesterday, our Rookies division Red Sox played the A's...

"Moisture wicking" and "postgame socializing" don't go together... -- Game time was at 12 noon and temperatures reached the mid-to-high 80s. The players and coaches wear replica Major League Baseball jersey/shirts made from polyester and featuring the same
Dri-Fit Gimmick Technology that's all the rage these days. The apparel is designed to "wick away" sweat from the skin while remaining relatively drier than, say, a cotton t-shirt. After two hours of "wicking" -- under the hot sun, from the first base coaching box -- I put my arm around Jalen's shoulder to congratulate him on a good game. Before I could finish my first sentence, he said, "Daddy, you smell bad." It was a good thing he told me before I put my arm around the shoulder of some of the other players' mothers and congratulated their kids on a good game. Oh, it is not creepy. I'm pretty sure most coaches and managers greet their players' mothers the same way. And, would you call future Hall of Fame MLB manager Tony LaRussa "creepy"?

Little Leaguers can loaf as well as Major Leaguers... -- Our kids are getting better all the time. But, the one negative aspect of their respective games that might cause me or another coach to go
Billy Martin on one of our little boys is the absence of hustle -- especially out of the batter's box. I should point out that there are two of our players who ALWAYS bust ass up the first base line. The first is Danica, the lone girl in our entire district and one of the most enjoyable players I've ever coached. I'll assume everyone knows who the second player is. Yesterday, two or three of our players stood at home plate and watched infield pop ups drop to the ground. This was actually progress from our first few games when one of our kids intentionally scuffled up the first base line...just to watch the dusty cloud of chalk that kicked up around his ankles.

Feuding with opposing coaches is FUN... -- In the top of the sixth inning, one of our team's best hitters was at the plate. Stephen's swing has gotten a little long lately and his attempts to hit everything to the outfield have resulted in several slow rollers all around the infield. Jalen had just doubled, so there were runners on second and third with two outs. Once again, Stephen swung for the stratosphere and the resultant groundball was easily scooped up by the first baseman who then stepped on the bag. From where I was standing -- up the first base line, looking directly into the stance of our right-handed hitter -- the ball clearly hit Stephen's foot off the bat. I successfully argued that it should've been a foul ball. This set off one of the opposing coaches who shouted unintelligibly in my direction and gestured wildly with his arms. Since I don't do confrontations; I instead outsourced my retort to Stephen -- who doubled home both runs on the next pitch.

Sometimes it's OK to root against your son... -- In the bottom of the sixth inning, Jalen almost made a terrific little sliding catch. The parents in attendance warmly applauded his effort and Jalen accepted high-fives from a couple of the opposing coaches. I ran over to check on him and as I was leaving, an A's coach said to me, "That would've been an amazing catch!" I responded, "Yeah, but if he'd caught it; I'd NEVER hear the end of it. NEVER." After the game, I learned that Mrs. Bootleg was having the exact same conversation with some of the Red Sox parents -- right down to the "...NEVER hear the end of it" quip. We know our son.

Jalen's postgame appetite is a terrifying sight... -- Our game ended around 2:00 PM. Afterwards, Jalen charmed the "snack mom" out of three bags of cinnamon-sugar Teddy Grahams and washed it down with a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade. After a merciful shower, I took Jalen over to a regional sports bar called
Oggi's where he polished off a personal pepperoni pizza and -- for dessert -- an entire Black Magic Stout Brownie a la Mode. By himself.

Our server looked down at the scraped-plate devastation in front of Jalen and remarked, "Wow. That usually serves two or three people." Jalen smiled sheepishly and looked up at me with a pained expression that seemed awfully familiar. "Do you have to go poop?", I asked. "Yeah", he replied.

I know my son.


Eugene Tierney said...

Rooting against Jalen...very Pete Rose of you. We know you had money on the opposing team.

LaKisha said...

I enjoyed the post, TBG. Yes, we do know our son. On a side note, this better not be one of my Mother's Day gifts. I'd be pissed!

And for the record, if Jalen had made that catch, I was moving to the Hilton Garden Inn for the week on your dime!

Mrs. Bootleg

Other Joe said...

So does that mean we're now going to get a Jalen eats column? Clearly he gets his appetite from you, Cam.

My coaches in little league used to hate when we wouldn't hustle, but really hated it when after the game everyone was whining about being tired UNTIL the coaches said "ok, go get your free sodas from the concession stands." I think we had some kids set new land speed records on the way to get the free soda.

Aaron C. said...

@O. Joe -- Same thing happens with us. One of our players starts whining about the end of the game in the second/third inning and he's ALWAYS first to the giant basket of cookies, chips and juice boxes after the game. I'm putting a bag of Famous Amos on first base for our next game whenever he's up to bat.

@Mrs. Bootleg -- I like how you post comments in a way that you'd never speak in public. Besides, I...wait, what? Mother's Day?! Already?

@Eugene -- No gambling until our playoffs start. Yes, I will bet against us, but I plan to use it as reverse psychology with the kids. They gotta learn sometime.

thai said...

motivation via psychology? wherefore art thou, lou brown?

Smitty said...

"Do you have to go poop?"
I remember when we used to ask Dale that question when he was getting cranky

Smitty said...

Let your little lady know that I DID get those as a gift for the wife.