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Respect the Game

Respect the Game

Back in the early days of baseball, people left work or their everyday

grind to go and watch baseball games.  It didn’t matter whether they had

a major league team in town or not:  Baseball was the getaway from

monotony.  It also served as therapy during times of war. 

In talking to some older generations as a youngster myself, I heard of

times where towns would field teams and play neighboring communities.

Not only was that interesting to me, but so was the fact that almost the

entire town was there in support of their team.  Heckling was an art

form, where those doing it knew the rules of this art and stuck to them

as to not “cross the line”.  The players were the town’s best regardless

of age and occupation. From what I gathered, they loved every minute of

it. 

Where have these days gone?   Well they have been replaced by many other

forms of entertainment that you all are very familiar with: internet,

video games and television (cable) just to name a few.  Other sports

have spread these same people in different directions, most recently the

big push for soccer in this country.  Even though I realize that it will

never be the same again, some aspects of the game should and NEED to

remain in tact.

As a player, I took the previous stated things to heart and came up with

my own “CODE” in which the game was to be played.  Over the past 7 years

or so, I have watched many high school games and concluded that some of

these essentials to baseball have been lost or have not been taught to

this generation.  I hope you understand what I am about to say and will

implement it yourself or with your son. 

Every day I took the field I felt it was a privilege to play.  So many

great players had gone before me and now it was left up to me to make

baseball what it would be for this generation ( having been born in the

70’s).  The following are things that  I was either taught or came up

with on my own.  Some of these things I will elaborate on and others are

self-explanatory.  Well here it is:

To show that one respects the game as America’s first true pastime:

Bust it on and off the field between innings.  This can be done

regardless of ability level.  I guess this is my biggest issue and that

is why I have listed it first.  I was taught this aspect of the game by

an old timer when I was 16 years old and I played in the summer with him

through 18.  He was in his 60’s and was an ex-minor leaguer who was

drafted out of high school and would never recommend that route to

anyone.  He taught us how to get on and off the field at full tilt as an

entire team.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be playing until you atoned

for your laziness in some way.  This not only makes you look like you

respect the game, but also makes you look like a player.  It separates

you from the other multitude of players just like you as you vie for a

spot at the college level.  Nothing bothers me more when I hear about

how good some high school kid is and when I go to see him, he can’t get

on or off the field faster than molasses flowing from a jar at the north

pole. 

Don’t show up the umpire.  This can come from almost any place on the

field- most of the time from the pitcher or the hitter.  The umpire

isn’t there for the money and most of them really don’t have a bunch

of training, if they are doing high school ball. They usually just enjoy

the game and enjoy watching the kids play.  Some need to call it quits

because they just aren’t good at all or they have decided that they

should be the main attraction at the game ( You know who they are) .  At

any rate, you do know who they are and you just need to prepare yourself

for the fact that they are going to miss some calls because they are

human.  If you don’t get a call, pitcher, deal with it.  Stop opening

your mouth with that (I can’t believe this) look on your face.  Or even

better, look over to the dugout to get support from your coach or

players.  Do you really think that the umpirethink you will force him to give

you better calls?  He has testosterone

flowing through his body just like you and you have now declared war on

him.  Who do you think will win?  Hopefully for you if you have made

this mistake he has not held it against you since he is older, wiser,

and needs to exhibit the characteristics of a true man to you. 

Think about this also- I would not use the major leagues as a good place

to look to for the “Bust it on and off”, but in this instant we can

learn from these guys.  When was the last time that a pitcher made a

face or looked to the dugout in the bigs because of a call?  This will

never happen from great players as they know they are good enough to

make the next pitch where they want it.  And you can’t say that those

umpires are so good that they don’t miss many calls.  Turn on the TV and

watch a little.  There are balls thrown all the time which appear in the

zone and are called balls. 

If you complain about a pitch or a call as a player, all you are saying

is that you are not good enough to make up for it.  College coaches want

players not complainers.  If the umpire makes a bad call, deal with it

and make up for it yourself.  You are a real player then.  Leave the

complaining to your coaches, they will do it better and it doesn’t

matter as much if they get tossed.  They aren’t playing the game

anymore.

Arrive at the field looking the same as the rest of the team.  It is

called a UNIFORM because you are to be uniform with the rest of the

team.  Jerseys hanging out, cut off t-shirts and hats backwards couldn’t

be worse.  It is disrespectful to the game and  you are not making a

fashion statement.  Some of you are glad I am not a recruiter right now,

I know.

Play catch in the outfield and do it like you mean it.  I learned this

from scouts who attended my practices- yes practices -while I played at

a junior college in Texas.  One to three of them came to the field on a

daily basis to watch us practice.  What were they doing?  I asked  the

same question one day.  The answer was interesting at the time.  Here

was the explanation that I got.

      Some of you may be first ten rounds, so we need to see where you

do belong in the draft.  We watch how you get out of your car, how you

drive into the parking lot, how you walk onto the field, what you are

wearing when you get here, how long it takes you to start your

pre-practice routine, how you play catch, what your demeanor is with

other players during practice, how you compete during practice, whether

you are the first one done running or the last. We use all of those

things that are negative against you when  you are drafted to keep you

from getting more money than you are worth.  This is our business and

understand that we don’t dislike you, we just make good business

decisions.  And by the way, we know your grades and your family

situations if we are very interested in you.

  WOW!  Never thought of baseball as much of a business until that day

since it had always been so fun for me.  Ever since I heard that,

though,, I have watched the same things of high school kids.  It makes

it really easy to pick out who the good ones are and who to pay

attention to.  Anyway, play catch with a purpose to get loose and quit

lobbing the ball back and forth while talking about some good-looking

girl.  Show the college scouts something they will be interested in.

With a little talent and hard work on your part, along with these

suggestions, you can be on your way to a possible career beyond high

school in the Great American Game of baseball.