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Parents' Week

Publication Date: June 11, 2002

Happy Father's Day!

I'm fairly irrelevant this time of year (hey, quiet down back there). No one is really interested in power ratings any more for this season other than those who need more validation than advancing in the postseason can provide, and you can find news and analysis all over the place from people who have just as much idea who will win next week as I do (in other words, none; it's a really balanced field with no clear favorite and only one real underdog). Given that, I'm going to take this week to do something I've wanted to do for a while and thank one of my (very) occasional readers -- my father.

Before I get started on that, though, in the continuing theme of this being Parents' Week here at Boyd's World, be sure to read Lois Ortmeier's Draft Day Journal for a parent's perspective on the draft process.

Occasionally, the subject of my playing career comes up in conjunction with the Web site. Usually, the context is an implied, "Why should we take you seriously when you never played the game?", and that's a silly question, but, still and all, I do get asked. The answer is a short one, because I wasn't much of a player -- I peaked at around age 14. I had been good, I thought, until then, but then the pitchers figured out how to make the ball bend in mid-air or something, and that was it for me. Despite that, I have very fond memories of playing Little League equivalents as a child, and that's where Dad comes in.

I grew up in a couple of rather rural areas, and there wasn't a whole lot of organized fun to be had. That's not a complaint, since unorganized fun can be even better, and there was no shortage of that, but in at least one of them it meant that the fact that there was an organized baseball league within driving distance was both something of a surprise and a treat. The men and women who made that league possible were doing a good thing, one that I don't think any of us kids ever got around to thinking about, being kids and all. They coached, they drove us to games and practice, they sold concessions, they cheered, they did what it took to keep things going.

My father is a rather shy man. He's talkative in the right circumstances and has some rather good things to say, but in front of a group he sometimes struggles a bit. Coaching really wasn't going to be a good fit for him, although he did some of it later in life, but he actually went above and beyond that duty -- he umpired. This man, for whom being criticized for a public action is, I suspect, rather painful, took on the ultimate thankless job and umpired Little League.

Was he good at it? I think so. In an attempt to ensure fairness, my brother and I probably were on the short end of just about every close call, but that same fairness and a lot of hard work meant that the games ran well. And because he did what could not have been easy for him, we got to play our games.

A smarter man than me has said that much of what we do for our kids is repayment for what our parents did for us. I don't coach baseball because there's no shortage of baseball coaches in my area and Little League parents have reached a level of obnoxiousness in many ways that make them hard to deal with, but I coach soccer and basketball in leagues that have been shaped to do things right -- we stress skills development and fun in ways that are designed to keep the kids in the game long enough to do them some good. I do lots of other things for my kids, volunteering with their age groups in their school and our church. All those things are good, and I'm not unusual, so all the things that the other Dads do is good as well and gets the next generation ready to give to their kids, but some times I think the reason we work so hard at those things to pay off our debts to our parents is so we don't have to actually thank them.

I don't think I ever thanked my father for umpiring; in fact, I'm sure I was quite ill-natured about it. When you are, subconsciously, a young devotee of strike zone judgment and your strike zone is suddenly the size of Maine, it takes a toll on your 11-year-old patience, and I'm sure I complained a good bit. So, now, Dad, I want to make sure you know. I appreciate what you did for us. Thank you.

Pitch Count Watch

Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye or, on the other hand, starts where pitchers were pulled according to plan early despite pitching extremely well in close games.

Date Team Pitcher Opponent IP H R ER BB SO AB BF Pitches
June 7 Nebraska Shane Komine Richmond 9.0 4 0 0 0 6 30 32 115
June 9 Nebraska Shane Komine Richmond 3.0 3 2 2 0 3 12 12 43

Compared to last year, when Komine and Baugh held their future arm-injury party and Lane Mestepey started twice, this weekend was fairly calm. There were a few starts that estimated around 125, but I generally don't print estimates under 130 unless there are extenuating circumstances. Looking at the circumstances, I'm not sure how much credit the coaches deserve, since in a few of the likely high pitch count games the pitchers kept the count low themselves by pitching extremely well, but I'm also not willing to ding them for misdeeds they might have committed.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Parents' Week About the author, Boyd Nation