Posted by: ladybughugs | July 13, 2009

The End of Summer Ball

Yesterday we attended the second in a series of four Little League games that theoretically would have led up to a trip to Williamsport for the Little League World Series in August.

There were 11 players on the 10-and-under team. Four of them were 9-year-olds. Not that there weren’t other 10-year-olds that matched the skills and talents of the players picked, because there were. Some of them, I hear, could even pitch. Our pitchers, well, couldn’t. Scout was picked for the team on the recommendation of his Spring manager and coach. Many (or all?) of the 9-yos were brought along by the coach from his Spring season team. The four 9-year-olds were all starters. Two 10-yos (including Scout) sat on the bench. We let him play because it was an opportunity for a great experience even though we knew it would conflict with his Boy Scout troop’s week at sleep-away camp. We knew we’d be going up to camp to pick him up, feed him, get him changed into his uniform, and then do all of that in reverse (yes, including feed him, again!) after the game, only much later and darker. We were prepared to make that sacrifice. We approached the scout leaders and they supported our decision, knowing it would be disruptive to others in the camp, but recognizing the opportunity for our boy and encouraging him, in this experience, to become a well-rounded person.

Scout was given a position as ‘alternate’. Meaning all of the other boys in the 9-player rotation were up at bat first. Then the two alternates went after seven of the first-string players batted again. Scout never got up to bat. The game was called at the end of the fourth inning because the other team had 10 points on our guys. It’s called the ‘Mercy Rule.’ Scout was out in the field for one inning. So, to recap, we pulled him away from camp, his dinner with his troop, other various activities, skits, bonfire, you know, fun stuff. For. One. Inning. On. The. Field. We left the house at 4:15, picked him up at 5:00, returned him at 9:00, and got home at 9:30. What a waste of time! All I can say is, thank goodness for the Mercy Rule, because had the game gone its full length it would have been much later and we might not have been able to return him to camp that late. He would have had to sleep at home to be dropped off early this morning.

On the way back to camp we talked about it. Scout decided he’d had enough. He was disappointed that he’d missed all the fun at camp. He was disappointed that he’d never had a chance at bat. He was disappointed that they’d lost and there was nothing he could do about it. He decided it wasn’t worth it. Last night I drafted an email to the team manager, withdrawing him from the team. I sent it to H to review. He said it was too nice, but it was fine.


This is what my email said:

Sport has decided to withdraw from the team. It doesn’t make sense for him to come down from camp (inconveniencing camp staff and disrupting the camp routine both on his exit and his return) to sit on the bench when he could be doing something productive with his time. He was willing to make that effort for the team; unfortunately he doesn’t feel his presence on the team is as important to the team as it was to him. We were all willing to sacrifice our time and energy to give Scout the experience, adding extra stress on everyone (us, him, camp staff, campers, tent mate).

In return Scout got to sit on the bench — a 10-year-old with a good record coming off a season playing in the majors, while 9-year-olds were placed in starting positions.

We support his decision.

Sport’s parents.


This is what I would have liked to say:

You blew it! You are a moron! and an idiot! and your coach is, too! It’s insulting to put so much time and effort and energy into something and for what?


The reply I got from the team manager was, in H’s words, BS. According to him, they placed the boys based on their performance in practice and scrimmages (some of the starters weren’t at practices; Scout made every one of them, even a few that were rained out) not based on past performance (obviously).


I’m kind of disappointed for Scout. I’m also glad he had the opportunity as a learning experience.

I’m also glad that he now gets to go to sleep-away camp, have fun, be a boy, take advantage and get the full effect of being away from home, earning merit badges, and growing (as I’m sure he will) in confidence and knowledge in what the Scouts have to offer; without the distraction of being pulled away.

Yes, it would have been nice if his teammates were as strong as he and had been competitive. Yes, it would have been nice if they had won. Yes, it was even gratifying that they lost, because he had nothing to do with it! Did he need a winning experience? No. His spring teams from both this year and last year did very well. Last year they were undefeated and won the championship. His fall-ball team did very well last year. He has done very well — moving from single-A to triple-A to the majors ahead of most boys his age. He will have further opportunities to be a part of a winning team. For now, we’ll be content learning from our mistakes.


  1. Good decision, good words. I’m proud of him. Be sure to tell him so.


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