Monday, June 09, 2008

Softball or Walkball?

On Saturday my daughter played what could be her last softball game of the year. We've had several rain-out's, so I'm not sure if we will be making up these games or not.

Saturday was a bit warm. The temperature at 10:30 am was about 94 degrees. Daytime high was expected to be near 100 with a heat index of 104, but factor in the windchill, and maybe it's back to 100??? (Why does windchill only factor into the winter weather?)

Our umpire for the game appeared to be a young girl that just finished the 7th grade. How we end up with umpires that a 2 years older than the young girls I coach is a bit perplexing. Nonetheless, we were in the field first. And we knew it was going to be a long day when the first 10 strikes were all called balls. Apparently her strike zone was the size of a golf ball. And the location of that golf ball was up to her discretion. It wasn't necessarily over the plate or between shoulder and knees. Sometimes it was about shin-high.

After 13 walks in the inning, the other team had expended their lineup, so by league rules their at-bat ends. It's our turn. Now the difference between our team and the opposing team is that we came there to play softball, not walkball. Our girls got up and were swinging at strikes (by what most umpires would call strikes). The opposing team had some decent fielders, so we would get through 5-6 hitters and they would get their 3 outs.

Back on the field. This time, I hear their coach. "Don't swing unless you know it's a strike." And they listened to their coach. Those players on his team didn't swing at a pitch. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Girl - it's 100 degrees out here and you're calling every pitch a ball?!!! Don't you want to get out of this oppressive heat? Call some damn strikes!!! And to make matters worse, anytime one of those girls got a walk (because the coach told her not to swing) he would cheer as if she just had a great hit. "Yeah!!!! Way to go!!''

"Yeah, way to go"???? She got walked! What kind of accomplishment is that?

So I'm taking this umpire to Vegas. What are the odds that there could be 12 walks per inning and no strikes? If she can beat those odds, then she's a sandbagger for Texas Hold-em. Here's a little hint to those young people aspiring umpires - when you are umping little league, make the strike zone bigger. It makes the game go by a lot faster and it makes it a lot more exciting. If you call a lot of balls, then jackass coaches like the one we played will tell their players not to swing at anything.

So the final score was 27-6. I think they had 50 walks total. And I'm not exaggerating. And to make matters worse, since we were the home team, we bat last, right? No. After the top of the 5th inning, the other coach yells, "Okay, line 'em up." What? I ask the umpire what's going on. She says the game is over. "Hello - we're the home team. We get the last at-bat." Confusion sets in. The umpire is struggling to come up with an answer. At this point she yells out, "Ball 4!" Then the JA coach chimes in, "Guys, our girls are hot and not feeling well. Let's just call it a game."

Not feeling well. Awe!!!! Too many walks made your girls tired? Image how tired they'd be if they swung the bat and had to run to first base. Ugh.

So on the bright side of the story, my daughter got 2 at-bats and connected with the ball twice. One time grounding out to first (but it was a good hit) and getting on base a second time with a ground ball to short, but but it was a fielder's choice - the shortstop forced out the runner going to third.

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