Good morning! It is a hot and steamy day in the Midwest. Late night the temperature finally dropped to 95 degrees at 10 pm. I was sitting in a pool of perspiration while catching the highlights of a come from behind victory. Naturally, Buddy did not play. It was his first night back after the break and the coach does not have any confidence in him. Thankfully, Buddy sees this for what it is and is not taking it to heart (I think).
His team mates were questioning him yesterday as to why the coach hated him. He had one bad outing a month ago after a long road trip and rain delay. If you eliminate it, he has an ERA less than 1.0 and more strike outs per inning based on his performance than any other pitcher. Therefore, they are just as confused as the rest of us. I, too am perplexed and wanted to get to the bottom of the issue like CSI bullpen mom. So, I posed the following questions during a ten minute car ride to the field:
Why doesn't the coach like you? "Dunno"
What did you say to him? "Nothing"
Can't you speak to him and clear the air? "No"
Did you make fun of him in front of the team? "No"
Did you show a disrespectful attitude during a game? "No"
Did you curse him out? "No"
Did you soap his car windows? "No"
Toilet paper his tress? "No"
Make fun of his kids? "No"
Hit him in the head with a fast ball? "No"
Forget to wash his car, do his laundry, iron his undies? "No"
Did you mess up the Pepsi arrangements in the cooler? "Only once..."
That's it! It all boils down to his lack of focus on one hot day and he added only 5 of the 6 Pepsi's that the coach demands before each game. No wonder he is in the dog house. As a coach, I would be angry too. After all, isn't this kid here in Ohio for my use and abuse? He should be one grateful ball player that he has the opportunity to wear this uniform and sit quietly in the bull pen while the other pitchers play. What's wrong with this ingrate?
After our 'oh-so-brief' discussion, we chatted about the future. His demeanor changed dramatically as he looks forward to returning to school and seeing his team mates. The fall is going to be very interesting as freshmen try to secure a place in the line up. Thankfully, Buddy did not lose his swagger or confidence during the summer. If anything, he is more determined than ever to show Sparky what he could do. Perhaps Sparky can catch him pitching on television next May when his team wins the conference in front of a national audience...pay back....do it by living well...leave the negativity in the dust...