Sunday, February 2, 2014



We're back from the mountains and the big kick off dinner. How did it go.....? Hmmmm....ready?

We received the invitation which also included a free clinic for kids on Saturday morning, a team scrimmage at noon, meet with the keynote speaker (a former MLB pitcher) at 5p (for an extra $1000.), and dinner at 6:30 with the team autographing posters after the festivities. Never wanting to miss a party, I planned on just attending dinner when we got the call on Friday night. "Can you come and watch the scrimmage on Saturday?" Uh, problem. Be happy to....

And so, Tink and I packed up early and drove to campus to find the practice and team scrimmage. We arrived as the little kids were standing in line for the team autographs. As they finished, the leftie found me and looked a nervous wreck. "Hey, no worries. Just throw the ball. The word to remember is 'namaste' "which made him laugh. But I could tell that he was crawling out of his skin.

After watching three incredibly dull innings, the big guy was finally put into the game. First, I witnessed two of his friends get tatooed on the mound as the batters slammed the balls deep into the outfield. As he entered the game, I sat back, said my prayers, and glue....I did not move. Tink could hear the head coach talking about him in the background but all she heard was that he was coming back from surgery and was getting better (whew). He took the mound...took a deep breath....and threw...some high...some low...some down the middle. He gave up one hit. All in all, he looked good. After two innings on the mound, the scrimmage was over and the guys went off with their friends or families.

Since he had a few things to do, Tink and I told him to meet us at Wegmans for lunch. You can always count of Wegmans to have decent sandwiches and salad bar. So, we waited. When he finally  got to our table, he told us what the pitching coach had said to him between innings: "Are you slow or stupid?" Nice...he just pitched a pretty good couple of innings and he is greeted with this charming question.

I asked him what he said in reply, but he just kept his mouth shut. Now he is learning that this guy is more than a collection of sound bytes. He is a knucklehead of the greatest degree as well as a tiny little man (not size-wise, but personality). According to the big kid, he was meaner to the other pitchers that day, so I assume that he was laying off the guy after the big blow up on Monday.

My take on it is that this guy has no idea of what it takes to be a coach which also has a teaching component. In fact, he is cruising for a bruising, 'cause I can foresee one of the pitchers taking a swing at him. Further, he could have been fired on Monday for his rant and use of profanity as he reamed the kid for hurting his arm. What a psycho....and therefore, I have finally found a name for him....from this point forward, the pitching coach is to be known as 'Psycho'. Yep, the name fits him.

The head coach is not much better. This morning, one of the players slowed a sprint to grab his sweatshirt, when the coach asked him why he slowed down his pace. When the player told him that he picked up his sweatshirt, the coach stopped practice, brought all the players in, and screamed at the poor cold guy in front of the entire group. Again,

At the dinner last night, the head coach was to speak for 5 minutes which morphed into 20 as he continued to use the word 'incredible' to describe everything from the players to the field to the snow outside. Everything is incredible. And therefore, my name for the head coach is now: Coach Incredible or CI for short.

He went on and on and on and on and on....and I was thinking that perhaps one of the folks at my table might open a flask of gin and pass it around, 'cause I could have used a shot after the 25th 'incredible'.  Am I making fun of the guy? No, I was making fun of his speech as he kept saying, "I should stop now, but this is so incredible....."

Finally...yes finally...he shut up and it was time to introduce the keynote speaker who is a former big league pitcher who is known for throwing a ball for walk off home run that won the World Series for the opposing team. Yes, dad and I watched the game that night and groaned when he was placed into the game, and screamed when he threw the pitch. As he spoke, he was funny and self deprecating. He also has made a fortune off that pitch. If he did not throw it, no one would have remembered him.

What he advised the guys was if you mess it, 'you gotta own it'. That was his message.....autograph and picture time....Good night ladies and gentlemen....

More later as the season looms ahead.....questions to answer:

Will the season be incredible?

Will Psycho explode before, during, or after a game...or all three?

Take care!

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