Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mentally tough

Mornin' weather chat today. I am too tired and too #$@*& to think about the stupid, inane forecast. So here we go....strap on your seat belts....have your vomit bags we go.....

Yesterday was a nice day, filled with sunshine and happiness. The big kid did what he set out to do...strike out the lead batters of a nationally ranked team while the bases were loaded. This is pressure. This is a kid who has it given ample opportunity to develop.

Game time was ten pm east coast time, therefore, I had no desire to watch the team while waiting for the big leftie to come into the game in the late innings. Sweetly tucked in to bed, the phone rang at 12:30 game...hello...nothing....rang again....hello...nothing....hell-oooo...nada....What is going on? Finally a text comes through on dad's phone "I'm outta here". OK, nice....are you flying home tonight? What's up...then it all poured out and boy...did it pour out.....

The team, marginally bad, was playing a nationally ranked powerhouse on the west coast. The coach (CI) started a decent freshman. Can you imagine starting an 18 year old who was a walk on to pitch against a team that has freshmen and sophomores for a snack? Well, the coach did. By the third inning, the score was 11-0 and the starter was pulled and another frosh was on the mound who gave up a few walks and home runs. Nice.

Now, the coach calls the kid from Southern California to warm up. He's has been throwing for 10 minutes in the bullpen and is ready to go in. Instead of calling this player who is warmed up, he calls the big leftie in who was sitting and DID NOT warm up. No stretches, no tosses, nothing. "Go in and get the last out."

Seriously? No warm up pitches? Is that the way Joe Torre called Mariano Rivera in? "Uh Mariano, just throw 8 pitches on the mound and strike out Babe Ruth." Challenge is naturally accepted by the leftie since he has NO CHOICE.

First batter....a hit....OK, he will get the next. Foul pop up to first baseman....who DROPS it! Then a weak hop over the first baseman's head who was standing in the wrong spot. A walk....then he is down on the next batter 3-0 (that's three balls with no strikes, bases area loaded, if he walks the guy, another run scores). The kid buckles down and throws three fast balls by the batter and strikes him out. Remember, he was down 3-0 with no warm up and one stupid error behind him. Inning over....he walks to the dug out and the pitching coach walks up to him and calls him a 'scared p_____'. That was it.

Game is finally over. The team adjourns to the locker room adjacent to the dug out. Then the coach starts....not on the team, or the errors, or the mental issues on the team, or the first two pitchers who gave up 11 runs in 3 innings, but he starts and stops on my is part of the tirade....he begins to scream (This is edited to render a PG-13 rating)...."What the (*^% was that? Seriously, that was the worst effort I have ever seen. EVER! If this was the real world you would be fired. I am going to cut you. A scholarship player throwing like that? (uh, dude, he does not receive money,  but if you would like to share some, you might...just might get him back next year, but I seriously doubt it).

The astonished player replied: "I have to be more consistent." "Consistent! Consistently bad!"

Then the coach did not stop until he insulted the Pitching Coach in Texas, Coach P (internationally known PT who wrote the book on returning from shoulder injuries and worked with just about every well known athlete in the US and world), and the All Star pitcher who Coach P introduced him to over Christmas break. I am surprised that he did not also insult the flag, Shirley Temple, and ObamaCare. But he was not done...nope...this went on for about 15 minutes....

"You do not deserve to pitch in tough spots, you're a p_____. These people have poisoned your mind. You meet with an all star pitcher (who has a World Series ring) and he ruins you. The only thing holding you back is your &^##% head and you do nothing. You are soft...mentally soft."

According to the shaken player, he mentally blacked out at that point and did not hear anything else.

Once the group disbanded for the bus, he punched a wall with his right hand. He sent me a photo and it is swollen. I hope that he did not break it. He also said that he came very close to decking the guy and walking out. He planned on calling my cousin who lives in northern California to take him to the airport because he could not take any more abuse. That's right. What happened last night was abuse. Verbal and mental abuse.

My kid has always been misunderstood because he is an introvert and intense. He is also a nice guy. Gee, what a terrible combination for an athlete....someone with manners and who is considerate of others but knows how talented he is.

As the guys walked to a Taco Bell to grab food for the 3 hour bus ride back to SF, he could not call us because there were too many ears. But many of the guys including the trainer walked up to him and told him that he did a good job and the coach was way out of line. Three players were on the verge on stopping the tirade when the coach finally picked another topic. I believe that they would have but they too are worried that they will be the next guy to be facing the firing squad.

With that said, I feel sickened by the whole incident because it is all unjustified. But even if it was justified, no one talks to another human being like that. No one. I am appalled and I know that I cannot do anything about it except be here to listen and offer limited advice. After all, I am not there (thanks to the stupid heating unit needing a new motor and sucking up my air fare money).

I am also powerless as the big guy plots his revenge. "I will never speak to him again unless he apologizes." By the way, the insane coach slept the entire three hour ride back to SF. I guess that he feels better, eh?

Now the leftie has documented everything from the coach's tirade to the NCAA violations which he claims are significant. I will not say a thing except listen. Although I hear and feel his pain.

As he plots an exit strategy, he is considering transferring to a more local university for his fifth year. Rather than continue to endure this hostility, he is ready to jump. I don't blame him. But what is better...starting over with one year left or hanging on to a system that knows you?

I wish that I had an answer, but I don't. What I do know is that I have this entry tucked away and will use it if I have to at any point. It is documented and ready to use if necessary.

AS far as the kid's feelings and mental toughness, there is no one tougher than him. He came back from debilitating mono, Lyme disease, and shoulder surgery. Anyone else would have walked and partied while finishing their degree. Not my kid, he is as tough as they come, so coach...bring are not hurting anyone but your own lame career. By the way, all of the errors are due to fundamentals errors and your fielders' mental toughness or lack of it. Oh, yeah, uh coach...your record is 4-12.....and coach? have several pitchers whose ERA are 20 and 30.

Coach? Look in the mirror. You are the one who is not mentally tough. You talk a big game but you are a little leaguer. Rather than spewing poison and teaching the guys about mental toughness, perhaps you should be sorting out the reason for the errors and lack of hitting...just sayin' from a BP mom point of view.

With that said, I will be watching...documenting....waiting....and remember...the best revenge according to Oprah is to 'live well.' Coach, just wait....I dare you in the future to take any credit for his success, because you have not earned it. In his memoirs, you will be a two page chapter on "idiots that I know".....


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