The problem with the team we faced on July 16th is...they're the best in our league. Undefeated. Never played more than 4 innings in any of their games. Failed to invoke the 10-run mercy rule on their opponents just twice in their 7 games so far.
I didn't tell the team that. I knew...*KNEW*...that we would lose, but I wanted everyone to remain fired up about me taking the mound again so they would be ready to take names and break hearts.
Boy, did we hold them!
We scored one run in the first...so did they. Tied at 1-1 after first. Failed to score a run and we gave up 2 runs in the second. The shortstop started getting flippant with me, countermanding me on positioning the players. I told him to shut up by gesturing the "Zip your lips" on the field. We scored a run to cut the deficit to 3-2. Then...
We did the impossible. We shut them down in the third inning. No score. Nil. Nada.
Everything fell apart after third inning. The shortstop started yelling and cussing at third baseman when she missed an easy grounder. He kept doing the verbal assault on her and everyone heard him. I didn't know this until we returned to the dugout after giving up 4 runs in the fourth. When the captain informed me of that, I promptly kicked the shortstop off the lineup and replaced him with another player.
The third baseman was too rattled to keep playing so I replaced her with another player. We were unable to score any more run in the rest of the game, gave up 2 more runs in the fifth, and the game was stopped in the 6th inning when they scored 3 more runs to make it 12-2, invoking the 10-run mercy rule on us.
When I held the postgame meeting with every intention to address the incident, the shortstop was nowhere to be seen. He took off before the game had ended. How unfortunate he chose to disappear before we could talk about anything. I saw this as yet another display of disrespect for the team...and me as his coach.
After I got home and showered the dirt & sweat off, I sent an e-mail to the shortstop. I told him his behavior on the field was not acceptable; he needed to apologize to the team and write a personal letter of apology to the female player who played at third base.
I do not allow infighting between players/within the team and I will not tolerate disrespect for other players. I don't care if he is the best thing to happen to the team. Nobody is above anyone. You don't do anything to embarass your team, your friends, your family, and yourself.
Sadly, he did not see it that way. He pasted my e-mail verbatim in the team's Facebook group, said "This is about as silly as it gets to me, I wouldn't expect any of this to happen, and good luck with the rest of your season", and quit the team right after he posted that. That affirmed what I knew - he felt he was above everyone else.
Everyone else showed support for my decision to call him out in e-mail and they all felt he was rude and disrespectful. I reminded everyone that the city has a rule against profanity and I will not put up with anyone acting in a manner detrimental to the team or to the game.
When I wrote this post, we were facing 5 games in 3 weeks and then the season would be over, all without that talented player...and I have faith in the team to win at least two more.
Smartphones, communication, and empowerment
3 days ago