Another day in Ohio....another game is over....a new perspective has dawned....it no longer matters how, when, and if Buddy enters a game to pitch. He is going to work on his goals with his bullpen crew and disregard the coach. Looking back, he still can't figure out why the coach does not want to play him. Perhaps it is because the pitching coach was very upset initially when Buddy would not change his mechanics based on his suggestions.
Let's review....Buddy has been coached by major league baseball players. At 19, he has a great curve ball and fast ball that has begun to hit 90 mph. He had one of the best freshman ERAs in the country. The summer coach never played past high school and wants to change his toss based on his limited experience. Since Buddy would not change, he sits in the bullpen while I sit in the stands watching a train wreck of a team.
Even though his freshman year statistics were better than any other pitcher while playing in a tough conference, he remains puzzled by the attitude, disrespect and disregard. Fortunately, the bullpen has bonded and the guys are in this together. Currently, he is working out with another player as they tinker with the speed on their fast balls and create new pitches.
With that said, the bullpen guys enjoy each others company and have gotten very silly to stay sane. They scratch the number of games left on the fence in the bullpen as if they were incarcerated. They share odd stories ranging from players that they struck out to their girl friends. There is also rock tossing into a cup competition for points. A champion will be crowned at the end of the season. Last night, they started to create home made exercise videos on their cell phones and are posting them on Facebook and You Tube. The first topic was building arm strength by waving a bat one hundred times. Tonight, the pitchers will focus on core exercises in the bullpen. To say that they are bored would be an understatement....
At this point, Buddy is happy and progressing with his personal goals. This morning, he ran off to the Wednesday baseball camp for the inner city kids to deliver gum that he promised to a boy if he played hard last week. When the kid saw him, he shouted: "Where's my gum at?" Buddy handed him some BubbleTape and all is well. So, I see some personal growth.
As Buddy has reconciled the summer as part of a greater plan to build his perseverance, his dad has begun to show frustration and irritability (lovely....Buddy's emotions were finally under control, now I have to deal with the big guy). Last week's visit opened his eyes to a number of issues that Buddy and I have witnessed, complained about, but fell on deaf ears. Now dad is on the warpath and plans to come back to Ohio next week to have a showdown with the coach. The turning point for him was watching Buddy walk a player then give up a sacrifice bunt. He had one out and the coach walked out to the mound, screamed at Buddy and told him that he "sucked" and continued to insult him as he wondered aloud how he was able to play Division I baseball. He grabbed the ball, told him to get the &*$$ into the dugout and brought another pitcher out who threw a wild pitch then balked the winning run in....Buddy could do nothing but watch...dad was horrified.
And so, life in baseball continues uninterrupted by the drama. By its nature, it is competitive. Each person competes for time in the game and has their own set of goals. Without communication, players struggle to achieve the aforesaid goals. Yet, communication starts at the top as the coach should know and understand each player to get the best out of them. Unfortunately, this guy is interested only in his own personal goals and has misrepresented himself and the team to Buddy's college coaches. Next year, we will be much smarter as we interview the summer coach before making a commitment to move. This summer has been a learning experience for all of us. On to this afternoon's game in Kentucky....