Because life is a series of edits

Put Me in, Coach, I’m Ready to Play

In Sports on October 14, 2006 at 4:18 pm


In case you mistook it from Friday night’s television broadcast of the Cards beating the Mets, the picture above is from a trip to the farm back in July (the corn in the background probably gave it away – not much of that at Shea Stadium).

I used to pitch in high school (going 6-3 my freshman year for the varsity Tornadoes), and played shortstop or third base when I wasn’t pitching. I didn’t throw particularly hard (maybe in the upper 60s at best), but I had a good curveball and could throw it for a strike or make hitters chase it out of the strike zone if they were guessing wrong (which I always loved).

In general, I was a decent fielder on the infield, but could sometimes get a little wild throwing across the diamond to first if I was deep in the hole at short or charging a ball up the line from third. Maybe that’s why I always preferred the mound – I felt most in control of things there (even when my pitches may not have been…in control, that is).

Offensively, I always batted second in the line-up as my inside-out swing and (usually) consistent contact made for good hit-and-run success as I hit to right-center a lot. My batting average was in the low .300s, and my on-base average was above .500 (almost .600 my senior year, .598 to be exact).

As a team, we played .500 ball, but not much more. And, if memory serves, we never made it out of the regional. Still, those were good times, and to this day I remember certain games (and even particular at-bats and great plays) that bring a smile to my face.

While I experienced a fair amount of success in my sports days, I always felt like I understood the games (baseball and basketball) better than I played them. I knew what needed to be done in just about any given situation; I just never had the pure, raw ability to get it done myself.

Perhaps this is why I find myself increasingly talking to the television as to which pitches need to be made, when the hit-and-run needs to be on, and why Jeff Weaver should have never been in Game 1 against the Mets long enough to give up that two-run homer to Carlos Beltran. I know I was never good enough for the big leagues, but that’s what makes for a really good armchair coach, right?

Last night, as we were watching the game, our oldest asked if I realized I was talking to myself. Somewhat embarrassed (and with my wife holding back a laugh), I acknowledged that, indeed, I did; I was just waiting to see if anyone was listening.

  1. Craig,

    We need to watch a game together. Then, when we talk to ourselves, someone else might be listening.

  2. …and how about this for some gratuitous coaching advice: I don’t care if Reyes has a no hitter going and the Cards are up by 10 runs, LaRussa needs to take him out after 5 innings. It’s a fact that the guy becomes a gas can lighting the fire of the other team after 5 innings.

    (I say this with two outs in the first inning.)

  3. I completely agree, Nick (and I say this after Reyes just walked his second in a row with two outs in the first inning).

  4. 9:27 p.m., top of the 6th, 11-3 Mets lead, 0 outs…

    this is brutal!

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