Youth baseball is underway in Marshall County – a good time to continue my tradition of publishing an “Open Letter to Parents.” Remember, at this age, it’s all about having fun.
Dear Mom and Dad:
1. Always applaud when a boy does something right – regardless which team he’s on.
2. Don’t ask him to keep his uniform clean. This will prevent sliding, which he dearly loves.
3. Dye an old sheet red and use it for his bed all season. It saves wear and tear on the nerves.
4. Teach him to spray his room every morning unless you like the smell of leather, liniment and sweat.
5. As long as he faces the diamond, a 10-year-old is an excellent outfielder.
6. If he misbehaves at home, threaten to tell his coach; during the season Mom and Dad come second.
7. A home run, accomplished by a bunt and/or errors, is a home run no matter what the scorekeeper says.
8. A 10-year-old who attempts to catch a ball with one hand is doing very well. If he goes after it with two hands, he’s major league material. And if he actually catches it – all-stars, here he comes.
9. Fifteen consecutive walks in one inning by the same pitchers are not grounds for pulling him out. He may have a no-hitter going.
10. If the final score is no more than 20 runs apart, the game is considered “close.”
11. When the team coach is red in the face and pulling out his hair, it is not a time to ask him, “What’s the score?”
12. All umpires are equally blind for both sides, so sit back and enjoy it.
13. The shorter the boy, the longer the bat he’ll pick. This is his way of evening up the sides.
14. Sliding is a technique devised by men which allows little boys to rip their pants legally.
15. When figuring out a 10-year-old’s batting average, you can count each time he lifts the bat from his shoulder and swings. A real hit counts as a triple.
16. When a 10-year-old infielder catches the ball and then throws it to the wrong base, don’t yell. You can yell only if he stops to count the stitches on the ball.
17. Youth league parents are never known as “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.” Instead, they’re “Joey’s folks” – you know, the kid who struck out 10 times in a row.
18. Scorekeepers should limit each team to three errors per inning. Any more should be construed as an act of God.
19. Any parent disagreeing with a coach should either volunteer to help coach, or else hold his breath for the balance of the season.
20. When the opposing team “chatters” at your son when he’s up to bat, don’t worry; they are not intimidating him – their coach is merely having a roll call.
21. When a youth league player decides a certain sweatshirt is his “lucky” shirt, cherish it, nurture it, mend it, and pray it lasts until he’s 13.
22. Above all – remember these children are just that – children. They can gain a great deal from their experience as a member of the team.