We are getting into post-season time for the youngsters, the Little League boys and girls, the Cal Ripken baseball players, the Junior Babe Ruth kids and the 16 and under and 12 and under Babe Ruth softball girls.
After spending a weekend at Safeco, seeing fans not only berate umpires and professional players, but act nasty around each other every once in a while, I think it’s time to remind fans about youth baseball and I can find no better example than that of an open letter from a youth softball player named Susie.
Dear Mom and Dad: I hope you won’t get mad at me for writing this letter, but you always said never to keep anything back that I want to bring out in the open. So here goes: Remember the other night when my team was playing and both of you were sitting in the bleachers? Well, Mom and Dad, you kind of embarrassed me. Remember when I went after that ground ball and booted it? Well, Mom, I could hear you clear out in the infield yelling at the shortstop for getting in my way. Really, it wasn’t the shortstop’s fault, I just booted the ball. It was my fault.
And, then remember the time I struck out with the tying run at third base? Dad, you shouldn’t have cursed the umpire. I was swinging the bat. I missed the first two pitches as far as from here to the corner. And the third pitch was a beautiful pitch. I stepped into the bucket and the ball went right over the plate. It wasn’t the umpire’s fault. The pitcher just fooled me, that’s all.
But what really got me, Mom and Dad, was what happened after the game. Gosh, you shouldn’t have jumped on our coach for taking me out of the game. He’s a pretty good coach and he knew what he was doing. Besides, he’s just a volunteer, helping us kids because he loves the sport.
And then neither one of you spoke to me the whole way home. I guess you were pretty mad at me for striking out with the tying run on base. I didn’t mean to strike out and I didn’t mean to make an error at second base, I guess I’m just a terrible baseball player.
But I really do love to play ball. It’s a lot of fun being with the other kids and learning how to compete and be a good sport. But it sure is hard when you yell nasty stuff at the coach and the umpires. I thought I was playing for fun and to have a good time. I didn’t think you were going to take it so seriously. Your loving daughter, Susie.
P.S. I hope you are not mad at me. I love you both.
Note: Feel free to cut this out, put it in your wallet or purse and pull it out next time you are at a youth baseball or softball game.
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