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CHRIS FOSTER

No Debate: Moment Was Sweet

June 13, 1995|CHRIS FOSTER

From the "man bites dog" file.

Or, how justice was served.

This job gets a bit routine from time to time. Some teams win. Some teams lose. Some kids celebrate. Some kids don't. Some people like that certain parochial- school- on- the- corner- of- Bristol- and- Edinger. Some don't.

Me, it doesn't matter as long as someone says something interesting once in awhile. (Mater Dei quarterback John Flynn: "I swear on a reporter's grave, I was throwing to Perry.")

But every once in a while, a tree swerves out of the forest and slams into a car. You can't help but enjoy the irony.

This year's winning moment followed a home run in a not-quite insignificant, yet not-too significant baseball game . . .

"He did it again," the parent screamed toward the dugout. "You can't throw fastballs to that kid. Why'd he call that pitch?"

A veteran ex-coach, standing conveniently nearby, perked his ears, raised an eyebrow, and sternly said: "It's the coach's fault?"

"He called the pitch?" the parent said.

"Ever hear of location?"

"You can't throw fastballs to that kid."

"You can't throw him curveballs either. But you can't blame the coach. He didn't throw the ball."

At this point, players from both teams became aware of the growing debate.

Said the parent: "That coach makes the same mistake over and over."

"Did the coach tell the kid to throw the ball in that spot? I'll guarantee you that coach didn't want it thrown down the middle of the plate. Bet he didn't even want it in the strike zone."

"He called the pitch."

Buzzards began circling.

"I see and where have you coached?"

"I coached youth teams before."

"Oh, youth teams. Well that makes you an expert?"

"I didn't say that."

"But you said that coach was wrong. Did you see the catcher setting up outside? Did you see the pitcher groove it down the middle?"

[Silence]

"I didn't think so. But here you are criticizing that coach's decision. You ever hear of loyalty?"

[Silence.]

At this point, umpires were monitoring the debate.

"You come here and complain about something that probably was a mistake by the pitcher."

"That's my kid."

"Then what are you teaching him? Is he learning to accept responsibility? Is he learning to learn from a mistake and go on? Or are you teaching him to blame his coach?"

[Silence.]

"Maybe you should be supporting the coach and the team. That's what a parent is supposed to do in high school sports."

Eight . . . Nine . . . 10. It's over.

With that, the parent walked off, certainly to contemplate the wisdom imparted unto him and, thus, repent.

OK, so he just went to the other side of the dugout to gripe some more.

But for one moment, an obnoxious baseball fan got heckled. After three months of listening to them dish it out--"You're missing a good game, blue"--I got to hear one take it.

Not to sound vindictive, but it was nice.

You see these guys occasionally. Fathers equipped with too much lip and too little knowledge. They're a minority. A loud one.

But here one said the wrong thing, at the wrong time, with the wrong guy standing next to him. You couldn't have asked for a better setup.

And it was all true.

I swear on a quarterback's grave.

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