As I sit at game after game with scores of parents eager to cheer on their son and team, I take in the atmosphere and really listen to what is being communicated. There’s a lot you can tell about a person by their cheers.
The following is just a short list of things that I hear quite regularly at baseball games. I think these all come from honest places, but they just end up making the adult uttering them sound silly for the reasons I outline below.
1. “That was close ump!”
Yep! That’s why he called it a ball. I have not doubts that the official appreciated you observing that his keen eye caught that the last pitch was just almost a strike, but wasn’t. I could feel his confidence level jump to over 9000.
2. “Gotta protect!”
Parents have heard the coach say this so they figure it must be a valid form of encouragement. Which, it is, just not when there’s a 3-0 count.
3. “Now you’ve seen it!”
Yeah. The kid knows that. He was there. Instead of shouting this meaningless waste of diaphragm and vocal chord, why don’t you just go out to your car and watch the game. Yep. I think that would be best.
4. “Throw strikes!”
*Sigh*. I truly hate this one. I have found that more often than not, this is shouted by another parent whose son is not pitching. While your son may be a Cy Young contender with a chin to shoelaces strike zone, most umpires have a little bit smaller area. Painting corners works only some of the time. For the most part, I think he is trying to throw strikes anyway.
5. “You know what to do!”
Really? Would you lay money down on that? Is that one and a half hour practice once a week enough time to ingrain the mental game of baseball into his head?
6. “You’re going to have to wait on it!”
One of those supposedly-secretive-insults-and-head games to mess with the opposing team’s pitcher. All I hear is “This guy has no arm! You’ve got time to write a letter, evaluate the draft, rewrite it, stick it in an envelope, mail it, have it returned to sender address unknown, look up the correct address, re-address the envelope, re-send letter, then swing!”
7. “Good pitch. Looked good from here!”
You mean it looked good from way off to the side through the chainlink fence? I agree that umps aren’t perfect, but this one is basically telling the umpire that he was wrong on that call. I don’t know how umps take this commentary for as long as they do. I feel confident in saying that if your view of the plate is perpendicular to the umpire’s, then you might not be in the best position to judge locations.
8. “Awwww! Come on! That was your pitch!”
At a certain level, there is thrown into the mix a sign that is known as a “take”. A “take” is when a player intentionally doesn’t swing at a pitch to avoid a foul or hitting into a play where the runner will easily get out. If there was a runner on first base, it is safe to assume that the coach gave the batter this “take” sign in preparation for that runner to steal. It’s possible, right?
By the time your kid hears this from you in the stands and he’s not back to the base, then he’s already picked off. If your base coaches don’t have the wherewithal to be eyes for the runners, they deserve the outs.
Consider that everyone will yell something. If you figure that your kid has 8 other players yelling at him on the field, at least two coaches yelling at him on the field, extra players and coaches in the dugout, the opposing players yelling various things to their teammates, opposing team’s parents yelling various things to the their players, and all of your parents all yelling at the same time, that constitutes around sixty voices shouting an array of direction and advice. All you are is a small part of a larger mass of noise known as a baseball game. Your son can’t hear you!
And that’s just ten.
I don’t know everything about baseball. I sure don’t know every little thing that is going on between the coach and his team. So I discovered a long time ago that the less I shout these types of things, the less foolish I’m apt to look. No one cares if you know everything there is to know about baseball. Unless you want to end up looking like that parent that you see on those reality shows (if that’s your goal, have at it!), you should take a moment to consider what you say while viewing a game.
You’ve got to believe that your child is doing their best. Even if it’s their best for that day in that moment in time. It’s hard to make yelling sound loving and caring. I understand that it is our job to push our kids to be their best, but we have to use wisdom to understand when we are just acting a fool and making noise for making noise sake.
I encourage you to be mindful at your kid’s next sporting event. Sometimes all my son needs to hear from me is, “Hey! Great effort on that play son.” And then smile and enjoy the game. The reason my son is the best baseball player is that I don’t shout irrational things at him from behind the fence.
After all, it’s just baseball!