So our little guys had a minor machine pitch game today against a very good team. About half way through the game, I looked up and saw that the coach of the other team was operating the pitching machine, shagging the missed balls, running his batters, policing the dugout, and running the kids in the field. I asked him, “where is all your help?” figuring he was missing a few coaches. His reply, “I’m it”.
So I looked into his stands and there sat about 20 or so parents doing nothing. Could they not see he could use a hand? It was obvious to me. Maybe he is not the kind to ask for help, but if you are sitting there and a coach looks like he needs help, he does! Just ask, he or she will say, “sure, can you ……..”.
Even if you don’t know what you are doing, simply shagging the missed balls and getting them back to the machine would have been a great help to this coach, anyone could have done that. He obviously was a major benefit for their kids as they played very well. Why not repay the favor he is doing your children by giving him a hand?
By the way, at the end of the game, he packed up all his gear, cleaned up the trash after their kids, broke down the pitching machine and put it away, and carried all his gear to his car. Should we be surprised?
OK, now you are asking, how does this relate to Little League? Great question! We all host tournaments, even it if is only our district playing, we need music between the innings and games! This is the answer!
You Have to Have Music!
First, you have to have music during your tournaments. You also need to introduce your players. This is simple to accomplish. A cheap amp and speakers from any store like radio shack will suffice. We are fortunate enough to have a concert system donated from the Moose Lodge that kicks butt! Very small and concise, but very powerful.
Two cords for speakers, 1 for the mike, and and MP3 player is all you need. You simply hook up the MP3 player to the system with an 1/8" to stereo RCA jack adapter cable. Again, $2 at Radio Shack or Wal-Mart. Then let the fun begin!
How to Get the Music to Play
I was going to have to download about $100 worth of music to play! Not really my idea of a good investment. Enter the Sirius Stiletto 2 ! I already have Sirius Satellite radio, I hear songs I forgot I knew! If a song is published, they play it. Never a dull listening moment. But the Stiletto 2 takes it to a whole different level!
Is it a DAR?
Anyone familiar with a Digital Video Recorder for a television will instantly understand the power of the Stiletto 2. I guess you would call this an Digital Audio Recorder (DAR). I have never heard it called that, but that is what we will call it here. Can this be possible you are thinking? Yes, ONLY BETTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!
The Secret Button!
The most kick-butt part of it? The little "heart" button. Like a song you are listening to? Hit the heart button and (go ahead smile now because you know what is coming!) YES it records the song!!! In full digital quality! Amazing!
I have spent the last 3 days recording music for the sectional we are hosting on Saturday! Man is this fun! The only problem I am experiencing is if the DJ talks over the music then it records that as well. But I have learned not to record those. For personal use, I could tolerate it, just don’t want it in my recordings for Saturday.
OK, so that is cool enough right? You are ready to buy right? I was as well. BUT this thing also is an MP3 player with more memory than you could ever want or use. It has 2 gig onboard and a slot for an 8 gig add on card. The best part? It plays mp3 AND wma files. My biggest problem w/ the ipod is it doesn’t play wma files. I saves about 250 CD’s as wma files about 2 years ago and the ipods won’t play them! Again, Apple kicking their own proprietary butt.
So while all day I record the latest, greatest, and oddest songs I do not already have in my library. At night I am transferring songs from my personal collection. When all is said and done I will have more than enough music for Saturday. After Saturday I will load my entire collection of songs from my PC onto this thing and continue to record as I hear songs I like. I love this thing!
It Goes Anywhere
It picks up the satellite anywhere and comes w/ headphones w/ a receiver in them (not sure if I like my head being the satellite receiver, but I guess it’s safe). It also comes with standard ear bud headphones. Obviously go buy some Bose headphones if you are really into it. It is 100% portable. If you want it in the car you will need the car kit. If you already have a car kit installed it will adapt to that. Make sure to use the power adapter that came w/ the unit though otherwise it won’t sound good and probably will damage it (learned this the hard way).
There Can’t Be More Can There?
It also has wifi capability to listen to internet radio. I haven’t used this yet and doubt I will really, but you can use it if you are in the office and want to listen to live music. Personally, I just listen to my personal and saved library while in the house. Which, btw, I can do w/ my shuffle feature. I love the shuffle feature of everything, for some reason I find it cool not to know what song is next, only now I know I will probably like the song!
Finally, you can use the recurring record function to record shows that you listen to on a daily basis.
This thing does much much more as well, but the functions above make it worth every dollar! Go buy a Sirius Stiletto 2 now!
What is your opinion of the Stiletto 2 ?
Top 10 Reasons Parents Spoil the Little League Experience
10. They are too competitive
9. They think their kid should play every inning
8. They think other coaches know better than their coach
7. They dwell on losses
6. They think Johnny/Janey cares whether his/her team wins or loses
5. They over pitch their kids
4. They question every move their coach makes
3. They complain for the sake of complaining
2. They show up late and wonder why that matters?
And the top reason that parents spoil the Little League Experience?
1. They feel that they know better than (insert board member, umpire, coach, concessionaire, any other person in charge) but when asked to help make the problem better they respond "I don’t have time for that".
Have another to add to this list? I am happy to compile another.
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- Is Stealing Signals OK?
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Image by dareneilert via Flickr
Biggest Geek in the World
I am the biggest geek on the planet! I actually look forward to the release of the new rule book each year so I can read it cover to cover! Baseball and Softball btw. So I have little patience for people who try to throw the rules around and make rulings that have an impact on the game.
Don’t Impact the Game
My basic rule of thumb, if it is going impact the game and you are unsure, don’t impact the game! That said, an official really should know all the rules, but I know that when you have volunteers you can’t expect this. In that situation, you need to make sure to take the time to get it right.
Great Job Girl!
Tonight, we had a young girl umpire who did just that. When she had something wrong, or when in doubt, she took the time to get it right! This was wonderful! I only wish the other team knew the rules so that it was never an issue in the first place, but again, they are volunteers, so it isn’t that big of a deal. Coaches just try to bring rules from other leagues into Little League , and that’s not good. Little League almost always sides on leniency. We should learn from that.
18 Years Straight of Reading the Book
I heard my wife say it best in the stands as we were debating this, "why do they argue with him about the rules?". I don’t know them all, don’t always get them right, but I bet I am 99% right 1/2 the time! (Yogi would be proud). I have read every word of each rulebook and the operators manual for 18 years straight. Yes, I am the biggest nerd you will ever know! But at least I know the rules.
What are the most common rules violations you see? Let us know.
The Unwritten Rules of Baseball
Most people have heard of the basic "unwritten rules of baseball ".
- You don’t walk when you hit a home run
- You don’t steal when you are crushing your opponent
- You don’t peak at the catchers signs
- You don’t blatantly steal the other teams signals
Didn’t Belichick Teach Us Anything?
Didn’t Bill Belichick teach us anything this year? The problem w/ Little League is that quite a few people are volunteers that really don’t know these rules. The problem w/ this is, as the kids get older, if they don’t learn these basic rules early, they are going to get hurt!
Is it OK?
Is it OK to steal the 3rd base coaches signals in Little League? Of course it is! But you have to do it so that the other coach does not know that you are doing it! Or at least the entire stadium doesn’t know!
When the entire team looks at the third base coach , the entire bench, and the entire coaching staff. Then when you are done giving the signals everyone yells "bunt", that is pretty much a dead giveaway! You are blatantly stealing signals at that point!
If you do this in the older age brackets, someone is going headhunting. This is not right, but it is reality. The savvy player will take his beaning and march to first base, knowing he has been busted. The novice is likely to get upset and cause a scene.
That’s the problem with the younger brackets. Unscrupulous coaches can get away with stealing signals because their is no recourse for doing it. Likewise, the signals are simpler and therefore much easier to steal!
What’s a better way to do this? How about not using the information except in key situations or not at all. The fact is, if you steal my signals, I will begin a complicated signal rotation that is simple for the kids to understand, but impossible for you to steal. You are done at that point, advantage me, you have "showed your hand" and lost the war for the sake of winning one little battle.
What is the best way to accomplish this? First you should simply change the indicator. You are using an indicator right? What is an indicator? It is an "on" switch given just prior to the actual signal. Let’s say that the brim of the cap is the bunt sign, it means nothing unless you tap the indicator first and turn it on. Say the indicator is the thigh. Then, thigh-cap would mean bunt, cap alone, would mean nothing.
Now let’s say I know the other team has picked up my signals. All I have to do is change the indicator and they no longer know them. If they pick this up, and there is a chance they will, I can change the indicator every inning, or each batter can have their own indicators. The signal giver always holds the upper hand, not the signal stealer.
Play the Stupid Game
So why are you stealing signs? Just play the stupid game! IF you are a savvy manager , you will know what the other manager is doing before he does it anyway! Knowing what he is going to do takes the fun out of it! Most of the fun of managing is the chess match that occurs between the managers, how fun would chess be if you knew what you opponents next move would be?
Do you steal signals? What is your opinion on this?
There are not enough kudos to send out to the Little League Mom. She sometimes works all day, runs home and gets dinner on the table, gets the kids to their games an hour early for batting practice and cheers as if she isn’t tired all night long.
Uniform coordination, coaching assistance, team mom, party organizer, domestic planner, they are often the unseen heroes, and sometimes on the front line. They tirelessly work concessions, console strike out victims, provide first aid for skinned knees and bruises, and offer encouragement in the face of discouragement.
A true Little League mom knows the difference between and injury and a little pain from getting beaned. "Get down there", "Get over it", is often heard from the stands, but the same voice consoles truly upset Little Leaguers.
I know at my house my Little League mom has 4 uniforms, 3 coaching shirts, and 3 practice shirts to keep track of. She has to make sure umpiring clothes and jock straps are laundered and ready to provide protection! Socks, belts, pants, underarmour, cleats, bat bags, hats, everything ready to go. Dinner ready at 5, coach in and out in five minutes at 5:15. It is a mad rush at our house every night. Snack bar duty, snack night for the kids, birthday parties to plan, attend and buy for, school events to keep track of, grades to keep up with, homework to manage, showers and in bed late every night, and up early the next morning to do it all over again!
Wow, I had a glimpse at her job today as I helped w/ everything I usually don’t attend too. An SHE CAN HAVE IT! I have no idea how she does it, I am only thankful she is so good at it!
Thank you to My Little League Wife and All of the Little League Moms and Wives around the world! You are the true driving force behind our success.
Anyone know a great Little League Mom? Give her props here!
One of fields we travel to has one of my favorite signs in the whole world posted on each field. No it’s not "do not hit ball into fence" or "no pepper". It is:
IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU SEE ON THE FIELD THEN VOLUNTEER
As you sit in the stands for hours on end, you read this sign at least a thousand times. How true is that? It is amazing how much people are willing to complain, yet they never step up to actually volunteer themselves.
Most of the complaints are lodged at umpires, though many complain about coaches as well. But the most under appreciated group of volunteers is the umpires. Did he say volunteers? Yes VOLUNTEERS!
EVERY UMPIRE ON A LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD IS (or is supposed to be anyway) A VOLUNTEER!
Can you imagine treating a hurricane relief volunteer passing out ice in 95 degree temperature the same as some treat Little League Volunteer Umpires? What makes them different? If umpires blow EVERY call, it still didn’t cause anyone to win or lose, and besides WHO CARES! It is not about winning and losing is it?
I have become very intolerant of anyone criticizing an umpire . When we have so many umpires lining up to volunteer that we have to turn them away, then we can criticize, for now, my only comment for an umpire is:
THANK YOU BLUE!
Do you have any great volunteer umpire stories? Please submit them here so we can recognize their thankless efforts!