Growing up in San Bruno in the 1960s, we played baseball with wood bats and metal spikes and sometimes wore sleeveless uniforms reminiscent of the old Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds (think Bill Mazeroski and Vada Pinson).
It wasn’t mandatory for parents to attend our games like it seems to be now, but when they did they yelled things like “keep your eye on the ball” and “it only takes one.’ It was just noise to us.
In 2017, parents and other fans are much more involved and utter a variety of things from the stands. As a public service, I’m going to translate them. Here it goes:
“Roll it up”: You hear this every time a runner reaches first base with fewer than two outs. In the old days, people screamed, “Turn two.” They both mean “get a double play,” but it rarely happens.
“Win the battle”: I heard this so many times at the Selma vs. Immanuel baseball game last month that I thought I was at Gettysburg. It means to make contact for a change and stop embarrassing the heck out of your folks who doled out all that money for travel teams and private hitting coaches.
“Nobody hurt”: We just made another error and are in a terrible fix, but we’re in denial.
“You got this”: Oops, that’s a softball utterance. Next …
“Nobody better”: Despite the fact you, dear Junior, are batting ninth and hitting .125 and haven’t driven in a run since fall league, there is nobody on our team we’d rather have at the plate now. That includes cleanup hitter Moose, who is batting .650 and swings a bat named “Wonder Boy” crafted from the wood of tree hit by lightning.
“Trade places with him”: Yes, Junior is hitting .125 and gets his only doubles at the Rite Aid ice cream counter, but we’d like him to magically hit a two-bagger and trade places with Moose at second base.
"Find a way": I don't know, should Junior wiggle his nose and slug one out of the park, cast a spell on the pitcher and have him throw four wide ones or take a fastball off the coconut? The options are his.
"It's all you": No idea what this means. Maybe it's just me.
“You’re due”: A particularly mindless exhortation that relates to a batter’s recent failures, I’ve been waiting for years for a youngster to retort “You’re due to say something intelligent!”
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
It’s happened again. In a recent column, I mentioned a highly successful girls basketball coach back east who resigned because she couldn’t deal with the parents. Now, a Michigan boys coach has packed it in for the same reason.
Clayton Castor, who was named the best coach in the state for his classification for his work at Gladstone High, has had his fill of meddlesome parental units.
“The reason I am resigning is because of parents,” Castor told the Daily Press newspaper. “I don’t want to deal with them. The last five years I have coached at Gladstone I have given it my life. My time could have been spent doing other things.”
What a shame. Parents, if you see a coach from Selma or Kingsburg high schools around town and you don’t have an axe to grind, tell them you appreciate their work, performed no doubt for a relative pittance.
Twenty-eight years ago on April 27, former San Francisco Giants left-fielder Kevin Mitchell caught a fly ball with his bare hand while racing back to the fence. It “only takes one,” as fans used to say.