Baseball fans love springtime. As a mother of 10, I’ve become a somewhat permanent fixture on bleachers and inside dugouts over the past 25 years. There’s nothing like a warm spring evening at the ballpark; unless you live in Pennsylvania, in which case, the word, “warm” would most likely be changed to “sub-freezing” on most nights. (There’s a joke in these parts as to the response one gives if someone asks about the weather. A typical PA reply during springtime might be: “It’s freezing, warm, sunny, rainy, foggy, nice and awful.” One can never predict climate a ballpark; thus, we old-timers know to be prepared for any possibility!)
Alas, I diverge. The real point of this article is to mention a new trend I have noticed among coaching staff members in various leagues throughout the Tri-state area. Let’s put it this way: If a player has to ask his mother if the man standing next to third base is actually a coach, then there might be a problem, right?
Why would a baseball player have to inquire as to the official identity of a third base coach? I mean, said-person is typically a grown man. He is on the field, and waving his arms above his head, yelling for runners to steal the base. Seems like a no-brainer; at least, until you actually see this person.
It appears not all coaches dress like coaches, nowadays. You know the garb: team hat, team shirt, maybe even some adult-sized baseball pants and cleats. Often, the back of a coach’s traditional-style shirt will say, “coach” or simply, “staff,” which makes identification rather easy.
Therein lies the problem. More and more coaches are showing up for games wearing cowboy boots, John Deere jackets, or (as was the case at a recent game) Nike slides! (A quick use of Google will conjure up all sorts of sample images, if you are not familiar with this type of not-usually-what-one-imagines-a-baseball-coach-wearing footwear.)
How on earth does one coach an officially scheduled season game while wearing
Nike slides? In this particular league, the kids do their own pitching; but, once four balls have been called by the ump, the coach steps onto the mound to throw three additional pitches to the batter.
The looks on the kids’ faces as this “coach” slid and slunk his way through the dust of the infield, onto the mound (while wearing athletic-labeled sandals that suggested he was preparing to chillax on a beach chair somewhere rather than throw a few fast balls) were priceless!
It’s no wonder players must seek confirmation as to whether an arm-waving-screaming man by third base is an actual-factual coach when he is donned in an eclectic ensemble of yuppie-tourist-travel attire, rather than anything that even-so-much as remotely resembles something a baseball coach might wear.
And, believe me. That irony is not lost on witty nine and 10-year-olds when those same coaches insist players tuck in their uniform shirts, straighten their hats and “look like a ball team!”
Reminds me of all those funny memes on Facebook where old Italian fathers are yelling at their kids, “Do what I say, not what I do!”
I often wonder if these guys might change their baseball fashion/coaching clothes preferences if a few line drives up the third base line should crack them in their Nike-slide-wearing ankles.
A pair of actual cleats…or, at least, shoes might then begin to have some appeal. Don’t you think?
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.