Monday, September 19, 2005

I am really proud of Jack. He is really enjoying baseball. He had a game on Saturday that felt like a roller coaster. He hit what looked like a home run, but because the ball finally rolled into the street, they said it was only a double. But as you know, we play that if you hit the ball from the porch and goes into Calvert Street, then it is a home run. Too bad the rules change a half a block away.

Joe and I played together on the side of the field. He kept hitting the ball to me. He can also throw really well. Look out for him. He is more of a natural athlete, like you, and Jack is more like me -- which means he has to try a lot harder. That is why I am so proud of him. He is trying really hard.

-----Original Message-----
From: David Monroe []
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2005 1:47 PM
To: Jack Goldberg

Once upon a time, there was a little league baseball team. When they were good, they were very good. But when they were bad . . . well, I’m sure you get the idea.

The Orioles must have felt like they were living in a fairy tale on Saturday. Like Cinderella at the Ball, the Orioles waltzed though the first five innings on glass slippers, enjoying a 9-4 lead based on timely hitting and several nice defensive plays. But like Snow White, the Orioles couldn’t resist tasting the apple of complacency. By the time they awoke from their slumber, the clock had long since chimed midnight, their victory carriage had turned into a pumpkin, and the Orioles were feeling very Grimm indeed.

Both teams struggled to score until the Orioles struck for three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophia broke out of an 0-3 slump in a big way by smacking a solo home run to open the inning. Jack Goldberg followed with a single, and scored on Eva Monroe’s double. Unfortunately, Eva was tagged out in a rather bizarre play resulting from a miscommunication with the coaching staff. All the more unfortunate, since Evan Hamlin followed with another home run.

Although the Orioles gave up four runs in the top of the fourth inning, they batted around in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six more runs and extending their lead to 9-4. Harris Rothman started the rally with a home run. Consecutive singles by Ian Ludwig, Benji Satloff, and Jack Price followed an Ari Moskowitz double. Sophia Abshire then belted a double up the middle, and came around to score on Jack Goldberg’s ground-rule double (which would have been a home run had it not gone out of play). Eva Monroe and Evan Hamlin singled to finish out the inning.

After a scoreless fifth inning, the Orioles seemed confident of victory, with a 9-4 lead and the bottom of the Pirate order coming up. Perhaps too confident . . . Before the Orioles could finish counting their proverbial chickens, the Pirates mounted a furious rally. Sprinkling a few well-hit balls amidst a series of Oriole misadventures, the Pirates pushed across seven runs to turn a 9-4 deficit into an 11-9 advantage. The stunned Orioles could not answer in the bottom of the sixth, and the game was lost.

The Orioles were obviously not short of offense – Sophia, Jack G., Evan and Eva were all perfect at the plate. Ian, Ari and Harris also had multi-hit games. Although base running errors cost the Orioles a couple of runs, the real story was the Orioles defense, or lack thereof. There were, to be sure, some great defensive plays. Ian’s short-hop, unassisted putout at second comes to mind. Evan’s swipe tag on a runner trying to take second base was another nice play (by the way, nice throw Harris!). David Lane was, as usual, making plays all over the field. (By the way, we all know David is one tough kid, but seriously, we will have to talk about the practice of using one’s face to stop the ball, a technique I understand is not recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists). But on the whole, the Orioles failed to play the kind of heads-up defense they are capable of playing. And we should not forget to give credit where it is due -- the Pirates, played hard and made the plays when it counted. They deserved to win.

The Orioles do know how to catch, or at least stop, the ball. They do know how to stop the runners. They know what a cut-off person is, and why it is important to throw the ball to the cutoff. They know how to play together as a team and to help each other out. What they have to learn is that you have to do all those things for the entire game. While it may be true, as a great philosopher once said, that two out of three ain’t bad, it is an unfortunate truth that (at least in baseball) five out six ain’t good.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. [INSERT YOUR OWN CLICHÉ HERE.] We have much to practice, and so we shall, on Thursday at 5:00 p.m., Stoddert Field.

The stats for the first two games are attached.

Your humble(d) coach,

David Monroe
AA Orioles

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