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Feel bad about running up score, your thoughts...

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  • Feel bad about running up score, your thoughts...

    Age group: Little League 9-10 y/o

    We played last night against a team we were very confident in beating. We had already played a game on Friday and Saturday and my pitching was just about spent. I had one average pitcher, one good pitcher and two poor pitchers available.

    My plan going into the game was this: Start the average pitcher, get a comfortable lead (no less than 9-10 runs), then pull him and throw my poor pitchers to get them some game time experience and get over the first pitching jitters. Let them see no more than 4-5 batters each. Let the other team come up in runs a bit and then close it out with our good pitcher.

    Well, it didn't go exactly as planned. My average pitcher ended up allowing three runs and we only scored 6 in the first three innings. The average picther met his pitch coulnt regulation and I decided to put in my good pitcher to just close it out since we only were going to play until the 4th inning (due to time). In the third we scored a bit more and it was 13-5. The fourth inning was an opening and I decided to just run with it so that I could still get a cushion for my poor pitchers. We ended up scoring 16 total and then in the bottom of the 4th I put in my poor pitcher. It went as I expected it to and the other team came up to 10 runs by the time it was all over.

    I know their side was upset saying we ran up the score and the coaches didn't even look at me or my staff when it was time to shake hands. They just stuck their hands out and walked by. I suppose I kind of expected it, but it made me feel that I did something wrong.

    I saw the coach after the game and explained to him that my intention was not to "run up the score" but to get a cushion so that my poor pitchers could get some work in and still have a chance to win the game. He was clearly upset with me and basically said that it was over and done with and that he apologized to his team and parents for what happened and that they just need to move on. It was obvious that he didn't accept my justification.

    So now I sit here thinking that I did something wrong when I really believe that it was good strategy so that I could get my lesser players more experience.

    I know that there are those of you on these boards that are very competetive and may see no problem with this and others that say its 9-10 year olds and that winning shouldn't matter. I'd like to hear from everyone so I can figure out if I am in the wrong.

    In the end, I agree we are dealing with 9-10 year olds, but by the structure of the league (with playoffs and TOCs) we are competetive. One of our goals for the team is to make it to playoffs and TOCs. Is this taking the fun out of the game?

    Am I a jerk???

  • #2
    Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
    Am I a jerk???
    Maybe, but I don't think you ran up the score. ;-)

    16-10 is not running up the score. 26-5 is running up the score.

    I understand your position in trying to create some space for your lesser pitchers. My kids once blew a 13 point lead (pitching melt-down).

    In our rec league we put in 7 run limits so as to help manage this.
    Last edited by Chris O'Leary; 04-01-2008, 09:24 AM.
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

    I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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    • #3
      What was the final score?
      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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      • #4
        Final score was 16-10.

        We have a 5 run max for each inning. It becomes an open inning after 1hr 45min (at this time we are given just one more inning as well). Usually this inidcates the 4th inning. We were visitors and had gotten to 16 by the top of the 4th. I put my lesser pitchers in at this time as well.

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        • #5
          It looks like the final score was 16-10? And 16-5 at the worst....and they were mad at you for running up the score? They've obviously never been on the receiving side of a real beating

          Too bad it wasn't softball, you could have just put in your lesser experienced pitcher and if it got close, brought your starter back in to finish the game

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          • #6
            If 16 runs is running up the score, then I wonder what those coaches would think about my first LL season (a few decades ago), when my team won 44-0 and 56-9?

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            • #7
              You can't tell your kids to quit hitting, quit making plays on the other team, and just roll over "to keep things even." To me, running up the score is stealing (with or without a passed ball), bunting, etc all with a large lead to just show up the other team. At that age group, we used to put the brakes on with a 10 run lead. Plus, you have a responsibility to your kids/parents also.

              With 9/10 year olds, no lead is safe I think you did just fine - as coaches of this age group, we just need to instill in our players respect for the game and the other team, win or lose.

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              • #8
                If you were confident you could score runs you could have put in your weaker pitchers first to make it a ballgame then close it out strong, but hind site is always 20/20?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post

                  Am I a jerk???

                  No...

                  I'm assuming when you say Little League 9-10, you are talking about a "Rec" league and not travel.

                  How can you be a jerk when you played the game within the "rules"?

                  I know that many younger divisions in "Rec" leagues have an 8-10 run per inning rule, but it doesn't sound like that's the case in your league. What did the other team want you to do - choose kids and make them bunt back to pitcher to make outs. That doesn't solve anything either.

                  I agree that its not all about winning at the younger ages, but I don't know where the happy medium is. Sports are inherently competitive, but its sometimes tough to juggle the fragile psyches of 9-year olds, not too mention their parents who tend to be either "win at all costs" parents or "baseball is a GAME and should be fun" parents.

                  Either way, the one thing I do worry about sometimes in the younger divisions of baseball is the "slaughter" innings. There is nothing worse than being in the field for a 16-run inning. I believe that is where you can lose some kids who give up playing baseball. I KNOW I'M GOING TO SOUND LIKE AN OLD FART, but... In today's faster-paced, videogaming, instant messaging world that our kids grow up in; they don't have the patience for half-hour half innings where double digit runs cross the plate.

                  As you realized after the game, there is no perfect answer. You thought you were doing something that would help your team in the future, and at the same time not demoralize the other team. Besides, the score seems like it was something like 22-13, which seems typical for a Little League game.

                  Just my $.02


                  Twitch5

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                  • #10
                    Sorry I thought I read that you 16-runned them in one half inning, and I was replying at the same time you replied with a 5-run max.

                    Either way, I think 16-10 is NOT running up the score. Sounds like you got a 6-run cushion to take the pressure off your inexperienced pitchers who knew they could only give up 5 runs.

                    Twitch5

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                    • #11
                      I've seen some real horrible stuff in my day, overly-competitive daddyballers compensating for their own insecurities, and I detest it.

                      What you did was nothing of the sort. You owe it to better kids who take the game seriously to compete, and you owe it to the less talented kids to give them (at least nearly) equal playing time. The trick is finding the balance.

                      As adults, we can sit back a realize that in games among 9-10 years olds winning doesn't matter. You want to teach, and nurture an understanding and connection to the game. You don't want to alienate your weaker players by not giving them opportunities. Plus, kids develop at different rates, so it's possible to drive a kid who could be a quality ballplayer out of the game at a very early age because he was a slow-developer and not given his chance. At the same time, you don't want your more talented kids to lose respect for your drive to see them win and perform. I think you walked the line pretty well - sometimes it works better than others.

                      16-10 is not drubbing, by any means. It's probably par for the course for a fairly managed game when there's a talent disparity between two young teams.

                      At the end of the day, your success is determined by the fun your kids have - the talented and weaker ones. Winning isn't a panacea because it's no fun if everybody isn't participating. Your success will show in the retention rate - how many of these kids come back next year. I'm pretty sensitive to rubbing it in - if another coach feels that 16-10 was rubbing it in - perhaps he's TOO sensitive.
                      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

                      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post

                        I saw the coach after the game and explained to him that my intention was not to "run up the score" but to get a cushion so that my poor pitchers could get some work in and still have a chance to win the game. He was clearly upset with me and basically said that it was over and done with and that he apologized to his team and parents for what happened and that they just need to move on. It was obvious that he didn't accept my justification.
                        You told the coach that your intention was to pitch your "poor pitchers" against him.

                        Way to rub it in his face.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone. It definitely makes me feel that I did in fact do the right thing.

                          I didn't feel like I was running up the score until the coach was mad after the game. We did not but at all or take chances stealing. We only stole bases on pass balls and scored on pass balls or hits. There were three times when we had men on first and third and had the runner at first go. They threw down to second and I would send my runner home. I guess the other team saw this as rubbing it in. I dont know. At least I feel better now, after hearing from all of you.

                          I have a feeling that part of it is that the team we played has not been doing well. They have lost 3 out of 4 games. Maybe they just had enough and needed to take it out on my team. I dont know.

                          Another thing - They were home team and had the last at-bats. We walked several runners and our catcher was letting balls passed in every now and then, yet they never took a chance to score. Me and my staff was very surprised that they did not take advantage of this. They played it very conservatively considering they were down several runs and it was their last chance.

                          I'm beginning to think that they just had a chip on their shoulders for not doing well.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FiveFrameSwing View Post
                            You told the coach that your intention was to pitch your "poor pitchers" against him.

                            Way to rub it in his face.
                            Ok, well now I feel like a jerk again. Thanks

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post

                              Another thing - They were home team and had the last at-bats. We walked several runners and our catcher was letting balls passed in every now and then, yet they never took a chance to score. Me and my staff was very surprised that they did not take advantage of this. They played it very conservatively considering they were down several runs and it was their last chance.
                              Why would they take a chance when the tying run is still in the dugout?

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