Leave it to adults to ruin things.
Every couple of months, you hear a story about a coach or a parent finding a way to take the fun out of what is supposed to be a fun game.
The most recent that I’ve heard about came last month during the Minnesota College Athletic Conference state softball tournament, a junior college game that featured Rochester Community and Technical College against Central Lakes College. An account was featured in this week’s ESPN The Magazine by columnist Rick Reilly.
Central Lakes had a no-hitter through seven, and a Central Lakes batter homered in the bottom of the inning. As the batter rounded third, she was congratulated by some of her teammates, but when she crossed home plate, the other team started screaming that the batter was out. The Rochester coach appealed to the umpire, noting that a batter or baserunner legally running the bases cannot be touched. The batter was called out, and Rochester went on to win the game.
I have seen the rule enforced two other times in my life, both involving softball games I played in. In the first instance, a baserunner overslid third base, slid into the feet of the third base coach and was called out, ending the game and our season. In the other, the third base coach, not knowing the contact rule, helped a runner up while the ball was in play, and the runner was called out.
In this case, though, no advantage was gained by giving the batter a high-five as she rounded the bases. It was just the efforts of a coach whose team could not gain an advantage otherwise using an obscure rule to her credit.
To no surprise, that coach has not returned a lot of phone calls lately, though she did tell the Minnapolis Star Tribune, “You don’t want to win in that way, but you have to play by the rules.”
I am all for playing by the rules and have no qualms about pounding on people who don’t play by them, like people who use illegal bats and bring in ringers to play in a charity softball tournament. But if you’re a coach who’d rather look for loopholes than spend that time preparing your team, you deserve all the negative attention you get, and then some.
Speaking Of Kids Having Fun …
There are a lot of young people in town this weekend for various events, from the Daryl Bernard Wood Bat Tournament at Riverside Field, to the Yankton Soccer Invitational at Lewis & Clark Soccer Complex and Memorial Park, to the Yankton Girls’ Softball Invitational.
All three of these events bring a ton of teams into town, and give opportunities for our Yankton kids to participate as well. If you’re in town for one of these events, we welcome you and hope you have an enjoyable weekend. Be sure to have a little fun and let the kids have some fun as well.
As I have been occasionally noting, the Press & Dakotan is preparing to change our look shortly after we begin running on the soon-to-be completed new press. As we do this, we also want to look at what we bring our readers, so as to better fulfill your needs.
If you have a comment about what you want to see in the new-look paper, feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.