Last night, I got to watch a T-ball game for the first time…
A few days ago, my friend, Hilary, was expressing some parental frustration* that her son’s three-inning T-ball game could go for 1 hr 45 min. I think that you parents know what I mean by ‘parental frustration’. It’s that feeling of “this is crazy, but I love it because of the children, and I’ll love it even more in a few years when I can look back at it and laugh”.** And my response (which can only be explained by noting that I’m a parent without my children right now) was to ask whether I could come see a game, ’cause I thought it would be fun. She assured me that I was welcome, but wasn’t sure if I was being sarcastic or not.
* My interpretation of her Facebook post.
** Children’s holiday music concerts also inspire this feeling.
So last night, I went right to the T-ball game after work. I knew that I was in for a treat from the moment I arrived. Here are the highlights that I can remember…
- When I arrived, one team was practicing its fielding. Immediately it was evident why you might expect a three inning game to last for a while.
- Clearly, some of these players are trying to imitate the professionals. There was one boy who had a long, elaborate, and convoluted windup every time that he threw the ball. And then the ball went six feet.
- T-ball rules are a bit different. I found this out in the top of the first inning when the second batter came up with a runner on first. He grounded directly to the second base area. I couldn’t be sure, but it seemed like someone tagged second before throwing to first. And yet the runners stayed on their respective bases. So here are the main rules that I can remember:
- Every player bats.
- Every batter gets a single, except the last one.
- The last batter gets a home run and clears the bases.
- Nobody gets out.
- Lots of runs are scored, but none of them are counted.
- Everybody wins or nobody wins, depending on how you look at it.
- Oh… and there are no balks. 🙂
- There is an incentive for players to arrive close to the start time: they bat in the order they arrive. So the last one to arrive gets to hit the home runs.
- The pitcher does quite a bit of fielding, since the hits often don’t go very far.
- But when the hits get past the pitcher, you can have a whole crowd of T-ball players swarm the baseball. It’s like they have baseball radar on…
- Except for the ones playing with the dirt. I looked out once while a batter was taking his swing, and counted four different boys (including the runner on second) playing with handfuls of dirt from the field.
- The parents are coaches, of course. There were nearly as many coaches on the field as there were players.
- Some of the coaches may or may not have been eating their supper while coaching.
- The coaches help both teams.
- I was a bit annoyed by one coach who was a bit more “instructive” with his kid than he was with other kids. (Parents – if you are acting as an adviser to a group of children and your child happens to be a part of the group, please don’t treat your child differently. Save the parenting for home.)
- When the game is over, the players are treated to a sugar high.
So – I had a great time, and I’m pretty sure that this game didn’t last as long as the last. Thanks, Hilary and Jason for the fun (and the supper)!