THE WINNING PITCH-February, 2000

Sometimes baseball coaches spend so much time trying to keep their players focused that they forget to have a little fun. My column today is a collection of "little things" that you may work into your life as a coach. I'll not take any credit for thinking most of these up. Like all great baseball coaches, I stole them from someone else. I offer my apology for not giving them credit by name. However, I have been collecting these over two decades and I never bothered to record the author.

Have you ever tried to find a way to let your athletes know they are acting stupid while at the same time protect your job from an angry parent. Try one of these:

A few clowns short of a circus.
A few fries short of a happy meal.
An experiment in artificial stupidity.
Dumber than a hair box.
A few peas short of a casserole.
Doesn't have all his cornflakes in one box,
The wheel's spinning, but the hamster is dead.
One Fruit Loop short of a full bowl.
A few feathers short of a whole duck.
The cheese slid off his cracker.
Doesn't have all his dogs on one leash.
Doesn't know much, but leads the league in nostril hair.
Forgot to pay his brain bill.
His antenna doesn't pick up all the channels.
His belt doesn't go through all the loops.
If he had another brain, it would be lonely.
Missing a few buttons on his remote control.
No grain in the silo.
Proof that evolution can go in reverse.
Receiver is off the hook.
Several nuts short of a full pouch.
Slinky's kinked.
Too much yardage between the goals posts.

Try memorizing some the following answers so you are totally prepared for
the dumb things your players say.

Coach when do I go in the game?
How about never? Is never good for you?

Coach, how come I'm always in trouble.
I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

Coach, why are you ignoring me?
I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

Coach, why don't you like me?
I do like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid. Or,
I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter. Or,
I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.

Coach, how come I'm not in the starting line up anymore?
I'll always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

Coach, I'm ready to play.
You sound reasonable. It must be time to up my medication.

During your team meetings try a few of these to lighten things up.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.
When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool.
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I almost had a psychic girlfriend, but she left me before we met.
He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
Support bacteria, they're the only culture some people have.
The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
You have the right to remain silent, please consider it.

The difference between baseball and softball:

If you see the pitcher warming up with a catcher in the bullpen, it's baseball. If you see the pitcher warming up with a babe in his Chevy Blazer, it's softball. If the third base coach signals the runner to go home, it's baseball. If the third base coach signals his wife to bring him more nachos, it's softball. If, after the game, a crew must convert the field into a football stadium, it's baseball. If, after the game, a guy must convert the field into a flea market, it's softball. If, when it starts to get dark, some of the fans get into their cars to leave, it's baseball. If, when it starts to get dark, some of the fans line up their cars along the back fence to light the field, it's softball. If a buxom girl runs onto the filed to kiss one of the players, it's baseball. If the buxom girl runs onto the field to play shortstop, it's softball. If the best seat in the house is the team owner's luxury box, it's baseball. If the best seat in the house is the Winnebego owner's lounge chairs he put on the roof, it's softball. If the average player takes in over a million dollars a year, it's baseball. If the average player takes in over a million calories per game, it's softball. If the pitcher's Earned Run Average is 3.50. it's baseball. If the pitcher's blood alcohol level is 3.50, it's softball. If the manager is an older gentleman with a pot belly, it's baseball. If the entire team is made up of older gentlemen with pot bellies, it's softball.

At this point I felt I should explain that the softball bit is primarily aimed at slow-pitch softball and not the great athletes who play fast pitch at high school and college. However, I changed my mind. Title IX will guarantee them the editorial space to write their own article.

Remember when the season is in the toilet, your job is in jeopardy, parents are hanging your likeness in effigy and it feels like you're at Death's door; ring the doorbell and run. He hates that.

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