Home Training, that’s what they call it down here I think, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s basically another way to describe all of the things parents teach their kids about how to act when they leave the house and enter someone else’s abode. On the ballfield, it refers to the things that parents and coaches ought to be teaching their players from the time they are little about what they should be doing when they walk on to anyone else’s field.
After hosting a tournament this past week, I noticed that many of the players lacked a certain level of “Home Training”, so I was inspired to post a small compilation of what players should and shouldn’t do when they go on the road.
1. Don’t park in an area that is not a parking lot unless there is no parking lot… You wouldn’t go to someone else’s house and park on their lawn because their driveway is a little further from the front door.
2. If you see astro turf in a batting cage, don’t wear spikes while you’re hitting in it. No one has to tell you not to strap your spikes on to take dry swings in your living room, why would you do it on someone else’s carpet. That stuff is expensive, and yes, you can put holes in it.
3. Don’t play pepper, hit fungos, play catch, or take dry swings on the grass anywhere except in the outfield. I realize that grass grows back, but coaches spend a lot of time making sure theirs doesn’t need to…. Take all of your turf destroying activities to the outfield or the warning track.
4. When you arrive, don’t walk across the field to get to your dugout. Walk around the warning track or at least around the back of home plate. This isn’t a huge deal, but you probably aren’t gonna go stomping across the lawn because you’re too lazy to use the walkway, so why do it at the park?
5. NEVER hit balls into a chain link fence. You may as well grab an axe and start hacking the damned thing down. If there isn’t a net, guess what? DON’T HIT. I promise, those 20 side tosses aren’t making that big a difference anyway.
6. Trash cans should be used. You’d be pissed if someone walked into your bedroom and threw a half eaten sandwich, an empty bottle, and a cup full of spit on the floor.
7. If you have to open a gate to walk through it, close it behind you.
8. You never know who is watching and how long their memory is, so act like you have some class, wear your uniform properly, and don’t show your ass if things don’t go too well. You might be ruining an opportunity before you ever know you had it.
I could probably list about 60 more items, and I think I’ll work on a general “unwritten rules” post here pretty soon, but this is it for tonight’s ramblings. By the way, the Columbus Woodbats, my summer woodbat team, is off to a great start. Our current record is 6-1, and we’ll take our show on the road next week or two as we kick off a long road trip this Tuesday.