I never thought that I would see the day

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 23, 2019

Being a sports fan for about all my life, I have watched everything from T-ball, Little League, Babe Ruth, high school, college, and professional baseball either from the dugout or the sideline and I have seen a lot of different things during that time.
I remember everything that my grandfather taught me about the game as well as my Little League coach, Howard Gardner, and those are lessons that I will never forget.
They were so valuable that I even transferred those same lessons to my son and the teams that I had the opportunity to coach during my days coaching Little League and Babe Ruth.
I think that in the world today that professional athletes have been sending the wrong messages to our young people who watch these over-paid athletes sometimes do things the wrong way.
There was never a time that I allowed a player to back talk me or cause a scene in front of the team yet today we see these grown men and even women throw some of the worst temper tantrums that I have ever witnessed even coming from a child.
They are at times lazy and if things don’t go the way they expect, they only give a half-hearted effort to do things the way they should be done.
Most know that I am a big Atlanta Braves fan and recently in a game, I actually witnessed something that I wanted to give a standing ovation to head coach Brian Snitker for having the intestinal fortitude to do especially with one of the up and coming superstars of the game.
Ronald Acuna Jr., the star slugging outfielder for the Braves, was batting and as most know he is having a phenomenal season currently has 152 hits, 35 home runs, and 85 runs batted in as well as 29 stolen bases.
Acuna Jr. is known to stand at home plate when he hits a ball that is leaving the ballpark and admire his hit. But on this particular day, Acuna Jr. misread a hit that looked like another round-tripper to hit off the wall resulting in a single that could have been easily a double or possibly a triple with his speed.
When he came back in after the half-inning, Snitker promptly pulled the star outfielder and benched him for not doing what he should have and that was ran when he hit the ball.
The two went into the hallway heading to the locker and Snitker explained why he was being pulled and even more to my amazement Acuna Jr. agreed with the actions of his coach.
Snitker later said that the name across the front of the jersey was more important than the name on the back because the name on the front represented the team.
When I read the comments, I can almost hear my grandfather and Little League coach reiterated exactly what Snitker relayed to this professional ballplayer who is making millions of dollars to play the game.
Those words were, “Ivan when you hit the ball, you don’t worry about where it is going. You just focus on running the bases and listening to your coaches as you run.”
That was what I instilled in my players when I coached and I am glad that some coaches at the professional level still have the guts to stand up to these multi-millionaire players and send out the message that the basics are still the basics.
I didn’t think I would ever see it but I did and I must say that I loved it. Stay on them Coach Snitker- we might just get somewhere this year.

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