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Draft Day

Thursday night was the draft for the Timbergrove Little League, so barring anyone coming or going, the rosters are now set. Quite a bit happened that night, starting with the fact that I am no longer the head coach of the Twins. I am now an assistant coach. I’ll explain that in a minute.

The draft started off with all of the coaches for each respective division gathering together. The league president went over all of the administrative tasks – team sponsorships, deposits for equipment bags, practice fields, candy sales, and so on – then explained the rules for the draft. Basically, each team started with a certain number of players who were guaranteed to be on their teams. They are coaches’ children, and players who were on that team the previous year and wanted to return to it. Some players expressed a desire to be on a certain team or to be on the same team with certain other players, and we were to try to accomodate them within reason.

The teams with the fewest players would pick until each team had the same number, then the draft proceeded with rounds alternating in worst-to-first and first-to-worst order. The Twins had the fewest players to start with and finished in last place, so the draft was a chance to rebuild.

After all of the preliminaries, the six coaches in the Mustang Division realized that there were only 55 players total, meaning nine players per team. That wasn’t gong to work, since every kid misses a game here and there, so we decided to combine two teams. There were two teams that had one player each – the Twins, who had a single returnee from last year, and a new team, the Giants, who had the coach’s son. That coach and I volunteered to join forces, with the new team keeping the Twins name. Since he has a son playing, we agreed that he’d be the head coach. So now you can just call me Assistant Coach.

The draft went spectacularly well for the Twins. Every other team had between three and six players to start out, and they all had certain kids that they had to take to satisfy various requests. We had no such constraints and were able to pick off several of the more talented kids that we’d seen last Saturday.

The kid we picked first was one of my guys from last year, who had originally indicated that he wanted to be on a different team. Fortunately, when I spoke to him and his mother on Saturday, they both said they’d be okay with having me as his coach again. The other coaches were also okay with that. Even better, he and another good player had asked to play together, so we wound up with both of them. We picked up two other standouts during the catchup rounds, and by the end of the evening felt like we were loaded for bear.

The thing that I liked about the draft the most, though, was actually getting to know my colleagues a bit. Coming in last year with an already-formed team, I was never really acquainted with the other coaches. Now I feel like I’m on more equal footing with everyone else.

As for my “demotion”, I’m happy to be relieved of some tasks that I didn’t have to face last year due to my last-minute status, such as arranging for a team sponsor. With the baby due in May, which is season’s end, I knew I’d need someone else to help me out anyway, so this works out just fine. But I admit that a part of me already misses being the guy in charge. I’m going to need to keep my instinct to take command in check.

Practices should start this week, probably Tuesday. I’m ready to get started.

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2 Comments

  1. William Hughes says:

    Chuck,

    Look at it this way, you get to be Don Zimmer instead of Joe Torre. Don, after all, was voted New York’s Best Sports Personality last year by Daily News readers.

    As for the baby’s arrival coming at the end of the season, it could be worse. When my sister-in-law had her baby shower, she was unable to attend since she was giving birth to my nephew.

  2. Frankenstein says:

    Yeah, but does being Don Zimmer mean that Chuck will be required to wrassle with the opposing team’s starting pitcher if there’s a fight?