March 23, 2009
The thought of writing this blog after a humiliating sweep at the hands of West Virginia here in Storrs is about as attractive a prospect as rehashing the weekend over a candlelight dinner with Mountaineers skipper, Greg Van Zant. However, duty calls, and just like I hope our players are working to "get right" and back to basics, I have to put together a few cogent thoughts on where we are and where we're going.
Where we are is easy. Right now, we're a group of talented baseball players and coaches performing poorly as a team. There isn't a guy in our program that thought we'd be 7-10 at this point of the season. This team has worked very hard and prepared for the season better than any team I can recall, and yet, that record is indeed representative of how we've played. We had chances to win all three games this weekend. We were tied in the ninth on Friday and lost. We were ahead 2-1 in the seventh on Saturday and lost 12-2. We held a 4-1 lead in the fifth and 4-3 lead in the seventh on Sunday and managed to lose 7-4. In each game, we failed to take full advantage of mistakes our opponent made and our opponent didn't miss many opportunities to exploit our several mishaps.
Good teams make mistakes hurt. The Mountaineers are a good team and we got hurt. Good teams make plays, drive in runs and make pitches in the late innings. WVU did that and the Huskies did not. So, it is no mystery that we are where we are. What is done is done. It is where we are going that must be our top concern.
We were supposed to be going to Northeastern today, but due to sub-freezing temperatures in Boston, we'll be spending the day catching up on academic obligations, conducting a few meetings and taking a little time away from the ball field. I suppose being "chilled out" might be an apt way to describe what happened today as well as what we need in order to come out tomorrow and begin a new season.
That "chilled out" time is welcome. Tonight will allow a chance to dine with the family at home. Those dinners are few and far between during the season. They often provide quality therapy. Between bites, five year-old Hank might ask me, "Daddy, when are the Huskies going to win a game?" Seven-year old Tess sometimes adds, "Daddy, why are you sad? It's not your fault. The coaches don't really do anything, anyway."
The best guy to have dinner with is 16 month-old Charlie. That's probably because Charlie can't say much yet. His torturing of dad is limited to food shrapnel littering anything and anyone within a ten foot radius. Charlie doesn't know if the Huskies won or lost and he doesn't care. He just signs with his hands, for "more" until he gets a full belly and/or diaper, then grunts, "Baah," and rubs his stomach. That means, "Bath, please." Bath means fun, and daddy is all for that. In between dodging his splashes, we manage a little peek-a-boo, a bit of bubble-play and some general goofing around before a book and lights out. At the end of the process, there is a clean and happy short guy in a sleeper crashing in his crib and a taller guy with less hair walking contentedly out of the room with a sense of accomplishment.
Interpreting and fulfilling the needs of a barely-verbal toddler is a lot easier than figuring out the needs of our club right now. Yet, figure and fulfill we will. Thankfully, with more than two-thirds of our season left, we have some time to make adjustments, a positive attitude to draw upon and a strong enough will to still accomplish our goals. In the meantime, getting back to having fun would probably be at the top of everyone's list. Hopefully we'll have some fun against Holy Cross tomorrow and walk off the field contentedly with a sense of accomplishment. Maybe we all need a bath?