If you aren’t a baseball/softball fan, you may not be able to relate. Crazy things happen in sports and often times when a team tries to intentional walk a batter, things can get interesting.
Luckily enough, I have had the opportunity to roam the dugouts and coaches’ boxes in the area for twelve years as a high school softball coach. As you can imagine, in twelve years I have seen some rare things on the field.
Until this season, a pitcher was required to throw four pitches to a batter even if they intended on walking them on purpose. The Alabama High School Athletic Association and Major League Baseball both made a change to this rule as of late, the coach can simply call time and inform the umpire that they want to put the batter on first base without any pitches being thrown.
In five hundred or so games, players on our teams have been intentionally walked and our pitchers have been asked to intentionally walk other teams’ batters. Most of these instances have went rather uneventful, however there have been some compelling events that have taken place at crucial times, most of which went our way.
In the bottom of the seventh, our team was tied with another local team with runners on second and third. The coach called time and instructed the pitcher to intentionally walk the next batter in order to set up a force out at each base. During the conference, we instructed our kids to stay alert and keep getting their normal leads because you never know what might happen. On the first pitch, the pitcher threw the ball behind the batter and our runner raced to home plate with her coach right behind her. I think I almost beat her to the plate, but she scored the winning run.
In another instance similar to the previous, a team decided to intentionally walk a batter to load the bases in the seventh. The next batter proceeded to hit a GRAND SLAM. We won the game in the bottom of the inning.
It hasn’t always gone our way, in a state tournament game; I made the decision to pitch to a kid from the other team instead of intentionally walking her. She had already hit a double and home run prior to this at bat. On the second pitch of the at bat, she bombed another ball over the center field fence. We went on to lose that game.
Most things that happen throughout any sports season can be related to life. As a coach, I would never make a decision that would intentionally lose a game. In life we wouldn’t make a decision if we knew that the outcome would be detrimental to our health or well being.
Assuming we are in the right state of mind.
As with the choice of intentionally walking a batter, sometimes the coach makes the right decision and the team wins the game, we make the right decision in life and we have a prosperous financial gain. Often times the coach makes the wrong decision that may cost them the game, as in life those decisions often cost us friendships or allow us to lose out on an opportunity.
Learning from these experiences, making progress based on what you have learned and teaching other’s what you’ve learned can make a huge difference in how you approach making similar decisions down the road.