Today my son’s Junior Little League team scrimmaged the other Junior team in our league. This is fall ball, relaxed, focus on developing the players. They bat the line up and no player (except for catcher) may play in the same position for more than two innings. This is the chance for the kids who are moving up from the younger league and smaller field to learn to play on a bigger field and different rules.
For the scrimmage, the managers of the two teams agreed to bat the entire lineup regardless of the number of outs. My husband, the manager of my son’s team, mentioned to the other manager that he wasn’t even going to pitch his best pitcher since he wanted to get a look at some of the other pitchers. The other manager said he was doing the same.
Because everyone is batting each inning, the innings were rather long and my husband started moving people around to different positions during the inning. Everyone ended up playing both infield and outfield. In the second inning, our team batted the lineup in reverse order. Everyone was going to bat, what did it matter who batted first?
Apparently it did to the other team. They batted the same order each inning and it was obviously the typical “game day” sort of line up–weakest batters at the bottom. And while everyone on the the other team changed positions, no outfielders played infield and no infielders played on the outfield. In fact, the subs were rotated through the outfield only. The infielders played the whole game.
As for not throwing their pitcher, I can’t wait to see who it is if it wasn’t one of the two kids who threw today. At this age and for this size league, the managers know all the players and unless their best pitcher is some 13 year old who just moved up from the younger league, they played their best pitchers. All two of them. Our team played a different pitcher each inning so we had three different kids playing pitcher.
If we had been keeping score, they would have creamed us. And given the accommodations made to keep certain people together on the same team (the other team isn’t stacked, we just ended up with more inexperienced players) my husband doesn’t expect to win many games against the other team.
After today, I hope those players realize how lucky they are to be playing on our team because they obviously wouldn’t be playing much on the other team. It was a scrimmage! These teams have had only one practice, maybe two. But the other manager couldn’t bring himself to let some of the weaker kids have the opportunity to play in different positions because of, because of what?
I can tell you what his response would be. The first would be, “well it would just be too dangerous to put some of these kids at infield positions.” So apparently half his team is unable to play safely in the the infield. They start using that one at about age eight. And then, “we really need to get these kids used to playing set positions otherwise they’ll never get good enough to play in high school.” And this is fall ball.