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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

Feb. 20, 2004

Dugout Talks and Scouting Reports...

My neighbor Gary Becher brought his family to the game last Saturday. It was Gary's first trip to a game even though he's lived across the street for over twenty years. I was concerned that he wouldn't like sitting down the left field berm with my wife and kids because he has Founders' Seats behind the Marlins' dugout.

I saw him Sunday night and he was just raving about the experience. He loved sitting on the hill in a lawn chair as his kids and mine ran all over the place. He was impressed with the quality of play from college kids. I think we found a new fan.

Anyway, he asked me what I was saying to them after the game in the dugout. It looked serious and Gary figured it was some important coach talk.

Actually I was just explaining everyone's role in putting out the big field tarp. Half our kids had never done it before.

He should have been in the dugout before the game.

As we waited for SIU to finish BP, a bunch of us were sitting around talking.

Serious baseball pre-game strategy?

Not exactly. We started off discussing flag etiquette. What is the proper way to raise the flag, and then fly it at half mast? Exactly what constitutes half when the pole is behind an eight foot fence?

From that we somehow segued into music, specifically rap and hip hop. I was asked why I quoted Eminem last season, but now rap is banned.

This led to a discussion on how so many songs have lyrics that degrade women, and are so blatantly sexual in their approach to women as sex objects. One kid argued that girls like it too. My point was that they have little choice, and the real problem is that so many young people are becoming desensitized to vulgarity and exploitation, that it seems normal.

I reminded them that they all have mothers, some have sisters, most will have wives, and possibly daughters. Their story might then be different.

We also discussed the Passion of Christ and the anti-Semitic fallout in the past from the Medieval Passion Plays in Europe, and the fears of a revival because of Mel Gibson's new movie.

As the time neared for infield practice, our thoughts turned back to baseball, but for awhile there it was a pretty freewheeling discussion.

Scouting Reports...

These seem to be a big deal to everyone, but think about this. Why would you want to help someone else beat an opponent you just defeated? That makes your opponent's winning percentage worse, which in turn hurts your RPI. The RPI is a measuring tool used by the NCAA to select at large teams to the NCAA tournament. If you were beaten, wouldn't you want your opponent to go on and have the best season possible?

I don't think the small edge you may get is really worth damaging the RPI. Besides, do you know the type of pitcher the team sharing information on an opponents hitters was throwing that day? Was that guy the same as the pitcher you will send against them? We once had a scouting report on an SEC team we were playing. Their best hitter was a projected first round pick and extremely fast. Our scouting report described him as an opposite field, slap hitter. So we played him swung way over toward left field. His first at bat was a booming triple PULLED down the right field line! As I ran out to coach third, one of OUR fans yelled out "Hey Cooney. Why don't we have a right fielder?

Reports can be useful, but I made the decision three years ago not to exchange information with teams. Right or wrong we stick to that. Oh, we'll talk to a friend who may be familiar with an opponent, just to get a feel for what type of club they may be, but our fax machine stays quiet throughout the season.

Post season, now that's another story. KC



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