When you watch a Major League Baseball game on t.v., I want you to notice something. Picture this: it is the 1st inning, after a walk and a stolen base, the pitcher has fallen behind in the count 2-0. The players and coaches in the dugout have all comfortably found their spot on the dugout bench or steps, eating seeds, chatting it up with their teammates. With the crowd not yet into the game, the pitcher hangs a 2-0 breaking ball and the hitter drills a shot into right-centerfield for a base hit. The runner on 2nd took off on the crack of the bat and got a great read. A small bobble in the outfield, and the runner scores standing up.
As the player who scored jogs back to the dugout, his teammates have all worked their way from their spot on the bench to the front of the dugout waiting for their teammate who just scored. A few of the “captains” or team leaders, will even be on the outside of the dugout waiting for their teammate. They are all high-fiving, fist bumping, along with all their signature handshakes.
They are showing their teammate that they are appreciative of the effort. They are also engaged in the game. There are no individuals in that moment. All are a part of the team scoring a run. They are showing what I mean by, “I Score, We Score.”
To me, that is the beauty of the game. I can guarantee you that Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer of the World Champion Houston Astros will be at the top step of the dugout. And that is regardless if it is game 113 of the regular season or game 7 of the World Series. And that is regardless of the score as well.
When you see a team that is engaged in that sense, it is a lot of fun to watch them. For parents of youth baseball players, one of the best things you can do in support of your son or daughter is encourage that they show the same engagement in their teammates.
Having coached youth baseball for the last 10+ plus years, I have seen my fair share of games. One thing that I cringe at is when I see players continue sitting on the bench when their teammate scores a run. Sometimes I noticed no-one even “pick” their teammate up, either by a high-five or some sort of vocal acknowledgement. That is an absolute no-no.
As you watch your youth baseball player compete, be cognitive of the type engagement engagement that they are showing. Do not be so into results and whether they get a hit or if they make an error. Instead, continue to keep in mind that the best thing they could learn in these moments is to be a teammate that encourages their teammates and is engaged during the course of the game.
At the end of the day, these kids will not remember that they scored a run, what they will remember is that their teammates acknowledged it and showed their appreciation to them.