Dear Frank

  • My son is not the biggest guy. Not the smallest either. But with a big bro he’s always felt small. I’m really thankful he got to watch 4 years of you. And got to meet you. And when I told you he was shy like you, you laughed looked him square in the eye and said “don’t be shy!”

    Today, we had our second playoff baseball game, having won our first game for the whole season in the first round of the playoffs. Before the game, I told the kids that I wanted to tell them this before the end of the game, because I didn’t want it to be an excuse if we won or lost. I told them that it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. You treat your opponents, teammates, umpires, and coaches with respect. And you treat the game with respect. You play it hard from beginning to end.

    In the bottom of the last inning, we were tied, and they had runners at the corners with 1 out, with my son on the mound. We had just given up 5 runs in the previous inning to let them tie it, and then we were blanked in the top of the inning. I had not run one of our runners on an overthrow to first that would have resulted in scoring on the subsequent grounder, ending the game in victory for us, and I thought that with the pregame speech I had made, the kids would hopefully realize better how proud I was of them to play so hard and not have that truth obscured by the loss.

    Still, we shaded the players to the 3rd base side, and told them all the play was at home.

    My son fielded the grounder, and chased down the guy coming down the line from the third, tagged him out. The subsequent play, he fielded a grounder to his right sprinted to third and tagged out the guy going to third to end the inning. We went on to score 5 in the top of the inning, then one of our other players who had never gotten more than 1 out when he played at pitcher fielded all three grounders hit his way cleanly and we got the outs, with my son stretching like Gumby to catch them at first and seal the deal.

    Afterwards, I told them not a word about winning to the other team. Shake their hands and say good game and thats it. And afterwards I told the team again, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s how you play the game. Winning is just a byproduct of playing hard, and winning and losing, it teaches us about pressure. And to be able to execute under pressure, THAT is what you did, and that is what you should be most proud of today, and not the win.

    My son, he’s not so shy any more, like you Frank. And he’s extremely fast, like you Frank, and tough as nails like you. And he plays the game the right way.

    I’m glad he got to watch you 4 years. You embody all the things I try to teach him, and you made a big impression.

  • @BIFM you are a good coach and parent!

  • @BIFM That was awesome dude! Thanks for sharing that!

    I also got to meet Frank and get his autograph when he was a freshmen. I feel just as lucky to have Joel’s and Wiggin’s autograph as I do Frank’s. In some ways Frank’s means more to me.

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