After 7 years of my son playing rec. baseball, I'm beginning to see just how political things are at my local field. Need some advice from folks who've dealt with this kind of thing before.
The league is VERY competitve, and there's a lot of pressure put on the kids. On my son's team, I've noticed a discrepency between how the coaches treat their sons and All Star kids versus every body else on the team, some of whom are talented infielders. It seems the kids who are children of the coaches or are on the All Star team can do no wrong--no matter how many runs they allow pitching or errors they make. It seems the other kids on the team (the non-All Stars, non kids of coaches) get punished or singled out for making mistakes. The coaches also make belittling comments to the kids, some of whom are eleven, in front of the entire team such as "Your pitching was terrible. You are an awful pitcher" or "Your batting hasn't improved at all all season." However, the comments about their own kids and All Star kids who are making a lot of errors this season always seem to be glowing such as "Oh, we lost the game, because we didn't have the Ace (his son) pitching tonight."
I get really frustrated when I see my son, who is quite talented and rarely makes an error, overlooked for "glory positions" that go to the children of coaches or All Star kids who make errors regularly. (We have chosen not to go the All Star route in the summers as of yet and have instead opted for a very good pitching academy in the summers where our son trains.) He has one of the highest on-base averages of the team, but today, he was punished and moved to the bottom of the batting order (behind kids who regularly strike out), because he missed 2 signals from his coach this season. It seems when the All Star kids make mistakes or errors, they don't get punished. If the other kids make a mistake, they get punished by being banished to the outfield.
I've seen the preferential treatment for years, and I get it, but the kids are 12 and 13 now. They're losing games as a result. And worst of all, my son--who loves to play no matter what the position--feels the pressure and negative energy. I belive that at age 12, he should be having fun and staying positive, but I would be lying if I didn't say his morale's taken a blow this season as a result of the coaching. He's also not fulfilling his potential.
If it's going to be this political, should we bother keeping him in the league? I'm sure it's political everywhere, but this seems extreme. If he stays, will he still be able to develop as a player? What do we do about his spirits? If it's true the cream always rises to the top, maybe I shouldn't worry. But this situation just doesn't feel right. Any advice is appreciated. I don't want him losing his passion for the game.