Politics in Baseball

When does it start?

When(what level) does it end?

Does it end?

Where have you experienced politics in baseball or sports in general?

Is it ever okay to use politics to choose someone over another?

Stories, info, etc. are more than welcomed!

I’ll briefly go over to of my more prominent stories of politics in baseball. One was this past season when I got cut this year as a senior. I also experienced it in 7th grade when some kids that had never played basketball made the team over me.

Look forward to hearing what you all have to say!

You say “politics”. What I hear is 'cronyism." Partiality for reasons other than qualifications, usually based on friendship or favors.

It was going on before you were born and will continue until the last two people are left on this earth.

It exists in everything. No matter what you get involved in you’ll see it and sometimes you think everything is on the up and up and it’s hiding there…it is that insidious.

So the only way to beat it…is never give it a moment of your time. Act like it don’t matter. Overcome. Prove all your detractors wrong.

I remember my dad came home from the mill once and told mom that he could get an easier better paying job but there was one stipulation. He would have to join a fraternal organization that he didn’t really believe in. Politics at its best. He never joined and he never got that cushy job but he slept well at night. I know that for sure, man that guy could cut wood.

To some extent I think we all participate in it if we are honest about it. Just remember to preserve your personal pride.

Well said Dino

Well said Dino.

jimster, it starts as early as T-ball and NEVER ends regardless of the level that you play in.

Consider this if your drafted in the first round as a “bonus baby” you will be given every opportunity to succeed. If you are drafted in the 52 round you screw up once and your done. It’s a political thing, that is driven by money.

If you make it to MLB look at what a GM does or an owner they will step in and tell the manager who to play and who not to play for whatever reason. Look at good ol’George he would call during a game and tell Billy who to bring in from the pen.

There’s tons of stories about Daddy Ball and about Coaches favouring Seniors or them favouring relatives of friends kids.

Like Dino says don’t let it bother you just overcome and preserve.

The way I see it, there is only way to overcome politics or cronyism.
You have got to work harder than the next guy. You have to step up and be the guy who’s going to lead the team and play an intergral role on the field, in the dugout, and off the field.
Will this guarantee you a spot, NO, but it will give you the best chance of the coach noticing you and giving you the shot.

I agree with several of the posts, it happens from t-ball on and it never really stops.

Since you are welcoming stories here’s a few from me.

In legion ball, I remember not playing much my first year and some of it was that some of the guys were older than me. The next year I played very well and played almost every game either at 1st, pitching or DHing. The next year is the year that our coach died, I had been batting 3rd or 4th in the order the whole year. The new coach stepped in and I ended up batting around 6th most games, I wasn’t too happy and we weren’t very good at all during that year (only had 9)

The next year was my last year, I still was batting 6th and was getting more accustomed to my role. I started to realize that batting 6th put me in more clutch situations and there were other people that were better in 1st inning RBI chances, there was a method to it, in other words the old coach had a bias to bat me higher. I was the one in the political favor. There were other people that were definitely favored over me the next year but I noticed that people generally tend to only notice the cronyism or politics when it is not in their favor. But after having been favored I can see how the people in favor are often oblivious to it, and the people that aren’t being left out or benched see it on a larger scale than it actually is.

In other words it is there, but it doesn’t exist to the people in favor and it’s a huge problem to those not in favor.

Another example is right now on our club baseball team at UWyo. the guy who usually starts has a batting average around .220 and that is also his OBP! He hasn’t walked once all year! The other guy that plays 1st a lot is a better hitter but has logged several errors in the last few games he’s played in. I have played in a few games and have a .600 OBP and a .333 avg. these statistics show that decisions aren’t being made off of who has the better stats they are being made off of either who the coach thinks “deserves” the start or who is perceived as better.

Don’t forget sometimes it isn’t politics. Sometimes a player is perceived as better due to build, speed, etc. but isn’t that good when observed from an objective statistical standpoint. It isn’t always right but that’s what happens sometimes. For example on the club team I’m on now, the guys that play over me regularly are both 6’ 4" while I’m barely 6’, one of them throws harder than me, the other runs faster than me. So the physical tools outside of technique can create the illusion of a player being better than he really is.

TL;DR - Unless you are negatively effected by “politics” you don’t notice. Sometimes cronyism is perceived when there is none by someone who doesn’t get their way. Sometimes it’s not “cronyism” but perceived ability as opposed to actual ability.

Cronyism resurrected my pitching career. I was a pitcher in LL, but when I tried out for pitching in 7th grade, I was used only as an outfielder. In 8th grade, I was moved to catcher to make room in the outfield for a town official’s son. I was very good at catching, as it turned out. I went on to win the starting Freshman job. I made varsity the next year and started as a Sophomore. The following year, I got bumped when that official’s son became Varsity eligible. Our SS had a better bat than me, so this kid became the new SS and our regular SS moved behind the dish. I was very upset. I found myself with more free time at practices so I pitched BP. I was messing around with my curveball and the guys were having a hard time with it. So much so that my coach started watching. I told him I used to pitch in LL. I got brought into the next game to relieve the starter and I finished the game. I went on to be a junkball middle and end game specialist. I located my fastball as good as anyone and threw breaking balls in any count. I was pitching from that point forward. I really enjoyed my time on the mound including a state final and a zone championship playing Legion ball–all because a starting spot got carved out for a crony’s son.

It really is interesting to see some paths that people have taken and why they’ve been moved around the diamond when it wasn’t their choice.

[quote=“Dino”]You say “politics”. What I hear is 'cronyism." Partiality for reasons other than qualifications, usually based on friendship or favors. /quote]

Agree with this statement 100%. Speaking from a parent who has never coached or helped coach (& has no desire to do so). Starting with T Ball to where my kid is now as a 14 year old 8th grader “cronyism” has ruled. Starts with the powers that be in league who select coaches normally based on who are friends. A friend of mine once made the statement he coached so that his son could “play a good position”; he hasn’t coached in several years but continues to help so his son can continue to “play in a good position”. The way it works around here is the coach plays his son where he wants him to play & those helping normally put their son where they want them regardless of whether they are the best suited (in some cases even close to it). We have been fortunate that the only year my son was really screwed over is at 7 when coach had lineup card complete before first practice and never moved the kids. Got out of league after 10 years old in search of better competition and ability to choose coach. Not saying sort of thing doesn’t happen in travel but you can find the right situations and better coaching (not at the mercy of the draft). Due to no Jr High ball where we live ended up back in league last year while waiting on travel to start. A coach he’s played for in the past indicated a desire to draft my son; I politely requested he not due to past experience. After professing to have learned his lessons in the past he proceeded to draft my son anyway. This guy has coached for years and never had a winning record yet the league continues to pick him over other applicants. For whatever reason this guy has an aversion to fielding practice and can never find time for pitchers bullpens and warm ups before games (even though he practices 4-5 times per week). Also has an assistant with son playing 1st base who tells infielders he will not dig balls out of the dirt; kid always plays 1st. Have at least two others just as bad or possibly worse. Guess I just don’t understand why the league doesn’t give someone else a try. I prefer my son skip this league but he doesn’t want to sit out until May; have to remember it’s about him and not about me. Learned a lesson last year and will insist on bullpen during the week and warmups before game minimum for him to pitch. Other than that I’ll “grin & bear it”.

I don’t understand what that teaches the kids.

To be lazy?

[quote=“kylejamers”]I don’t understand what that teaches the kids.

To be lazy?[/quote]

IMO it’s setting them up for a tough lesson down the road. Reality will hit when they try out for school team. Daddy’s not going to be able to help anymore.

Even more than that - For many, baseball is a preparative activity (for success in life) since they won’t be paid to play it later in life.

One day Eddie Lopat—my wise and wonderful pitching coach—shared with me a story from his off-the-field life. He was a family man with a terrific wife and two kids, a son and a daughter. On this particular day his son came home from school angry, frustrated and ready to kill. When asked what was going on, he replied that they had played an intramural game and that he had never gotten to bat. His teacher had made up the lineups for both sides, and the first kid in each lineup had batted first—every inning. So Johnny, batting seventh, had never gotten to bat.
Both Lopat and I expressed indignation at this. A perfect example of how not to coach! And Steady Eddie immediately pulled his kid out of such activities and would not let him play under those circumstances. He put him in an advanced Little League team instead, and the kid did very well there.
No, not cronyism. Just plain unvarnished STUPIDITY. And we all have seen our share. :x :shock:

Varsity Head Coach at a local high school chooses to play all of the seniors on the varsity team on defense, whether they deserve to play or not. Younger guys sit, practice with JV, do not take Varsity BP, no matter the skill level.

Consider as an example. This program had two first basemen a senior and his back up, a sophomore. The senior got hurt. Instead of the sophomore stepping in to play first, this coach found another senior to play the position. It should be noted that this particular player was previously mostly a DH due to the fact that he really doesn’t have that good of a glove and has never played first or any other infield position. The sophomore is probably the strongest first baseman on the team. This doesn’t only happen at first. This is the strategy all over the field.

IMO not the best way to win a State Championship, much less District.

Politics/cronyism at its finest.

That coach must have a) sat the bench his senior year in HS due to some up-and-coming Sophomore, and now he’s making all those underclassmen sit, or b) the school administrators determining his line ups for him.

It’s certainly not the boosters picking the line up.

At any level, you field the best team possible within the rules. In HS, there are no rules about play time, so the coach can always field his best defensive team or best batting order or combination of both. Talent plays. Period.

Playing someone for the sole reason that they are a Senior is just stupid.

Agree 100% but sadly it happens more often then people realize.

And unfortunately, there is no cure for stupidity. :shock: :x

Well, there is a cure, it’s just not legal or socially acceptable – in most states. :shock:


Recently found out the coach was indeed a backup his entire HS carreer except, …wait for it…His Senior Season.

This same guy actually threatened to bench his number one starter because the kid dared question him about playing time at first base. Yes, the kid was respectful, but was previously told that the seniors would play before him.

So, why did he ask about playing time? The senior first baseman had four errors in the first three innings of a game. The kid asked after the coach blew up cause of the errors. Kid wanted to help. Maybe it was the wrong time to ask. :?