When everything doesn't go as planned



I guess that says it all … doesn’t it… :dozey:


It’s when you really see…can he pitch? Does he have fortitude? Is this what he really wants to do…as a Polish Cub fan I can tell you from my perspective it mostly never really does…so dig deep Skippy…show us something :wink:


The thing about plans is most of the time they are built on circumstances that are completely out of our control. Letting go of our expectations is hard. Really hard. Faith helps.

Life is more like falling into a swift running river and being whisked downstream. You just try to avoid the rocks.

You never get over that helpless feeling. It just boils down to believing in yourself. Sometimes you just got to quit trying to stick that square peg in the round hole and move on to a different plan.


Oh, I see where this is going.

Here’s my take on this planning thing …. :wiseguy:

Out of the birth canal and into the light – from then on, it’s anyone’s guess.

So, plan – yes, expect –why not. From then on out it’s a role of the dice … seven come eleven baby…. seven come eleven…

There’s a quote from the movie Major League that I really like that fits this topic, I think. “It’s always best to be yourself … no matter what the percentages…” … or something like that.

Man, this is some really deep stuff…


Now John…

We need the wisdom of your years here…don’t run off on us :wink:

You made a game plan for your starter every game I suspect…what did the complete falling apart of that game plan mean (Besides a bus ride to a new team and an explaination of the new job to Mary Ann :shock: ) and how did you adjust? I wouldn’t expect that you didn’t just say “the heck with it…Skippy the Starter just ain’t got it today”…or did you???


Ya really want-a know … Ok … I got a few doozzies. So, I’m gonna open a bottle of Gosling’s GOLD Bermuda Rum that the Mrs. and I got as gifts while on our cruise to Bermuda last year and I’ll sit back with a little (very little) ice, and get the ole memory banks cranked up.

Be back… :bigthink:


One of the great things about a baseball game is – there’s no sure thing.

The game is all about adjustments, and this starts with whose available and who’s not, going into season. There are, of course, a myriad of projections and behind the scenes prior to the start of every season, but that would that would too be labor intensive for this topic.

First off, the only reason for playing the game in the first place is to win. Fun, good times had by all, and ice cream all around for everybody appears nowhere on the box score – period. So in order to win, keeping track of who’s who, what everybody else has (your competition) and who’s healthy and who’s not, is a must. Now all this is an ongoing process that can involve some heavy duty thinking – or not, depending on budgets and other stuff, and can be a real crystal ball adventure.

Ok, all that being said, game after game is a constant up again, down again slide rule kind of thing. Some guys are great during away games, but yet their only cooking after four batters, kind a like fitting in. Not a good choice for a closer, to be sure.

The clubs that I coached with didn’t have exhibition games. All our games were, as we called it, “gate money games”. So we started and ended our seasons by going with what we had – hit the ground running.

We had a limited pool of staffers that had a pretty good idea of who we were up against, game after game. Some of those players across the field were on our roster at one time.

Now here’s the fascinating part of the game –

  1. The opposing lineup is usually known for certain tendencies.
  2. The umpire behind the dish is known for certain tendencies.
  3. My backstop had good chemistry with some pitchers, worse with others.
  4. I had a stable of pitchers will varying degrees of inventory.
  5. Every pitcher had a crash and burn that depended on certain things like mood swings, personal issues, and that old favorite… clubhouse politics.
  6. The club will have better performance at some away games than others, and even home games can be iffy under certain circumstances.
    Ok kiddies, buckle up and play ball…. It’s all in the game plan for this day – right? Not so fast. There’s another club with the same transmission, shifting gears like crazy anticipating everything of your game plan, and they’re dealing with the same up and down slide rule.

So, a pitching rotation is selected for today’s game. The man on the hill is facing a known high heat chaser – but ya gotta tease this batter first, work fast, don’t get in-and-up with anything right away. The backstop notices a minor adjustment in the hands and arm set of the batting – not good. Chasing high heat is out. But, this guy will be a sucker for a curveball and junk. Now the pitcher knows he’s dealing with the top of the order – good bat speed, good hand-eye-coordination. So his backstop gives the duce, the pitcher shakes it off, the Skipper glares back at the backstop – the ole number one with a little altitude outside. Again the pitcher shakes it off. The catcher calls… “give me a minute with Shirley here …”, the umpire grinds and nods yes…. the pitcher heard the remark… didn’t appreciate it… and the pitcher turns and walks to the back of the mound with his back facing his backstop. The pitcher won’t face his backstop for any conversation – keeps looking down at the ground, swiping his cleats in the infield weeds. The umpire starts to walk out and the meeting in the center of the infield is over.

The backstop returns, squats and gives the duce, the pitcher delivers high heat, the batter swings and misses – strike one. The backstop gives the ole number one – with altitude up and away, the pitcher has that “told ya” look, but – crack of the bat and … “tonight’s weather forecast calls for balls in the sky.”

Later on the inning ends (thank God) and both men return to separate ends of the dugout and neither will talk to the other.

I can’t help but flash through my mind all the work and planning, all the player selection material that was pawed over, all the skull sessions – do this and do that, all to end up with number #1 and number #2 at opposite sides of a dugout, knowing full well they’re going to be screwing with each other from here on out.

OH YEAH, THINGS ALL WAYS GO AS PLANNED. :disbelief: :disbelief:


Sorry guys I took down the video. My son didn’t like the idea of my showing him gut one out. Sorry for the mix up but I couldn’t delete the post.


One of my first jobs was an assistant to a pitching coach, which turned into a goffer’s job – go for this, go for that. I usually sat next to one of the field coaches and either watched the game, kept some sort of stat, heck I even doubled as a ball boy for some time.

During a night game, I remarked to myself how our pitchers handled themselves. I predicted the outcomes with a 99% accuracy rate – not bad for a goffer. Unbeknown to me, our club’s batting coach was listening. He brought my mumblings to the attention of our skipper, who in turn motioned me to sit next to him. This by the way didn’t go over well with the pitching coach in residence.

After the game I got called into the Skipper’s office and was asked if I’d like to sit next to him during the next few games, and just “talk”.

I called my wife that night and told her the good news.

The night before our next game was a night with little sleep. I hashed over in my mind what and how I was going to mention this-and-that, without sounding like a putts. I cleaned and pressed my own uniform making sure it looked just right.

The night of the game, I was met in the locker room by our pitching coach, and he congratulated me on taking on this serious job…… then he walked me down this tunnel to a side entrance … introduced me to a cousin of his… and a relative of one of the minority owners. His relative, in turn, shook my hand, gave me an apron, started a cotton candy machine, showed me how to pour the sugar mix in, handed me a long paper cone, and “with just the right wrist action”, walla … one puffed up beauty of cotton candy deluxe.
The pitching coach made some small talk with his cousin, then turned to me and said, and I quote,… “know who you’re working for next time…”
I never forgot that.


6’3” 210 is a pretty good size for a pitcher and being in his early 30’s, to me anyway, should indicate experience.

I had such a man and his maturity added a ton of wealth to the entire pitching staff. Now he wasn’t a heater, nor did he go beyond five innings, but when he was pushing, he was dependable and could control the tempo, at home and away.

We had won two straight and third would really come in handy about that time. I penciled him in as a starter – he had his four days down, so he should be good to go. I submitted my scratch to our Skipper, he made some adjustments to the overall game plan and off we went.

Bullpen duty was relaxed for our starter, but not with purpose. I got a little concerned, but, I figured being in the game for as long as he had, he knew what he was doing. So he walks around the fence towards the bump and I give him my arm stretched out low with a fist and a pump – go get-em. But, no return look.

After two innings and being lit up like a roman candle, I finally tell my Skipper –“pull-em,” something’s not right here. I get that look back… “ya think!”

After all the anticipation of waiting for him to face a lineup that only five games before, he literally tore up, it was a totally different story that day. Add to this, the money that was floating around with the odd-makers didn’t help matters any.

Come to find out, he had a hernia that popped out a few days before and he decided to wear a truss along with his supporter. Bad idea. He also decided to handle things himself and tell no one. Another bad idea.

The next day he sees his primary care who schedules a meeting with a surgeon – gone for the season, with half a season still to play.

Planning on personnel as a pitching coach, even as a staffer, is one of the most thankless, unappreciated, and gut-wrenching jobs anyone can have. It’s like taking all the input you can get your hands on, plopping all that stuff on a weegie board, drawing the shades down, toss a set of dice in the air, flipping a few coins, then waiting for the table to rise. Sending my scratch in is like just asking for trouble and the back door with all my personals in a milk crate. I even thought of putting up a sign outside my door once — Zoltan, Palm Reader and Adviser - $10 bucks a shot. No takers …


A player approached me and told me that one of my pitchers wasn’t doing well. He just lost someone very close to him. I’m being told this, in like a clandestine way, like no one else is supposed to know. But, “num” is the word. Perhaps the guy didn’t want to be reminded or something.

I walk by his pen, and for sure, there he sits with his head down, wringing his hands, kind a. I gently tap him on the shoulder and suggest he give the day a rest and get a haircut or something. He looked up at me like I was a messenger from God or something, with that “bless you coach look.”

Now I had to admit, I felt pretty good about myself. I mean, I’m usually not thought of as a sensitive one, even less as a human being with a lot of people. So this gesture, I hoped, wouldn’t go unnoticed by others.

The next day, the man looks like he’s coming around – but what seemed strange was that he never asked for any bereavement time. Very strange. He still seems a bit under the weather, but hey, we all handle sensitive things in different ways.

That afternoon he’s waiting to get some tosses in when, so I sit next to the guy and asked … “how ya doing…?” He shrugs his shoulders and mutters something in Spanish. I asked what was the name of his loss? The response was in Spanish … “Mimar.“ Now I don’t speak the language, so I call over another player and ask for a little help here. “He said, Mimar.” I knew that, but what does Mimar mean, like in English… Mary, Margaret, … what?

I was told it means Cuddles, or something like that.

What kind of name is Cuddles?

Come to find out, the man was told his pet Chinchilla died, a pet he’s had for some time.




I found myself falling into a very bad habit of profanity that seemed to get worse and worse as a season progressed. Every season.

My Mrs. would give me an ankle nudge (whack) under a table at restaurants, a flying elbow while guests were in our home, and then there was the reliable cold stare while walking around the local shopping mall.

An apology never cut it, nor did the puppy eyes begging for forgiveness.

We had an intern with us – the daughter of one of our major advertisers.
As luck would have it, I’m ranting away at my pitchers – three of them especially so, with every know nugget from the #$@! Dictionary of Bad Mouth and Assorted Sundries, while standing in the doorway out of my sight is the intern. Of course no one gave me a hint that she was there – sterling boys of the bump that they were.

The promotion staffers had put together some plans and programs to pitch at the next sales meeting and they invited one regular sponsor at a time, for a full day of lunch and presentation. Their stuff was pretty impressive, I’ll give them that. In fact, I was invited to that one, personally.

The morning of the sales presentation, I got my good suit out of the dry cleaners, bought a new tie, shined up my Thom McAn’s, and took a seat, right next to one of the major sponsors and his secretary (his niece of course).

Throughout the meeting, my name kept slipping in and out of situations that were deemed important to the orientation of persuading this sponsor to advertise and support our endeavor. I thought everything was really going hunky-dory – just then the patriarch of the guess company turns his head … along with everyone else following suit… and says “ I think that’s pretty impressive … what do you think my dear (intern)?” Their behind us was his daughter, and she strolls over to me, looks me straight in the eyes and says, “ I think it’s good …. It’s real @#*ing good, don’t you coach?”

For a petite little 21 year old, that gal was way ahead of the learning curve.
I got more invitations from the promotions folks, I cleaned up my verbal skills, and got a handle on acting like a professional. I mean a true %#@!$! professional.

( I ran that one by the Mrs. tonight and I expect an elbow any minute now)