Yesterday, the coach of my son Alex’s travel baseball team sent an e-mail with a list of the signs our boys would need to master for this season. It was a mind-numbing list, considering I can’t even get my 11 year old to remember that athletic cups belong no where near or on:
- the kitchen table
- tray tables in the family room
- the decorative shelf in the family room
- the dog (don’t ask)
My son and his teammates have to learn the signs for steal, bunt, fake bunt, hit and run…and so many more. Here’s the coach’s e-mail:
To help the players learn the new signals for this baseball season, we’d like you to help your player learn them. It will be a fun activity with you son. The following are the signals, so if you could go through them with your son, print them if you can, and also try them out so he can identify the signal with you just doing them, that would be very cool. It will help a lot. We will use these signals in the game on Sunday.
Tips in teaching them: nothing the 3rd base coach does matters with his gestures until he executes the indicator (hands to both ears). So, the boys need to focus on the indicator AND the first thing done immediately after the indicator. Nothing else matters in getting the signals. When you are teaching them, do a bunch of stuff before and after the indicator so your player can find the indicator action.
Indicator: will be hands to both ears. Remember no signal is on until the indicator is given, and then it’s the 1st signal following the indicator. If there is no signal given following the indicator, then nothing is on. Players really need to focus on the indicator being given, because nothing else matters with the 3rd base coach’s actions until that happens.
Bunt: will be one hand to the back of the neck following the indicator.
Steal: will be a swipe down each arm following the indicator.
Hit and Run: will be a swipe down each arm, and a swipe across the belt following the indicator.
Fake Bunt Double Steal: will be a swipe down each arm, followed by a swipe down each leg, following the indicator.
Take: will be open hand to the W on the front of the cap, automatic take with a 3-0 count unless you get the “green light.”
Green Light: will be 1 finger pointed at the batter with NO indicator given.
Wipe off signal given prior pitch: will be swipe across the chest following the indicator. The signal is on the next pitch if the coach doesn’t swipe across the chest following the indicator.
Suicide Squeeze: will be open hand to the mouth of the 3rd base coach, following the indicator. Both the runner on 3rd and the batter must pull on the bill of their helmet to advise that they both have the signal.
All batters and base runners: every batter and runner need to acknowledge when they get the signal. Once you get the signal, you should grab your helmet on the bill, like you are pulling down your helmet for a better fit, this tells us that you have picked up and received the signal.
Batters: Before every pitch as a batter it is your responsibility to look for signals from the 3rd base coach. Except when there are 2 strikes, not much the coach can give to the batter at that time. If the coach does decide to put something on with 2 strikes, (which is very rare), the coach will ask for the batter to step out.
Base runners: Base runners, every pitch, no matter the bases you are on, it is your responsibility as soon as you get on that base, to pick up the 3rd base coach for signals. Don’t look into the stands at your girlfriend or parents watching to see if they are cheering for you, immediately pick up the 3rd base coach. Don’t worry, they are cheering for you!
Geez! All that crammed into their 11 year old brains? It’s no wonder they can’t remember to put their cup where it belongs.
But it got me thinking…maybe I should be using signs in my house. So here’s the list I’ve come up with:
Who cut into the Bunt cake? It’s supposed to be for a bake sale! : will be one hand to the back of my neck to rub out the newly tensed up muscle, following the indicator.
Stealing Cookies: will be me swiping at the arm with which you are trying to steal the cookies, following the indicator.
Hitting your brother and running away so he can’t retaliate: will be a swipe toward your backside if you come running anywhere near me, following the indicator.
Do not call my creation ‘Fake‘; Bunt cake still tastes good even it gets its start from a box mix. And I’m Double sure you won’t be Stealing a piece anyway: will be me swiping at each arm reaching out to cut themselves piece, following the indicator.
For the love of all that is holy, would you please take the garbage out: will be my open hand smacked to my forehead, unless I give you the “green light” to keep sitting on your ass (not likely), following the indicator.
You do NOT have a Green Light to run thru this house: will be 1 (middle) finger pointed at the runner, following the indicator.
Wipe off the counter. Do you need a special signal, given that no prior yelling by me has helped you to see the mess you made? And aim the damn dirty wipe toward the trashcan. The last time you pitched it in the general direction of your brother and that nearly caused another hit and run: will be a swipe across the top of the the container to snatch a cleaning wipe and hand it to the offender, following the indicator.
Look, this isn’t my first rodeo. The ketchup didn’t commit suicide by self-squeeze until it was empty, and then put itself back in the frig. So who was the last to use it?: will be a hand to my open mouth in a feigned display of surprise and shock at finding empty food containers in the refrigerator, following the indicator.
And my “Indicator(s)“: “Sh*t!” “F*ck!” “D*mn!” “H*ll!”. Depending on the offense, it may be a possible ear-numbing combination of any of them.