We lost on opening day and split our next two games. In these three games I've had some observations.
- After finishing 2nd last season the opposing teams have more respect for us. Last year we got off to a quick start by facing 3rd or 4th string pitchers. This year every team told us they had their "ace" against us.
- We haven't hit the ball yet. Most of our runs have come from timely hitting the capitalized on the errors made by our opponents. Because of that I've changed the line-up for today's game and gone from batting 10 down to 9 players.
- I haven't seen a real intensity from our team yet. We're playing a little too loose in my opinion. That's something I want to see change today.
- Managing 17 players in the PSSBL is harder than managing 5 people at Microsoft. So far we've had nearly full attendance and despite being in a "competitive" division you can't sit people forever. You have to see what new people can offer and give everyone some time, especially early in the season incase you get injuries down the stretch. But there is a balance where the good performers start to say "hey, why aren't we playing all 9 if we really want to win". Well, I'll have to do a better job of managing growth.
- The lesson's of good management do translate, being transparent with people, letting them know where they stand, making sure everyone feels like they are put in positions where they can succeed, listening to concerns and adjusting to the feedback, changing styles to suit the player, etc.
- I was almost ejected for the first time from a game by an umpire for arguing a BS call. We were down 7-1 in the last game and a batter on our team was hit by a curve ball. Because the ball started behind him he moved forward in the box. It looked like he was trying to get hit when he was really trying to avoid the ball that broke into him. The umpire called him back for that reason. It was a bad call and it was pretty cheap considering we were down 7-1 at the time. It's the type of rule that's in the books and tends to get called more by bad umpires that are looking to demonstrate their knowledge of the game. After my 3rd demonstration of why our hitter moved forward he turned his back to me and gave me a glaring look. I got the point and walked away.
The Diablo Nation held our annual Rocky V Cascade scrimage yesterday in Seattle. It's the first time I've felt like I've seen consistent play from both teams on offense and defense. Still a lot to learn over the course of the season for both teams, but I feel ready for opening weekend next week.
Because of the quick start to the season (four games in the first week) I've been forced to extend pitchers more than I'd like this early in the season. Last year we had the luxory of sending people out for 2-3 innings max with week long breaks between games. No such luck this year. So I threw 4 innings yesterday and feel like I could probably throw 5 next weekend.
I didn't feel like I had much arm strength and didn't have the fastball I'd like but the offspeed stuff was coming around and I had good movement. It was only my second time against live hitters this year so the control was just a bit off, but I was mostly missing outside of the strike zone rather than over the plate. I also got out of a self inflicted bases loaded jam with 2 k's right when I needed them.