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Pirates — the secret strategy

by henrycopeland
Friday, April 23rd, 2004

Aided by an honest-to-God computer program concocted by assistant coach Ed, the Pirates t-ball team won its first game 20 to 19 Wednesday night. Sabermagicians, beware!

Here’s the backstory: Nobody else stepped forward, so I volunteered to coach a team of first and second grade t-ballers this season. The Pirates. Confessing that I last played baseball in a sandlot in 3rd grade, I asked Matt for advice — he grew up in the intensely competitive baseball culture of SoCal — and he told me, “don’t worry about anyone else’s kid… just focus on your kid’s stats.”

With that in mind, I showed up at the first practice and discovered — thank God — that five or six other fathers were happy to pitch in with the coaching. So Ed helped with throwing, Rod helped with batting, Mitch and Ken offered tips on baserunning and fielding.

So what was the secret of Ed’s computerized team jiggering for the first game? Randomness. Our randomly generated batting order and fielding positions helped us shuffle players around the field. Completely short-circuited the opposing team’s strategy. 🙂

At the next practice, we’ll work on a) hand slapping (a good proxy for hitting the ball), b) lobbing the ball to first, and c) not watching the fielders while running to first.

And yes, Matt, the Copeland slugger was 4 for 4 at the plate.

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