Good Things Come to Those Who Wait..and Play by the Rules

There is a compendium of unwritten mandates in baseball that fall under the umbrella of things you just don’t do. The majority of them serve to prevent baseball moms from embarrassing their sons and themselves… but mostly their sons… in public. You can learn more about them here. Others provide a code of conduct aimed at maintaining harmony within the baseball mom community. They prohibit stuff like gossiping about other people’s kids, negative cheering, brown-nosing coaches and perhaps most importantly, punching  other baseball moms in the head no matter how annoying they may be.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.05.11 AMThe need for rules governing laundry room etiquette may seem odd if you’re a soccer mom or a basketball mom or a swimming mom or any other sort of mom, but if you’re a baseball mom you know restoring your son’s uniform to its pristine, pre-game condition is serious business. If you’re a baseball mom you should also know unless AND ONLY UNLESS you are the mom designated to wash uniforms for your entire team on a road trip, you must NEVER monopolize the hotel guest laundry facility by doing consecutive, multiple loads of laundry when people are waiting to use the washing machines. Period. It’s the one-load-only-when-there-is-a-line-for-the-hotel-washing-machine rule (henceforth know as the one-load-only rule). It may be unwritten, but it’s still a rule and should never be violated. Just don’t do it.

The one-load-only rule is rooted in simple common sense, fundamental good manners and good old-fashioned consideration for others, but you’d be surprised at the number of women parading around as “baseball moms” who feign obliviousness to the one-load-only rule. These women should not be allowed to call themselves baseball moms. If it were up to me I’d ban them from baseball (or at least from hotel laundry rooms) for life.

I do not care if you are traveling with your entire family including two teenaged daughters, each of whom changes clothes three times daily and a grandpa who soiled his trousers when Junior was proclaimed safe on a close play at the plate. I don’t care what your whiny excuse is. It is non-negotiable. It’s rude and inconsiderate and I shouldn’t even need to write about it, but I’ll say it again. You never violate the one-load-only rule. JUST DON’T DO IT.

This actually happened a couple of nights ago in the baseball mecca of Ft. Myers, Florida. A woman from New Jersey (let’s call her Garden State mom) violated the one-load-only rule when she tied up the only two washers and dryers available in the Homewood Suites for more than four hours. I’m not kidding. This was a particularly egregious violation because 1) the majority of her soiled laundry was non-baseball and 2) the line for the machines snaked out the laundry room door, about thirty feet down the hall into the lobby. As Garden State mom started transferring her first two loads from the washers to the dryers, it became obvious to all of us waiting that only a fraction of her laundry was dirty baseball stuff.

One rule-savvy baseball mom from Texas (Lone Star State mom) called her out on it, but Garden State mom played ignorant, “I’m heeeyah with my entiyah family and they were at the beach awll day. Whaddya expect me to do widdit? Take it awll home dirty?” A couple of South Carolina (Palmetto State) baseball moms waiting in the hall poked their heads in the door and chimed in with a few snarky comments of their own.

I thought (hoped) a riot might ensue, something tantamount to a bench clearing brawl that would allow me to act on my exceedingly strong urge to punch Garden State mom squarely in the head. Luckily, the words just don’t do it popped into my brain at the exact moment that I stood up to cock my fist in her direction. Given my normal peace-loving nature, I found the whole thing very unsettling and briefly considered retreating to the safe haven of my room in order to save myself from doing something that would require my husband to post bail on my behalf.

The thing is, I still had a filthy baseball uniform that needed my tender loving care and like most self-respecting baseball moms, I take my laundry responsibility very seriously. It occurred to me, good things come to those who wait so I waited. I suppressed the urge to pummel Garden State mom and I waited…and waited… all the while quietly repeating the baseball mom’s mantra  just don’t do it just don’t do it just don’t do it until it was my turn.

The next day we arrived at the field and wouldn’t you know it. My son’s team was playing the New Jersey (a.k.a Garden State) Tigers. We won 15 to 0 in three innings by a mercy rule. I scanned the bleachers for Garden State mom because I sort of wanted to gloat, but I didn’t see her, plus I thought just don’t do it and that’s when it occurred to me. Good things come to those who wait… and play by the rules.


© Copyright 2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette D. Datoc All Rights Reserved


Add That to Your Rule Book

The following post by Antoinette Datoc was featured under Local Voices in the Smyrna-Vinings Patch

Summer baseball is here! You can feel it in the air! The pitcher’s wind-up, the crack of the bat, and parents sweating in bleachers as they once again ponder the question: Why does my son’s baseball coach insist on wearing a full uniform?

I recently sweated my way through a morning at City of Palms Park, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. My son’s baseball team was playing the fourth of six pool-play games in the national metal bat championships (Perfect Game’s BCS National Tournament for you insiders).

Never mind that the opposing team was from Texas and their fans (a.k.a parents) were insufferable. Never mind that we should have won because we were better than them (yes, I’m chanting nani-nani-boo-boo).  Never mind any of that. If for no other reason, we should have come up with a win because the opposing coaches wore baseball uniforms. They did not wear loose-fitting, respectable athletic attire like our coaches wear, or the alternative smart khaki shorts and a polo; I’m talking full-out PLAYER UNIFORMS. Good grief, gentlemen, hasn’t anyone told you that Rule 1.11(a) does not apply to youth baseball coaches?

Since 1957, when Rule 1.11(a) was added to the official rule book of major league baseball, managers and coaches have been required to wear uniforms that are identical to those worn by the players. High school and college coaches have similar mandates, but youth baseball coaches are exempt from this silly rule.

And yet, there remains that smattering of youth coaches who insist on parading around, from cap to cleats, in full uniforms right down to the piping on the trousers and the six-inch numbers on their backs. Imagine this. Some innocent kid’s portly dad volunteers to coach his team. Come game day, having poured himself into what looks like some sort of one-size-fits-all coach’s uniform, he waddles his way out to the mound to make a pitching change. Collective groans emerge from the bleachers…Why, we all wonder, but not why the pitching change…WHY THE PANTS?

We’ve all seen it happen, and when it does, I confess I am like a moth drawn to a flame. No matter how hard I try, I find it almost impossible to stop from gaping at these plump men squeezed into their baseball pants. Once I do, it’s as if I’ve been staring at the sun too long. Corpulent silhouettes floating along the undersides of my eyelids tattoo themselves in my mind’s eye for all eternity.

Coaches, by all means go ahead and keep wearing your team caps and jerseys. But for the love of Pete, please tuck them into a well-fitting, age appropriate pair of pants. Try some Dockers on for size, or better yet, a pair of knee-length athletic shorts. Whatever you do, just please LOSE THE BASEBALL PANTS because regardless of how handsome, well preserved, and strappingly well built you are, you must remember this. Men of a certain age simply do not belong in baseball pants. End of discussion. (Add that to your rule book.)

© 2011 by Antoinette Datoc