Dateline: McLean

On another long evening with another long start, the Reston Nationals began a two day odyssey against McLean. Reston National was the visiting team and went down with no runs in the first. Matt, starting for Reston, after catching the whole game against Vienna, looked tough and struck out the first batter with some heat. The second batter hit a long fly to center, but Graham chased it down for a fantastic, all-star quality catch for out two. The next batter singled to right and the next batter hit a long home run to left. After that, this reporter refuses to go into details but nine runs scored. Marty came on in relief and some more runs scored, but with two out lightning occured and players were told to head to the parking lot.

After a one hour rain delay things got interesting. The tournament director (TD) asked to see both coaches. Coach Grossman allowed this reporter to obtain an inside view of the conversation.

TD: “I have decided to call the game. As you know, since we did not complete one inning that means the game starts over tomorrow”

McLean Coach: “Point of information, if you call the game, I will put the game under protest”

TD: “OK, fine, we’ll wait until 11:00”

So at 10:40, the game resumed. A few more runs scored and the game was suspended until the next day. When the game resumed the inning finally ended at McLean 13 Reston National 1. Reston played well the rest of the day and the game ended after four with the score at McLean 13 Reston National 1.

Coach Grossman was available for a longer interview although he did say he wanted to begin prepations for Vienna National. He was asked, “Why did you let the TD change their mind. Why didn’t you just threaten to forfeit the game.”

He said, “I knew I could threaten a forfeit, but I was concerned that the TD would just accept the forfeit and I thought that was the wrong message to send our team. I do not believe in quitting and I do not teach quitting to kids and I never have accepted a forfeit in the past.

I also think its wrong for our league to forfeit games simply because things are not going our way. I can’t blame the McLean coach for trying to preserve a nine run lead, but I do think the TD has a job to do to watch out for the players. I think its my job too and I did what I could to keep our players in their cars and to keep them safe. It was a very awkward situation but the rule simply states that if there is ANY chance to resume a game, the chief umpire is supposed to do it. There was no rain, the storm was moving away so there was clearly a chance to resume the game. I wish we had a time limit for the length of a rain delay, but we don’t right now so I didn’t think there was a whole lot I could do. For what its worth several McLean board members came up to me and apologized for their coach’s behavior. I accepted their apology and told them that regardless of what happened — I do not think I would have threatened a protest had I been on the other side. Also, I will say I was not pleased that the TD actually changed her mind simply because of the threat of a protest. I have worked with her before and she is a good TD, but I think she would agree that this game was not one of her best performances.

I do feel the district should do a better job at reducing the length of time for rain delays — especially for the nine-ten year olds. I will say I think we can play much better than we did in the first inning and the rest of the game gives me a lot of hope for the rest of this tournament. It would not surprise me one bit to see us come out on top against the vaunted Vienna American team.”

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