Baseball Parents

Spring Break 2002 started out normal.  I was a junior.  We loaded the bus at Union University and made our way to Nashville to play Trevecca Nazarene in a four-game series(NAIA) before heading to Florida to play the next week.  Not our normal bus...this was a charter WITH A/C.  We were to play two on Friday and two Saturday before making the 10 hour haul to warmer weather.  We lost the first game 10-0.  Won the second and third, and headed into the final game ready to win the series.  Trevecca was coached by current David Lipscomb coach, Jeff Forehand.  They were pretty solid.  The final game begins with a total of 31 fans in attendance, more than usual.  Two of them being my mother and father.  We trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the second inning.  There were two outs, runners on first and third.  Being the catcher, I signaled in our defensive play.  My job with this current play was to fake the throw to second base if the runner tried to steal, in hopes to draw the runner on third towards the plate for an easy out.  It worked magically.  I faked the throw and on a dead sprint comes the runner from third heading home.  He plants his foot once he realizes I didn't throw to second and tries to make his way back to third.  I ran down the line towards him and "tagged" him in his back.  According to CM, the runner, I "leveled him".  After I tagged him, I picked up my face mask and made the journey back to our dugout.  Just as I get back to home plate I see a purple helmet rolling past me.  I turned around and here comes CM, the runner I had just "tagged" out, straight for me.  I was curious what he needed so the two of us exchanged words.  I informed this guy that I had done nothing wrong and he must have slipped instead of being "leveled".  He didn't like that idea, and neither did his teammates.  As this guy and I are exchanging words on the third base line, I notice a sea of purple and black making a mad dash towards ME.  Their whole freaking dugout was not happy with the way I tagged this guy.  I looked towards my dugout...my team was on their buckets eating sunflower seeds.    Umpires were nowhere to be found.  Every single player on that team was on ME.  After several dozen punches were thrown and my chest protector was torn off my team made the rescue.  Our shortstop, leaped from the pitcher's mound onto the gang that I was in the middle of and regulated a few of their guys.  Our third baseman, destroyed a few.    Both teams had guys with broke noses, black eyes, the whole nine yards.  Umpires finally gained the courage to stop things.  I took a deep breath, rounded up my catching gear that had been torn off, and just as I make my way back to our dugout, I noticed something out of the norm.  Considering I had just been the target of a best bench clearing brawl of my career and my vision was a bit blurred, I couldn't tell what or who it was.  I made it closer, and there stood Melanie Cook.  MY MOTHER HAD MADE HER WAY ONTO THE FIELD.  What she thought she could do to help is beyond me.  She was BOO-HOOing like no other.  "Are you ok?"  "Oh, Roger look at you!".  I looked at her with that look and she immediately returned to her seat.  I had just been in an absolute BRAWL, thinking i was a tough-guy, and there she stood.  Looking back, it was probably one of the most comical moments of my life; especially of my baseball career.  I still talk to that Trevecca player and he still insists that I "leveled" him.  It was a game I'll never forget.  Playing baseball is a family effort.  It takes parents who are willing to put forth the time, effort, and money, among other things, to be at practices and games, but it's well worth it when we get to watch our children do something they love.  

Roger Cook