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PCL experience

Original post made by PCL parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 11, 2011

This year we have been been parents of a Palo Alto Little League PCL player. It may be just our very subjective observation, but there seemed to be pretty blatant favoritism on the part of coaches for their sons -- never came out of games, always played the position of their choice, batted atop the order, and all regardless of performance which was often sub-par. We observed this not only on our own team, but on others as well, and there was other parent chatter about it. Some said it is a perpetual problem with PALL. Has anyone else observed this?

Comments (13)

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Posted by former PALL parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm


But short of being a coach yourself, you won't be able to change the system.

It gets worse going through Majors, All Stars and even Babe Ruth. But if you are a parent coach of an All Star team, how can you not let your son be on the team?

I do want to thank all those who volunteer to give our kids a fun baseball experience. The system is not perfect, but the coaches do give of themselves, their time, and often financially, to do a good thing for the community.
It is easy to criticize them, but they are only volunteering and of course they want to make it a good experience for their own kids.

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Posted by Tom Jacoubowsky
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm

While I won't comment on the the coaching of others, I will have to say I was extremely impressed by the way my son's team (Computer Care) was coached by Patrick Burrows. He was incredibly balanced in the way he played everybody equally on a team that wasn't deep with talent. While the team could have probably won a few more games by focusing on just using the best players in key positions, Patrick stressed the development of all. In all my years in watching athletics, he was the best youth coach I have seen.

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Posted by Parent of PCL player
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I agree with on every aspect. Also, the All-star team to me should
be called the Coaches Sons All-Star Teams!!!

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I think this thread comes up every year. Daddy-ball is a universal phenomenon - unless you want to hire outside coaches, it will always be with us. Others have pointed out that for an All Star Team, it is hard for the coaches to not includes their own sons - otherwise, how can they justify spending the time to be a good coach?

And, speaking from experience, if you do become a coach - there will be plenty who accuse you of Daddy-ball too (and they may even be right).

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Posted by Amazed
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

@Amazed, I guess that amazement is directed at me, so I'll respond. Daddy-ball is not justified, but it is just awfully hard to avoid. The coach's kid gets a little more playing time, a favored position, a little higher in the batting order than would be otherwise. Not sure if you've coached your own kids, but most coaches struggle with it. You try to have it be not too egregious. I (or my kid rather) have been the victim and, to a lesser extent, the perpetrator. If that is self-serving hypocrisy, I guess add it to the list of human foibles that we see every day.

As for all-star teams, it is different - if your kid doesn't make the all-star team, then you simply can't justify volunteering the kind of time away from your family to be the coach. It is a big time commitment. Since it is usually hard to fill all-star coaching spots with strong coaches (speaking generically, I don't know PCL's situation), you find the coach first and then accept that his kid will make the team. Some parent will complain (someone is always complaining about something on those teams), but the alternative is to pass the hat to find (also imperfect) hired coaches - which does happen at higher levels of play. BTW, it is not a ideal situation for that coach's kid either, since the other players suspect that daddy was the reason he made the team, which can wear down a kid. But this imperfect arrangement survives because it is preferred to the alternatives (less good coaches, hired coaches, no team).

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Posted by Also Amazed
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 26, 2011 at 9:27 am

Coaches' favoritism is counterproductive in efforts toward character development, and the above justification of it is truly amazing.

Why are these people coaching? Presumably to teach their kid that they're not really good enough to earn their own place, and that the game time and bragging rights matter more than teamwork and fair play.

Do you think that parents only participate in time-consuming school volunteer activities to ensure that their children's teachers inflate their grades?

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Posted by former PALL parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 26, 2011 at 9:43 am

It is an imperfect system.

But, would you volunteer upwards of 6 hours per week to coach a team in which your own child was not good enough to make?

Generally speaking, the coaches are employed individuals (not stay at home Dads) who have demanding jobs and families.

The only other possible solution would be to make sure that coaches sons were on the other team, still not an attractive option if you have to struggle to find time in your schedule to coach.

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Posted by Good sportsmanship ha ha
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

I guess only women volunteer time and energy to causes without expecting personal or family gain.
Do kids learn good sportsmanship? or is that just old fashioned nonsense.
or do they learn that winning is everything, and cheating is just part of the game.

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm

@Good - I guess kids learn that the world and the people in it are often imperfect, though that usually doesn't mean they are bad people or spoil everything. Believe me, Daddy-ball aside, some parents are usually complaining that their kid would be playing more or starting shortstop or whatever if only favoritism or bias weren't getting in the way.

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I have no problem with a kid making all-stars because dad is a coach. I do have a big problem with a kid playing a lot more or a favored position that they are not qualified for because their dad is a coach.

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

@PA Mom - well, I'm sure when you are coach that kind of thing will never happen ;-) It happens all the time, though I would say usually to a minor enough extent that it is not distracting - a kid bats 5th when they should otherwise bat 7th, or the kid plays at 1st when they should otherwise be in right field. All well within the scope of a coach's discretion, and not worth getting worked up about IMHO. When it gets beyond that (a kid starts at shortstop who can't field the position, or leads off when they should bat 9th), then it gets tense and there is a reason to gripe.

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Posted by Good sportsmanship ha ha
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm

So the boys are being taught that unfairness and bias are just normal, and not to "gripe." It really explains the corruption in our city government and on the national level. The cheaters know that no one is going to get upset.
In the city it appears the locals don't even pay attention when the big boys fudge the record, lie about the rules, and the city doesn't enforce. Like when a hospital which will remain nameless uses underhanded manipulation to get their way, hey no problem.
After all, personal profit is all that matters. Including the bankers who cheated us into a depression. Really depressing.

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