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Interesting Night at the Ballpark last night...


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This is a TLDR for more, so you can skip to the bottom if you want.  I need to set the scene and give some background.  I was at my kids B Squad (sophmore and freshman) baseball game last night.  I have a sophmore and freshman in high school, and they were both in this game.  My boys are oil and water at home, but I have tried to teach them they need to have each others back when "out in the world" so I can trust they always have someone looking out for them.  I'm not always confident it sinks in, but I hope for the best.

My older son is a hot head.  Actually both of my sons are (they get it from me) but in different areas.  The older son is a hot head when playing sports.  We are all a little too comeptitive, and he loses his cool often, though he has gotten better the last year or two.

On to the game.  We were getting thumped, and had gone through a couple of pitchers.  It was clear the second pitcher wasn't going to get anyone out again, so they go to the mound.  To my surpise, my older son starts warming up.  He pitched a little last year, but this isn't his thing.  He throws it over the plate, and can throw a curve but isn't going to throw it past anyone.  He also doesn't like to pitch (probably because he's not great at it).  Anyway, the first inning is rough as he comes in with two men on, and the other team kept hitting the ball where we weren't so the rally goes on for a few more runs.  The last inning was better and he struck out three of four batters (it wasn't a huge accomplishment.  For example, the last batter batted left handed when he hit right every time up before that).  We get our last ups.  Two outs and my younger son is the last hope.  He struck out his first time, but got some good swings this time, but eventually grounded out to the short stop.  Game over.

As soon as it ends, I stand up and start to collect my chair and whatever and don't pay attention to the field.  Something catches my attention out of the corner of my eye and I see my older son having a heated exchange with what looks to be some grandparents who were sitting behind the fence right by our dugout.  I'm flabbergasted at the way he is acting even though I can't hear or understand what he or the fans are saying.  Someone near me said they thought my son said something like "ya, say that to me again" as in "I dare you to say that again."  My wife is confused as well, and I just say "I'm going to have some word with him after the game."  I notice the grandparent looking people are still heated and I can now hear them say something to the effect of "he shouldn't be talking to people like tha!" and "thats redicuous."  They are getting more heated by the minute and I get the impression they are going to be waiting for him after he gets out of the dugout.  

My thought now is I need to diffuse the situation before they continue to heat themselves up and have a confrontation with my son as he'll have to walk right past them after he gets out of the dugout, though at this point he is with his team in the outfield having a post game chat.  I start to walk towards them and my wife tries to stop me (mediation isn't my specialty normally) but I waive her off, "its fine."  I approach them and am apologetic.  "I'm sorry" I start "I didn't see what happened but I want to apologize for his behavior.  He's a hothead and I will talk to him and let him know the way he was acting was innapropriate."

Grandpa responds first, and as soon as he starts talking I can tell he is extremely worked up.  He's shaking but says "no you don't need to apologize, I'm a hothead too and we got heated."  I still don't know (and don't care) what was said and I just want them to cool down, so I apologize again and let them know the way my son was acting wasn't appropriate and I would talk to him.  I think I have grandpa calmed down, but then grandma pipes in.  "He has to be careful about what he says.  If he wants to go at me, I'll take him out."  It seems to me at this point it is not out of the realm of posibility these two said something legit that set my son off, and it was not just a miscommunication.  Regardless, my main goal here is still to defuse the situation, so I shrug off grandma's psuedo threat and say "I just want to make sure there aren't any hard feelings and no one goes home upset."  They say something moderately pleasant and I say in a legit sincere voice "have a good evening" and we part ways.

I go back to where my wife and my parents are standing and relay the exchange briefly.  I'm a little confused and trying to figure out what they could have said, or what my son could have thought they said.  I'm still steamed at my son and let the group know (there were a couple of other parents there I had known a while and all know my son can be a hothead) I'll be giving him a talking to.  My mom asks if they should leave and say no, I'll talk to him "over here" and walk to meet him at the dugout.

He's finally done and walks over.  He is cheery and doesn't think anything of why I would be meeting him separate from the rest of the group.  I give him my "don't you realize what an idiot you just were" look and he looks at me confused.  "What was that?" I ask him.  "They were giving (younger brother) a hard time!" he says.  I'm stunned because this is not one of the possible scenarios I contemplated.  "What?" I ask.  "When he got up the last time they said 'oh great, this kid again (sarcastic tone).  I don't think this kid has ever swung a bat before.'"

I'm suddenly at a loss for words, because while his actions were still clearly unacceptable, I'm reminded of my insistence that he look out for his brother.  He knows this and even ribs me "you told me I have to stick up for him."  I can tell by his tone of voice that he doesn't think this is a big deal at all.  I'm no longer interested in yelling at him, but I try to give him a lesson about regardless of if that is what they said, he can't engage with people outside of the fence.  The people on the inside are all he can be concerned about.  Also, regardless of what they say, he can't talk to other people that way.

After reflecting on it, I'm not so sure he was in the wrong.  If he misheard something, he is clearly wrong for saying anything.  But if they are trash talking his brother, I'm not sure he was 100% in the wrong (some percentage yes, no matter what).  Something about grandparents and their loss of the governor in their brain stopping them from saying stupid things.  I know my own parents, who are both reasonable and intelligent people, say stupid thoughts that pop into their head at games when that kids parents are sitting nearby.  Knowing that, and my brief interaction with these grandparents, I thought it likely something similar happened.  After thinking about it overnight, I'm conflicted in how hard I should have come down on him.  I'm also not looking forward to the next game should these grandparents be there.

Thoughts?

Sorry, forgot the TLDR.  My hothead son got into words with some grandparents after a baseball game.  They might or might not have been at fault for badmouthing the play of his brother.  How hard would you come down on him?

Edited by Bull Dozier
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Tough spot, I think what you did was fine. If my kid spoke to a grandparent like that I would be pretty ticked off at them, respect your elders and all that. Be proud that he was sticking up for his brother though, might be a little misplaced in this situation(them being old and all) but it's a sign you're doing something right. 

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15 minutes ago, Bull Dozier said:

 but then grandma pipes in.  "He has to be careful about what he says.  If he wants to go at me, I'll take him out."   

Wow.  I know you need to respect your elders and all, but grandma made a bigger ### of herself than your son did.

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4 minutes ago, Buttonhook said:

Wow.  I know you need to respect your elders and all, but grandma made a bigger ### of herself than your son did.

It was clear these two were a little rough around the edges.  I figured it was a little bit of bluster and "lets try to laught this off" but after my sons report, I wasn't so sure anymore.

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18 minutes ago, Spock said:

What exactly did he say to those grandparents?

I don't know for sure, never got to that point.  When he told me they were talking trash about his brother, I was caught off guard and never got to the details.  In the moment, it didn't matter and it was more about his delivery and body language.

Knowing him, and putting the bits and pieces I got together, I'm guessing it went something like this:

Gma: Wow, only 14 more runs and we'll make this one a game.
Gpa: Oh not this kid again.  I don't think he's ever swung a bat before. (confirmed)
Son: Why don't you shut up.
Gpa: Who do you think you're talking to?  Don't talk to me like that.
Son: Then don't say that about my brother.
Gpa: Don't talk to me.  What are you an idiot?
Son: Why don't you shut up?
Spa: Why don't you try and make me, you little idiot.
Son: Ya, why don't you call me that again (confirmed)

I'm guessing something like that.  I'll try to get details tonight with cooler heads all around.

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9 minutes ago, Vanilla Guerrilla said:

New one for the schtick in real life thread.  I'm going to start going to lil kids games and trash talk the children.

I'll send you my schedule.  Don't be surprised if you get a ______'s suck comeback.

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2 minutes ago, Bull Dozier said:

I'll send you my schedule.  Don't be surprised if you get a ______'s suck comeback.

"Hey, lil Dozier - you're old man couldn't hack it in FF and quit for a few years, maybe you should follow his example and just quit swingin'!!!"

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I would say that your son has no business getting into an exchange with two old coots making stupid comments from the stands.  It's not like these two were threatening or even could be a threat to either of your sons.

It's moments like this that I'm glad I'm not a hot head.  You guys must spend half your life trying to not get pissed off. 

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In baseball always ignore what is said from the seats.  You have to not have "rabbit ears".

 

Either way, can you prove that was actually said about his younger brother?  He could have realized he was going to get in trouble and lied about it to save his ###.

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11 minutes ago, Bull Dozier said:

I don't know for sure, never got to that point.  When he told me they were talking trash about his brother, I was caught off guard and never got to the details.  In the moment, it didn't matter and it was more about his delivery and body language.

Knowing him, and putting the bits and pieces I got together, I'm guessing it went something like this:

Gma: Wow, only 14 more runs and we'll make this one a game.
Gpa: Oh not this kid again.  I don't think he's ever swung a bat before. (confirmed)
Son: Why don't you shut up.
Gpa: Who do you think you're talking to?  Don't talk to me like that.
Son: Then don't say that about my brother.
Gpa: Don't talk to me.  What are you an idiot?
Son: Why don't you shut up?
Spa: Why don't you try and make me, you little idiot.
Son: Ya, why don't you call me that again (confirmed)

I'm guessing something like that.  I'll try to get details tonight with cooler heads all around.

While I also teach my own kids to respect their elders, I think your son did the right thing in sticking up for his brother. Parents/Grandparents talking smack about another parents kid (loud enough to be heard by others) is totally unacceptable.

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13 minutes ago, Peyton Marino said:

Did the grandma really say that about "taking him out"? That's wild. 

Ya, that was one to me directly.  I couldn't believe it.

11 minutes ago, James Daulton said:

I would say that your son has no business getting into an exchange with two old coots making stupid comments from the stands.  It's not like these two were threatening or even could be a threat to either of your sons.

It's moments like this that I'm glad I'm not a hot head.  You guys must spend half your life trying to not get pissed off. 

Totally agree, regardless of what was said.  I told him he has to ignore anything said from the stands.  He had an exchange with fans at a basketball game once.  Away game at our rival high school.  Students were sitting in the stands right behind the basket and they said "you suck."  He asked them if they were any good why they weren't playing.  While I appreciated the come back, I told them he has to have thicken skin and needs to ignore comments from the fans.  Recent actions by Wesbrook and Harden show me it is not a unique issue he has to overcome, not that I want to excuse it though.

8 minutes ago, trident said:

In baseball always ignore what is said from the seats.  You have to not have "rabbit ears".

 

Either way, can you prove that was actually said about his younger brother?  He could have realized he was going to get in trouble and lied about it to save his ###.

I can't prove that was said.  I can't prove this to you either from a message board, but for the purposes of this thread I can only tell you I don't think my kid is that kind of kid.  He's not perect and has gotten in trouble and taken his lumps.  I've tried to teach him that when he comes clean, any punishment for wrong doing is much less severe to encourage honesty.  Plus his initial reaction was such that he was shocked that I was even upset, so it didn't seem he had any shame in the interaction.  He was probably over confident that sticking up for his brother excused his overreaction, so I felt he was being honest.

4 minutes ago, Johnny Rock said:

Whose grandparents were they?

This high school team has a lot of new kids I don't know, so I don't know who they were there for.  I didn't recognize the parents, so it wasn't a family he grew up playing with.  :shrug: I hope they don't travel, and will go back to my old routine of sitting in the outfield.  I was reminded why I don't sit near other fans when I can avoid it.

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First off, your kids are not pros, so people shouldn't be trash talking them.  If they were backers of your team, this is even more egregious.  Respect is earned, just because you're old doesn't mean you aren't an #######.  I have no problem with what he did at all, but he has to understand the consequences of engaging fans anywhere.  Sometimes pros have a hard time, hard to imagine teens can control their emotions.

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1 hour ago, Peyton Marino said:

Did the grandma really say that about "taking him out"? That's wild. 

I think i would have explained to grandpa what a forearm shiver was at that point. I guess you really can't hit an old man but can you shake the chit out of him?  

Edited by sbonomo
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1 hour ago, Bull Dozier said:

and will go back to my old routine of sitting in the outfield.  I was reminded why I don't sit near other fans when I can avoid it.

:yes:

I tend to separate myself from the other/opposing parents for my boy's baseball and hockey games.  At most standing with a couple other like-minded Dads along the left or right field lines and in the opposite corner of the rink from the stands..  Youth sports parents (and grandparents) be crazy, yo.  Its not worth the aggravation.

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2 hours ago, Bull Dozier said:

...  Something about grandparents and their loss of the governor in their brain stopping them from saying stupid things...

My dad has always had a weak filter but once he entered senior citizen territory he just stopped even trying. One of my friends got badly burned at work and my dad posted to his Facebook wall, "That's what you get for even thinking about voting for Trump."

Edited by mrip541
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Interesting story, actually. Way better than most of the TLDR's around here. 

  • your son was right, but wrong to address the situation verbally because...
  • rabbit ears is right -- they suck to have. I had them in baseball and got a whole fan base worked up one time when I told a fan to "have another beer." It's really best not to respond to that sort of stuff, as it just begets more heckling and even further rabbit ears
  • glad he stuck up for his brother
  • those people sound like they suck

That's really all.  

Edited by rockaction
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2 hours ago, Brunell4MVP said:

Some elders deserve respect.  Others do not.  Tell your kid good job for standing up to them.

Exactly. Grey or white hair does not give you license to act like a jerk.

ETA: any time an old person acts ####ty and you think about giving them a break, remember they were an idiot teen. An idiot adult. An idiot as a retiree. #### them.

Edited by Jobber
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The lesson to teach your kid is that there are punks of all ages. Although that old lady probably deserved a beating, it's frowned upon in polite society and maintaining your freedom is very important.

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57 minutes ago, mrip541 said:

My dad has always had a weak filter but once he entered senior citizen territory he just stopped even trying. One of my friends got badly burned at work and my dad posted to his Facebook wall, "That's what you get for even thinking about voting for Trump."

He has a point

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5 hours ago, James Daulton said:

For a hot head, you seem pretty level headed and reasonable. 

It took me a couple of minutes to calm myself down before I approached this couple. Had I not I would have overreacted to Grandma's stupid comment about taking him out (I laughed it off because she was small and frail and there was no chance of that).

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I know everyone is on pins and needles, so I got the full exchange getting my son.  Somewhat like I thought, but even more clear the grandparents were out of line an no consequences for my son.

Grandpa: oh not this kid again. I don't think he's every swung a bat.

Son: why don't you just let him play the game?

GPA: why don't you just stay there on the bench?

Son: I will start here on the bench but why don't you just let him play his game?

GPA? Why don't you just chill out?

Back and forth like this a couple of more times, then the younger brother grounds out so the older one gets up to go the line up and shake hands.

Gpa: (to wife but talking about son) who is this kid, he's some kind of idiot.

Son: call me an idiot again.

Gpa: what!?!

Son: go ahead and call me that again (pauses, walks away)

 

While I'm not "proud" of the way he acted (would have been fine had he stuck up for his brother but kept his cool a little better) but certainly don't have a problem with it.

The only thing I told him was that sports is all about your "brothers" on the field, blood or otherwise, and the experiences you have with them. Ignore everything else.

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6 hours ago, James Daulton said:

For a hot head, you seem pretty level headed and reasonable. 

This is Minnesota. Verbal disagreements are very scary to people here. 

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From the exchange above it sounds like your son handled it okay IMHO. I coach my sons baseball team so I don’t get to hear stuff that gets said in the stands but my wife has informed me multiple times that my parents are saying disrespectful things about some of the less talented kids on the team which I find completely unacceptable. I’ve told them to cut it out or they can’t come and the last game they said something about one of the kids while sitting right next to the kid’s parents.  My wife texted me and I came out to the bleachers and told them to GTFO. They got angry that they raised me to be respectful to adults, but I have no tolerance for adults being disrespectful to kids  

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12 hours ago, rockaction said:

Interesting story, actually. Way better than most of the TLDR's around here. 

  • your son was right, but wrong to address the situation verbally because...
  • rabbit ears is right -- they suck to have. I had them in baseball and got a whole fan base worked up one time when I told a fan to "have another beer." It's really best not to respond to that sort of stuff, as it just begets more heckling and even further rabbit ears
  • glad he stuck up for his brother
  • those people sound like they suck

That's really all.  

Yeah, nothing really wrong with the way the son handled it, and it was certainly the natural thing to do in that situation. Nothing wrong with telling an idiot to put a sock in it. But confronting these morons was really a pointless endeavor. It's not like Gramps walked away from this thinking, "you know what, maybe it's not right for me to come to baseball games and talk #### to 14 year olds". Gramps is an idiot and will always be. All that was likely accomplished here was that one son lost focus, and the other son is now aware that he was being badmouthed from the stands (assuming he couldn't hear the original comments). 

Then again, I'm not a confrontational person. When in the presence of idiots, I just want to get out of their presence or ignore them. 

 

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On 5/4/2018 at 11:02 PM, Dickies said:

From the exchange above it sounds like your son handled it okay IMHO. I coach my sons baseball team so I don’t get to hear stuff that gets said in the stands but my wife has informed me multiple times that my parents are saying disrespectful things about some of the less talented kids on the team which I find completely unacceptable. I’ve told them to cut it out or they can’t come and the last game they said something about one of the kids while sitting right next to the kid’s parents.  My wife texted me and I came out to the bleachers and told them to GTFO. They got angry that they raised me to be respectful to adults, but I have no tolerance for adults being disrespectful to kids  

I have coached baseball, football, and basketball, but now mostly just basketball.  Parents at youth basketball games are insane, but mainly yelling at refs and players on the other team.  I haven't heard them complain about players on their own team as much, but maybe because it isn't as loud.  Sitting in the bleachers near other parents it is crazy to me how many parents say cutting remarks about kids playing the game.  Plus, I have identified a new, different dad who thinks he's Mr Baseball and has coaching tips for every kid.  They are just the most basic cliche'd comments that aren't actually insightful, so I know he actually knows very little about the game (kid strikes out looking, his response "gotta swing the bat #4!"  Kid misses a ground ball, "need to make that play #12!")  His kid was playing cather and let a passed ball go by, and he yells at his to "you gotta be a wall back there!  Nothing gets past you!"  His kid, without looking back at him raises his hand and gives him the finger.  That told me right there how reasonable this guy is.  Great team of parents, thankfully the high school season is so short.

On 5/5/2018 at 4:36 AM, pollardsvision said:

Yeah, nothing really wrong with the way the son handled it, and it was certainly the natural thing to do in that situation. Nothing wrong with telling an idiot to put a sock in it. But confronting these morons was really a pointless endeavor. It's not like Gramps walked away from this thinking, "you know what, maybe it's not right for me to come to baseball games and talk #### to 14 year olds". Gramps is an idiot and will always be. All that was likely accomplished here was that one son lost focus, and the other son is now aware that he was being badmouthed from the stands (assuming he couldn't hear the original comments). 

Then again, I'm not a confrontational person. When in the presence of idiots, I just want to get out of their presence or ignore them. 

 

Older son, as I said before, is a hot head, so he doesn't let things go easily.  He's a good respectful kid normally, but was sticking up for his brother and the only reason he said anything.  I don't think at 16 he was thinking through how prudent it was to engage in conversation before he told him to chill out.  Fortunately, my younger son has pretty thick skin and a realistic sense of his own abilities.  He's a freshman pulled up to the sophmore team and starting over some sophmore's.  He feels good about that but he also knows he's not an all star.  While I'm sure he didn't love it, he didn't care all that much about their comments, and did say he didn't hear them say anythign while he was at bat, so it didn't affect him then.

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Little bit more of an update.  My son said he talked to the teammate who's relatives these were (it was actually an aunt and uncle).  He said "sorry for yelling at your familiy like that" and something about what they said about his brother. The teammate said "don't worry about it.  They are so embarrassing.  We don't invite them to games.  We tell them we play at different times, or at a different field, but they find the schedule online."

Two games have happened since this interaction, and I haven't seen them again.  Hopefully that holds up.

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41 minutes ago, Bull Dozier said:

Little bit more of an update.  My son said he talked to the teammate who's relatives these were (it was actually an aunt and uncle).  He said "sorry for yelling at your familiy like that" and something about what they said about his brother. The teammate said "don't worry about it.  They are so embarrassing.  We don't invite them to games.  We tell them we play at different times, or at a different field, but they find the schedule online."

Two games have happened since this interaction, and I haven't seen them again.  Hopefully that holds up.

:lmao:

 

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