Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Youth Softball: That is so Bush

Crazy Youth Parents Series

At the end of the prepubescent girls softball game last night, one of the dad fans supporting our team yelled out the idiom, "That's so bush league" in a joking manner.  He said it with a smile on his face and he ONLY said it loud enough for the parents of our team to hear. Although the comment was sparked by the actions of the opposing coach, the opposing coach did not hear the comment as intended.

The Situation

My 9 year old daughter, CC, plays in a softball league with rules that keep the baserunners from advancing willy nilly.  Runners are restricted from advancing home on pass balls and wild pitches. They are even restricted from taking extra bases on overthrows from the catcher trying to throw out a base stealer. 

On the rare occasion when a ball is put into play with a hit, baserunners can advance at will but there is an unwritten rule that most coaches follow that restrict base runners from running to force extra throws and therefore errors. As such, coaches typically do not allow runners to advance extra bases on overthrow errors. This silent code keeps the game in check. Umpires, however, will automatically advance runners one base on overthrows that go out of bounds.

Game 77 

Last night, in the bottom of the last inning with two outs and the game knotted at 6, the third base coach from the opposing team encouraged his base runner to score the winning run from first base on an overthrow. It was not illegal, but it violated the unwritten code of ethics and was therefore deemed bush. Hence the comment said in jest.

One of the moms from our team did not know what bush league meant and I could tell that she was appalled. I can only assume that she immediately jumped to the slang definition of bush (female pubic hair) and thought it was a derogatory comment about woman's sports.

I quickly informed her that bush-league is a baseball term from the early 1900's that means amateurish, unsophisticated or unprofessional. I gave the example that a bush-league pitcher is a second rate player. I could see the relief on her face.

According to the Eytmology Online Dictionary, The term "bush" refers to the country or land away from the city. Major League teams played in big cities and minor league teams play in the country so the term was applied to baseball. The term was not a put down in the beginning, but since minor leaguers are not as polished as major leaguers the idiom eventually became a put down to mean amateurish or unprofessional.

The Main Point

Coaches you can play to win, but follow all the written and unwritten rules while you are coaching else you will be called bush.


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