It’s a quote that’s been uttered many times over the course of human history when it comes to sports.
For Cleveland Park Commission Director Stephen Glorioso, that saying is something he believes in whole heartily. This year in 5 and 6-year-old boys and girls t-ball, Glorioso put his belief to the test as he made the decision to cut the scoreboard off in t-ball, meaning there won’t be a winner or a loser in any t-ball game this year.
“It’s a change that’s probably long overdue,” Glorioso said. “Over the year, you see a lack of fundamentals being taught in how to play baseball. It becomes more about how to win a t-ball game. Case in point, if you’re keeping score in a t-ball game a lot of times a player will hit the ball to third. Unless the fielder can tag third base, he’s taught to hold the ball. He does not throw the ball. What I would like to see happen by turning off that scoreboard is that kid take the ball and throw it across to first. If he gets him out or doesn’t get him out, fine at least he tried. If he gets him out, he just learned a little more about ball.”
The decision to cut the scoreboard off in t-ball is something that Glorioso had been thinking about for some time.
“There are some park and recs that do keep score and some that don’t,” Glorioso said. “If you talk to the people I did and you study the game, it’s not a perfect system but it’s best for what we do in Cleveland.”
The scoring change has brought some changes in the game. According to Glorioso, one change regarded the pitcher. Last year, the pitcher could stand on each side of the mound. This year, the pitcher has to stay on the pitching rubber.
“I want to see that shortstop be able to field the ball,” Glorioso said. “I want to see that second baseman be able to field the ball — not your best athlete on the field win a ball game for you. Is it a perfect system? No, but if I keep doing the same thing over and over again, I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m trying to get these kids prepared to play coach pitch, prepared to play minor league, prepared to play O Zone and prepared to play high school.”
Glorioso said keeping score should be the least important thing at this age group.
“It is not a necessity to keep score with five and six-year-old kids,” Glorioso said. “They’ve got plenty of time to learn sportsmanship and about winning and losing. They can show sportsmanship in a game where there’s no score being taken. Parents set the example and kids follow it. Sportsmanship is learned.”
Wayne Forbes, who is the coach of the Cleveland State Bank boys t-ball team, said he is not a fan of cutting the scoreboard off.
“The way we’re doing it right now, it’s nothing but practice for the kids,” Forbes said. “We played in that tournament out there Saturday and the kids fought harder than they have in any of the games they’ve played so far. They knew they were playing to win something. There are two or three coaches that wanted a change, but me personally I don’t like it because it doesn’t give the kids anything to play for. I told the kids we have a ball game Monday night. We asked our kids are you ready to play, they said what for we’re not going to win nothing.”
Chris Giger, who is the coach of the South Street Pharmacy boys t-ball team said, cutting the scoreboard off has been healthy.
“I think it’s good for the boys because it gives them a chance to learn the fundamentals of the game and to practice and play fundamental baseball,” Giger said. “Last year, we had a lot of pitchers who would catch the ball and chase the boys around the bases. Since we’re not keeping score, we can focus more on having them play the fundamentals of the game, throwing the ball to first and throwing the ball to second. The kids want to know ‘Did we win? Did we win?’ and I just tell them that we all won.”
Bobby Foster, who is the coach of Big River Grain girls t-ball team, said he doesn’t like the scoring change.
“It takes the competitiveness away from the game,” Foster said.
Malcolm Dye, who is the coach of Tindle Family Dentistry girls t-ball team, said he didn’t know what to think about the scoring change when he first heard about it.
“At first when they announced it at the draft, I said ‘there’s no competition or anything,” Dye said. “After I thought about it and we’ve been doing it, I absolutely don’t have a problem with it at all. The majority of the little girls don’t know what win or lose is anyway. We’re just trying to teach them to play ball. I think it’s fine. We’re still getting outs and all. In my opinion, it seems to be working.”
Brad Washington, who is the coach of the Bolivar Insurance t-ball team, said cutting the scoreboard off has its advantages and its disadvantages.
“It does teach them fundamentals of throwing the ball to first base and throwing the ball around,” Washington said. “We’re getting more outs, because we’re batting more. You don’t have to stop at three outs, but it takes away the dealing with winning and losing. It also took away the fundamental of getting three outs. In baseball, it’s easy to get two outs but it’s tough to get the third