Kid Coach

Kid Coach by Fred Bowen Read Free Book Online

Book: Kid Coach by Fred Bowen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Fred Bowen
fielder on the left side, and even they would move way over.”
    “That’s crazy!” said Drew, looking around at his teammates. Most of them were nodding their heads and laughing.
    “It worked against Ted Williams,” Scott said. “And he was a Hall of Famer.”
    “What if Eddie hits to the left?” Drew asked.
    “He almost never does,” Scott said.
    “What if he bunts?” Drew asked.
    “Great! I’d rather him bunt than hit the ball out of the park!” said Scott as he and Benny exchanged smiles.
    “What if he does hit it out of the park?” Drew asked.
    “Then it won’t matter where we put the fielders,” Benny said. This time the team was laughing at Drew.
    “Come on, it’s worth a try,” Fran said. “We can’t do much worse. The Red Sox have been killing us!”
    “Yeah, come on. Let’s give it a shot,” Scott said. “The regular starters take the field. I’ll try to hit a few by you.”
    The Tigers trotted out to their positions. “Move back, Maggie,” said Scott, pointing with his bat. “And Drew, you should be a step or two to the right of second base. Fran, swing around to shortstop.”
    “Hey!” Drew shouted in from second base. “I’ve got an idea. Maybe we shouldswitch the right and left fielder, so Max is playing right field against Eddie.”
    Scott knew that Max was their best outfielder. He looked at Benny on the sidelines. Benny nodded. “He’s right. The percentages are better with Max in right.”
    “All right,” Scott shouted. “Max play right. Sam play left in the shift.”
    After the shift was in place, Scott tried to smash a few shots past the bunched fielders. The Tigers gobbled them up with glee. After a while, Scott called an end to the practice.
    The kids wandered away from practice. But Drew hung around and helped Scott pick up the equipment.
    “What do you think of the shift?” Scott asked.
    “It seems okay,” Drew said with a shrug. Then he smiled. “But maybe we should put someone over the right field fence when Eddie comes to bat. That’s where the ball will be headed.”

F OURTEEN
    P lay ball!” the umpire shouted, pulling down his mask and motioning Scott to pitch.
    Scott turned to check his fielders. Then he fired a fastball to start the Tigers final game of the season.
    The Red Sox leadoff hitter topped a slow roller to third. Fran rushed in, scooped up the ball, and threw to first, all in one motion. One out.
    The second Red Sox batter popped a weak fly ball to center field. “I got it!” called Peter. Two outs.
    Eddie Wilson stepped to the plate. Scott held up his hands and called, “Time.” Turning to the fielders, Scott waved his teammates into their shift positions. Sam racedover to left field and Max dashed to right field. As Scott turned to face the star Red Sox slugger, Mr. Robinson, the Red Sox coach, charged out to the umpire. “Hey, ump,” he called out. “They can’t do that, can they? Bunching the kids together like that?”
    Scott joined the umpire and Mr. Robinson in front of home plate. “Well, coach,” the umpire said, holding his mask and scratching his head. “I don’t know. I can’t say as I’ve seen it before.”
    “It’s the Williams shift,” Scott said. “Lou Boudreau used it against Ted Williams about sixty years ago.”
    The umpire nodded. “I think he’s right. Teams today do something like it against some of the big hitters.”
    “Yeah, but they can’t change their left and right fielders, can they?” asked Mr. Robinson.
    The umpire pulled a notebook from his back pocket and thumbed through the pages. “I don’t see anything against it,” he said shaking his head. “The rule book justsays that you gotta have at least three outfielders. And they got three outfielders. They’re in funny places but they are in the outfield.”
    Mr. Robinson stood with his hands on his hips for a long moment. Then he turned and walked back to the bench.
    “Play ball!” the umpire shouted.
    Scott stood on the mound

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