In baseball, as in many other sports, teams are eager to make the playoffs at the end of the season. However, the West Island Midget A Royals will lose out due to the administrative oversight of their coaches. Much to their dismay.
Posted on August 19
Each year, the coaches of minor league baseball teams must follow a certain number of rules dictated by the provincial federation Baseball Québec.
In the category we are interested in, one of these rules requires at least one coach from each team to complete a year’s training by June 15, or the team will be barred from any participation in the provincial tournament, playoffs, or regional or provincial championships. .
Alain Cloutier is the head coach of the West Island Royals. He has been a volunteer minor league baseball coach for six years. Last year, he completed a year’s training on time, allowing his team to participate in the playoffs. But this year he got away with it, as did his three assistants.
“We knew we had to do it; I can’t complain that they changed the rule, that it wasn’t clear,” he admits at the outset.
Every year, trainers receive emails notifying them that they have not completed the training. Except the Royals head coach says he never got the emails. As early as July, he and his assistants discussed which of them would do the training… even though the deadline had already passed a few weeks ago.
In other words, lack of communication may have something to do with it. But the four men don’t bury their heads in the sand: they acknowledge their mistake.
Since we have been training for six years, we know the rule. We were careless, we were slow. This is our fault. I recognize him first.
Alain Cloutier, West Island Royals head coach
Only here: in mid-July, they were notified that the deadline had expired and their team could not participate in the tournament scheduled for July 18, nor the playoffs.
Possible solutions that lead nowhere
The four trainers fell a little off the clouds when they realized their oversight. At that time, their team had 12 wins and 2 losses. For six weeks now, he has been trying to “find a way to get along” with the Lac Saint-Louis organization.
They say they have suggested various possible solutions, particularly finding replacement coaches or simply adding training to the calendar for which they would bear the cost. Their goal is simple: get their players to the playoffs, with or without them on the bench.
“We are like a fish at the bottom of a boat,” regrets Mr. Cloutier. It’s too late and we’re fighting. »
“Baseball Quebec has a good reputation, I can see why. They alone require continuous formation; I’m a teacher, I can’t be against it, it’s a good idea.
I say, “Punish me.” Tell me I’m suspended, that I’m not the one going coach my team in the playoffs and find a coach who has this year’s certification. But let the boys play…
The series should start in a few days, on August 25, but nothing can be done, he regrets.
“We’re the ones who bear the biggest blame, but we still can’t get used to the idea that it’s the players who pay the price,” he said.
Baseball Quebec is fighting back
In a telephone interview with Pressthe general manager of Baseball Québec, Maxime Lamarche, recalls that the said rule was introduced several years ago and was voted on by the members of Baseball Québec.
He insists that several reminders were sent to teams before the deadline, and mentions in passing that Mr. Cloutier received one on June 17, when the deadline was pushed back to June 25.
At some point we become desensitized to situations like the one West Island describes.
Maxime Lamarche, CEO of Baseball Quebec
“Training is so simple, especially for recreational purposes, that we no longer accept it [de se faire dire] : “I’m just a volunteer, I don’t have time for this training,” he adds. If you don’t have time to do this, let your association know and they will arrange for another trainer to take over. It is non-negotiable for us at this level. »
According to Mr. Lamarche, such situations happen “everywhere in Quebec.” Of the 2,098 teams in the province, “178 did not respect the rule, so about 8%”. Still, he reiterates that he understands that “everyone makes mistakes,” and clarifies that there is some fairness in all of this for all who have taken the time to complete the training, perhaps reluctantly.
There comes a time when you cannot tell the difference between one who made a mistake in good faith, one who made a mistake in bad faith, and the other who tried to cheat.
“We cannot say: we will take them all one by one and try to see in their eyes whether they are honest or not. That’s why we have rules so that we don’t have to deal with whether it’s right for such a person or not. »
The CEO insists it’s important to hold the guilty accountable. “If there’s always an escape door, a solution, we gather to continue this cycle of people telling themselves they don’t have to be in their business, doing their thing in advance, preparing because it doesn’t matter.” [se disent que les organisations] let it pass [qu’ils sont] only one exception.
“We are so eager not to come to any conclusion that we are sending you lots of reminders and chances. Is it when you say, I give up and they deal with the consequences? »
Maxime Lamarche also points out that the Royals’ coaches have been members of the federation for years and therefore “already know how it works”.
As for the Royals’ proposed solution to change the entire coaching staff to allow youngsters to participate in the playoffs, Mr. Lamarche suggests that “it goes completely against the grain: you take over the team from start to finish.”
The only solution, he said, is to accept their mistake and propose a rule change when it comes time to review Baseball Quebec’s rules of the game in September.
“These people have to take responsibility and say: I let it go, but we will work hard to make sure the rule is different and that next year no one is penalized. But it’s not up to us to change it during the season, it makes no sense. Otherwise, what’s the point of making rules? »