"Do We Concede the Run?"I have a number of baseball tales that I love sharing. Honestly, this is my favorite.
Summer 1988. My Dwight Pony League baseball team was matched against a team from Streator, Illinois. One of my high school friends, Tony Parker, patrolled first base. Nobody ever accused Tony of hiding a dictionary in his back pocket, but I guess that was what we appreciated about him. Perhaps that is what transforms a routine error into a timeless tale.
During this particular game, I was on the bench next to Chad Heenan. Chad was a big guy who loved sports as much as he loved food. Chad and I sat back and watched the game from the dugout on the first base side.
Our Pony League coach was Howie Rub, a blond-haired sports legend from our high school. I cannot remember if he was a college student at that point, or if he just completed his degree. Either way, he paced in our dugout.
"Hey, coach," Tony said, shading his eyes with his glove. He stood a few feet from the bag, kicking dirt.
Streator had runners on first and third with no outs in the inning. I cannot remember the score, but I know we were losing because we had not scored yet.
"Coach, are we conceding the run?" Tony asked.
"Yes, concede the run," Howie said.
Chad and I locked stares. "He doesn't know what that means," we said, in unison. Anyone who follows baseball understands what it means to "concede the run." When a team concedes the run, they allow the runner on third to score to settle for the easy out. This strategy keeps your team from giving up a big inning. Simple technique.
"Okay," Tony said, moving into fielding position.
The batter slapped the first pitch to Tony at first base. Tony lowered all six-foot-plus of his frame to the dirt to scoop up the grounder. Rather than stepping on first base for the easy out, our first baseman fielded the ball and fired to the catcher. Naturally, our catcher was out of position because he knew that we decided to concede the run. Tony launched a rocket over our catcher's head and drilled the backstop. The runner from third scored, the runner on first advanced to third, and the batter landed upon second base. Streator still had no outs.
"Hey, Tony," Howie said, barking at his first baseman.
Tony kicked some dirt around the bag.
"Do you know what it means to concede the run?" Howie asked.
Tony turned to our coach. "Nope," he said.