Steve Romer is both a sponsor and captain of the Westrock-Refuahs.org softball team and the recipient of the 2008 and 2010 Captain of the Year award. He was also instrumental in driving his team onward to win the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 RJSL championship titles. A team captain since 2003, Romer has consistently led his team to the playoffs and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. At 58 years of age, he is certainly one of the "senior" league members and his love for both the game and the RJSL makes his blog one worth reading.
Romer is a real estate entrepreneur as both an investor and for 30 years, the president of Westrock Appraisal Services, Corp., a commercial real estate appraisal provider. He has earned both an MBA and the prestigious MAI designation. Married for 34 years, Steve has three children, all who are married and grand-children running into the double digits.
The Pitfalls of Winning Big
June 21, 2010
I'm a man that believes in doing the right thing. Of course, the hardest thing about doing the right thing is knowing what the right thing is. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let me reveal the dynamics that occurred during Sunday night's game (June 20th) between WC and Team Samet. Every now and again it is not uncommon for a team to simply "explode" in terms of a continuous barrage of hits which frequently translates into a blowout. It just so happened that it was WC's turn last night and Team Samet was the unfortunate recipient of this blowout. It has always been my philosophy to fan the fires of success so during those infrequent occasions that my team rallies inning after inning, I keep pushing them onward to achieve the greatest success possible. Every additional hit, run, stolen base and tag-up I find to be exhilarating and it brings enormous satisfaction to my entire roster. But, of course, there is a flip side to this which involves the "feelings" of the team that is being decimated...it's not easy to bear and frustrations can flare. So, when someone on Team Samet became unglued and screamed at me for allowing one of my WC players to steal third, accusing me of throwing "salt" on Team Samet's "wound" considering that we were winning by "30" runs, I quietly responded that I am simply doing my job as team captain to keep my men motivated and focused. Somewhat later in the game I argued with the umpire regarding a ball that was thrown to me at first base which I clearly caught but the umpire ruled that I was "not" in control of the ball when I tagged first. Frankly, the umpire was dead wrong and I told him so but Team Samet was critical of the fact that I even argued the point given our tremendous lead.
So what gives? Is a team expected to "tone down" their hitting spree because it is depressing the opposing team? Is a team captain supposed to "look the other way" when an umpire makes a ridiculous call because his team is winning big? Everyone of us has experienced being decimated by another team. No, its not fun but IT IS PART OF THE GAME!. When this unfortunate experience happens to your team you grin and bear it and then you move on.
There was no question in my mind that my management of my team to not let up, to keep pushing, to squeeze out every hit and run that we could was acceptable management practice. However, when my friend and "partner" David Samet called me today in the middle of the business day to discuss how my actions may not be considered "Menchlikite" I started to second guess myself. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I do like doing the right thing and if I unwittingly hurt another team's feelings (or various members of the Samet team) due to my overly competitive nature, I wanted to make things right. So, after a couple of attempts, I sent the following letter to my team, the league commissioners and the league captains (including Team Samet):
It appears that I am guilty of an unwitting indiscretion by the way that I managed our team last night. Considering the enormous lead that we achieved from the outset of the game, I was effectively "merciless" in pushing our team to keep up the pressure, score, steal, etc. I am being advised that as religious Jews, displaying insensitivity by throwing salt on another team's wound is both inappropriate and not "Menchlakite".
Going forward, I will really try to curb my over-competitive sensibilities and show compassion when the opposing team is being decimated. My apologies for my inappropriate behavior in this matter.
Well, if I thought that my letter was going to quietly "tide things over", I had another thing coming. My good friend Avi Katz, captain of first place LY Contractors, responded to my letter (and copied virtually everyone in the league) with the following:
I appreciate you adding in about Jews and Menchlichkeit..... but if look up in the MLB site there are a slew of unwritten rules in baseball, among them:
The glossary has many familiar entries, ones that "just make common sense and should be obvious," as Hinch put it. The most widely accepted include:
- No stealing bases with a big lead.
• No bunting to bust up a no-hitter.
• No admiration of long home runs from the batter's box.
• No going for the pivot man, rather than the base, on double-play grounders.
• No swinging from the heels at 3-and-0 pitches.
So, you see these are universal rules that all of baseball adheres to, nothing to do with being a certain religion. It's just common decency.
Another site lists the top 10 unwritten baseball rules and lists this next 1 as number 2:
- Don't work the count when your team is up or down by a lot
This is true for both pitchers and hitters. Nobody wants to see the fifth guy on a bullpen's depth chart nibbling on the corners in the late innings of a blowout. Similarly, hitters are expected to swing at anything close. It's an effort to quickly and efficiently end a lopsided contest.
All of the stuff you talk about doing last night would be covered in this rule. So you didn't just violate Jewish ethics, you actually violated documented "unwritten", accepted baseball rules.
I must report at this juncture that many members of my team were incredulous that I wrote the letter of apology. In their minds it was not only unnecessary but ridiculous. I justified my actions by arguing that although I did not feel that I did anything wrong, I cannot be insensitive to the feelings and opinions of other people. However, Shumy Reichmann beautifully captured one side of this argument with the following proposed league rule change:
I think the league should make a new rule. When a team is up by more then 10 runs the losing team should forfeit since the winning team isn't allowed to try.
Who's with me?
Side note, the statement " documented unwritten rules of baseball," makes 0 sense.
Good win, its nice to give shmuel some hard earned support!!!
Interestingly enough, I was going to just let sleeping dogs lay and move on regarding this issue but Sam Wainhaus made a comment to me tonight about my getting myself in "hot water" which simply rubbed me the wrong way. So, instead of moving on, I'm putting this discussion out there for your consideration and comment (if you so choose). Maybe one of the lessons that I've learned from this situation is that the next time my team "destroys" one of our competitors, I will more "diplomatically" (and less vociferously) demand the best that my team has to offer. Maybe this will keep me out of RJBL "hot water". Or conversely, as one of my players stated today:
My dad always taught me to play 100 pct no matter if u r up or down and u see I do the same and ur play gave u legit right to say something, blue made bad call and he freely admitted to it
This player concluded his email with a comment directed at all league players:
If you can't stand the heat...stay out of the kitchen!
I typically conclude my blogs with an analysis of every team and some predictions. Unfortunately, there are deadlines to meet and little opportunity to sleep. So, in the meantime, lets PLAY BALL!