Communications – LLWS Champs, Trump at the podium, a real dog whistle

Okay, I’m going to walk that title back. Nothing here about Trump at the G-7, and sure, I could have edited that out of title. Hey, maybe somebody reads this because that word was in here, and it’s not like stock markets will go up and down radically because I lied…

After ten days of watching the Little League World Series – for the third year in a row – it would be fair and accurate to state that everything happening on the field, in the stands, and on that hillside where *everybody* was having a ball, communicated a message of joy for the playing and camaraderie between people from around the world.

Congrats communication-wise to ESPN for their “Kidcast” featuring two-16 year old announcers and 2014 LLWS sensation Mo’ne Davis – the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history – and two-15 year old sideline correspondents.  Booth guys were truly interesting, and drew out Mo’ne’s background and expertise as well as any regular broadcast crew. Their enthusiasm was terrific, the journalism great, including how they interviewed their regular ESPN counterparts.

Yes, only one true winner could emerge from the competition , but I’m sure a LOT of TVs were tuned in during these times of stress, for what is always a testament to skill and determination by everyone involved.

The umpires work for FREE, cancer survivors who made it to watch brothers and friends play were interviewed by soccer star Judy Foudy, and GEEZ! could the champs – those Southwest kids, hit – especially Reece Roussel, who whacked a LLWS record 17 hits, including seven doubles, tying teammate Marshall Louque for tops in the tournament.

“I don’t want to hear it.” – Southwest Coach Scott Frazier

That quote has zero to do with Trump, who was essentially shut out in France, but good, straight-up communication cuts though the fog and often brings results. While Coach Frazier’s often-used quote might seem harsh when dealing with kids, as the ESPN crew noted, there was no denying his methods were effective.

In Southwest’s 9-5 semi-final win over Hawai’i – which no-hit them in the tournament opener, forcing them to come all the way back through the losers bracket – Frazier trooped to the mound to get pitcher Connor Perrot back on track.

His first raspy-voiced comment were about Perrot’s body language (“Shoulders back, head up!”) as he moped about having walked two runs in. When Perrot tried to explain his worries (bases still loaded), Frazier cut him off with the “I don’t want to hear it” line.

“You’ve got a five run lead (at the time) – throw strikes and let this good defense help you if they hit it.” His exit line was simply, “Get this guy out,” and Perrot zipped three fastballs in to finish the inning. Communication, result. Great coaching.

How much coaching it took to have LLWS star Reece Roussel whack those 17 hits wasn’t really a matter of debate. As the guys in the ESPN booth (Kyle Peterson, David Ross, Tim Kurkjian, and Karl Ravech) said often, “This kid *always* gets the barrel of the bat on the ball.”

Ravech has done the LLWS since 2006, and while few could ever aspire to the smoothness of long time (67 years) LA Dodger announcer Vince Scully, or the down-home commentary of college football legend Keith Jackson, Ravech’s crew communicated the incredible experience these 11-12 year-olds were living in a way that anyone and everyone could enjoy for hours.

Ross did miss one *perfect* opportunity, when it was opined that the winning pitcher for Southwest – Egan Prather – might be over-excited when only one out left in the finale vs. Curacao. When the Chicago Cubs were leading by four runs in 5th inning of their own World Series win (2016), first baseman Anthony Rizzo told Ross he was so excited – the Cubbies hadn’t won a World Series since 1908 (108 years) – he couldn’t stand it.

Ross said, “Wait until the 9th inning.” The Cleveland Indians tied the game, and there was a rain delay before the Cubbies finally pulled it out. I would have pulled that story up immediately.

As for Trump, I used a real whistle for my dog

Communication of misinformation – lying if you will – produces almost the exact opposite effect of the joyfulness that the baseball did. The openness about everything happening in Williamsport, PA was soooo much clearer and fun – America at its best, if you will – nothing like the intensely partisan political scene America finds itself in.

As for dog whistling, its been repeatedly noted about the tone and “qualities” of Trump’s rhetoric are a signal to others of a similar and negative bent, a sub-textual tone that only those who are philosophically on the same wave will hear.

When my beagle managed to slip his collar and get out of the back yard Sunday, the only thing he responded to was my shrill whistle. It didn’t make him come back, but at least he stopped and looked. The difference between the two was when the dog finished romping the neighborhood for an hour, his tongue was dragging, and he kind of let himself be brought back – no texting, too tired to howl – so he could get a drink of water.

If it was that easy to get Trump back to reality… As for his getting dissed at the G-7, I don’t want to hear about it.

Congrats to absolutely everyone who raised $$$ so their kids could have this experience. It wasn’t a surprise that if you wanted the kids to go and compete, hitting the bank or selling tee shirts, but definitely many, many others pitching in for the cash, was the only way something desirable like that would happen. Remember it long and fondly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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