Recently, we saw two local varsity baseball teams celebrate their seniors.
I was disappointed when I saw the comparison photos on social media. Chanhassen varsity baseball recognized all 17 of their seniors and their proud parents in one photo. In the other photo, Chaska varsity baseball recognized eight seniors of the apparently 13 kids that tried out for the team.
Where are the other five seniors that tried out you may ask? Well, one quit midseason, two quit during tryouts, and two got cut. To my knowledge, Chaska varsity baseball has never cut senior players … ever. I had the privilege of coaching all 13 of these seniors at least one season, and in some cases, multiple seasons during my 13 years of coaching in Chaska youth baseball.
I fully understand the "life's not fair,” your kid won't play, and win at all costs aspect of varsity athletics. I also understand that MSHSL may have implemented roster limits due to COVID-19. It was curious to me, though, that Chanhassen has 22 players rostered, including 17 seniors, and Chaska has 17 players rostered, half of whom are underclassmen.
What I do not understand is the apparent lack of empathy given to Chaska's remaining senior baseball players considering that we are all trying to navigate a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Most of these boys have been playing ball together for over 10 years. The class of 2020 lost the end of their winter sports season and all of their spring season. The class of 2021 missed out as juniors and had the majority of their senior year affected as well. The underclassmen still have their senior year to look forward to.
It was disappointing to see Chanhassen support all of their senior baseball players and Chaska maybe not so much.
The varsity baseball booster club had players trying out that wanted to help raise money for the program send out 20 emails minimum to friends and family through an online account similar to GoFundMe. Family and friends began donating to the program only to have their money returned after kids were cut. That left the hopeful ballplayer to explain to grandparents, among others, why their donation was being returned.
I understand that the decisions that are being made by our elected officials and community leaders are very difficult during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. I was hopeful, given the circumstances, that these decisions might be made with some empathy.
It was heartbreaking to see Chanhassen varsity baseball keep all of their seniors on the team and Chaska varsity baseball only keep some.