You guys lost me.....
Why is developing and employing a LEGAL play in an attempt to win a ball game considered "bush league".....especially in a close game?
Hell, I've had several well executed "trick plays" against my teams over the years, and I tip my hat to the other coaches and players for coming up with (or copying) them.
Rather than getting pissy about it, why not take it as a learning experience? I keep reading about the poor sad-sack "inexperienced" players....well how are they supposed become "experienced" players? And when is it OK for someone to run aggressively against them, or try to "trick" them into a mistake.....HS, JC, College, MiLB??
Several years after I started coaching, I had a "B" Bronco (11-12 y/o) All-Star team in a local open tournament in preparation for sanction play. We ended up against one of the better TB teams in the area and they pulled the "hidden ball into the OF pickoff @ 2nd" play against us. Man, they executed it perfectly....even their fans in the stands were yelling, "GET THE BALL, GET THE BALL!!!"....not only faked out our runner, but my third base coach, and myself they ran it so well.
As soon as the play went off, our runner popped up, looked around, and we're both yelling, "C'mon, C'Mon, C'MON!!!" Well, when the pitcher nonchalantly jogged over and tagged our runner out half way between the bases for the third out of the inning; it still took me a second or two to figure out what had just happened, as it wasn't a play that I'd seen before.
Wow, talk about stunned.....I felt kinda stupid and small at that exact moment, but I sure as heck didn't get pissed at the other players or coaches. They did their job and executed everything perfectly; it was me and my coaches who got fooled that day, and who had not prepared ourselves or our kids properly......"if you don't know where the ball is, DON'T just run to be running." Our bad, not the other team's.
But I'll tell you what....I learned from it, and while I've never implemented that play into our arsenal (thought about it though), I know what to look for when it's attempted against us, have talked to my players about it, and have not been caught by it since (and we've had others attempt it on several other occasions).
I look at trick plays as great learning experiences, and welcome them against us.....as I think it just makes us all the better as players and coaches, to see and experience what others are doing in continuing to THINK up new ways of playing the game.
But to call them "bush league" or complain about them? No way....."There's no crying in baseball".
In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011