When I was a kid, I was a pitcher. Our town had a “Little League” as well as another baseball organization for which I belonged to. One year, they had a ‘exhibition’ matchup of our two leagues. I was the starting pitcher that night (even then in the mid 1970s, having a lefty pitcher was a good thing), and I was at the mound. There was going to be a picture taken before the first pitch. They wanted the umpire, the first batter and the pitcher to take a picture; but all of a sudden, the manager runs out on the field, and gets his son (the shortstop) to get in the picture instead of me.
I was 12 at the time, but I had an understanding of what happened, and I was embarrassed standing there as the photo was taken. I did not make a scene, I did not make any indication of my anger; I just took it out on the game. This team was a travelling team, and were really good. We were not expected to even make it a close game.
However, I pitched a gem, if I say so myself. I threw three innings, did not allow a single hit, walked one and struck out six. I was holding my head quite high when I came off the mound. My dad, who usually was quiet at these games, showed a great deal of encouragement. It felt real good.
Oh – by the way, the manager’s kid, came in and pitched after me. We lost the game 5-0.
I brought up that story, to hopefully correlate it to one Ryan Strome. My sincere hope, is that he is feeling like I did on the summer night nearly four decades ago. I hope that he is pissed for being scratched and having to watch those moments unfurl last weekend. I know that he is a proud kid, well brought up, and not the kind that would make a scene. Kind of like myself.
All I am hoping is that the fire comes in him like we have never seen before.
Especially that a spot is opening in the lineup right now. With the expected injury to Josh Bailey, Strome will once again have a chance to get back into the lineup. Whatever possible issues that he has with the coaching staff (rumors) need to go out the window. He needs to become the guy that made Garth Snow draft him in the first round in 2010. If it was me – I would eat lightning (no pun intended) and spit thunder to do what I need to do to convince the powers that be that drafted him that they made the correct and just decision.
Not many times do guys get the opportunity to right a wrong. This is indeed that one opportunity. Strome needs to suck it up, and be the man. This Islander team needs some serious secondary and tertiary scoring to make a difference in this series with Tampa Bay. Ryan has to be that player that Garth Snow knew he could be.
Now get on the mound (ice), throw that ball (shoot that puck) and strike that guy out (score that goal). But at least in Strome’s case, the coaches son won’t screw it up for you.