Focus On: The other side
The Boise Hawks and Eugene Emeralds are fighting for the second-to-last spot in the Northwest League.
And, after four games of their five-game series, I’m fairly certain neither team wants it.
Honestly, I’ve never seen two teams willingly give away games as much as the Hawks and Em’s.
This intrigued me, so I thought I’d talk to someone different after the 6-0 loss for the Hawks that put them at 5-13.
That man stands in the opposing dugout, manager of the Emeralds, Greg Riddoch.
“I really think we’re about equal,” Riddoch said of the two teams. “We both end up having trouble winning. We give the games away. But this is a rookie league, and that happens. Both of us have first year players, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
That’s right. Not only did he have a positive attitude for the Hawks, he even tossed out specifics about Hak-Ju Lee and his errors.
“(Lee) will be a big leaguer,” he said. “He’s 18. These guys are mostly 18. That means they’ll make 18-year old mistakes. You have to live with that step. Think about it. They’re playing 23 and 24-year olds. Imagine being in seventh grade and playing the seniors. That’s what it’s like.”
That explains the Junior High-like ballplay at times.
Then Riddoch really brought things full circle. After complimenting Casey Kopitzke, and predicting the Hawks to be a much better team down the road, he began to sound like everyone else at the NWL offices.
The word “development” is repeated more than in 9th-grade health class.
“This league is about development, Our attitude is, if we win the game, ok. But we’re never going to leave a guy in too long to get the win. Our job is to protect these kids.”
Take it from a former Major League manager.
So, in other words, tonight two teams that seem to dislike winning are playing for the series win, with eyes on development and respect and acknowledgment between the teams.
Next time I see Riddoch I’m going to tell him he’s TERRIBLE at giving me bulletin-board material.