SIMPSON: Being ranked builds character for young ball players but at the office? No thanks.

If someone assessed me in the newsroom the other day, I would have been sent to the minors in a heartbeat

'Now' editor Beau Simpson is a volunteer coach the Cloverdale Minor Baseball Association.

The young ball players seemed nervous.

But who wouldn’t be?

After all, they had a throng of serious-looking coaches hovering around them, watching their every move.

Many of them adorned in the familiar red-and-white Cloverdale Spurs apparel, the coaches furiously scribbled notes on their clipboards as they paced back and forth.

Good use of descriptive language, 7/10

To add to the pressure of this annual ritual, their parents watched from the stands, where an occasional “groan” could be heard when an error was made on the cold, concrete floor of Cloverdale’s Agriplex building.

But with gloves in hand and numbers taped to their backs, the young ball players did what they do every spring – overcame their anxieties and gave it their best.

That’s what the pre-spring ritual of Cloverdale Minor Baseball Association (CMBA) assessments is all about.

I’m a coach with the CMBA and I was one of the serious-looking dudes in the red-and-white Spurs hats who spent most of the weekend rating hundreds of young players.

Not crazy about use of word ‘dude,’ 3/10

We watched them throw. We watched them catch. We watched them field. And we watched them hit.

Excellent change of rhythm, 8/10

And for all these skills, we ranked them on a scale of 1-10. We do this, not to torture the kids (OK maybe a little) but to ensure the teams they are placed on have an even distribution of talent and are competitive with each other throughout the spring season.

Plus, it’s good for the kids.

It puts some pressure on them. Throws some heat at them. Teaches them how to win with grace. Lose with dignity.

Nice sentiments but improper sentence structure, 4/10

Regardless of how they are ranked at the end of the day, how many ground balls went through their legs or how many pop flies they dropped, each kid walked out of that old, rickety barn a stronger person.

Whether they ended up as a “8.5” player or a “3.0” player, you couldn’t help but be proud of how each one of them performed under pressure.

But it doesn’t mean I would want to do it. I mean, can you imagine someone walking into your workplace and ranking your performance after watching you for 90 minutes?

If it happened to me the other day, I’d be sent to the minors for sure.

My assessor might have written something like:

Shopping online for new catcher’s mitt during work time, 1/10

Or, if they saw me hastily type an email to a colleague that could easily be construed as harsh and unappreciative, they might have written:

Doesn’t take time to review email before hitting ‘send,’ 3/10

Or this:

Lunch break visit to gym exceeded allotted break time by 10 minutes, 4/10

Maybe writing this column wasn’t such a great idea after all.

A little slow on the uptake, 2/10


What score would you give this column? Let Beau Simpson know by emailing him at

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