Interview: Lou Effinger Speaks Out

Interview: Lou Effinger Speaks Out

Lou Effinger is now in his seventh year as coach of the Chrislip College Fighting Pines baseball team. Under his tutelage, the Pines have shown steady improvement. They played with characteristic scrappiness last season, narrowly missing the playoffs with a record of oh-and-thirty-two. Todd Farris discussed the upcoming season with Coach Effinger

Q: I think you’ll agree, Coach, that last year was nothing to write home about

A: Well, no. We were oh-and-thirty-two. I thought we’d win more games than that. I mean, really! Oh-and-thirty-two! We didn’t even have to show up. We could’ve skipped the games and gone to the circus or the zoo and had a really good time. We would’ve finished with the same record.

Q: So it caused a lot of frustration on your part?

A: Oh, yeah. It’s pretty disheartening when the opposing players don’t bother to dress for the game, when they run onto the field wearing their street clothes. Or when they park their bus next to the dugout and leave the motor running. It’s frustrating.

Q: Were there any standouts on the team last season?

A: Newt Spangler, our third baseman. What an arm that kid’s got! I’ve seen him stand on third base and throw the ball over the centerfield fence. Of course, when he does that the runner usually takes second.

Newt Spangler handles the hot corner for the Pines. This guy plays for the Giants.

Newt Spangler handles the hot corner for the Pines. This guy plays for the Giants.

Q: Are you doing anything differently in preparation for next season?

A: We’re stressing the basics. We’re teaching our catcher not to call for pitchouts with the bases empty. We’re teaching our second baseman how to actually catch pop flies instead of just running around in circles with his glove stuck up in the air like a big dope. And we’re teaching the art of shatter. Our shortstop can now yell “Hey batter batter batter! Hey batter batter batter!” as well as anyone in the league.

Q: That’s impressive.

A: I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Q: But isn’t all that chatter kind of bush league? What else are you teaching?

A: Lots of neat stuff. Our boys are learning to dig in like Wade Boggs, swing like Ted Williams, and fly like Rickey Henderson. Except for our pitcher, Ernie Newell, who was oh-and-ten. I’m teaching him to fly like Thurman Munson.

Q: Tell me, Coach, what’s been your proudest moment during your long tenure as skipper of the Fighting Pines?

A: That’s easy. As of this season, there will be a new statute in the rule book. It’s named for us. The Chrislip Rule. Quote: “In such a case as a team might find itself behind by ten or more runs after one inning of play, that team may exercise the option of forfeiting the contest and going to the zoo or the circus and having a really good time.” End quote.

Q: That’s quite an honor.

A: Hey, does the University of Michigan have a rule named after them? Does Michigan State?

Q: A point well taken. What goals do you have for the team?

A: Nothing specific. I just told the boys the same thing my father told me when I was a kid. My dad said “Son, try not to be such a buttwipe. Be proud to be a Pine.”

Q: I didn’t know you played for the Fighting Pines.

A: I didn’t.

Q: Oh. (long pause.) How many players did you lose to graduation?

A: Not enough. Three, maybe. Or eleven.

Q: Thanks for the chat, Coach Effinger. I’m sure you have a winning season ahead of you

A: Yeah, right.

Betcha didn’t know…

…That the Fighting Pines are named after a tree, the Fighting Pine.

…That if the Central Michigan Chippewas hadn’t squeezed a run across with a suicide bunt in the 7th inning last May 14th, the Pines would’ve won if the Chips hadn’t scored six times in the 9th.

…That pitcher Jon Teagle wanted to learn to throw a spitball last season, but had to give up because he couldn’t think of a good place to hide the spit.

…That 3rd baseman Newt Spangler has never seen a naked woman.

…That 2nd baseman Chuck Fletcher “does it” in the locker room when he thinks no one is around.

…That Jon Teagle’s father has a drinking problem and his mother is crazy.

…That catcher Roy Cudahy spent an hour in the treehouse with his 10-year-old cousin Mandy and now she goes to a psychiatrist because she’s afraid of boys.

…That rightfielder Brett Melborn cuts pictures of women in their underwear out of the Sears catalog and hides them under his bed.

…That Jon Teagle drools in his sleep.

…That leftfielder Christopher Miller’s mom has had so many lovers it’s not funny.

…That before moving to Chrislip, Newt Spangler’s dad was under suspicion of embezzlement in Grand Rapids. He was never arrested, but they don’t suspect people unless they’re guilty, right?

…That Brett Melborn’s father cheats like a son of a buck on his taxes.

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