For those local baseball fans who read the story last week announcing a Sunday, July 12, War Cats youth baseball game at Coast Union, and who came to the high school to find an empty ball field, the War Cats coach, Anthony Koeninger, offered this statement:
“I want to apologize for not being able to put a game together Sunday, but it was really out of my hands, we didn’t have enough 14-and-under players to make a team. It’s really frustrating because they don’t seem as willing to show up and play as the sixteen-and-under baseball players in the county.
“I felt bad, really bad that we couldn’t get a team together.”
Koeninger says he is puzzled as to why he can’t convince the younger players in this area — including some players from Coast Union — to commit to play with his War Cats, a club team he has been leading for two years. The kids older than 16 have even more distractions than the younger kids, he explained.
“Some kids have to work, some kids have girlfriends, some are starting to get cars,” Koeninger explained.
Meanwhile as to the War Cats game that was originally scheduled for the Coast Union ball field Thursday, July 16, between the 16-and-under War Cats and the Morro Bay High School junior varsity baseball team — that game is in doubt.
Morro Bay High School, and all high schools under the umbrella of the CIF, is required to have a “dead period” of three weeks in the summer when no organized sports activity may take place. Hence, the previously scheduled game is not canceled.
Koeninger, who teaches history at Cuesta College, is deeply religious and has founded the War Cats around his Christian/Roman Catholic beliefs.
“The War Cats seek to represent God and Christ in the positive ways in which we approach competitive baseball,” according to the website.
Moreover, a Christian cross is sewn into the back of the baseball cap the players wear, and a cross also appears on the back of the uniform. Koeninger doesn’t accept that some parents might not want their sons involved in a “faith-based” baseball team.
“We have a team prayer before games and a prayer after games. All we’re doing is asking the Lord to keep our team safe and our opponents safe. I never preach, ever. I don’t bring my crucifix, and I don’t bring my incense candle,” he went on.
“Just as you can join the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) without being a Christian, you can join the War Cats whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, Muslim or Jew,” Koeninger emphasized. “Just as long as you’re a good person and respect the Christian faith and that you play baseball. That’s all I care about.”
As to when or whether the War Cats will play baseball on the Coast Union ball field, that remains an open question.