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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • It seemed fairly straightforward. I guess if you are not familiar with college sports it can seem confusing.

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    • I got to see little Sparks this weekend. His spirits are really high. Seems he really likes the new pitching coach the team hired. The new pitching coach told him he thinks he's gotten another 2 or 3 mph on his fastball. (Said he's not going to gun them this early in the season). He's made an adjustment on his mechanics and Sparks is excited and working hard.

      I'm still concerned about his grades. Just pray he works it out.

      A side note: I use the Tapatalk app now and it seems the website has been down a lot? A few times I've tried to post stuff and it tells me to try later??

      Sparksdale


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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      • As far as D1 and Juco and all that???

        I can tell you it's hard to get a scholarship at any level. It's an honor in my opinion.

        As far as D1 being another level? Of course. It's a much higher level than where little Sparks is. But I'll tell you this... considering the path little Sparks has had, its a pure joy to see him get a scholarship at any level. Very proud of him. It's been a long journey with many ups and many downs. But it been a great ride. I'm very blessed to have been a small part of it.

        Sparks


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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        • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
          A side note: I use the Tapatalk app now and it seems the website has been down a lot? A few times I've tried to post stuff and it tells me to try later??

          Sparksdale


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
          The website has been down off-and-on for days.

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          • Not much to report.

            Drove down to see them play this weekend. Little Sparks didn't play again. It was a long drive down there and back and when he doesn't play it's disappointing.

            Till next time
            Sparks


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
              Not much to report.

              Drove down to see them play this weekend. Little Sparks didn't play again. It was a long drive down there and back and when he doesn't play it's disappointing.

              Till next time
              Sparks


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
              Was it there wasn't a save opportunity or has he been moved down the depth chart in the bullpen?

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              • Jett

                We just don't know. They have 19 pitchers on the roster and it's early in the season.

                Sparks


                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                • Update;

                  It's a mess at the school. From what I'm hearing the head coach has gone nuts. They are still early in the season playing against what I call "warm up teams". They are getting beat left and right.

                  Sparks has played one inning. He was suspended for this past weekend games. He said he missed a team breakfast.

                  Last year the head coach was fired. All I hear is rumors and don't really know why. A few months later 32 of the players went to the school athletic director and said they were leaving if the head coach didn't get his job back.

                  Important: Little Sparks did not go.

                  Out of the blue the head coach came walking onto the practice field and said he was back. He turned to his pitching coach and told him to sit on the stands he wasn't coaching anymore.
                  So the pitching coach left so did several players.

                  So far the season is a disaster. Not to mention the head coach recruited his own son to play SS. Not only is his son playing he is playing every pitch of every game (even double headers).

                  Sparks is stuck. You can only play 2 years at Juco and no 4 year school will consider a player who doesn't play.

                  With all this said a lot of fault goes to little Sparks. Instead of complaining he should get better and do everything the coach demands. Like it or not it's the coaches team. Not his!

                  We'll see how it all plays out.

                  Sparks


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                  • Sorry to hear you've both hit another sizable bump on the road. I can't/won't comment on all of the other details, other than to say "hang in there", and that I hope if all works out for all those involved (the other players, school, and coaches besides SparksJr).

                    But I can comment on this...
                    Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                    Sparks is stuck. You can only play 2 years at Juco and no 4 year school will consider a player who doesn't play.
                    ...or at least how it relates to some JUCOs here in SoCal.

                    It is not uncommon for smaller colleges in the midwest, to contact JUCO coaches here in SoCal, inquiring about players that they're looking to fill positions for. The midwest coaches are not calling about the starters, or "higher playing time" players...but rather those sitting the bench getting very limited playing time, if any at all. Because they know those starters or regulars are going to be headed to schools with typically better baseball programs than theirs (D1s, MLB...), so they're looking for really good players, but who maybe aren't the "great" players already very sought after by others.

                    I've talked with several JUCO coaches who have told me this, and one who even related as story to me about an F4 he had who played in maybe a grand total of a dozen or so innings in his two years at the school, but who was offered a nice respectable scholarship to a D2 back in the midwest somewhere (this was a few years ago already, and I don't remember the exact school I'm sorry to say).

                    The thought was, that even though some of these JUCO players didn't see the field much, given the fact that they were able to just make the team says something for their talent, and that they had the mindset (perseverance/determination) to stick it out, continue to battle for playing in the program, and became a great teammate/asset to the team. This all poke volumes in their desire to stick things out when the going got tough, they were a proven commodity...over that of a potential HS scholarship recruit who might not take to well to possibly having to go through what this JUCO player has already shown he's capable of doing.

                    So I wouldn't count SparksJr's future college completely out at the moment. Sure, by the looks of things on the surface, the odds seem to appear less, and less great....but I remember a few years ago when it looked like someone was in a very similar situation in HS wrt his odds of playing in college, and look where that someone is now.

                    All I can say is "keep on keeping on", continue you to work hard, and continue to pursue your goals, and dreams....right up to the point that no one will had you a uniform any longer.

                    But until that day comes (which it does for every baseball player past, and future eventually), try to only focus on what you can do as a player to reach your goals, and try to push out all the rest of the superfluous BS that others around you are creating. Yes, easier said than done...but what you have to do if you ever want to accomplish any of your dreams.


                    Best of luck to the both of you,
                    mud -
                    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                    • Yep. Great post, mud. There are plenty of schools looking for arms. I think that plays to Little Sparks benefit in moving on and still possibly having a chance to play more college ball.

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                      • With his velocity Sparks Jr could probably walk on at a D3 and make an instant impression.

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                        • To everyone who has been following this thread - there have been many suggestions over the years for Little Spark's story to turn into a book. A couple months ago I contacted Sparksdale and asked him if it would be okay for me to retell the story, using the material from this forum thread. Sparksdale was very supportive and encouraged me to go ahead with the project. In late February I contacted the moderators (primarily mudvnine) and they liked the sound of the project as well. So . . .

                          I'm not writing a book. I'm writing a series of blog posts. The posts tell the story of Little Sparks, with an emphasis on educating beginning baseball parents about what it takes to continue to play to the higher levels. The blog is my own www.filterjoe.com. Though the blog has several categories, over 2/3 of the traffic is related to youth baseball.

                          I posted the first two installments last week. The first installment includes a lengthy introduction and goes through 4th grade (age 10). The second installment is 5th grade (age 11) and is typical of what I expect most subsequent posts will look like. Going forward, I aim to post one installment per week, on Thursdays. Each installment will correspond to a school year.

                          I would love to hear feedback, especially from anyone who thinks I may have missed opportunities for educating parents on various topics. There were so many lessons in this thread that I surely will miss some (unintentionally) as I write up the series. I would also appreciate helpful comments left on any of the individual blog posts, perhaps offering your own perspective on various events in Little Spark's life.

                          I won't be posting much more about this project here, so as not to pollute this thread--probably one more time a few months from now when my retelling of the story is complete.

                          Lastly, I waited to post here until I got some feedback from Sparksdale on what I've done so far. Today, he told me in a PM that he loved it. I hope any long-time posters here who read it also enjoy what I've done with the story:

                          One Player's Journey from Little League to College Baseball

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                          • They played a double header today. Once again Sparks didn't play.

                            Sparks is very upset and is taking it out on me. It's a long long story.

                            I feel for him but just don't know what to do.

                            If any of you have advice I'm all ears.

                            Sparks


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                            • All he can do is stay physically and mentally ready to perform. He can stand on last year for performance to sell to the next level. What wipes it away is open hostility and a bad attitude teammates and the coaching staff pick up on..

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                              • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                                They played a double header today. Once again Sparks didn't play.

                                Sparks is very upset and is taking it out on me. It's a long long story.

                                I feel for him but just don't know what to do.

                                If any of you have advice I'm all ears.

                                Sparks


                                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                                As a father of 4 boys, the best thing you can do is not to coddle him. If one of my boys tried to "take it out on me" I would tell them to pound sand and they know it.

                                Tell Sparks to suck it up and keep plowing ahead. Life isn't fair.

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