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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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    Jake Patterson
    Coaching 101 Moderator

  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
    Jake,

    Don't mean to be disrespectful, I have followed this thread for some time. I am being honest in what I think is going on today. If I am wrong it would not be the first time. I think I am entitled to my opinion. If he does not want to be criticized then good luck with that on a public forum. This not personal just what I think of the situation.
    Fair enough....

    Leave a comment:

  • tg643
    Team Veteran

  • tg643
    replied
    In a tournament it's possible to be at a point in a championship game where the team has gone through it's pitching staff and need innings from your starter. That's the rationalization for leaving a pitcher in too long. We never left our stud for the championship. It doesn't do any good to have a stud rested for a game you don't get to play.

    Now Sparks, you need to get in the practice of not making excuses for your grandson. I'll guess you're consoling him with the sames excuses. It comes at the expense of making him mentally tough and capable of dealing with anything. The only thing a pitcher should say to a fielder is "Nice play" or "Shake it off. Don't worry about it" in a positive tone. It's a team game and a team loss. No one lost the game for your son. He was the losing pitcher. Stuff happens! Your grandson needs to learn to deal with it without excuses. When my son was young I told him the solution to fielders not making mistakes behind him is don't pitch.

    Leave a comment:

  • Standballdad
    Registered User

  • Standballdad
    replied
    Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Everyone... If you are interested in having meaningful input here you need to go back and read the entire thread and the subtle messages that are there... There is a great deal of history here (6 years) and the one thing I never saw was Sparks making excuses for his grandson. I suspect this young man knows who responsible and why.
    Jake,

    Don't mean to be disrespectful, I have followed this thread for some time. I am being honest in what I think is going on today. If I am wrong it would not be the first time. I think I am entitled to my opinion. If he does not want to be criticized then good luck with that on a public forum. This not personal just what I think of the situation.

    Leave a comment:

  • Jake Patterson
    Coaching 101 Moderator

  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
    You do not help the matter by constantly defending him. Your post are based on your perception of what is going on through what I think are rose colored glasses. If you truly want to help him, then you need to be the first to accept the fact that he too is also responsible for the game.
    Everyone... If you are interested in having meaningful input here you need to go back and read the entire thread and the subtle messages that are there... There is a great deal of history here (6 years) and the one thing I never saw was Sparks making excuses for his grandson. I suspect this young man knows who responsible and why.

    Leave a comment:

  • Jake Patterson
    Coaching 101 Moderator

  • Jake Patterson
    replied
    Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
    Going to be blunt. You say it was the game to determine the championship, so the coaches let him go 3 innings and 13 runs? Doesn't make sense too me.
    Been there! We don't know wh was hurt, whose thrown the limit, what his bull pen looked like, etc., etc.,... So I'd cut him a little slack. I've had my worse pitchers on the mound only because there was no one else to throw...

    Leave a comment:

  • Standballdad
    Registered User

  • Standballdad
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
    Had another travel tournament this weekend and something amazing happened...

    My boy pitched the final game which would decide if we would win the championship or not.
    Like I said something amazing happened..... he got his brains beat in. They literally hit every pitch he threw.

    I've never seen him throw harder. I don't know how fast he was throwing but he was easily in the mid 80's.

    He was pulled in the 3rd inning after giving up 13 runs.

    What was the amazing thing that happened?

    I saw a kid out on the mound fight like I've never seen a kid fight before. He was giving everything he had and no matter the score he was going to finish what he started. My goodness it was a joy to watch. His team made error after error behind him. The SS made three straight errors. Just about every player on the team was making errors.

    Finally my boy threw down his hat and screamed at his team..... this was his exact words and everyone in the park could hear him. "EVERYONE CENTER CIRCLE NOW! RIGHT NOW!" His teamates eyes got big as dinner plates and all of them ran to the pitchers mound and surrounded my boy. My boy was looking each of them in the eye saying something and his eyes were on fire.

    I didn't ask him what he said to his teamates and I don't care. All I know is I saw a leader emerge that day and most of all I saw a kid who loves this game.

    His last at bat was something to behold too..... he was pissed at the way the day had gone. We were down 13 to 3 and there were 2 outs in the final inning. My boy went to the plate and there was no way that pitcher was going to deny him a hit. You could see it in his eyes.... his eyes were on fire and at that moment I truly believe he didn't think there was a pitcher on earth that could get him out. It was an at bat that you talk about for days. The pitcher quickly got 2 strikes on him and he began to foul off 9 straight pitches and on every swing he was swinging for the fence. The at bat must have lasted 10 minutes. After fouling off 9 pitches he hit a double to left center.

    I don't know where my boy goes from here. Yeah we faced a great team but they hit every pitch he threw. His last three games he's given up a lot of runs but at least this last game he had his fastball.... probably his best fastball ever.

    But I think at least now he knows he has to work at his game. We will see what happens but for the first time in a while I see a fire in his eyes and I'm interested to see where that fire takes him.

    Sparks
    Going to be blunt. You say it was the game to determine the championship, so the coaches let him go 3 innings and 13 runs? Doesn't make sense too me. Did the coaches ever call for a time out to address your son and the team? Throwing his hat down and screaming to other players does not show me leadership or the desire to win. Not being there, it sounds like he was upset (embarrassed) because of the lack of support from his teammates and took no responsibility what so ever. Your grandson seems to have some ability but is way behind in the maturity category IMO. You do not help the matter by constantly defending him. Your post are based on your perception of what is going on through what I think are rose colored glasses. If you truly want to help him, then you need to be the first to accept the fact that he too is also responsible for the game.

    Leave a comment:

  • JJA
    Registered User

  • JJA
    replied
    Sparks,

    I understand exactly where you're coming from and I actually strongly agree with you that it's good news even though he got lit up. The fact that he cared about what was going on is far more important than the score. OK, the peanut gallery doesn't agree with how he expressed himself, and OK, he needs to improve there, but the fact that he cared about losing is a huge step forward, at least for today. If a kid cares, they are far more likely to put in the work to get better than kids who don't. I've seen both in high school, actually more of the latter, so I'm happy that he appears to have the right attitude, at least for a day. Kids go up and down, taking two steps forward and one step back all the time, but at least he took a step forward in the right direction, at least in my opinion.

    As others have pointed out, the key is to learn to control the fastball. I have previously said that the teams I'm associated with feast on 85 mph pitching, but I was referring to standard 85 mph guys who typically don't have good command of their pitches. The kid needs to develop a philosophy of pitching on what he is trying to do on the mound, not just chuck it in as hard as he can throw it, as many high school kids do. I'm a big fan of getting your outs on the outside of the plate yet throwing inside as well to keep the other teams honest. Whether you agree with that philosophy or not, developing a philosophy of what he's trying to do is what he needs to work on next. He has to have a plan when he is pitching. This in turn gives him stuff to work on in practice, not just throw for throwings sake. If he can spot that 85 mph fastball, and back it up with a change that looks identical but hits the same spot, very few teams will be able to light him up. But that has to be worked on, and worked on very hard.

    Thanks for the update Sparks. Your journey is very similar to many others, with steps both forward and backward.

    -JJA

    Leave a comment:

  • Sparksdale
    Registered User

  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
    If the other team scored 13 runs by 3 innings then I would hazard a guess that there were at least 20 hits.

    As usual though it was everyone else's fault but your grandson (not your son btw) that the opposing team batted around probably 3 times in 3 innings.

    Sounds to me like the fielders got tired of batting practice.

    If your grandson was a quarterback and pulled that stunt of calling the offensive line aside he would have been sacked unmercifully.

    Also whoever the coach of your grandson's team should have his head examined for leaving any pitcher in to get hammered for 13 runs.
    BTW: At the end of the second inning the score was 10 to 1. My boy had given up 2 earned runs. 8 unearned runs in two innings. This is not by my scoring either this is by the official scoring.

    Leave a comment:

  • Sparksdale
    Registered User

  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
    If the other team scored 13 runs by 3 innings then I would hazard a guess that there were at least 20 hits.

    As usual though it was everyone else's fault but your grandson (not your son btw) that the opposing team batted around probably 3 times in 3 innings.

    Sounds to me like the fielders got tired of batting practice.

    If your grandson was a quarterback and pulled that stunt of calling the offensive line aside he would have been sacked unmercifully.

    Also whoever the coach of your grandson's team should have his head examined for leaving any pitcher in to get hammered for 13 runs.
    Trade

    I've said over and over my boy had a bad day yet you continue to belittle and call out how bad he did. I don't know...... if you had 9 errors in the first inning maybe as a pitcher you get frustrated. Is it his fault they hit the ball? Three dropped fly balls that the outfielders didn't have to move a step. Three back to back hits to the SS, simple grounders......errors. Bases loaded soft hit directly to 3rd base with two outs all he has to do is step on the bag..... no he wants to show his arm and throws the ball in the stands. Someone had to step up and get the boys to get their heads in the game......

    Is it my boys fault? I guess he could take a great hitting team and strike every batter out.... Seems to me if your the pitcher and you get hitters to hit the ball to your defense then maybe you've done part of your job.......after all no one hit the ball out of the park on him. He only walked 2 batters.

    Over and over you continue to point out how sorry my boy is even after I explain in great detail his growth. Personally I've had enough.

    Leave a comment:

  • tradosaurus
    Team Veteran

  • tradosaurus
    replied
    If the other team scored 13 runs by 3 innings then I would hazard a guess that there were at least 20 hits.

    As usual though it was everyone else's fault but your grandson (not your son btw) that the opposing team batted around probably 3 times in 3 innings.

    Sounds to me like the fielders got tired of batting practice.

    If your grandson was a quarterback and pulled that stunt of calling the offensive line aside he would have been sacked unmercifully.

    Also whoever the coach of your grandson's team should have his head examined for leaving any pitcher in to get hammered for 13 runs.

    Leave a comment:

  • mr. potato head
    Registered User

  • mr. potato head
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
    I thought of changing the title of the thread but decided against it.
    I decided long ago to leave every post, every mistake everything as is.... warts and all.

    Sparks

    haha, I jumped on the bus late and just assumed LL. Best of luck to you and your son!!

    Leave a comment:

  • Sparksdale
    Registered User

  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Originally posted by mr. potato head View Post
    I guess the title of the thread being Little League had an influence on my comment.
    I thought of changing the title of the thread but decided against it.
    I decided long ago to leave every post, every mistake everything as is.... warts and all.

    Sparks

    Leave a comment:

  • mr. potato head
    Registered User

  • mr. potato head
    replied
    Originally posted by tg643 View Post
    Who said anything about LL? It's high school summer ball. The guy has been posting since LL. It's a continuous thread on a kid's journey.
    I guess the title of the thread being Little League had an influence on my comment.

    Leave a comment:

  • Sparksdale
    Registered User

  • Sparksdale
    replied
    Tg,

    I agree and I've never been a fan of a player calling out another player but you just had to be there to see it.

    My boy was pitching his heart out and getting balls hit right to the players and it wasn't just one or two errors...... and I've never ever said anything about errors to a player. It was the lack of effort. The team had given up.... 100% given up.

    Anyway, the coach was very proud of him and not a single parent said anything about the incident. My boy never said anything negative out loud for other people to hear and what ever he said was said in the circle with the other players. They all patted each other on the butts and went to their positions.

    I actually think it was a magical moment that pulled a team together.....

    As far my boy and his pitching. It's all up to him now. I've done all I can. I think he's throwing fat pitches and has little movement and good hitters love fast balls down the middle. It's up to him to work at his game.

    I'm anxious to see what he decides to do from here...... it's all up to him.

    Sparks

    Leave a comment:

  • Standballdad
    Registered User

  • Standballdad
    replied
    Originally posted by tg643 View Post
    If your son throws 85 and is getting hammered chances are he's throwing strikes rather than having command. This is where the lack of extra effort comes into play. A pitcher isn't going to throw to spots unless he's putting in a lot of work.

    As for your son yelling at his fielders while pitching that's not leadership. It's the job of the catcher or shortstop. If I was an infielder and he said one thing about the fielding I would have said "Bleep You. Stop throwing meat." and walked away. Then in the parking lot we would have had a little in your face to face talk about showing up teammates. If he didn't like it he'd get more than my face in his face.

    I witnessed this situation between teammates in college. It didn't happen in the parking lot. It happened in the dugout. The shortstop pinned the pitcher against the dugout wall and had a talk with the pitcher. Where were the coaches? They removed themselves to the far end of the dugout. As Schultz would say, "They saw nothing."
    Agree with tg643, would have pulled your son from the game at that point. When my son was 12 he was upset with another player after dropping a routine pop up. I called time out went to the mound and removed him from the mound. We had a discussion in the dug out. My son apologized to his teammate. It was a good teaching moment for him how not to act on a baseball field.

    Leave a comment:

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