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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Sparks ... Your son is going to need some emotional help getting through this. Be positive. It's only a short term problem. Then he will need some encouragement through rehab. Sell him on he could be stronger after rehab. It's a good possibility. Your son still needs to get in the weight room and maintain his upper body strength. Make sure the injury doesn't prevent him from playing summer ball if being absent from a tryout is an issue.

    If you need to discuss this further feel free to ask publicly or privately. My son was out injured from June 1 to March 1 with a MCL/PCL injury then shoulder surgery.

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    • 1 month

      It's been one month and the doctor cleared my boy to play yesterday. He was supposed to wait 6 weeks but the doctor said his ankle looked really good so he gave him some kind of small brace to wear that fits in his shoe.

      I don't know where my boy is % wise.....he won't tell me. If I had to guess I would say he might be at around 75% to 80%. He just wants to play so bad that it's killing him. The doctor said there is a very slim chance he could do any harm to his ankle by playing (I think it had something to do with the kind of break it was or something).

      Anyway, his first game is today and his coach told him he will be the starting pitcher. My boy hasn't tried to pitch off of a mound in a month and I have no idea if he will be able to or not (that's a lot of stress on the ankle). So we will see.

      I'll tell you this.....I've really really missed watching him play. I hope all goes well today.

      Sparks

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      • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
        He was supposed to wait 6 weeks but the doctor said his ankle looked really good so he gave him some kind of small brace to wear that fits in his shoe.
        Anyway, his first game is today and his coach told him he will be the starting pitcher. My boy hasn't tried to pitch off of a mound in a month Sparks
        Not an expert here, but I would question having him as the starting pitcher after the layoff. In fact, I'm not sure if I would have him pitch in a game at all until he's worked off a mound in practice or something. But I wish him all the best.

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        • Originally posted by johnlanza View Post
          Not an expert here, but I would question having him as the starting pitcher after the layoff. In fact, I'm not sure if I would have him pitch in a game at all until he's worked off a mound in practice or something. But I wish him all the best.
          Totally agree. My daughter had a serious ankle break that healed in about 5 weeks, but it was really 5 months before she was 100%. There is a natural reluctance to put stress on the ankle that I would suspect would seriously compromise his control. Hopefully he'll prove me wrong, but wow, putting him out there as a starter right after getting clear is surprising to say the least.
          The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

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          • Starting pitcher after not throwing for a month? Is this a football coach coaching baseball? He should throw and work off the mound for a week before pitching again.

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            • I wonder how the game went.

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              • I thought the same thing as it was a little much to start so soon.

                Last night went about as bad as you can imagine. My boy lasted 1 inning and a third. Oh, he had his fastball and had all his pitches but he couldn't locate. The umpire had a tight zone too so it was just a disaster waiting to happen. In the end my boy gave up 4 runs on one hit in an inning and a third (guess you can tell he walked the world in the game).

                I thought it was bad coaching too but the coaching has been so bad this year that nothing surprises me anymore. Our entire baseball program has taken a huge step back. Last year our school made the playoffs for the first time in it's history. Although we were knocked out in the first round it was a huge leap for our school who has always been known for soccer, football and softball (girls).

                This year the Varsity is already eliminated from the playoffs and it's not like we lost a bunch of players from last year (we only lost two). The Varsity is getting blown out every game even by the smaller schools.....when they play a 6A school...forget about it. It's pretty much over before the umpires ever get there.

                The coach we have is the coach all of us wanted. It's just been a mess. It appears from day one he has given in to the pressure of making sure the kids who's parents support the program are not only on the team but getting most of the playing time (if not all). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see if a kid is good or not. When most of your team is hitting under .150 for the year it's clear your putting the wrong kids in the game.

                Anyway, it's been a mess.

                A few of the players on the Varsity have asked to be put back down on the JV team. I talked to one kid that my boy grew up playing with and he told me this is probably his last year playing baseball because he hates playing now and hates playing for the coach we have.

                Agree or disagree with this but this is what has happened......the coach has taken 100% of the fun out of the game. Every single kid on the varsity team is on pins and needles every play and every at bat. The coach even refused to tell

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                • I talked to one kid that my boy grew up playing with and he told me this is probably his last year playing baseball because he hates playing now and hates playing for the coach we have.
                  A kid who quits playing baseball due to a coach doesn't have a passion for the game. He's looking for a way out. What he's really saying is baseball is not as important as X. Baseball interferes with doing X.

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                  • Something crazy is going on with the thread..... I posted a post and it never showed up when I hit reply. A few hours later I posted another post and it never showed up and you can see from my last post it stopped in the middle of the sentence........ oh well......

                    Sparks

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                    • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                      I talked to one kid that my boy grew up playing with and he told me this is probably his last year playing baseball because he hates playing now and hates playing for the coach we have.
                      A kid who quits playing baseball due to a coach doesn't have a passion for the game. He's looking for a way out. What he's really saying is baseball is not as important as X. Baseball interferes with doing X.
                      TG, you're right that the kids who are thinking of quitting don't have an overriding passion for the game, but that doesn't justify saying that they're "looking for a way out" so they can do something else. My son's HS team has problems almost identical to those of Sparks' with the added kicker of Daddyball (the coach's sophomore son has started every game to the exclusion of experienced and accomplished players and has cost games at the plate, in the field, and on the mound). A number of talented kids who could have played college ball either quit or are sourly sitting on the bench while the coach's son, or kids who played on the coach's private summer team, or who are friends of the kid have played instead.

                      These kids aren't quitting because they want to play video games. They're making the common sense decision that attending games at which they won't play (and which take them out of their classes) or practicing six games a week doesn't make sense when kids with a 3.95 GPA and test scores in the top one percent won't get them into top schools; they've got to kick it in gear and get straight A's and test scores in the top .5%. So, they just have to wait until their summer teams and showcases to attract the attention of college coaches. As for the HS team, their choice is to either sit and suffer or make better use of their time. Leaving a team where the coach either won't or can't put the best interest of the team - either in terms of W/L percentage or in terms of its role as an integral component of student life -- before his own interests isn't necessarily to be condemned. In a sense, the team already left them.
                      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                      • Ursa ... I was responding to Sparks saying a kid wanted to quit playing baseball due to the high school circumstances. You're talking about kids who are quitting playing for the high school team, not quitting playing baseball. I'll never accept a kid quits playing a sport altogether due to the coach. There's always another place and time to play. It's a kid who has lost interest in playing and needs an excuse.

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                        • The board has acted funny and two of my post didn't show up or something..... I"m not going to bother going back and trying to repost them.

                          Played another game today and my boy came in to pitch starting the 3rd inning. He pitched the rest of the game (5 innings).... struck out 9 and gave up one hit. No runs scored.

                          It was a nice bounce back from the "off" game he had the other night.

                          Season is almost over with only a few games left. It's by far the worst year for my boy....the odd thing is he's probably got the best numbers he's ever had both pitching and hitting. He's dominating the JV teams and still hasn't been called up to Varsity. But it is what it is so there is nothing we can do about it. He loves playing with the JV anyway so I'm going to support him and be there for his games. Sometimes I think the best thing we can do is just be there.

                          Have another game this afternoon......

                          Sparks

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                          • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                            Ursa ... I was responding to Sparks saying a kid wanted to quit playing baseball due to the high school circumstances. You're talking about kids who are quitting playing for the high school team, not quitting playing baseball. I'll never accept a kid quits playing a sport altogether due to the coach. There's always another place and time to play. It's a kid who has lost interest in playing and needs an excuse.
                            Re-reading what Sparks wrote, it appears that you're right: the kid was talking about quitting baseball altogether. Though, there's no guarantee that the kid has other options, as summer travel ball and showcases can be expensive, and not all families can justify the expense.

                            But, still, for kids not getting much appreciation of playing time from their coaches - whether they're 10 or 17 - sometimes it takes only a small push for a kid to quit and it's tough to quit. When UMinor was 10 and the smallest and youngest kid on his 11-12 y/o team, he announced he was quitting when the coach refused to let him play anything other than outfield in practice, much less in games. I persuaded him to go to the next practice only by telling him that he couldn't quit over the phone; he had to tell the coach in person. We got to practice, where he saw his teammates warming up. He paused, sighed, and grabbed his glove and cleats and ran out onto the field, leaving me to assume he'd decided not to quit. It wouldn't have taken anything more than a snide comment from his manager or a teammate that day to push him back over the edge for good. Again, when he got cut from the freshman team (and as far as I know, no one cut from the freshman squad ever made it onto varsity), he was ready to quit, but the freshman coach's encouragement to keep trying and let his growth kick in persuaded him to give rec ball one more shot, followed by summer ball, and he transformed himself into a pitcher and made the JV squad and now the varsity. Sure, he had the passion, but there aren't that many kids who are going to devote themselves to the game when the 'professionals' (i.e., the HS coaches) have told them they aren't good enough.
                            sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                              Played another game today and my boy came in to pitch starting the 3rd inning. He pitched the rest of the game (5 innings).... struck out 9 and gave up one hit. No runs scored. It was a nice bounce back from the "off" game he had the other night.

                              Season is almost over with only a few games left. It's by far the worst year for my boy....the odd thing is he's probably got the best numbers he's ever had both pitching and hitting. He's dominating the JV teams and still hasn't been called up to Varsity. But it is what it is so there is nothing we can do about it. He loves playing with the JV anyway so I'm going to support him and be there for his games. Sometimes I think the best thing we can do is just be there.
                              I'm not sure what you mean by the highlighted portion. Sure, he had the injury, but you've said that he enjoy playing with his JV teammates and the getting the opportunity to play a lot and at multiple positions. What's "worst" about that?

                              The obsession of playing varsity as a frosh or soph can be a real negative. Our coach brought five mediocre players up to V as sophs last year and had little playing time; they're playing varsity ball now and are struggling. The JV kids had a much more relaxed and egalitarian season and probably developed more.

                              If it's part of your team's culture, I do hope he gets an opportunity to come up to the varsity for the last few games, just to get the feel of the experience and as a reward. Last year our varsity coach for the first time in anyone's memory didn't bring anyone up, and it was considered a slap at the whole JV squad, which was rooting for a couple of their better players to move up. That and the fact that very few of last year's soph JV players were brought up to the varsity this year (two freshman [including the coach's son] leapfrogged over them up to varsity and a current freshman just got called up) has led to a pretty cancerous environment on the JV team - they're convinced (with good reason) that the varsity coach doesn't care about or pay attention to the JV team.
                              sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                              • Just to speak my mind a little.......

                                I don't, nor have I ever wanted to be one of those parents who run around telling everyone their kid should be playing because he is better. That's not my intention. The problem is.....not only this year but every year my boy has played the numbers will far and away back up anything I might say.

                                This is the problem.....if the coach has a problem with a kid he's just out of luck. Since my boy was in the 7th grade I've looked forward to his Sophomore year....I just think it's one of those magical years for good players. The coach, for what ever reason has chosen to ruin my boys sophomore year. Yeah, he's had a great year on JV but having a good year on JV is like Chipper Jones going down to AA ball and hitting homeruns.....no one cares.

                                It's just so very very very frustrating. I even checked around to sending him to another school but there is no way around the one year rule so he's just flat out stuck.

                                Just this year alone my boy leads the team in batting average, extra base hits, stolen bases, runs scored and his on base % is miles ahead of anyone else. (this is with missing a month of playing that's how good of a year he was having) His pitching is so far ahead of every other JV player that it's not even funny. The only bad game he had was last Thursday when he was coming off a broken ankle and gave up four runs. The rest of the entire year he has only given up....now get this....... 1 earned run and 4 runs total. That's all year!!!!! Just today he pitched 5 innings and struck out 9 batters and only allowed one hit. This was after pitching two nights ago and catching the entire second game.

                                Not to mention he plays every position on the infield except 1st base.

                                I don't tell you these numbers because of bragging....please understand. I tell you this because the Varsity team has one eight grader on it with 4 JV players and they have a record of 10 wins and 22 losses right now. (there are five games left in the season) Most every game they play is a blow out. Could my boy make them an undefeated team? Of course not but in my humble opinion he could have easily helped them win 3 games or more. Easily.....

                                You tell me with the numbers my boy is putting up that he shouldn't be on a 10 and 22 team that only has one player is hitting above .240?

                                I'll say it again.... my boy is on a JV team and he throws 83mph+ (I think he throws about 85 but don't have it recorded). Why on earth is he on the JV team when he could have helped the Varsity team? WHY WHY WHY?

                                The problem is with this one year rule a kid has no options......yeah if he wants to sit out his JR. year he can go to another school but what kid wants to do that?

                                I must apologize here...... I just wanted to vent a little. I know all of you will get on my back and tell me to chill out or relax that the Sophomore year isn't important. All I can say is it was important to us.

                                I think the one thing that upsets me the most is it's just flat out taken the spirit out of my boy. This is a kid that has lived and dreamed and loved baseball all his life. He's in a situation that he can't win and it breaks my heart. I'm scared.... I tell you I'm very scared. I'm scared he will lose his love of the game.


                                Sparks

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