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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • When it's time don't miss out on the FASFA application.

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    • Summer travel ball is about to start up. The team has a practice game this weekend.

      I wanted to share something a little personal here.... I spoke with the publisher who published my first novel "The Journey of Life". We decided to go ahead and publish another novel I wrote titled "The Search". I've been reluctant to do this because this publisher is very small and I will make no money.

      Now that I'm pretty much retired from writing and looking for work. I decided it was time to let one of my novels go. I've tried all the normal channels of getting a larger publisher (one that I can make money from) but after so many years it's impossible.

      At the request of my publisher I posted a short story I wrote on Amazon Kindle (you don't have to have kindle to get it). They explained it would help me find more readers for when my novel comes out. The lowest price Amazon allows is .99 cents so I made it as cheap as possible.

      It's the story of my father and me and how we shared a very special Christmas. It's listed here on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/My-Favorite-Ch...6754227&sr=1-1


      till next time,
      Sparks

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      • Sparks ... One of the top sellers was a book sold for 99 cents on Amazon. People figured they had little to lose. The book made the author known. I didn't read the book. I can't remember her name. I just remember the news story.

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        • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
          Sparks ... One of the top sellers was a book sold for 99 cents on Amazon. People figured they had little to lose. The book made the author known. I didn't read the book. I can't remember her name. I just remember the news story.
          Yes, don't know if this is the story you were remembering, but here's a USA Today article of a similar nature....

          Self-published authors find e-success....
          Originally posted by Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY
          Updated 12/13/2011 9:26 AM
          Reprints & Permissions


          In 2009, Michael Prescott's dream died, or so he thought.

          After graduating from college in 1980, Prescott had labored for almost three decades to become a best-selling novelist, writing more than 20 books under various names. He enjoyed critical praise and some successes.

          But when 25 publishers passed on buying his thriller Riptide, Prescott thought the gig was up. Then, on a whim, he decided to self-publish it as an e-book.

          Today, the soft-spoken Prescott, 51, is living his dream. He is one of 15 self-published authors whose e-books, often selling for just 99 cents, have cracked the top 150 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list this year, threatening to change the face of publishing.

          For Prescott and a handful of others, the numbers add up. Prescott says he has earned more than $300,000 before taxes this year by selling more than 800,000 copies of his self-published e-books.
          Best of luck to you Sparks, may all of your dreams come true, both literary and proud parent wise.....


          mud -
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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          • Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
            Yes, don't know if this is the story you were remembering, but here's a USA Today article of a similar nature....

            Self-published authors find e-success....


            Best of luck to you Sparks, may all of your dreams come true, both literary and proud parent wise.....


            mud -
            Thanks for the article. I don't know how they do it...... My novel "The Journey of Life" was published by a publisher. I had the digital rights so I put it on Amazon ebook. It sat there 2 years and never sold a copy.

            I'm very happy for the writer in that article...... that's amazing.

            It would be wonderful to do something like that and support your family.

            Sparks

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            • Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
              Yes, don't know if this is the story you were remembering, but here's a USA Today article of a similar nature....

              Self-published authors find e-success....


              Best of luck to you Sparks, may all of your dreams come true, both literary and proud parent wise.....


              mud -
              It was a woman. The book became a NYT best seller. It became the first NYT best seller not in print first. Half of all book sales are now electronic.

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              • We travel to the big city this weekend. My boy will play with the school for I think 7 or 8 games that the rules allow to play in the summer. My boy doesn't think he will play much.... oh well. We rented rooms that we couldn't afford to rent but I'll be darn if I'll let him go and not be there to support him, no matter if he plays or not. He was groomed to take over second base on the Varsity but the Varsity coach moved our all star SS to second. Not sure why. This kid is one of the better players our school has had. Great player. Anyway, they moved another kid from center to play SS. So looks like my boy is second string SS and will more than likely be in the rotation to pitch.

                We've also signed up with the travel team we won the state championship last fall with. They start playing in two weeks. They've moved up and will be playing against top competition. Our boys are pretty good but I don't think they have any idea what they are about to get into. It should be fun.

                On personal note I signed to publish my second novel. Now that I'm retired from writing I decided to go ahead and let my publisher publish one of my books. I won't make a dime but it is what it is.... story of my life. Still, the novel was just sitting in my computer so it was time to let it go. I have one more novel but it's my best work and unless a publisher can pay me at least a little money I won't publish it.

                I spend my days now looking for work.... not a job in sight. It's terrible out here looking for work. I'm really looking forward to working again and getting away from this stupid dream of being a writer. It's just time to move on.

                Sparks

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                • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                  We travel to the big city this weekend. My boy will play with the school for I think 7 or 8 games that the rules allow to play in the summer. My boy doesn't think he will play much.... oh well. We rented rooms that we couldn't afford to rent but I'll be darn if I'll let him go and not be there to support him, no matter if he plays or not. He was groomed to take over second base on the Varsity but the Varsity coach moved our all star SS to second. Not sure why. This kid is one of the better players our school has had. Great player. Anyway, they moved another kid from center to play SS. So looks like my boy is second string SS and will more than likely be in the rotation to pitch.

                  We've also signed up with the travel team we won the state championship last fall with. They start playing in two weeks. They've moved up and will be playing against top competition. Our boys are pretty good but I don't think they have any idea what they are about to get into. It should be fun.

                  On personal note I signed to publish my second novel. Now that I'm retired from writing I decided to go ahead and let my publisher publish one of my books. I won't make a dime but it is what it is.... story of my life. Still, the novel was just sitting in my computer so it was time to let it go. I have one more novel but it's my best work and unless a publisher can pay me at least a little money I won't publish it.

                  I spend my days now looking for work.... not a job in sight. It's terrible out here looking for work. I'm really looking forward to working again and getting away from this stupid dream of being a writer. It's just time to move on.

                  Sparks
                  Good luck to your grandson and good success in finding a decent job.

                  I bolded and underline the part where you questioned the judgment of the coach. Maybe the coach is moving your grandson to a position he needs the most?

                  Since I live across the way from the league ballfields I talk on occasion with a coach on a league team (in the same league as my son plays) whose son will be moving to high school ball next year.

                  He is constantly reminding me, as we talk alongside the fence, how his son can do no wrong. This at the same time I'm watching his son overthrow second from the catchers spot and swing at a bad pitch for 3rd strike.

                  His son, IMO, won't be prepared for the many failures and setbacks he will encounter in the game of baseball.

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                  • Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                    I bolded and underline the part where you questioned the judgment of the coach. Maybe the coach is moving your grandson to a position he needs the most?
                    Remember that the kid has an 85 MPH heater. Our HS team has only one of its seven pitchers play in the field regularly, and that's because he happens to be the best outfielder and second or third best hitter. If they're planning on having him start as a pitcher, they won't want him to play in the field much if they have alternatives. Let's see how it works out.

                    In our HS team's final regular season game on Friday, we won in a 5-inning mercy-ruled game. The teams wanted to give every one a chance to play, so they agreed to go two more 'unofficial' innings with coaches calling balls and strikes. Our 6'5", 230 lb. horse of a pitcher was put at shortstop (I think it was the first time he'd been in the field in two years) and turned one of the slickest double plays you'll ever see, complete with a 90 MPH throw to first to catch the batter-runner. You could almost see him plead with the coach -- "see, I could do this all the time," and the coach respond, "We're not going to take that chance.... and you aren't THAT good."

                    Since I live across the way from the league ballfields I talk on occasion with a coach on a league team (in the same league as my son plays) whose son will be moving to high school ball next year. He is constantly reminding me, as we talk alongside the fence, how his son can do no wrong. This at the same time I'm watching his son overthrow second from the catchers spot and swing at a bad pitch for 3rd strike. His son, IMO, won't be prepared for the many failures and setbacks he will encounter in the game of baseball.
                    That's why we turn kids over to high school coaches to knock that sense of entitlement out of them. Of course (as we discovered this year), if his father IS the HS coach, then you will see that problem continue on into life for longer than it should.

                    Sparks, let us know how the big weekend goes. I'm betting your boy gets some time on the mound.
                    sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                    • Ursa,

                      It's always super super great to hear from you. I agree with all you posted.

                      I had the dates wrong so this weekend we are playing in a travel tournament not school. The school games begin in two weeks.

                      Thanks again,

                      Sparks

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                      • Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                        Remember that the kid has an 85 MPH heater. Our HS team has only one of its seven pitchers play in the field regularly, and that's because he happens to be the best outfielder and second or third best hitter. If they're planning on having him start as a pitcher, they won't want him to play in the field much if they have alternatives. Let's see how it works out.

                        In our HS team's final regular season game on Friday, we won in a 5-inning mercy-ruled game. The teams wanted to give every one a chance to play, so they agreed to go two more 'unofficial' innings with coaches calling balls and strikes. Our 6'5", 230 lb. horse of a pitcher was put at shortstop (I think it was the first time he'd been in the field in two years) and turned one of the slickest double plays you'll ever see, complete with a 90 MPH throw to first to catch the batter-runner. You could almost see him plead with the coach -- "see, I could do this all the time," and the coach respond, "We're not going to take that chance.... and you aren't THAT good."

                        That's why we turn kids over to high school coaches to knock that sense of entitlement out of them. Of course (as we discovered this year), if his father IS the HS coach, then you will see that problem continue on into life for longer than it should.

                        Sparks, let us know how the big weekend goes. I'm betting your boy gets some time on the mound.
                        How do you know he threw it 90 mph to first base?

                        Irregardless, Sparks is contantly questioning the judgment of the coaches as well as the effort and skill of other players on his grandsons team.

                        The biggest problem I see for his grandson is not being prepared for the failures he will encounter in baseball because his grandfather says it's everybody else's fault.

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                        • Just got back from our first travel ball tournament.
                          It was an odd tournament.. something called a showcase tournament that didn't give teams any points but was a showcase for some of the top travel teams around our part of the country. It was also a wood bat tournament.

                          We didn't win. The first day killed us. We tied the first game and lost the second game. The next day we won both games. Now this is the crazy part....we weren't allowed to play in the championship day because of the tie. Yet the two games we beat today were the #1 and #2 seed in the tournament. Everyone lost a game. We only lost 1 game but they told us the tie was considered a loss. My point was if that is your rules then they need to allow the teams to play where there isn't a tie because we got the small end of the stick.

                          Never the less they didn't agree with our arguments and we are coming home a day early.

                          My boy had a great tournament. It's my understanding that these were some of the top 16 and under teams in the South in this tournament so it was a good test for us. My boy ended up (in the four games we played) with an even .600 batting average with a huge stand up triple and a solid double among his hits. I think he walked like 3 times or something like that and was hit by a pitch so his on base % was somewhere around .800 or so.

                          He also pitched one game.... the game we lost. He gave up three hits and 1 earned run (2 unearned runs, which is 3 total). The coach pulled him in the 7th inning with us down 3 to 2.

                          I thought the wood bat tournament was a lot of fun..... I would love to do more of those. The kids seemed to enjoy it.

                          Sparks

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                          • If it's 16U it's not a true showcase tournament. The college coaches and pro scouts attend the 17/18U showcases. If sixteens want to be seen at this age they play for 17/18U teams.

                            My son played nothing but wood bat except high school from summer after soph year of high school. From 13U, fall ball was wood bat. College summer ball is wood bat. I don't like the sound of metal anymore. Wood bat is where you find out who can hit. No one fists line drives to the outfield of the handle of a wood bat. Pitchers can come inside and jam hitters and not give up hits. The games tend to have real scores like 5-3 and 6-4 not 10-8. When a team gets down five runs in wood bat they are seriously behind.
                            Last edited by tg643; 05-28-2012, 12:05 PM.

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                            • Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                              If it's 16U it's not a true showcase tournament. The college coaches and pro scouts attend the 17/18U showcases. If sixteens want to be seen at this age they play for 17/18U teams.
                              tg, you don't have any idea what showcase he attended, nor who was there. There is life beyond East Cobb.
                              efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                              • Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                                tg, you don't have any idea what showcase he attended, nor who was there. There is life beyond East Cobb.
                                There are many alternative venues outside Perfect Game. I'm familar with many of them. I know coaches don't gravitate to 16U tournaments. They don't even gravitate to 16U Perfect Game events. If a 16 is good enough to be seen he's moved up to 17/18U.
                                Last edited by tg643; 05-28-2012, 02:37 PM.

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