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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • 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

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    • 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!!

      Comment


      • 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.

        Comment


        • 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.

          Comment


          • 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.

            Comment


            • 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
              The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

              Comment


              • 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.

                Comment


                • 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...
                  "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                  - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                  Comment


                  • 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.
                    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                    Comment


                    • 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.

                      Comment


                      • 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.

                        Comment


                        • 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....
                          "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                          - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                          Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                            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.
                            Actually from reading your posts I think your grandson has a lot of talent and potential.

                            However as others have stated you make too many excuses of why your grandson has difficulty at times instead of encouraging him through the failures that are inevitable in the game of baseball.

                            Case in point. My son had a 0.00 ERA in 13U AAA (including some majors) level tournament ball up to last weekend. He faced a team in a tournament last weekend that made him have to work hard and deep in the pitch count to get outs. They had 3 hits (and eventually 3 earned runs) to the fence off of him. After the 2nd inning I talked to my son while he was on the bench waiting to bat that the opposing team was extremely good and that he should continue to work hard and not be discouraged.
                            We eventually won the game with my son going the distance and as each parent congratulated me on my son's performance I made sure to point out that having the run support and fielding support (2 double plays in key situations) helped my son relax and continue to throw well. One parent even apologized that her son didn't hustle to field a pop fly in the outfield.
                            Point being that it's a team sport with everyone contributing to some degree.
                            BTW, when my son played in league play a few years ago he didn't have much fielding support. I rarely blamed the fielders and my son has learned to do his job and let the coach worry about everyone else doing their job.

                            Comment


                            • Bottom line is this....

                              The past three games my boy has pitched he's had a tough time.

                              In my opinion he's at a turning point in his life...... no two ways about it. How he handles what happens right now will determine his future.....I believe it.

                              Early last we he and I got into it pretty big.... no need to get into it here. At that point I was about 95% this summer would be the last he played baseball. As a matter of fact I had already told him I wasn't going to the tournament this past weekend and I wasn't going to any more of his games. It got pretty bad. I was fed up with is attitude.

                              I could care less if he gives up 100 runs strikes out 50 times or makes 100 errors. At this point ALL I'M LOOKING AT IS HIS ATTITUDE. He was literally to the point that he just didn't care anymore.

                              He thinks his high school coach hates him and he's probably right. But I told him big deal. I even told him the story told to me on this thread about the boy hitting a homerun and his coach turning his back on him when he rounded third. Of course my boys attitude was ......SO.....

                              He's 16 right now and every freaking minute of 16 and I just don't know what to do.

                              When we went to the tournament I fully expected him to do terrible. He no longer works on his game and just shows up for the games and thinks his talent is enough. This past weekend he got his head handed to him..... (also the two other games he's pitched).
                              He's used to striking out about 8 to 10 batters a game..... sometimes less sometimes more. Now hitters are turning on his best stuff and he's having a really hard time with it. I try to help him but he won't listen to me anymore.

                              So this weekend when I saw him getting his brains beat in and I could see the fire in his eyes I literally got chill bumps. I saw my little buddy again... I hadn't seen him in a long time. The fire he's always had that he refuses to lose. I love it and it's what's always separated him from other kids.

                              Let me say this about when he called his players to the mound in the game. Every single person in the stands and coaches thought it was the right thing to do...... even his fellow players. The coach should have done something but he didn't .......he just sat and watched. I hope he never does it again but for this day it was the right thing to do.

                              This morning he went to his school for summer workouts. Last week I didn't think he would go. So maybe.... just maybe getting beat so badly was the best thing that could have happened to him......maybe not. We'll see.......

                              One last thought...... I'll keep this thread going as long as my boy is playing but if I continue to get harassed then I don't need it. Things are hard enough in my life without people telling me what a sorry kid I have. I know his problems....... I've posted them on this thread for the world to see. My hope is maybe I can learn from all of you how to be a better granddad because frankly I'm not doing a very good job so far.

                              Sparks

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                                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.
                                It could be leadership, it could also be a tantrum.

                                When I see the guys making errors get fired up at themselves, I consider that leadership. Getting fired up at your teammates for making errors (especially when you're serving up lasers all day) might not be leadership.

                                If another pitcher had done the same thing, while your son was one of the fielders making errors would you still consider it leadership?

                                One of my major shortcomings as a pitcher was controlling my emotions. Things like what you described are far better handled in the dugout, IMHO. I say that without making a judgement on whether your son was leading or yelling. I wasn;t there, and I don;t know the kids, so I can;t say with certainty.

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