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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • It stinks being on a losing team. There's no way around that.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • One thing to bear in mind is that in some way's a kid's senior year in HS is of lesser importance than in his junior year, because by then his college decisions have been made and there's nothing left to prove, and they've often grown tired of HS and have one foot away from HS life anyway. So I wouldn't let the chances of getting more playing time affect his HS decision - and, given his life, the issue of the benefits of living with his Dad should be paramount in any case.

      JJA has some powerfully sound words about the way that transfers are treated. Not only are they suspect in the eyes of coaches and teammates, a coach who plays them risks the emnity of kids (and their parents) who've paid their dues in the system and expect to be the big dogs. Also, there's less incentive for a coach to invest teaching time in a kid who joins the team as a senior, as he'll be gone at season's end in any case. And, because he doesn't have dominating stature, he'll have to prove himself even more.
      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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      • Urea is right. Unless a senior transfer is going to be a game changer for the team he may not get a fair shot to earn playing time. It's not worth the grief to the coach and his long term reputation.

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        • Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
          I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.....

          While I'm sure there are a great many things that are accurate, there also appears to have been some discrepancies as related to the HS baseball portion, wrt the somes rules, and scenarios of what has or hasn't happened.....and I appear to not be only one to have noticed them.
          Mud, trust me we are not alone.

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          • Even if some of Sparks' details are fiction--and I too have my doubts--this has been a very valuable thread. Much wisdom in the responses.
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            • Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
              Even if some of Sparks' details are fiction--and I too have my doubts--this has been a very valuable thread. Much wisdom in the responses.
              There is no reason to doubt...
              "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.

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              • Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                There is no reason to doubt...
                Even if Sparks exaggerates things or makes some factual errors, it doesn't matter. He's done a very good job in a very tough situation.

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                • Update:

                  First, my boy has decided not to change schools for his senior year (more on that in a minute).

                  In our area schools are allowed to play 7 summer games as a team....we got to play 5 and the other two were cancelled due to weather. My boy pitched in one of the games against last years 5A state champions and won. He gave up 5 runs but only one was earned and came out with the win. I was unable to attend due to work. I know teams in high school change each year so the team he faced wasn't exactly the same championship team from last year but the way I look at it is it is something to be positive about and something to build on. From what I heard he pitched a nice game.

                  Now, our school has hired what people are calling a "GRAND SLAM HIRE" for a coach. Of course you never know but this coach is supposed to be special. He currently has two of his sons playing in the Major League's and another son in double A. He had many job offer's but for some reason chose our school to come and coach. I know it's not about money because everyone knows what he will be paid (which is almost nothing). He had been with the same high school for many years and decided to make a change.

                  I will say this about my boy.... I'm pretty disappointed in his work ethic. I've done all I can do at this point and at some point in his life he has to decide if he wants something he's going to have to work hard to achieve his goals.

                  BTW, and this is the last I'll mention our old coach. We talked to one of the assistant coaches the other day and he himself couldn't understand what the head coach was thinking last year.... it was almost like he was trying to have the worst season ever. Word came down a couple of weeks ago that his old coach was transferred from the high school and will be teaching P.E. at the local elementary school.

                  I just wish there was some way I could light a fire under my boy and get him to work at his game this summer.... I really don't know what to do other than pray about it. It was always my hope that he could at least get a scholarship at a Jr college and get an education.... but he has to get a lot better before anything like that can ever happen.

                  Sparks

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                  • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                    June 6, 2013

                    I just wish there was some way I could light a fire under my boy and get him to work at his game this summer.... I really don't know what to do other than pray about it. It was always my hope that he could at least get a scholarship at a Jr college and get an education.... but he has to get a lot better before anything like that can ever happen.

                    Sparks

                    Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                    May 4, 2006

                    In my opinion that isn't what L.L. is about. 99.99999% of kids who play LL will never even make it to the college level....fewer make it in the pro's. Kids must have fun, they must love the game. Yes, work hard and do your best but if they don't have fun then they need to find another sport.

                    My boy is 10; of course I think he will be a great high school player. Will he have the talent for the college level? There is no way to know that this early. I say the chances are good but a lot can happen in the next few years. I think it is vital that he learns to love the game first; everything else is secondary (in my opinion).
                    Does he love the game?

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                    • I told my soon to be freshman in high school that if you don't have a passion for baseball then you won't want to play it in college because it will be a full time job.

                      I think as a parent I've learned that it's OK that they give up the game and move on. Life goes on.

                      Just enjoy each game, each inning that your son plays as if it's their last he will every play.

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                      • I haven't posted in a while so here is the next update:

                        My boy has decided to stay at his current school for his final season as a senior.

                        I said I would always post the truth on this board so this has to be said......
                        We've been having a little trouble with my boy... not drugs or anything like that.. its just getting him to do things. I mean he had every intention of spending this summer on the river... didn't want to play baseball get a job or anything.
                        I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with him and we let everything air out. He loves baseball and wants to play after HS but this crazy kid think's he's good enough to not work at his game. He wanted to take this summer off......

                        Long story short is he didn't go to league tryouts for American Legion ball. The team had already played a few games. I made him (yes I made him) call the head of the Legion and ask him if he could play on the team. He wanted me to call for him but I put my foot down and made him call.
                        Well, they told him to come on and play and they really wanted him and were wondering why he didn't play.

                        My boy struck gold because the team he is on is freaking stacked. I mean this team is good....very good. Of course my boy is the new kid and he's having to earn his way (I wouldn't want it any other way). I don't know the coach and I don't he knew about my boy.

                        The first game my boy caught. Did really well, threw out one runner and didn't make any errors.
                        Between innings I did a "unofficial pop time with my cell phone and I got him at 1.9 three times.

                        Last night they played him at SS (our team has a really really good SS so I don't have any idea why the even decided to play him there). Anyway, he had the best game playing SS (defensibly) I have ever seen a high school player have. It was freaking amazing.) He made two impossible plays......freaking no way he should have made them. And made another play that I thought there was no way he could get the runner.

                        Going into the 4th inning our pitcher had lost it and the next pitcher walked batters so they moved my boy from SS to pitching. He pitched the rest of the 7 inning game and struck out 5 batters and gave up two hits and 1 run. We won the game and he got the win.

                        I don't know how hard he was throwing but it took my breathe away..... I couldn't even see a couple of the pitches. He was flat out humming the ball.

                        On the way home from the game all I could think about was this....... if my boy is this good and never ever practices..... my oh my how good could he be if he really put in 100% effort.

                        One last thought... I saw the fire in his eyes last night.... I haven't seen that look in a long long time... I miss that look.

                        We have several games in Legion so I'll try to keep the thread updated as often as possible.

                        Sparks

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                        • Sparks, thanks for the update and great to hear that the boy has landed in a good situation. (And good call on making HIM make the contact - he's not a baby any more.) I think it's a great sign is that getting on a talented team is getting the juices flowing for him - the 'fire in his eyes'. There's nothing like the feeling of stepping up to the next level and doing well and feeling (a) I belong here, and (b) these really talented kids want me to be out there to help them win.

                          Ursa Minor has landed in somewhat similar situation this year. Even though he played only club baseball in his college freshman year this spring, he wanted to stay with it. An old teammate joined a brand new summer college league team in a very established league, and they were looking for pitchers so the kid got him in touch with the team management and they signed him. These kids are astonishingly good - making amazing plays and hitting an average of a homer a game in a wood bat league. They're mostly junior college players trying to jump up to D1 or D2 ball, and in fact their SS just got a D1 scholarship a week ago and an opponent's pitcher was pulled out of a game last weekend because he just discovered that he'd gotten drafted by the Twins and there was no point risking his career by continuing any longer on that team.

                          The team's manager hadn't seen UMinor since HS and even know in a bullpen he doesn't look like much - throwing low 80's at best. So, he's thrown him in into seemingly low risk situations and the teammates, while rooting for him, were clearly not expecting much. And so far, he's gone six-up, six-down against hitters who've been blasting rockets against the team's more established pitchers - doing it all with location, movement, and changing sight lines. Sure, it'll likely catch up to him, but he's in heaven because he feels like he belongs and is contributing. But what is most pronounced is that these kids who've made it to the next level are fully dedicated to the game. They work out. They're playing 48 games over the course of 55 days, and rarely miss a day. When I asked a father of one of the opposing players if his kid had a job that summer, they guy laughed, "With this schedule? Are you kidding?"

                          The point is that your boy can be in the mix with kids he can hang with now. But no matter how good he is, he'll wash out at the next level if he rests while they're working. YOU may not be able to convince him of this, but you maybe can convince him that he should keep a close eye on the kids who seem most likely to make a splash at the next level and find out what they're doing with their summer. And it's not likely to be hanging at the beach.
                          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                          • We played in a legion tournament this weekend.

                            After winning the first few games my boy got the call to pitch on the semi-final.

                            He pitched 7 innings and got the loss in a 6 to 5 game giving up 5 earned runs.

                            I swear I want to pull my hair out...... my boy is so cotton picken stuborn it just makes me want to scream.

                            He pitched one pitch the entire game, a fast ball. Nothing else..... didn't even show his off speed pitches. As a matter of fact the past two games he's pitched he has only thrown fastballs.
                            He tells me he can't get his curvball over. Duh..... I tell him...... you need to throw some bull pen sessons and practice your pitches. I've even offered to pay for a pitching coach.

                            It goes in one ear and out the other. He's having to do to much he says.... doesn't want to see a pitching coach because they play so many games in legion he doesn't have time to go to the batting cage or work on his pitches.

                            What do you do? I have no idea....either he wants it or he doesn't. He just want's to go hang out and look for girls.

                            Geeeezzzzzz.

                            Sparkss

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                            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                              We played in a legion tournament this weekend.

                              After winning the first few games my boy got the call to pitch on the semi-final.

                              He pitched 7 innings and got the loss in a 6 to 5 game giving up 5 earned runs.

                              I swear I want to pull my hair out...... my boy is so cotton picken stuborn it just makes me want to scream.

                              He pitched one pitch the entire game, a fast ball. Nothing else..... didn't even show his off speed pitches. As a matter of fact the past two games he's pitched he has only thrown fastballs.
                              He tells me he can't get his curvball over. Duh..... I tell him...... you need to throw some bull pen sessons and practice your pitches. I've even offered to pay for a pitching coach.

                              It goes in one ear and out the other. He's having to do to much he says.... doesn't want to see a pitching coach because they play so many games in legion he doesn't have time to go to the batting cage or work on his pitches.

                              What do you do? I have no idea....either he wants it or he doesn't. He just want's to go hang out and look for girls.

                              Geeeezzzzzz.

                              Sparks
                              You've done all you can do. He is a grown man now and has to learn that there are consequences to decisions.

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                              • Doing any coaching lessons during a Legion season is difficult.. Most teams are playing 30 games in 32 days.
                                "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.

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