May I Have Some Money?Posted: March 19, 2010
What’s My Point?
Kids in grade school should not be playing baseball year round.
Why Does it Matter?
The future of baseball continues to get more athletic and if you want to play in the Big Leagues, you better be good at soccer, football, or basketball as well.
Here is an example of a letter that I may have received from a 12 year old.
Hi, my name is Bobby and I am 12 years old. I play for the “Johnsonville” under 13 [years old] Thunder. We went to Nationals last year and came in 4th. This year we are going to “Cook, Mn” to play in that tournament and I hope we win.
I need to raise $800 to get to the tournament. Can you help our team get to Nationals? It’s tax deductable.
PS. What’s it like to play with Lance?
After reading this type of letter I normally find Adam Everett and say this, “Dude, here is another one.” Adam would take the letter and just start shaking his head. Then he would look at me and say, “I got one from a 10 year old.”
Youth travelling teams started becoming popular in the mid 90’s. During my youth days, 1985-1990, the only travelling sports teams available were in soccer and basketball. But even then, those teams didn’t play year round. They played during the same season as the local youth seasons. This is an example of a tournament that I found for kids ages 13 and 14.
Exclusive to the 14U and 15U divisions, the AAU Baseball Super Showcase will feature the nation’s best talent in these age groups. Note that this is an invitation-only event. Only 12 teams will be invited to this prestigious showcase. The Super Showcase features a five-game guarantee and a combine. Teams will be provided 4 free hotel rooms for 5 nights during the event. Individual athletes will be evaluated by the Global Scouting Bureau and each participant’s results will be posted on the Global Scouting Bureau’s website. This is a great opportunity to have your prospective superstar of tomorrow seen, and all for only a $375 per team participation fee. Is your team Showcase caliber? If so, submit an application request. This event will fill very quickly so submit your application today.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
What are we doing? The Global Scouting Bureau?
Somebody needs to help me understand why a team needs to take an airplane to play in a tournament. And please don’t tell me that Little League players go to Williamsport. This isn’t a final tournament; this is a “Showcase.” Whatever the heck that means.
What bothers me the most is that parents think it is ok for their kids to take baseball this seriously before they get into high school. Sure, all their friends are doing it. But how is going to a tournament at age 14 going to get you to the Big Leagues? Do you think the travel will help them get accustomed to the travel in the Big Leagues? If so, I can show you how to do that for free.
Alternative to Spending $800 Plus Travel to Play in a “Showcase”
Have “Bobby” sit in a chair at midnight and then keep him up for 4 hours. At 4 am get him in the car and drive 15 minutes away and 15 minutes back. This will simulate the bus trip from airport to hotel. Then, when you get home, ask 10 of your neighbors to stand right by your front door with baseball cards to sign. When you get in, don’t allow him to go to his room because he will be familiar with that. No, put him in another room so that he doesn’t know where he is when he wakes up. Wake him up after 6 hours and then make him walk a quarter mile. This will help simulate the walk to a restaurant from the hotel. Then have your same friends from last night follow him on his walk asking for autographs. When he gets back you can feed him. After that, get him in the car and take him to the park. Once there, have him practice for an hour. After the hour, feed him a turkey sandwich on wheat and tell him to “slam” a Mountain Dew. Then have him play a game. Ten minutes after the last pitch, make him available to talk to some simulated reporters. Ask questions that he doesn’t understand. After that, let him go home and shower.
I Can Read the Future
The game is changing folks. I have always believed that baseball players were composed of those athletes who weren’t good enough to play basketball or football professionally. I expect that trend to continue.
David Wright is a power hitting third baseman who steals bases. John Smoltz might become a professional golfer. Did you know that Brad Lidge could probably play Olympic Table Tennis if he practiced? Do you know that Carlos Beltran’s best sport is volleyball? Do you know Roy Oswalt is a center fielder? Joe Mauer is a quarterback. Derek Lee got a full ride to play basketball at the University of North Carolina!
In my own case, I was best at soccer, then basketball, and finally baseball. But the most important sport I played was soccer. Why? Soccer taught me how to be aggressive. Then, basketball taught me that you could wear down your opponent by being in better shape and by not showing any emotion. What did I learn in baseball? I learned that I could make it to the Big Leagues because I knew I was a better basketball player than my opponent.
What is cool is that the parents of these kids really love their children. They want their kids to have every opportunity to succeed. But I am afraid that they are setting them up to fail. Maybe their children will be better at baseball at an earlier age, but they won’t get a much needed mental break that comes at the end of a traditional season. Nor will they get the benefits that other sports bring. Playing more than one sport at an early age is vital to understanding team environments, comprehending the need for hard work in areas you may not be good at, and finally learning game theory.
Your child does not need to be scouted by a bureau. Your child does not need to go to a showcase. Your child needs to know that you love them and that being great is about desire and never giving up. Man, football can’t get here soon enough!