Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Parents

Baseball - it's not just a game. Or is it?

Let me start by saying I do not have any "human kids" of my own. I do have an eleven-year-old Golden Retriever, but I don't think society is ready for a dog to play Little League. Plus he doesn't have any thumbs.

I preface this because I think it gives me a unique perspective on youth sports. Let me also add that I do have a few nephews and I am a Godfather to a few youngins that play Little League. I need to say this so there will be no confusion as to why I am at a kids sporting events. I was always a little bit creeped out by the 40-plus-year-old man with no family and no connection to anyone just hanging out at the kids' game.

I have recently witnessed some of the amazing words of encouragement that come from grandstand parents screaming instructions to their starry eyed children. "Swing like you mean it," "Don't be a Baby," "That was terrible", "Are you kidding me! That's the effort you give me", "Hold the bat like this", "Put your hat on right", "straighten up mister or you are done", "These guys stink I can't believe we are going to lose", "Act like a man!" "RUN!!!" etc. ...Those are just the PG versions.

I do not know why it happens but Little League Baseball brings out the truck driver in every soccer mom.

I remind you all of this because recently Major League Baseball's annual armature draft took place. This is where the best and brightest baseball players across the country get selected by MLB teams. As a result, a small minority of them (about 1%), are offered massive signing bonuses and contracts with a chance to move forward and play this wonderful kids game for tons of cash.

If you want your son to be considered on draft day someday, you need to start now with the verbal abuse. I have already given you examples here in this blog but that's the tip of the iceberg.

Spare his feelings, and you ruin a prospect, I always say. When you think you are being soft on him, think about what your neighbor is saying and/or doing to their child. If your kid doesn't get a hit one night, then you punish him with no dinner. A few errors in the field and you might want to take away TV privileges.

Let's say he doesn't go 1st to 3rd on a single to right when we all know the right fielder has a weak hose, well then your child deserves to be severly disciplined.

At 10 years old your child may become easily distracted. You as a good parent cannot let this happen. Your kid should consider baseball a job. He needs to eat sleep and breath baseball. Put an end to the silliness of youth. Toys and child games go bye bye. If you want your son to play in the BIGS you need to start now.

Think about this, there are Seven Billion people living on this planet and about 700 Major League baseball players during any given year. That comes out to about one in ten million people will play in the major leagues. If you want that to be your son you will need to really jump ugly with him from day one to make sure he understands what's at stake. So, in closing, if you want baseball greatness for your son remember it starts early. Your child should be at the gym, hitting off a tee, sprints and cardio work every day from age 5 until he hits it big.

Remember the more you tear him down the better player he will become. Verbal taunts and jabs will pay off in the long run. It may seem a bit excessive now, but when your boy gets his first big league hit and throws the ball to you in the stands it will all be worth it.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mike campbell June 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Great piece,I've seen some of the nicest people turn to complete jackals the minute their kid dons the uniform & takes the field.
Jean Dutton June 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM
If you really want to help your son out, tell him he needs something to fall back on if baseball doesn't work out for him.
Armi Rowe June 13, 2012 at 03:13 PM
You are right on...an even more unfortunate thing is when the verbal abuse escapes from the lips of coaches!
Steve Bristol June 13, 2012 at 03:48 PM
The other side of the coin are the parents who are constantly loudly congratulating--and therefore reinforcing--play that the coach spends all season trying to get them NOT to do. It would be the same as if they congratulated their kids' spelling C-A-T when the word was DOG on a spelling test. In the author's case, it would be like telling the dog "Good Dog!" and giving him a treat when he pees on the carpet. I have heard plenty of coaches tell parents and players before a season, and sometimes during a game, that a player will remain on the bench (or at least the coach's side of the field) until such time as the player stops listening to the parent during a game and play the way the coach wants them to...or that the COACHES will be the ones to compliment or criticize when deserved. Jean is right...make sure they know that education comes first and remembering THAT allows for the sport to be played. Steve


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