BATTER UP!

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by 2jakes, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,131
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    We don't play high school ball up here so the only route is to play in the community leagues. Because baseball in more a minor sport up here there is much less of the 'stage mothers' pushing their kids. Hockey up here is the crazy one with parents wanting their kids to play pro....spending big bucks on hockey camp and travelling teams.....not to mention fighting other parents in the stands. Hockey is a zoo with the parents as the animals.
     
  2. Sounds like the same parents, different sport. I grew up in Florida and never saw snow until I was 50 years old, so never played hockey. It was one of those strange sports you read about in Sports Illustrated that they played off on Mars or somewhere. I think I would have liked it though, had I the opportunity.
     
  3. I know what you mean. I played for years with many guys who ended up playing college or pro ball, and several who ended up Major League players, stars even. I was a pretty good player, played in college and had some interest from pro scouts (though their advice was "get your education, son"), but these guys were special. When they hit the ball, it just sounded different. You didn't even have to be watching, but when you heard them make contact you went "whoa, and turned around". The ball exploded off their bats. The pop in the mitt was a like a firecracker going off. We didn't have premier leagues and all that, but the guys with that level of talent had it, and the rest of us didn't. Of course, as you say, dedication is required too. I knew a lot of guys with the proverbial million dollar am and ten cent head.
     
    belfastboy likes this.
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,131
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    The other #1 pick was Jeff Francis. His draft year, Justin Morneau was his catcher and he was a left handed pitcher, Francis was not even drafted. He was tall but stick thin and did not qualify as a stud. He threw mid 80's but had pinpoint control. He went to a local university here in Canada and played on the ball team and worked towards his physics degree. In the meantime he put on 25 pounds and started to throw 93+ mph and dominated the Div 1 conference He went #1 to the Rockies and had a decent career hindered somewhat by injury. But he was NOT a prospect as an 18 year old, he could flat out pitch but did not fit the physical requirements of the scout's model. I also forgot about Adam Loewen drafted first round same year as Francis. Now he was a stud, pitcher and lights out hitter. He did fit the model as a 6'5" stud. He had some good years with the Orioles but alas his elbow disintegrated on him. Loewen played in a different division of the league so we never got to see him play against us.
     
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    12,749
    Location:
    New York City
    My very few contacts with pro or soon-to-be pro athletes concur with what others above have said - they play the game at a very different level.

    I saw a professional boxer train once up close and, yes, his punches where like cannons - literally seemed to explode when he hit the bag - but the thing that caught my attention the most was how insanely fast he move around the ring. His foot speed and coordination - at least the guy I saw about 30 years ago (and he was ranked somewhere in the top 100 for heavyweights - never made it to the top 10) - was insane. It was like he was gliding around the ring at warp speed. He let me try to hit him and I was all but running after him as he just glided backwards and pivoted around the ring without missing a beat.

    I also stood next to a pro-football quarterback prospect (he might have played back up a few years, like the boxer, I've long since forgotten his name) as he threw practice passes. They were like heat seeking missiles that - and he seemed to expend very little effort to do this - went forty and fifty-plus yards on target time and again. He was firing passers through, or just off, tires one after another. What I eventually came to understand is that almost every pro-passer can do that with ease in practice, the thing that elevates the successful ones are that they can do it in a game, with 300lbs men chasing them where they have to make split second decisions to throw to a moving target covered by other men.
     
  6. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    Chicago, IL US
    Cubs swept the Big Apple Mets; but, for the thrill of it all, Chicago's inconsistency rankles and riles.
    Lester pulled it all together last night and dueled deGrom, the bat line struck back, and, for a time Cubs showed
    sufficient promise of Central Division manifest destiny.
    We know we're better than the Cards, even if we're still a few games behind and lose the whole enchilada.
     
    DeaconKC likes this.
  7. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,131
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I refereed in a local touch football league that had many ex college football players. The teams were not competitive unless they had at least an ex college QB. The good ones threw so hard that I saw them break the fingers or split the palms of underqualified receivers. It was beautiful to behold...the passes not the broken fingers.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,131
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    My brother lives in Quebec City and his two boys are decent hockey players. He sends me emails with updates on the parental antics. Parents attacking 15 year old referees.....fighting opponent's parents. It is a zoo and very very sad.
     
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Something I'd like to see make a comeback is barnstorming baseball. This was huge in the Era, and it did a tremendous amount of good so far as promoting interest in baseball at the local small-town level. You had one or two big name players touring with a team of lesser lights, taking on your own hometown semi-pro or amateur team in games that really brought out the crowds. The House of David, the Bloomer Girls, Satchel Paige's All Stars, the "Former Major Leaguers" (the expelled Black Sox incognito), and dozens of other of these bus-and-bat teams. It was always a big deal for Joe Punchclock, star of the local Factory League, to go up against top-level pitching, and the whole town turned out to see him do it.

    One of my favorite baseball memories is a barnstorming show I saw in the '80s. The Spaceman himself, Bill Lee, came to town with a bunch of former Red Sox to take on a local high school team, and it was tremendous fun to watch. The old Sox -- people like Dalton Jones and Jim Lonborg and Bernie Carbo and such -- were all in their 40s at this point, and could still put up a pretty good game, and the kids were really pumped up for the game and a chance to show what they could do. There were probably close to a thousand people who came out for that game, and every one of them had a good time.

    Lee was involved with these kinds of promotions for years -- he may still be doing it for all I know, even though he's in his 70s now -- and Oil Can Boyd was another ex-Sox pitcher who got up a touring team, one that went in for old-style showboating. I'd pay ten bucks anywhere to see a show like that, and I bet a lot of people who wouldn't spend $50 to get into Fenway would do likewise.
     
    belfastboy likes this.
  10. The Cubbies should be the team to beat in the NL Central this year, we will see how the season plays out. GO CARDS!
     
  11. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,618
    Location:
    Illinois
    When I worked for the YMCA they had gotten into youth soccer in a big way. They started with kindergarten and 1st grade and continued through high school.
    It was unbelievable how nasty some of the parents were, yelling at their children, other people's children, the coaches, the refs and each other. The spectators were cleared from the field and forced to wait in the parking lot more than once until the game was finished. There were a few parents banned from attending their child's games because of their inability to control themselves. The parents of the little people were the worst. This was 20 years ago. And we make fun of and complain about millennials, etc.
    Nobody wants to talk about who raised them.
     
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    12,749
    Location:
    New York City
    I'm always amazed by these stories. In the '70s when I was growing up, there was always a parent or two who was a bit too into it and, sometimes, a little aggressive with the coach and his/her kid, but in general, only some parents came to the games and, other than some good-spirit cheering, I don't remember the parents being much of an issue in all the years and all the sports I played. My parents never came to any of my games and it never felt like a big deal as I was far from the only kid whose parents didn't go to their games. Something happened from when I was a kid to today that seemed to change things.
     
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  13. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I think it's the idea that sports are a potential ticket into a Scholarship To A Prestigious College -- the same mindset that causes certain types of parents to register their kids for That Competitive Preschool before their umbilical cords fall off. There's a single-minded ruthlessness to people like that that I find terrifying on all sorts of levels, and I always end up pitying their children. They stand a pretty good chance of ending up the same kind of hollow ladder-climbers as their parents.

    I bet if you talk to those kids, and ask them if they like the sport they play, they'll look at you like you have three heads. The question of "like" is irrelevant when it's all about Achieving That Goal In Life.
     
  14. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,131
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I played organized ball in the 1950's and 60's. My parents only rarely came to me games. They were too busy working. In the 1970's I began to coach. I coached kids in some cases for 4 years running and never met their parents. I assume they had parents but it was an assumption as I had no concrete proof. In the mid 1990's I returned to coaching after a 15 year gap. I was a new guy in town with no children involved. My first practice I had a dozen parents attend the practice. I was taken aback and figured it was them checking out the 'new' guy. Turns out it wasn't personal. Apparently parents attending not just all the games but most practices had one parent in attendance.....this was the new normal. lil' Johnny did not ride his bike to practices and games but was driven and the parent would hang out, watch and wait. Never had much of a problem with parents as I ran a tight ship with no tolerance for parental intrusion. But then baseball is a minor sport up here still largely played for recreation. The opportunity for scholarships is slim and even if the kid gets a full ride at a US school it still costs the parents upwards of $20K a year. In most instances that is a deal breaker for all but the zealous.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I've posted this before somewhere, I think, but you can never get too much of old-time baseball showmanship. Every Red Sox fan over fifty remembers with great fondness "The Popowski Flip."



    Eddie Popowski was the definition of a "baseball lifer." He spent more than sixty years in the Red Sox organization as a minor-league infielder, manager, third-base coach, and special instructor, but before going pro, he played for the House of David barnstorming team, where he learned all sorts of outre ball-handling tricks. It was always a moment of great anticipation when a ball was hit back thru the coaching box in hopes that he'd do the Flip when tossing it back to the pitcher. This clip is the only video footage of the Flip known to exist.

    Pop has always been one of my favorite Red Sox personalities. The jersey I'm wearing in the photo of me eating a hot dog under the Fenway stands was his from the 1972 season. I've been wearing it to games for years now, and have always been careful not to get mustard on it.
     
    3fingers likes this.
  16. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,618
    Location:
    Illinois
    We are the same age. I played peewee and little league in my hometown and can still remember the 2 or 3 parents who would get bent out of shape from time to time because they were such a tiny minority. I'm not sure when the change really came, and it's still not the majority who cause problems, but their numbers are definitely greatly increased and their volatility is exponentially greater.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.

  17. The change came when parents started shelling out thousands (in some cases tens of thousands) of dollars for little Johnny to play every year as soon as he turns 4 years old. One season of travel ball nowadays costs more than my entire college education did, even when you factor in inflation. Parents are as financially invested in it as they are emotionally.
     
  18. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,618
    Location:
    Illinois
    I can see that. One of my nieces was a really good high school volleyball player. She got involved in traveling volleyball and played in college. She gave up the traveling team after a couple of years because she had no desire to try to play professionally and it was burning her out (along with her parents) on a game she loved.
    All of it was by her own choice. I can't imagine the pressure on a kid who would rather not be doing it.
     
  19. I know many kids who are burned out on baseball by the time they are about 12, but their parents say "I've spent way too much on this for you to quit now..." So they trudge on in misery.

    And they play a lot more than we did back in the day. I grew up in Florida, where we played baseball more than most places...we started our season in February and played until June...probably 30 or 35 games. Summer vacation from school was strictly sandlot. There was a "winter league" which was basically September and October of about 12-15 games. Today there are kids playing 250 games a year, over 12 months continually. Family "vacations" are built around travel ball. Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family doesn't exist because "Johnny has a travel tournament". Kids are needing reconstructive elbow surgery at 15, and some even have it "proactively". Parents go into debt to fund all of this, yet the kid has no college fund. It's nuts.
     
  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    They'd get a better return on their investment buying lottery tickets.
     
    Frunobulax likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.