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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Hope for All Aspiring Little League Pitchers Out There

It's only May 2, but I saw on ESPN last night that the Phillies have had 11 players walked with the bases loaded. (Yesterday, they beat the Mets in the bottom of the 10th when Sean Green walked Shane Victorino with the bases loaded). So, you have to figure that guys whose average salary exceeds $2 million a year have walked these 11 Phillies.

Which gets me to my next point.

My son had a rough outing late yesterday pitching in Little League (my son walked the 6 batters he faced). He's pretty resilient, but needless to say, he was upset that he had this much trouble (he's had various degree of success in prior outings, and he knows that when you play baseball - where the failure rate can be high -- you have to have a short memory). Still, it's interesting to note that Major League pitchers -- with their high level of skill -- walk players with the bases loaded (something that's really not supposed to be done at that level). I shared that with him -- he was nonchalant about hearing about it becauses that fact couldn't "unwalk" the players. Still, the fact wasn't lost on him that pitching is tough.

Especially when you are 9.

As I tell the kids on occasion, it's easy to take victory laps when you succeed, but it's important that you recover from your disappointments and don't let them define you and make you think that you cannot succeed. My son swung the bat pretty well and made a nice play in the field, and that put a smile on his face. By pizza time late last night, despite the disappointment, he was laughing with a teammate.

Everyone needs to remember that this stuff should be fun -- even me -- but parenting pitchers is not easy. Thankfully, he has nurturing coaches who teach the game well without trying to manage the game like they're Earl Weaver or Lou Piniella (and, trust me, there are those who do that and can take the fun out of it). All I can do is try to provide moral support, say something to get a smile, and, on occasion, promise a post-game ice cream.

I felt for Sean Green of the Mets last night. I doubt he was laughing with a teammate at his post-game meal after the game.


Blogger Stacey said...

I too have a son who has been struggling at the plate. He just turned ten. His first time at the plate has been his best so far. He did not even make it through the first inning before they took him out. When he practices, he looks okay, but for some reason when he gets in front of that batter, I think things fall apart. I don't think he is ready to give up quite yet.

He knows as long as he keeps a positive attitude, I am behind him 100 percent. The one problem we face, however, is his coaches. There is not much practicing and working with the boys. My son catches also, and has pretty much taught himself how to catch and pitch. Still a ways to go though. I have to take him to get individual help. We are looking to play on another team at the end the summer. We are committed to the other team until then.

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