Two kids are trying out to play shortstop. Jeremy has all the talent in the world to be a five tool player, always making the sensational play or getting a big hit. However, he is always fooling around and not working hard. He never encourages is teammates. Jeremy enjoys his parties and late night video games. He shows up to practice half crapping it, but still is obviously the best player on the field despite that he drags his butt going on and off the field. Jakob on the other hand has some talent, but isn’t close to Jeremy’s natural “level.” Jakob, however, comes to practice early ready to work, stays late for extra batting time and always gives it his all. He loves nothing more and desires no more than to be on the ball diamond. He always hustles and leaves it all on the field. Let me ask you this…what should the coach do?
Most coaches may start the more talented kid and I don’t disagree with that. They are the better player and deserve to start. The problem is that I see that some coaches can be blinded by talent and their own desire to win and they tend to forget about their hardest working players on the bench. Let’s say Jeremy plays no other position, so there is no room for Jakob. Jakob may barely touch the field the entire year, yet still gives the most effort. Sometimes, effort is never ever rewarded.
Effort needs to be rewarded so that those hardworking players don’t lose heart. If you reward effort, Jakob gains more confidence and this motivates him to keep working at his 3 P’s like I’ve preached. If Jeremy sees Jakob getting rewarded and not himself, it may very well light a fire under his butt. If the most talented, but “lazier” player feels that someone much less talented than him is taking his position, it has to scare them. They’ll either cry to their parents about it so they can yell at the coach or hopefully they will work harder. If a coach gets that call from a parent, they should tell them straight up that he is being out hustled. Jakob has the heart and the desire….I don’t think you can teach those qualities in a player. The value is not measurable. In the long run, those with the heart, the desire, the hustle, eventually beat out the Jeremys of this world.
The cocky, no effort, uncoachable kids all eventually hit their peak, and never climb any higher. Coaches may not notice at first, but eventually they will, trust me. Coaches need to put the Jeremys of a team on notice early on, encouraging them to change their entitled ways – it will help them from sinking when and if they move on in the game and aren’t the big fish in a little pond anymore. A season shows character and the type of people on a team – There is room for success for both the Jeremys and the Jakobs on every team. Don’t lose HEART! Be that “little engine that could” and give it your all and you’ll eventually be the tortoise passing up the hare.
Thank you to Wicked Baseball for the picture to inspire this article.
You asked for it – I finally got it!!! Here is the feature story done by Fox News with Tom Pipines highlighting this blog and my children’s book that I’m trying to publish. I was able to get a recording from my lovely grandparents! If you weren’t able to watch when I was on before, or just can’t get enough of Bleacher Boy, :) here it is. ENJOY!
Link to my story on the Fox website HERE
I broke my bat not my back this summer! I sent it back to see if they would honor their warranty and was kindly told that a new one may be coming. It did! I wanted to say thank you to DeMarini for great customer service, living up to your word and sending me a new, upgraded replacement bat! Batting practice, here I come!!!!
In honor of the ten year anniversary of my brother Zach kicking cancer’s butt, I wanted to post our story!
I was sitting at the kitchen table one afternoon, in early October, 2005 drawing a picture. My sister Delilah was at her friend’s house, my brother Zach went to a car show with friends, and my twin, Sophie, was home with me. The sun was shining, trying to add warmth to the crisp cool fall day. And, there I sat, carefree, enjoying the pretty fall colors, drawing leaves with assorted crayons of red, yellow, and orange. Then, my mother received a troubling phone call from one of Zach’s friends. His friend, Nate, with a sickening worry in his voice told my mother that Zach was having intense pain in his groin and lower back. He couldn’t even walk. I saw my mom put down the phone, knowing something was wrong from the look on her face. Even though I was only five years old, I could sense something wasn’t right. That was when the darkness came.
As soon as Zach got home, my mother rushed outside. I never actually saw Zach and that’s when I knew that it could be more serious. She told me she had to take Zach to the hospital. That’s when I flipped my picture over to draw something else. I started to draw a picture for Zach of him in an ambulance. I was hoping everything would be okay.
Looking back, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Zach may have just torn or popped something in his groin or lower back because he was a skater and may have fallen. She thought some movement may have made it “out of whack.” Zach had a slight pain for a little while before the car show day. He even went to a chiropractor for some physical therapy. This was a very reasonable and a logical thought. She was very wrong and the darkness stayed.
Mom transported Zach from his friend’s car to our car and rushed him to the hospital. There, they found a mass on one of Zach’s testicles. My mom heard a vague comment about Lance Armstrong, but was confused. They wouldn’t tell her anything other than to come back the next morning to see a specialist. They decided to do immediate surgery even without a biopsy. A biopsy was too risky because there was a risk that trying to extract this suspicious mass would cause some cells to fall into the bloodstream. If some cells fell into the bloodstream, it could spread throughout his body.
After surgery, the doctors reported to my parents that Zach had cancer for sure. It was called testicular cancer. They told her it was the most aggressive type of cancer cell. The doctors did say that they believed that they extracted all of the cancer. Zach was sent home and everything was thought to be okay. They also found nothing in his blood cells to detect cancer. They didn’t know Zach was “marker negative,” which means the cancer cells would not come up in blood tests. My mother thought it was strange that he was just fine. Maybe it was just the darkness, but she had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
Just to be sure, my mother wanted a second opinion. She took Zach down to Rush hospital in Chicago. The doctor they saw was a trained specialist in this field. He worked under the doctor that treated the famous biker, Lance Armstrong, who also had testicular cancer. After Zach was checked out, the doctors brought back terrible news. The cancer had already spread to parts of his abdomen and lymph nodes. It would be awhile before the light and laughter would return to our home.
It’s so weird how life can literally change in an instant. Before this, Zach was on top of the world. He had just turned sixteen, had a girlfriend, got a driver’s license, and he got a sharp little sports car. He had just started his junior year at Walden H.S. Then it came all crashing down on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The clouds and the darkness came in the form of cancer, an uninvited stranger in our home. If left unchecked, the cancer would have progressed to the lungs and to the brain. Zach again needed a very complicated and immediate surgery. If my mother didn’t trust her gut and didn’t bring him in for a second opinion, the doctors said Zach would have died within six months to 2 years.
My mom and dad, understandably, had trouble dealing with the news. They felt overwhelmed, depressed and shocked. They couldn’t process and learn all the necessary information fast enough. My sister, Delilah, was in fifth grade and adored Zach. She was scared, but young enough to be a little clueless. Sophie and I could sense something was wrong, but we were confused. Cancer was like having an unwelcome stranger move in, where everyone is acting differently, and I tried to be on my best behavior. Sadness clouded our family. We were scared that we didn’t know what was wrong. There many hushed phone calls and sleepless nights for us all. Zach was down mentally and physically, scared, exhausted, yet hopeful, and strong. It was frustrating for him to have to rely on everyone else to do things for him. Zach was used to being thought of as a good-looking guy and vanity wise, it began to hurt his ego. He just wanted life to get back to normal.
In the surgery they removed all of the cancerous areas that were shown on the MRI’s. Then, they ordered several treatments of chemotherapy to flush out all remaining cells. He was out on a six month plan which was considered short, but still treacherous. Chemotherapy is a variety of medicine that they put through an IV in your body to attack your cancer cells. But in fact, it really is poison that kills the fastest growing cells in your body which include the lining of your mouth, your intestines, white blood cells, hair, nails, skin, and finally cancer cells. So while you’re attacking cancer cells, you are attacking all of those other things. A lot of people think chemotherapy is one thing, but each phase is different. It’s specifically designed for each patient. There is also some trial and error because too much can harm you and too little wouldn’t help at all.
Just when you think having cancer is bad enough, going through the chemotherapy results in devastating side effects. When mom brought Zach to the chemotherapy section of the hospital she said it sucked the air out of her lungs and she couldn’t breathe. Everyone around her looked like they were dying. She realized Zach would look like this soon. Zach lost his hair everywhere on his body. He once said that you don’t realize how much you need you nose hair because when you bend over everything drains out. He laughed, a little bit of light broke through. His hair follicles even hurt. A vivid memory my mother still sadly tells me is when Zach was lying in the hospital bed and complained that his head hurt. When he shifted, a huge chunk of his beautiful, black, thick hair was now part of the pillow and no longer a part of Zach. It took my mother’s breath away and she was speechless as she started to tear up. When Zach lost his hair I remember being terrified of him. Until then, the scars and gory stuff was buried beneath bandages and clothes. Now, I could see the metamorphosis left behind by cancer. Sunken, lifeless eyes and pale grey, hairless skin moved into my brother’s body. Zach was so weak, so sad that his little siblings, including myself, were scared of him. He was frightened, not recognizing his own reflection in the mirror.
The darkness grew and black spots began to appear on his fingertips and toes. It was the chemo burning his body from the inside out. Also as a result of the chemo, Zach had painful ulcers in his mouth and intestines. He experienced nausea and brain fog. My mother tells me that one day Zach woke up screaming and peeing blood because of kidney stones caused by the chemotherapy. To try to counteract some of the side effects they gave Zach steroids. These at least provided some relief and gave Zach an appetite, but also resulted in a bloated look, further distorting his normal good looks. But Zach, my brother, my inspiration, was not going to be beat.
Glimmers of light started to appear and brighten our home and Zach’s spirits. We were all going to battle to fight this! Zach’s support from Walden was monumental. Students and staff sent him well wishes and bought him a PSP video game to occupy his time at home. Many of his friends were always there for him. At my grade school and church, St. Rita’s, we would pray for him every day. We were fortunate to have many friends and family that helped make and deliver meals to our house. The support and prayers from others helped us greatly as well. The doctors and nurses were amazing. They all began to provide hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that drove out the darkness.
About a year later, Zach was finally done with treatment. It’s a bitter sweet, and somewhat fearful feeling that treatment is over. It didn’t feel like an endgame, it felt like a waiting game to see if “it” comes back. Zach wasn’t going to sit around and wait for anything, there was too much living to do. Zach went on to enjoy prom, graduate from high school and get a degree from Marquette University. He is happy, healthy, handsome again, and the bravest man I know. And here I sit, nine years later, at the kitchen table, not drawing but typing. The sun is shining brightly, adding warmth to a glorious cool day.
“You beat cancer by HOW you live, WHY you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Fox News and their sportscaster, Tom Pipines. I am not sure when this interview will be aired, but I will surely let you all know! I spent the afternoon with Tom Pipines, who likes to be called “Pip,” but not be called “late for dinner,” and I learned what makes a sportscaster successful.
As he was trying to learn about me and this blog, Bleacher Boy, I learned a lot from him as well. I learned that “Pip” is:
- A confident man with a firm handshake.
- A kind and friendly man with warm hugs for my mom and sister and an even friendlier smile.
- A polite man that was courteous and apologetic that he was running late–showing that others’ time is valuable too.
- A giving man that took the time to give me a tour and introduce me to literally EVERYONE at the studio including Katrina Cravy, making me feel like I was part of the family.
- A sincere man that was interested in what I do as a writer and as a teen, as well as the interests a my family.
- A knowledgeable man that knows his industry and keeps learning as the world changes.
- A humble man that thanks his coworkers for a job well done and gives credit to all those who work behind the scenes.
- A gracious man that wished a coworker the “Best of Luck” in their new job, expressing how much they’d be missed.
- A stylish man that can pull off wearing a purple shirt! ;)
- A wise man that is willing to share advice and his personal experiences with a kid who has a dream……
Thank you Pip!!!!!
I have been a little obsessed with baseball history since I started reading Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract. As I read, I would love to post baseball history fun facts to share cool new content!
Did you know that in the 1870s pitchers had to have a completely stiff arm and throw underhand from only 45 feet away? Baseball was originally closer to fast-pitch softball than the game it is now days! Instead of the four balls for a walk now days, back in the 1870s you were allowed 9 balls. The batter had the choice of whether he wanted a high or low pitch. The most interesting rule that I found about early baseball was that if a ball ever bounced in fair territory, in the infield, it was always fair. You could theoretically hit a line drive in the dirt and have it ricochet into foul territory and have it considered a fair ball. Baseball has the richest history of any sport! So, I look forward to sharing more interesting stories as I dive deeper into my research!
Vin Scully has decided that 2016 will be his last year calling games which would make it his 67th year as the voice of the Dodger’s. As great as it is that we will be able to hear the legendary voice for one more year, it’s a sad moment for baseball when he leaves. In honor of Scully, here are some of the greatest calls in his career. My personal favorite is when Rick Monday saved the American flag.
Here’s a link to MLB Network’s top calls: http://m.mlb.com/video/v25509721/network-reveals-vin-scullys-top-calls
What’s Your Favorite Scully Call?
Recently I wrote a post about how good coaches make all difference for young ballplayers. Now, the other side is how parents make all the difference for their kid. This can apply to all sports, not just baseball.
A huge issue I see with youth baseball are the parents that ruin the game for their kid. Mike Matheny, former MLB player and now Manager of the Cardinals, talks about how parents should be a silent, constant source of support for their children. (The Matheny Manifesto.) I agree with this statement and have been very fortunate that my parents are like this for the most part. I have seen so many parents ring their kid’s neck if they make a mistake, error, or poor at bat, causing them to literally cry. I have seen parents leave the field in disgust if their precious player gets benched for any reason. I have seen decent players doing well and enjoying the game until their father arrives and stands behind the plate to “help” them — and then the meltdown begins. I have even seen parents punishing a kid when they didn’t do well as well as bribing them to do better. I have felt sorry for certain players that have to ride home with angry parents. When a kid literally fears his parent during each moment of the game, why bother playing if it’s this stressful? Baseball is supposed to be fun! Mike Matheny also tells parents in his book not to even say things like, “You got this. Get a hit here bud!” This only will add stress for a kid as well. It is fine for parents to coach their kids in their free time, but don’t over analyze it to a point where your kid gets frustrated and doesn’t enjoy playing with you. Your kids are NOT in training, they ARE in their childhood. Some of my best memories are going to the park and hitting balls with my Dad and watching my mom who is an ace at shagging balls in the field. My dad will say something when he sees something wrong, but not constantly correcting everything wrong. Statistically, your child’s baseball career will end in high school, if not sooner. So, parents cheer for your kids when they do well, but please let them just play their game and don’t live your dream through them! This is not about you……
Let the coaches coach. We all know that helicopter parent that always talks to coach about EVERYTHING. The parent may be questioning decisions the coach made, complaining about playing time, position, and spot in the batting order. Doing this in front of the players undermines the coaches authority. Coaches and kids hate these types of parents. I have noticed that these types of parents tend to have either the cocky jerky kid, or the super shy self conscious kid. The cocky one thinks he is above all players and is often uncoachable, and the shy kid will cower with embarrassment, feeling uncomfortable with his parent constantly offering their two cents. If you need to speak to the coach, do it privately, not right after a heated game.
Parents, I know most of you mean well and have the best intentions. But the “wrong” type of “helping” will often have the opposite of your desired outcome. Instead of helping, you are often planting seeds of doubt. Your coaches can correct their swing and their throw, but may never be able to remove their doubts. As parents, you can contribute to your player’s mental framework by offering a positive atmosphere to support their passion for the game. Make happy memories……..
Thoughts? Comment below or……
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I was contacted by the company, OOTP Baseball (Out of the Park Baseball), to play and review their video game OOTP Baseball 16. So over the past week or so I have been testing it out. I was not paid to review it. Shout out to them for the free copy! This game hits it OUT OF THE PARK and is a must have baseball game for any baseball nerd like myself. This game is a complete baseball sim with no actual team game play, which ends up being an interesting change. You have the option to become a team’s GM, manager, or both at once. It truly feels like you are in the role of a GM or manager. If you are a stats freak, it’s most definitely for you. I really enjoyed analyzing the stats, managing my budget, and discussing trades. I hear the Brewers are looking for a GM that’s younger, good lookin, and good with analytics – Call me Mr. Attanasio- :) That’s how I felt when I took over the Brewers during the game. OOTP Baseball 16 is the most detailed baseball experience where you literally feel like you are controlling every aspect of the team. It has every affiliate of every team with accurate rosters down to rookie ball. Don’t wanna play the 2015 season? That’s fine because you can play any season dating all the way back 1871 with accurate rosters. That’s right…1871! How cool is that? I’d like to take my 1982 Brewers and change their World Series outcome and beat those dang Cards!
When you start off you may be absolutely overwhelmed by so many options and screens with countless actions, so MAKE SURE to read the manual. You will spend too much time not knowing what you’re doing and you’ll be missing out. It’s incredibly customizable to fit however you would like to play. This is a truly great game that any die-hard baseball fan should try out.
Their customer support is excellent. If you are having trouble with your game in any way what so ever, you can email them and get an incredibly quick response. OOTP Baseball 16 is an all around fantastic game. It may not be for the average baseball fan, but if you are into the front office side of the game, it is definitely for you.