Blog Entry

Little League Debut

Posted on: April 28, 2008 11:43 am
Edited on: April 28, 2008 4:40 pm
 

I mentioned it here the other day. My son getting his first chance to pitch in little league. His Coach decided to give the young lefty a chance to show his stuff since we have another game two days later and I am trying to preserve the young arms.

Yes, I'm the coach. I love the responsibility and the opportunity to teach 9 & 10 year olds a game that I love. I have always enjoyed baseball, always been a fan of the game, reading my daily boxscores. Baseball conjures thoughts of spring, carefree summer days shagging baseballs or just enjoying a game on TV or in person.

Anyhow, the little league season just started in the Northeast. Second game into the season and we have a third game two days later. I'll give the boy a chance to pitch.

Saturday game day - I'm nervous. I'm not worried about W's or L's. I'm worried about the kids having fun and not losing their confidence. Still, I've told my son he's pitching today or Monday. I have three kids who can pitch at this level. Let's see if I have another one. Gotta start somewhere.

Fast Forward - the game is going pretty well. We are playing one of the best teams in the league and we are holding our own, trailing by four runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Hey, buddy. I want you to pitch in the top of the fifth. Hold the phone. Oh, my. My team ties the game. Am I still going in Dad? Yup. Oh, my!

I notice when he's warming up that the boy is nervous. Is this a mistake? Is he ready? Well, he really wants to do this so here goes.

The poor guy has the jitters bad and has a hard time finding the plate. I look at my wife and see the anguish in her face. Yikes, I tried not to push the kid and still I put him in a postion that he wasn't ready for. This is unbearable.

All of the sudden, we get an out. Still the boy struggles finding the strike zone. I shout encouragement. He relaxes a bit but has difficulty finding his stride. Bases loaded three runs in. A shot up the middle, the shortstop grabs it in the air and races to second, tags the base...unassisted double play, inning over.  Yes!

My son runs off the field beaming. He just gave up five runs, three earned but he's excited. I'm a glutton for punishment. Buddy sit down and relax you're pitching the last inning.

Last inning - a few errors to start off. Oh, no. Not again Mr. Bill. Bases loaded. Yikes.

The most wonderful thing then happened. I sent the assistant coach out to calm the boy. Next thing you know, it's looney tunes and bugs bunny. One, two, three strikes yer out. What? One out then two. Two strikeouts with the bases loaded. The kid is dancing around the mound. We are almost out of this. A shot to the shortstop. He grabs the ball. Tags second. Oh, yeah! Inning over. We go down quickly but the kids are ecstatic especially my boy.

I'm not sure when he'll pitch again but he has the confidence now. His coach sure is relieved and proud. 

Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: May 3, 2008 10:07 pm
 

Little League Debut

cb4p, Appreciate the kind words and very glad the story brought back fond memories.

I will write more soon, not much has transpired with the team of late, one rainout and we lost 9-5 today. The kids were in good spirits. Well except my son who struck out to end the game....only one runner on. Still, Uughh. We went to his favorite pizza place to cheer him up though.  More soon. Enjoy the weekend.

IrishNY




Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: May 3, 2008 9:59 pm
 

Little League Debut

hammerpitas, Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the story. My boys lost today 9-5...close game. My son went 1-3. The kids had a good time though and the play better each and every game.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: May 1, 2008 10:43 pm
 

Little League Debut

IrishNY: You are the type of little league coach I wish every kid growing up could have. What a great story. I do hope you will continue this. I remember my years in the Catskills catching in Little League/JV/Varsity H.S. I miss it a lot sometimes. Thanks for bringing me back to a really happy time in my life.

cb4p




Since: Jan 30, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2008 7:49 pm
 

Little League Debut

brought tears to my eyes .yes i know 41 year old men shouldnt cry .story touched me please keep an update on your son @continue to be a proud papa.going to add to favs so this story easier to track



Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2008 4:57 pm
 

Little League Debut

DragonRider23,

Thanks. Not sure that I could have handled this 10 or even 20 years ago. Something about being in your forties give you some perspective...maybe.  

Hey, winning and losing is important, no doubt but to see kids on this level reminds you of what has been lost in the professional game.

Good luck being a reliever! I wish you much success.




Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2008 4:53 pm
 

Little League Debut

Great story.

I myself couldn't do this. I am way to emotional at winning and losing to be a coach of little kids.

I can't wait till I get the chance to play on my high school team. I didn't bother this year, since the coach only picks 1-2 freshman to play on the team. Looking to be a reliever.




Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2008 4:47 pm
 

Little League Debut

bigtenboy07,

Thanks. It's so much fun coaching kids at the nine and ten year old level. They are so enthusiastic and earnest. The pitching is tough as you know. Finding the strike zone is an adventure.

In my opinion, the  kids should learn the fundamentals and have fun with it. At the same time you see how a bit of success helps with the confidence.

 We were rained out tonight which is disappointing but I'm sure there will be many more anecdotes. Enjoy your season as well...




Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2008 2:17 pm
 

Little League Debut

This is an awesome story. I am the assistant coach for a 9 year old traveling team, and we have some similar issues. It is really great to teach the young kids (one of whom is my brother) the game. It is also outstanding to see where the kids started...and how they progress in their first real year of baseball.

I happen to be the pitching coach (after pitching in high school and the American Legion team although no superstar). When the kids first start pitching they often have control problems and the sometimes shakey defense of young teams really gets pitchers down.. When I go talk to the kids on the mound...I just tell them jokes and to relax...in game is not the time for mechanical instructions.

Good luck on your season man...and it sounds like you have a son to be proud of, one who loves the game of baseball. It is also refreshing to constantly watch kids who play the game because they love it...sometimes that is lost because I watch so many MLB games and don't often see that type of attitude.



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