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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baseball tryouts

I can almost hear the Hammond organ play Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Even Punxsutawney Phil sees an early spring, and we all know what that means? Baseball season!

As many of you know, my son enjoys playing baseball, and because of his interest, I decided to join the little league board.

This past weekend, the little league started tryouts. I volunteered and was assigned the older kids (8 through 16 year old boys). Since I was new to the board, I was assigned the easy task of checking in the boys and preparing them for their tryout.

While there were many who brought their game during tryouts and impressed the coaches, a few were a bit rough. A couple were new to the sport. One of them was clueless of the various positions, but he was honest about it.

"Sir. I've never played baseball," said the young nine year old. The blonde hair blue eyed boy wore a ragged t-shirt with black shorts. All he had with him was a baseball glove. No cap. No bat. No helmet.

"Uh, do you know the bases and positions?" I asked.

"Well, there's first, second, third, and fou...four..."

"Home plate," I interjected.

"Yes, first, second, third, and home... what did you call it."

"Home plate."

"Yes, home plate," he corrected himself.

"So, when the coaches are ready, you'll go to the batter's box or home plate. The pitcher will pitch five balls.  You'll need to swing at them. It doesn't matter if you hit the balls. The coaches want to see your swing."

"Okay."

"After the fifth pitch, you'll run to second base. The coaches want to see your speed."

"Okay. I run straight to second base."

"No...no... run to first then to second. Okay?"

"Okay."

"After that, you'll go to short stop and catch grounders.

"Where?"

"Between second base and third base."

"Oh. So after I run to second base, I go to... to... what's it called?"

"Short stop."

"Short stop. And I catch grounders?" he asked confused.

"Yes, the pitcher will roll the ball to you. When you see the ball coming towards you, catch it and throw it to first base," I said as I pretended to slide for the ball.

"Okay."

"After you do that, you'll go to the outfield and catch some pop flies."

"Outfield?"

"Yes. After you're at short stop, you'll head towards center field, which is behind second base. When you catch the ball, throw the ball to second base."

"Sir, I am sorry for all the questions. I've never played baseball before and I want to try my best."

The coaches signaled for the next player. I called out his number and name and the boy made his way to the batter's box. He stood on home plate with a bat another boy loan him.  He did his swings and made his way around the bases. As he passed first, the coached yelled for him to touch first before heading to second.

"Sorry. My first time. I didn't know," he apologized as he corrected his mistake.

At the conclusion of his tryout he rushed back to the dugout to meet his dads.

"I sucked," he said.

"All you need is practice. Watch baseball. Play baseball video games and you'll learn the game," I advised.

Wait until this kid becomes a star baseball player.


 

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