I know a good portion of the nation is under heavy snow but here in Arizona the Little League baseball season is already gearing up. I am a Baseball Daddy as my Number One Monster has displayed some pretty good hitting talent and we are getting pretty excited about another season.
Last weekend they held tryouts. For those of you unfamiliar with Little League baseball the spring season is the competitive one that leads to State Championships and the Little League World Series. In the interest of fairness, our league employs a draft hence the need for tryouts. As protective parents you might be thinking how horrible it would be to place our nervous kids who probably didn’t swing a bat all winter in front of 100+ parents and 2 dozen managers with pencil in hand rating every misstep of our kids in hitting, catching and throwing. Yeah it really is that bad and the anxiety shows; 90%+ of the kids at the tryouts whiffed on all 3 machine pitched balls.
So for my son, the competitor in me scouted the pitching. I told my son waiting in line that the pitch would be coming in high to him so he needed to position himself at the back of the batters box to let the ball drop more. He said “OK.” Alright, I go back to the stands and wait for his home runs...
Unfortunately my son “left his brain at home” as he tends to do and when it was his turn he backs away from the plate to the outer side of the batters box instead. I yelled from the crowd to back up (not something you want to do often as managers might think you are a DIA (“Dad Is an Ass” in Little League parlance) and not draft your kid because of that) but Number One Monster misunderstands again and backs up even further away from the plate. Aiyah!
They say sports is 90% mental, lemme tell ya, it's absolutely true!
Well, he lucked out in that his skill overcame his deficiency in brain cells and he lined two of the three balls squarely (the one he whiffed on was way high as I had feared.) He further lucked out in that no other hitter his age hit as well as he did. So tryouts done, now comes the networking…
Because my son is 9 he is eligible to be drafted into the older minors division, AAA (where the pitching is faster and more consistent) over the younger minors division, AA (where the pitching can be downright atrocious but hey that is what it is with young kids learning to pitch). Last year he was lucky to be drafted into AA, did well and had a great time. But to face the same loopy pitching would unbearable, my son gets discouraged when he walks on 4 pitches again and again (plus there is at least one PITA AA manager I don't want him to get drafted by.)
So I need to talk to a AAA manager to draft him because at this point all these managers know about my son is his Tryout Number and at best 100 seconds of watching him. I thinking it can’t be too hard, he did well in tryouts. I managed to talk to my only acquaintance who is a AAA manager and he tells me the league initiated a rule limiting each team to one 9 year old and his son would take that slot (and that is how most young kids get drafted up, their father is the manager). Doh!
So now what to do without looking like a DIA?! I don’t know any of the other managers. Maybe I need to get my wife involved, some managers draft by the time honored GLM principle (the “Good Looking Mom.”) Nah, just kidding but seriously I have to figure how much of a pushy parent I want to be.
To be continued...