Saturday, October 17, 2015


My oldest son is a baseball player.  That’s all he wants to do.  And as a coach, parent and his father… I find his drive so ferocious, it blows my mind.

We live in a much different culture than when I was a kid playing Little League.  When I was a kid, you played baseball, rec sports and you went home and ate dinner and went to bed.  Sure, there were pick-up games, and that was the best… hitting tennis balls on the school roof and rounding a field with bases made from your sweatshirt or an old box… but it was loose. There was zero pressure.

Today, there are no pick-up games.  There are training appointments.  Then, after that, you come home, do your homework, eat dinner, and go train some more.  But it’s not training if you love it... and that’s where my son is in his young life.

I throw BP to my son 4 to 5 times a week.  I do it for what is supposed to be a half hour, but what usually happens is my son always needs “one more round”, until one more round is 3 or 4.  I’m not going to lie… I’m exhausted, but I love every minute of it.  My work schedule can get crazy, and my wife and I have to handle schedules of more than 1 kid… we’re parents.  When I get home, I’d like a cocktail and talk about the day, but many times it happens much less than we’d like.  Why? Because my oldest son is a baseball player, and as he'll often tell me, “I need to get the work in.

My wife and I will look at each other and appreciate that dedication. After all, 2 years ago this kid would often complain about practice.  But something clicked this spring and that all changed. He practiced a lot and sooner or later, he realized he was actually good.  And so, at night, after a long day and many schedules in the air, I find myself in my car with the radio locked in at 104.3… driving from field to field with the hopes of finding one vacant and still lit until  about 10pm.  Why? Because my son's a baseball player.

We have to warm up when we get there.  After all, my arm's not as strong as it used to be and so, we long toss until I’m warm.  Then, like clock work, my son finds me a target to throw too… usually a bucket and I “throw at the recycle symbol!” He'll shout. 

“Got it,” I bark from the L-screen.

The first 2 or 3 are always lousy… too low… inside.  “Throw it in!”  He’s already annoyed.  Then… some consistency. A few quick ones down the middle and down the line.  2 up the middle… and a few grounders he knows he can’t have back. He's pissed again, and like a .400 hitter on a bad day, he’s lost it for a moment.

Why do I keep doing that!”  He walks around for a second, head down like I just yelled at him or something. Meanwhile, I let him work through it… I say nothing but wait.

He gets back in the box, puts his hand up as if to call time to our imaginary umpire… and yells, “Go!




The emotions are a see-saw for about an hour. In between collecting baseballs in the outfield, I catch a glimpse of him working his mechanics like Paul O’Neill used to do in Right Field in between pitches…

I am unbelievably taken by this.  I can’t believe what I’m seeing. 

After several more rounds, I call it. “I’ve thrown about 200 pitches… we gotta call it now!”

“OK,” he’ll say.

I feel bad...

“One more so you leave on a high note,” I’ll say, and there’s usually a good one and we watch it sail. Then, in the car, where the front seat floors are now covered with infield dirt and baseballs, we’re on our way home.

My son is a baseball player, and while it absolutely scares the hell out of me… it’s pretty amazing too.  When your kid takes to something he loves, there is something pretty noble about it. It gives me chills. It makes me proud. After a shower, it’s off to bed, and as I lay down, my wife asks in her slumber… “How did it go?”

“Awesome," I say... "Just awesome.”

My oldest son?  Yup… he’s definitely getting the work in.  That’s because my son's a ballplayer… and yeah...  I’m damn proud of that.

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