Cabbage is Cooked - Anatomy of a Playing Career

Well, it's son's turn to hang 'em up. 

I wanted to post for two reasons.  One, for some reason I think I'll feel better talking about his last playing chapter and this is the only place where I would do that in any detail.  Two, I think sharing his story can be somewhat insightful for those aspiring to play college ball.

So, first, the final tally...  his college senior year was a good one.  Full time OF and leadoff hitter, .315 BA, .417 OBP, reached base safely 80 times in 49 games, double-digit XBH's, at or near the top in runs, sacrifices and stolen bases.  Lowest strikeout rate and fewest defensive errors among regular starters.  Even though he was only at this school one year, his team was as college teams should be - a brotherhood.  They qualified for their conference tourney and made a great run as a #5 seed, making it to the championship, winning the first and finally falling short of an NAIA national birth by one inning in the "if" game.  He finished, I think, the way one should... playing meaningful baseball in truly "win or go home" circumstances.

So, where's the insight?  We have to back up a bit...  it's in the journey.

Son is a small LH throw, RH bat outfielder.  Like others who fit that profile, he had to rely on his ultra-competitive nature, outwork everyone and play with reckless abandon to excel.  That came with a price.

He was a decorated HS player but tore up his ankle senior year.  The luke-warm recruiting trail went pretty cold.  So, he chose to go to a competitive JC here in California.  He made it through the gauntlet of 90+ players in camp in the fall, made the roster and then tore up his non-throwing wrist, requiring reconstructive surgery.  8 months rehab - missed the season.  He was told he likely would not be able to hit again.  So, new plan was to go to a different JC as a LHP.  Meanwhile, as he rehabbed, he discovered that he was able to hit again and decided to, instead, try to make the team as a position player.  They didn't really need OF's - had a guy that would be drafted and a few other strong returners.  Once again, he faced about 85 players trying out in the fall.  He made the team but it took a while before he got any game time.  His opportunity came when a starter forgot his game jersey on a road trip and pi$$ed off the coach.  Son got the start, did well and didn't let go.  The season ended for him when he got knocked unconscious in an outfield collision - concussion.

  The next season (his redshirt sophomore year) he returned and had a second .300+ BA / .440 OBP and earned all-conference recognition.  However, the JC coach insisted the players not get distracted with recruiting and let him take care of it.  Well, Coach ended up moving on and left some guys high and dry. 

So that summer, son scrambled to find a home for the fall and finally got an opportunity at a D2 but only as a preferred walk on.  He started the fall 9th on the OF depth chart, had a great fall, culminating with Fall Series MVP award and earned significant PT early in Spring.  He kept hitting the ball hard but they stopped falling.  While he was still used situationally and as defensive replacement, he lost the opportunity to get back on track with the bat.  Even though he had and still has a good relationship with this coach, he didn't put up the numbers necessary to return in a role that would be meaningful.  So, here he goes again... a fourth school in five years - about 2,000 miles from previous school and couldn't possibly be more different in almost every way. 

It is not easy getting interest or attention as a college senior coming off a down year.  He was pretty much limited to the handful of schools that recruited him out of JC.  And he made the most of it.

Along the way, he has changed majors and had challenges with getting transfer credits with some of the most basic of courses.  He played through the last year with a partially torn labrum and possible PCL knee issue.

So, you wanna play college baseball....

You'd think he would be ready to be done.  Nope.  His aspirations now are to get into coaching at the college level.  He has secured an assistant coach role with an established summer college organization and will be coaching players across all levels, getting started in a week or two.  He is home with us very briefly.  Meanwhile, he comes down to the field and helps me with my HS team.

He will go back to his current school next fall to finish up his class work and the HC has already appointed him to be part of the coaching staff.

 

 

 

Original Post

Yes Sir! What a post. What a journey. That is a guy I want on my team. He will take that same passion, dedication and commitment to his next step and will be a winner. I know you are extremely proud of your son. But I think you should change the title to your post. Cabbage IS Cooking! He's just getting started putting all that experience to use. Congrats and thanks for that post. Inspiring - gives me goose bumps. And CD you are exactly right. These are the posts that keep me coming back.

What a man you have raised! Congrats Cabbage. You now have a kid who has & will continue to face any challenge. He knows what failure is, knows what success is & what it takes to get there. He has just an incredible resume for coaching. Well done man! Thanks so much for sharing his / your story & please do not "retire" from helping us.

For me, personally, I would love to hear more from coaches on this site. I know it is the "HS" baseball web but the more college or next level coach input the better I feel.

It's always tough when a player decides his playing days are over.  In sons case, he was just tired of never feeling well. 

He caught the coaching bug last year, and decided he preferred his office to be outside rather than inside.

Although having success at coaching, he will tell anyone how very difficult the job really is.

So with that said, I wish your son much success this summer and glad he is finishing up his degree.

FWIW, I find this next step much more enjoyable!

It's always tough when a player decides his playing days are over.  In sons case, he was just tired of never feeling well. 

He caught the coaching bug last year, and decided he preferred his office to be outside rather than inside.

Although having success at coaching, he will tell anyone how very difficult the job really is.

So with that said, I wish your son much success this summer and glad he is finishing up his degree.   Keep us posted about how he is doing.

FWIW, I personally find this next step much more enjoyable!

cabbagedad posted:

Well, it's son's turn to hang 'em up. 

I wanted to post for two reasons.  One, for some reason I think I'll feel better talking about his last playing chapter and this is the only place where I would do that in any detail.  Two, I think sharing his story can be somewhat insightful for those aspiring to play college ball.

So, first, the final tally...  his college senior year was a good one.  Full time OF and leadoff hitter, .315 BA, .417 OBP, reached base safely 80 times in 49 games, double-digit XBH's, at or near the top in runs, sacrifices and stolen bases.  Lowest strikeout rate and fewest defensive errors among regular starters.  Even though he was only at this school one year, his team was as most college teams should be - a brotherhood.  They qualified for their conference tourney and made a great run as a #5 seed, making it to the championship, winning the first and finally falling short of an NAIA national birth by one inning in the "if" game.  He finished, I think, the way one should... playing meaningful baseball in truly "win or go home" circumstances.

So, where's the insight?  We have to back up a bit...  it's in the journey.

Son is a small LH throw, RH bat outfielder.  Like others who fit that profile, he had to rely on his ultra-competitive nature, outwork everyone and play with reckless abandon to excel.  That came with a price.

He was a decorated HS player but tore up his ankle senior year.  The luke-warm recruiting efforts went pretty cold.  So, he chose to go to a competitive JC here in California.  He made it through the gauntlet of 90+ players in camp in the fall, made the roster and then tore up his non-throwing wrist, requiring reconstructive surgery.  8 months rehab - missed the season.  He was told he likely would not be able to hit again.  So, new plan was to go to a different JC as a LHP.  Meanwhile, as he rehabbed, he discovered that he was able to hit again and decided to, instead, try to make the team as a position player.  They didn't really need OF's - had a guy that would be drafted and a few other strong returners.  Once again, he faced about 85 players trying out in the fall.  He made the team but it took a while before he got any game time.  His opportunity came when a starter forgot his game jersey on a road trip and pi$$ed off the coach.  Son got the start, did well and didn't let go.  The season ended for him when he got knocked unconscious in an outfield collision - concussion.

  The next season (his redshirt sophomore year) he returned and had a second .300+ BA / .440 OBP and earned all-conference recognition.  However, the JC coach insisted the players not get distracted with recruiting and let him take care of it.  Well, Coach ended up moving on and left some guys high and dry. 

Son scrambled to find a home that summer and finally got an opportunity at a D2 but only as a preferred walk on.  He started the fall 9th on the OF depth chart, had a great fall, culminating with Fall Series MVP award and earned significant PT early in Spring.  He kept hitting the ball hard but they stopped falling.  While he was still used situationally and as defensive replacement, he lost the opportunity to get back on track with the bat.  Even though he had and still has a good relationship with this coach, he didn't put up the numbers necessary to return in a role that would be meaningful.  So, here he goes again... a fourth school in five years. 

It is not easy getting interest or attention as a college senior coming off a down year.  He was pretty much limited to the handful of schools that recruited him out of JC.  And he made the most of it.

Along the way, he has changed majors and had challenges with getting transfer credit with the most basic of courses.  He played through the last year with a partially torn labrum and possible PCL knee issue.

So, you wanna play college baseball....

You'd think he would be ready to be done.  Nope.  His aspirations now are to get into coaching at the college level.  He has secured an assistant coach role with an established summer college organization and will be coaching players across all levels in a week or two.  He is home with us very briefly.  Meanwhile, he comes down to the field and helps me with my HS team.

He will go back to his current school next fall to finish up his class work and work on the school coaching staff.

 

 

 

That's a great story!  I am sure you are very proud.  I know this guy turned out to be a bad guy, but the story reminds me of a player I loved growing up - Lenny Dykstra!  Plays the game the way it should be played!

Awesome stuff cabbage! Been following his season stats all the way here locally! Glad it all worked out well for him and he could make the adjustments all along the way....hope my kid won't have to travel the same roads but hope he gets to the desired destination the way yours has!!

It's about reaching the finish line. Your son did it. 

His determination reminds me of a poster I had in college. It was titled "Had enough yet?" The animal was being swallowed by a snake. But he had his hands around the snake's throat, choking him saying "Had enough yet?"

Wow, moved by the responses.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate the sentiments (and having a place for self-therapy ).  Yes, his path is certainly not one I would recommend to anyone but I think the common thread is that the college baseball path is strewn with obstacles for every player and life lessons are abundant.

And another baseball irony... our next HS playoff game Tuesday is a 3.5 hour bus ride to the same park where son will be coaching summer college ball.

Pete, so glad you come to this place for your therapy. Please continue to come to help and inspire others. We will be in your shoes next year. Hopefully, I can lean on you and others here for the therapy I will be needing.

As for Alex, yes he is a grinder. But more importantly, he is a great person! Nice job raising a young man of character!

Picked Off posted:

Pete, so glad you come to this place for your therapy. Please continue to come to help and inspire others. We will be in your shoes next year. Hopefully, I can lean on you and others here for the therapy I will be needing.

As for Alex, yes he is a grinder. But more importantly, he is a great person! Nice job raising a young man of character!

Thanks Brian, we'll be here.  It was great to see both our guys overcome slow starts and really hit stride.  And, same, the best part is what a great kid Dillon is!

Hoping maybe we can start that therapy early if you are able to make it down this way

Thanks for sharing, love these stories!

We should create a Golden Thread such as - What College Baseball is Really Like

Put all of these in them so newbees can come and see the reality of college baseball. So many of us come here (me included) thinking that big Johnny, super HS stud, all league, all conference, all whatever, is just going to waltz right into college doing the same thing ..... boy is that wrong. 

Anyway thanks for sharing the cabbagekid's story. 

CabbageDad,

Here's a little tribute to Cab Kid!

I'm singing the song "It's not Where You Start", from the 1973 musical Seesaw, best sung by Shirley MacLaine,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbrJGfQbUb0

Lyrics
It's not where you start, it's where you finish.
It's not how you go, it's how you land.
A hundred to one shot, they call him a klutz
Can out-run the favorite, all he needs is the guts.
Your final return will not diminish
And you can be the cream of the crop;
It's not where you start, it's where you finish,
And you're gonna finish on top.
If you start at the top, you're certain to drop,
You've got to watch your timing;
Better begin by climbing up, up, up the ladder.
If you're going to last you can't make it fast, man,
Nobody starts a winner, give me a slow beginner,
Easy does it, conserve your fine endurance;
Easy does it, for that's your life insurance.
While you are young, take it rung after rung after rung.
It's not where you start, it's where you finish.
It's not how you go, it's how you land.
A hundred to one shot, they call him a klutz
Can out-run the favorite, all he needs is the guts.
Your final return will not diminish
And you can be the cream of the crop;
It's not where you start, it's where you finish,
And you're gonna finish on top.
 
Great story of your kiddo's journey. Thank you for sharing & wishing him all the best! 
 
Swampboy, this certainly qualifies for Golden Thread!

Cabbage, love the story and the pics! Continued best wishes for your boy---especially for an injury-free coaches' career!

BTW, I didn't know the details of your son's story til now, and when I think back to your posts over the past three years that I've been here, I have to say I'm amazed at your constant good humor and generosity.  If my son had your son's journey,  I might just visit here and biotch in my posts all day.  Appreciate your consistent good will!

I have heard this quote attributed to the legendary Tom House, "Your heart will break a thousand times before this journey is over."  Never were truer words spoken. It will also swell with happiness for your son to be part of the team bonding that is the very heart of baseball, pride in how he handles himself in both victory and defeat, and gratitude for a future in which the many lessons learned through the game will surely play a role.  That every  journey is different - and unpredictable - is what makes it special and to be treasured.

Thank you for sharing your son's journey. I love reading these stories on HSBBW.

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