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It's been almost 5 years since I've posted here.  My activity here basically came to an end after my son's baseball career ended.  Now it is the grandson and things are completely different.  Parents have not changed.  They worry about things they have no control over.  Is my son good enough?  Is he on the right team?  Is he playing against high-enough level of competition?  Why do people say mean or petty things? Why doesn't the coach value my son like I do?  These questions are endless...

Imagine that your baseball experience ended in little league, travel ball, high school, college, or the pros.  Most pay no more mind to it other than to watch a big league game once in a while.  Imagine however, you got to relive your life over yet, at the same time knowing all your experiences from the past?

That's where I am.  A true blessing from God.  In hindsight, I know how good my son really was.  I remember thinking how good he was at the younger ages and people telling me he wasn't good enough or there was somebody better.  My son was a shortstop and pitcher in youth travel ball and when he got to 9th grade he wasn't even sure he would crack the freshmen starting line-up.  At the time, our high school had the largest student body in the state of Ohio with over 1100 graduating in his class.

I remember getting off work and going to his first freshmen game - not knowing if he would play.  Lo and behold, they had him starting in centerfield.  Parents approached me at the game and said "Aren't you upset that your son is not at shortstop?"  I said, "Are your nuts?"  "There are 25 guys sitting on the bench and nine guys playing - I am grateful!"  He played center field his freshmen year.  The next year they moved him to third and he played third for JV's his entire sophomore year.  As a junior, there was a senior shortstop ahead of him who got the starting nod.  My son was usually given limited opportunities at short and third but he performed and eventually took over the starting shortstop job mid-way through his junior year.

They lost in the state championship game that year in what was a heart-breaking game for him that almost ended his baseball career because he was so distraught.  He was inconsolable actually.  He made two errors on one play that allowed the other team to score all their runs in that one inning to beat us.  Both pitchers that we faced that day went on to pitch in the big leagues.  The following year every kid graduated from the previous year except my son.  We were not supposed to be anything his senior year.  I challenged him to lead that team.  We were a bunch of grinders who could play defense, pitch to contact, and get the timely hit.  We came one game short of a second state championship and lost to the eventual state champions in the state final-four semifinal game.  All the heartache from the year before had been erased but my son was still in tears after the game was over.  He went on to play at the highest levels of college baseball and the highest levels of professional baseball - except the big leagues.  There are only 750 big league jobs.  There are only 750 triple A jobs.  For several years, he was one of 1500.

I say all that to say this, there are doubters out there at every level.  There is politics at every level of baseball - from little league to the big leagues.  I think this, if you are good enough to start on your high school team one day, more than likely (assuming you are a decent player) there is a baseball opportunity somewhere to continue playing.  It could be JUCO, D1, D2, D3, NAIA, and possibly the pros.

I am almost 62 years old now, but many of the parents of my grandson's team (15U) are close to me in age.  For years, all our friends were baseball parents but we have all drifted apart - many, many years ago.  I am not sure if I know anyone here at HSBBWEB now other than MN-MOM.  Now I sit back, and watch baseball without trepidation.  I know what I am looking at.  Many parents believe elite level travel along with expensive instructors is the way to go.  Travelling is fine but many of these teams cost way over 3000 dollars.  I am guessing there are some thinking that is pocket change.  The local travel team for us this year was 1000 dollars to cover tournament fees, umpires, and uniforms.  The important thing is to keep playing, have fun, and it is best if they play with their friends.

I saw a documentary recently on Amazon called "In Search of Greatness" and it featured Wayne Gretzky.  He talks about many of these issues such as how parents are pushing their kids at the youngest of ages.  He talks how his brothers were equally as talented as him but he loved the game more than they did and pursued it harder - because he enjoyed it more.  He talked about how when hockey season was over he played baseball.   

Last edited by ClevelandDad
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anotherparent - thank you!  It had not occurred to me that people might "know" me by what I had written in the past.  TPM - Hello!  I mentioned MN-MOM because I still see her posts from facebook.  I peeked at the like list above and saw Prepster and catchersdad - hello!  For those I do not know (or used to know), what is on your mind regarding your own sons?   

CD, I post slightly more than you, but not much more.  IMO, it is fascinating to watch our son be a Dad and a baseball Dad to our 9 year old Grandson. Having a Dad who was both a college coach and a coach in the Cape clearly means our Grandson gets better Dad coaching than our son.

The first real interesting development came with Travel ball.  Our Grandson went to 2 travel tryouts.  Both ended up being scheduled to last 4 years. Our son pulled Derek out after just over an hour. He then found a local program called "Speedball."  It is what youth baseball should be all about, IMO. It  supplements little league and does not run concurrently. Kids are well coached, constantly in action over 2 hours and truly learn to love playing the game, and playing it the right way. Just my view, but if Speedball can get wider traction, there will be little to no need for travel ball through at least ages 15 or so.

As a HS AD, our son is also helping some really talented players on the HS team get National exposure using social networking, Twitter and other resources, along with his contacts from playing and coaching.

Pretty fun journey, for sure.

infielddad - Speedball sounds great.  Everyone has to decide what is best for themselves whether it be elite travel, local travel, or something else.  I don't have any new insight to tell people from almost 20 years ago.  There is a thread above this one about not playing a desired position.  My son wrote the book on that subject and my tongue is still dented from biting it all those years ago.  The only benefit I have now is to let the worrying go to the extent possible.  If someone loves the game, as I have no doubts your grandson does, this will all shake itself out like it ought to.  The kids might as well maximize their fun while it is shaking itself out.  You are just getting a taste of how enjoyable the second ride is going to be!


I can relate, I’ve only recently come to enjoy baseball again. I went and watched our local independent ball team this month – first time I’ve watched a game where I didn’t know a player or player’s parent in many years. In fact, the highs and lows, of the minor league grind coupled with the physical, mental, and financial toll it exacts from the athletes turned me away from all professional sports for some time.

After going through the whole process, I feel like the message to shout from the rooftops is “Enjoy the moment and journey!” If your athlete is successful and enjoying themselves, breath it in and cherish the moments without the next level taking all the focus. That and “Be more kind!”, because being a baseball parent, coach, blue or player isn’t easy…  

I’m envious of the grandkid(s), as I’m nearly 60 and short-term prospects are not looking favorable… Thank you for sharing your eloquent thoughts, and this site has helped me realize that I’m not alone in PBPS (Pro Baseball Parental Stress).

@Jucodad, done the player stress now we are onto coaching stress which I prefer. We have step grandkids but the oldest plays LX.

Your son is doing awesome.   In case no one realizes...... Jucodad's son plays for Cleveland!

My motto has always been, enjoy the ride! Eventually the journey ends.

Last edited by TPM

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