Monday, May 28, 2012

Desires and Hopes of a Former Little League Parent

I've finished reading the article My Left Arm by former MLB pitcher Bob Ojeda from this past Saturday's New York Times. In the article, Ojeda tells of his experiences dealing with pain in his arm throughout all levels of his playing career from little league to the pros and how his relationship with his father helped and hurt his career. I highly recommend it to any coach and parent of a child who pitches in little league. Reading it got me to thinking about my own experience.

I also played little league. Being the son of Dominican immigrants, living Baseball is a given. Naturally being a pitcher is what I wanted to be. Who didn't want to be the next Juan Marichal. I practiced that high leg kick trying to emulate the Dominican Dandy. Alas, I was neither a dandy or a pitcher. LOL.

My dad supported me in taking me to practices and giving me the money to participate though he never saw me play. He was always busy working. I don't hold it against him, it was just the way it was. Fast forward to 2008 years to my being a dad and signing my son up for T-Ball.

I'll he honest here, I signed him up with the faint expectation that my lefty of a son would eventually become a professional ballplayer. Who doesn't want that. Anyone who has ever played the game and tells you otherwise is a liar. The difference between me and other parents who might have that wish and desire is that I never pushed my son into it. Sure I asked him if he wanted to and he did but I always told him that he needed to give 100% effort. If he couldn't do that then he shouldn't do it. I bought a bat, glove, hitting tee to get him ready. You know what happened? The boy found T-Ball downright boring. LOL. Can't say I blame him. We never played T-Ball. We just played ball growing up on the block and that just translated to knowing how to play the game. So instead of having a miserable kid on the field just going through half-assed motions, I gave him the option to stop playing which he did. The kid just has different interests.

My kids know daddy loves Baseball and love going to the games. My daughter loves going out to eat and see the sights. My son loves it as well. He gets upset when the Yankees lose and happy when they win but his baseball knowledge is limited to a few terms and a handful of players. It is what it is. Like I said before the boy just has other interests. Does that disappoint me? Perhaps a little. I have no one to blame but myself. I helped to cultivate the creative side of two individuals. Gave them free rein to do things differently than dad. To find their own interests and curiosities. As much as I wish my kids were knee deep in baseball as I am, I rather they be individuals instead of clones.

In the end they still enjoy going to the games with dad and that's all I can hope for.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Josh Hamilton Breaks Out

There's no denying that Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers is one of the elite players currently in MLB. From his power display in the 2008 All-Star Hitting Contest at Old Yankee Stadium to his recent power barrage against the Orioles, Hamilton is making a case for his cashing in on big bucks during the next offseason when he becomes a free-agent.

Hamilton racked up a 5-for-5 night against the Orioles on Tuesday night which included four homers, a double totaling 18 bases with 8 runs batted in. The 18 total bases tied the Major League single game record set by Joe Adcock (who also has hit four homeruns in a game) of the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. The four homeruns in a game places Hamilton as the 14th player to reach that plateau. Here's a list of the players who have formerly reached the four homer in a game plateau in the modern era (Post 1901):

Lou Gehrig
Chuck Klein
Pat Seerey
Gil Hodges
Joe Adcock
Rocky Colavito
Willie Mays
Mike Schmidt
Bob Horner
Mark Whiten
Mike Cameron
Shawn Green
Carlos Delgado
****Bobby Lowe (1894) and Ed Delahanty (1896) hit four homeruns before the modern era

There are some amazing names on that list. You have four Hall of Famers (Gehrig, Klein, Mays, Schmidt), Hodges who many believe should be a Hall of Famer. Very good players in Delgado, Green, Adcock and Colavito. So where does Hamilton rank?

Its hard to say. Hamilton has six years of playing time after missing the 2003-2005 seasons due to suspension from substance abuse. Whose to say where he would be if he had been able to play those three seasons. Currently Hamilton has a career .313 batting average with 132 HRs and 461 RBI with a career OPS of .926 (.370 OBP/.556 SLG). At the age of almost 31 (He turns 31 later on this month) he has potentially 5-7 more seasons where he can put up some major offensive numbers. Hamilton is also an amazing defensive player that has speed leading to his reputation as being a five-tool player. Whether or not he remains healthy is an issue. Hamilton has had injury issues having only played more than 150 games in a season once (2008). So if there's any reason that he doesn't come close to being in the Hall of Fame discussion, that is it (Hamilton would have to play 10 full seasons in MLB to be eligible for Hall of Fame voting 5 years after he retires).

Either way, Hamilton continues to amaze Baseball fans throughout the league. Texas Rangers fans should enjoy what they are seeing. It could be the last season he wears #32 in Arlington.


For Further Reading
- Click Here to access Josh Hamilton's career statistics from Baseball
- Click Here to access the 4 Home Runs in 1 Game list from Baseball

Thursday, May 3, 2012

End of Mariano Rivera's Career?

On a night where New York Yankees history was continued to be made by Captain Derek Jeter, news reports indicate that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and a torn meniscus of the right knee.

At any age the tearing if an ACL requires surgery and a ling road back of rehabilitation. Add the fact that Rivera is 42 years old, we may have possibly seen the last of Mariano Rivera as an active player. Granted, that his possible retirement is pure speculation, but Rivera has nothing to prove to anyone. He is a bonafide first ballot Hall of Famer and I think that he has a chance to get in with a higher vote total that Tom Seaver's 98.84% of the vote. For now pitchers like David Robertson, Rafael Soriano and Boone Logan to name a few have to take their steps into filling in the large shoes of Mariano Rivera. Time will tell on whether or Rivera is done. For us Yankees fans we hope that it's not. At least not at the expense of his health. Back to Derek Jeter.
Jeter hit his 500th career double in a four hit game against the Kansas City Royals. This places Jeter at tied at 53rd on the all-time list with Goose Goslin and John Olerud. In terms of Yankees history, Jeter is second behind with Lou Gehrig who has 534 doubles as a New York Yankee. Jeter continues to establish himself as the greatest offensive Yankee of our generation.

We'll know more about Mariano Rivera in the days to come.


For Further Reading:

- Click here to access the All-Time Doubles List from Baseball

- Click Here to access the All-Time New York Yankees All-Time Doubles List from