Tag Archives: baseball

Baseball reject to homerun king

This past February, the Taz tried out for the Little League Majors. He caught every ball, throwing it back with precision. And when he was up to bat, he nailed the heck out of each ball that came his way. Basically, he nailed it. And since he was already 11 and one of the biggest kids trying out, my only question wasn’t about whether he’d make Majors or not, but which coach was fighting over his massive skill for their team.

So imagine my surprise when one of the Minors coaches called me to let me know he was on their team.

The news was all bad. I hadn’t been prepared for this, and had been building up the Majors to Taz since he’d shown nervousness over joining the older league. So when I had to break it to him that he was staying on the younger team, he was totally crushed. Throwing salt in the wound was the fact that all his friends had moved up and were now needling him for being in the “baby league”. Even worse, some of the kids who made it through totally blew their tryouts.

I’m not going to lie. I was pissed. I was starting to feel like this particular Little League had some sort of vendetta against our family.

Last year they put us on a team that had no coach. None. Like, if you want your kid to play baseball, someone better step up to the plate. It meant that none of the coaches deemed our kids worthy enough for their team, so we were stuck on a team of leftovers. Thankfully it turned out better than we could have anticipated since a great coach stepped up and guided our boys to 4th place in the League.

But this year? My son had done excellent at tryouts, better than most of the kids there, and he was left behind yet again.

First day on the field, Taz was a full head taller than everyone on his team. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him, surrounded by 9 year olds who had just moved up from the Rookies.

“This is stupid,” he muttered. And his attitude followed him out on the field, affecting his performance completely. It had been my hope that at the very least, Taz could outshine all his teammates and show his coaches the mistake that had been made. But I had to eat a bit of crow as I watched the boys lap him on the baseball diamond, my own son lumbering behind them at a much slower pace.

Ah, running. So not the Taz’ strong suit. The kid can throw. He can pitch. He can catch. And he can hit the stuffing out of a baseball. But he cannot run fast, even if his life depends on it. Even though my ego was still sore from him not getting picked, I was starting to understand that there may have been a reason, and perhaps this was it.

The coaches worked closely with the kids, and soon Taz’ speed was picking up. He would never be as fast as the littler kids on his team, but he was moving with a bit more agility than the first practice. And something else was different this year too. In previous years, the kids were just plain mean. My sensitive boy couldn’t just let insults slide off, but would carry the weight of them on his shoulders. But being the older kid this year, the younger players looked up to him. He became the leader of the pack. And it was a major ego booster.

This last weekend he attended practice. And as they worked on batting, he nailed it and sent it flying over the fence. That one play had the whole team rooting for him, and Taz promised he would do it again at the game.

There were limited coaches at the game this last Tuesday, so the coach made Taz his base coach.

“If it looks good, send them,” the coach said. And I marveled at how the Taz straightened up with a bit of responsibility placed on his shoulders. He paid attention to the game, offering support and advice to the players at bat. In the dugout, he shared a game rule a new player didn’t know about yet. And when it was his turn at bat, he lined himself up at the plate and looked the pitcher dead in the eye. The first pitch was too low. The second, a strike.

“You’ve seen what it looks like,” his coach called out. “Swing when the monster in your belly tells you to.”

Taz took a few practice swings, and then toed the plate. The pitch was thrown and he swung easily at the ball. There was a very distinct crack of the bat, and ball went sailing. Taz didn’t even run right away, watching it as it sailed up into the air and then over the fence. And the whole crowd cheered as he made his way around the bases, a huge grin on his face. His team gave him high fives, patting him on the back. And Taz glowed in the glory.

And I’m guessing that it was no coincidence that we received a call this morning that the Taz was being drafted up to the Majors.

There’s mixed feelings with this one. We love our Minor team’s coaches and team. It’s been such a great experience for Taz to be someone looked up to rather than someone made fun of. And the Majors is a lot faster and more experienced than the Minor League. I told the person on the phone that we had to think about it and I’d let her know.

“I hate to put it this way,” she told me, “but no matter what, he’s going to have to trade teams. If Taz doesn’t go to the Majors, he’ll have to take the place of the kid who does move.”

So we’re now a part of the Majors.

Taz got one last stint with his Minor League team today at their annual bat-a-thon. He ended up hitting one against the fence, a couple pop flies, and two over the fence homeruns.

Not bad for a Minor League reject. Right?

2012 Baseball Registration

Here is a quick list of dates for registration for baseball. If your league is not here, it means I don’t have the information. So if you know something I don’t, be sure to leave it in the comments. Some leagues are also accepting online registration. Check with your league to find out if yours does. Many of the websites also have all the paperwork you need on their websites so that you can fill them out and have them ready, making sign-ups super fast.

Be prepared to bring your child’s birth certificate, 3 proofs of residency (utility bills, driver’s license, etc), and a check for payment (fees vary with each league).

All Santa Rosa Little Leagues

January 7, 8, 14, & 15, 9am to 3pm
T&B Sports on Steele Lane
Rincon Valley eteamz.com/rinconvalleyllb
Mark West eteamz.com/markwestbaseball
SR American eteamz.com/srall

Westside eteamz.com/westsidell

Santa Rosa Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken 
ballcharts.com/SantaRosaBabeRuth

Sign-ups unknown

All Petaluma Little Leagues

Wednesday, January 11th:  6:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday, January 14th:      9:00am – 2:00pm
Wednesday, January 18th   6:00pm – 9:00pm
Petaluma Boys & Girls Club – 203 Maria Drive, Petaluma

Petaluma American eteamz.com/petalumaamerican
Petaluma National eteamz.com/petalumanational
Petaluma Valley eteamz.com/petalumavalley

Healdsburg Little League

healdsburgbaseball.com

Saturday January 7, 11 AM – 4 PM at E&M Electric – 126 Mill Street, Healdsburg
Wednesday January 11th 4 pm – 6 pm at Foss Creek Community Center, Foss Creek School
(Or returning players can fax completed forms to 431-9277)

Rancho Cotate Little League

eteamz.com/RCLL

Open online registration

Rohnert Park Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth
leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=rpcrb

Saturday January 7th 10:30-12pm
Thursday January 12th 6-7:30pm
Saturday January 21st 10:30-12pm
Thursday January 26th 6-7:30pm
Beyond The Bat (555 Rohnert Park Expwy, Suite D)

Sonoma Valley Little League
sonomalittleleague.com
January 4th & 5th  6PM-8PM
January 11th & 12th  6PM-8PM
January 14th 11am-1pm
Round Table Pizza, 201 W. Napa St.

Valley of the Moon Little League

eteamz.com/VOMLL

Registration unknown

Sonoma Valley Babe Ruth
eteamz.com/SVBR

Registration unknown

Windsor Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth
windsorbaseball.org

January 7, 10a-3p (register online first)
Windsor Library

Sebastopol Little League

sebastopollittleleague.org

Thursday, December 8 – 5:30-8:00pm
Saturday, December 10 – 9:00-1:00pm
Wednesday, January 4 – 5:30-8:00pm
Saturday, January 7 – 9:00-1:00pm
Analy High School Cafeteria

El Molino Little League

eteamz.com/elmolinolittleleague
Thursday, Jan 12th 6pm – 8pm
Saturday, Jan 14th 10am – 2pm
Forestville Youth Park

Cloverdale Little League
eteamz.com/cloverdalell

Sunday Jan 8th, 12-2pm
Cloverdale High School

Ukiah Youth Baseball League
eteamz.com/SULL

January 10th, 11th, 17th 6-8pm at Yokayo School

Baseball Mitt

It was a recent Friday night, and I got rid of the kid.  The Taz’ friend in Windsor asked if he could spend the night after school.  Actually, it was more like his friend’s MOM asked. I always think that’s way cool because it means that my kid has made a good impression on another parent – which is never a bad thing when the nickname for your kid is short for Tasmanian Devil.  Of course, I’m friends with this woman, so I had to make sure she knew what she was doing.  But she insisted, and then became the heir to the vast fortune of pens I’ve stolen inherited from work, just because I love her that much.  If I’d thought things through a little harder I would have also asked if she were interested in a couple teenagers so that Mr. W and I could skip town.  But instead, Mr. W and I spent a riveting night with the teens catching up on our shows.  Of course, if they weren’t there, we’d probably be camped out on the couch doing the same.  Naked.  Alright, we’d be sporting sweats.  But they’d be damn sexy.

The Taz had baseball Saturday morning, which meant I had to be super organized to coordinate everything.  Organization is not my forte.  Since moving to Petaluma a month ago, I still have numerous boxes piles up in the garage titled “Miscellaneous Crap”.  And that’s exactly what they are.  There are things in those boxes that I’m actually missing.  But rather than go through them I’d prefer to complain about my missing items loudly to anyone not smart enough to change rooms once they see me rummaging around in the same place they’re NOT over and over.

“Seriously guys, why can’t I find my cheese collection from the old house?  And what the hell is that smell?!?”

No, the organization thing is not my best suit.  But I was way ahead of myself this time in my excitement that another parent liked my Taz enough to ask him over.  I washed and folded the Taz’ uniform and put it in a neat pile with his shoes, hat, and belt.  I made sure to remind him several times to pack his toothbrush, pajamas, and a clean pair of boxers.  And when I sent him off, I was pleased that everything was in order.  I mean, even his teacher looks at me funny when I mention I write a parenting column, and before she asks why the Taz doesn’t have his homework.  Again.  But this time?  I was ready for anything.

My organization skills were solid the next morning when I left the house at the exact time I needed to leave to pick him up.  DQ and I made it to Windsor in perfect time, had a couple minutes to chat at the house, and were on our way.  From the looks of things, we would even be 10 minutes early.  We were almost there when the Taz piped up in the back seat.

“Did you bring my glove?”

You know that moment when the whole world stops and you can see little bits of air particles moving slowly around you in slow motion before the impact happens?  Yeah.  It was that. 

I cannot repeat here the exact words that left my mouth at that point, though I admit it was not my proudest of moments.  And as I mimicked pirates, I also became acutely aware of my dwindling gas tank as we neared the field in Santa Rosa and I knew I’d end up driving all the way to Petaluma and back to retrieve the stupid glove.  Rather than make him late, I dropped him off at the field with his sister, booked it to the gas station, raced back home, and made it back to the field just in time to miss my son do some of his best pitching in the first two innings (using a borrowed glove), and a ball he hit to the fence in a double.  And, as the Ump further relayed to me, I also missed his play of the game when he ran off the pitcher’s mound and covered home to get a guy out.

“Way to go, Mom of the Year,” the Ump teased, and I played my mini violin as I described my martyrdom that had made me late.  But seriously, a Mom of the Year wouldn’t have dropped everything to perform an hour of drive-time to get the glove that was her 10 year old son’s responsibility to get.  Instead, she would have let her son risk sitting out the entire game, thus ensuring his glove wouldn’t be forgotten again (in theory, of course, as lessons in our house tend to take several tries – like video game priveleges….)

But let’s face it, I’ll probably end up doing it again next time it happens.

Baseball tryouts

Just like all 9 year old baseball players and older, the Taz had baseball tryouts this past weekend. Graduating from the Rookies to be a part of the Minors, this was our first year ever to have to tryout before being placed on a team. Ours were held in the gym over at Elsie Allen High School – which was pretty cool because there is no chance of it being rained out. The kids were tested on their catching and throwing skills, and their batting skills.

But rather than describe it, here is a short clip of the Taz during his tryouts.

In the car on the way home, the Taz did a commentary on his performance. Note: he held the video camera (i.e. iPhone) the whole time, as I was driving.

(of course, there were the outtakes…..)

Anyone else do tryouts yesterday?
Have any links to photos or videos you want to share to showcase your talented son or daughter?
Leave it in the comments!