Local boy becomes baseball hero for the night!

My boy!

My middle son, Yeticus Medius, is spending his first season in the Majors (11, 12 and young 13s (I think)) and is a little intimidated being bumped up from the Minors to the Majors for Fall Ball (Mid September to Mid November). He is having a hard time catching up to the pitching of the older kids (some who are throwing 50-60 mph). He usually strikes out or walks, but very seldom gets his bat on the ball, but only to foul it off towards 1st base foul territory. He’s told me that he feels like a horrible player, but I told him that he’ll be fine next season when his body and abilities catch up and get used to the new environment, especially when the younger kids come up from the minors and replace the older kids over the next two years. I tell him to stick with it as long as he has fun playing the game…he still does.

I am assisting the head coach for our Major team (the Yankees) and I coach 1st base when were up to bat and usually coach the outfield when we are on defense. Yeticus Medius started in the outfield in the first inning (no action for him that inning) and batted 8th in the lineup (out of 11) where he promptly struck out (looking) and then took his turn riding the pine in the bottom of the second. At the bottom of the 3rd, Coach told him to go to second, where he promptly mishandled a ground ball during warm-up that hit him squarely in the nose. My kid goes down to the ground with his glove covering his face and rolled up like a ball, laying in the dirt…bloody nose and sobbing. Coach and I walk him back to the dugout and I get ice on his nose, and pinch the bridge of his nose to stop the bleeding. Not too bad…got it handled in about 3 or 4 minutes, but the inning already started and we had one of the other kids jump in and took over on 2nd. Ah well, next time. Earlier in the game, Coach said he’d buy the kids snowcones if the team got a double play…and they did when our right fielder caught the fly ball and threw it to second (the kid who subbed for my son) for a tag out to end the inning. Ah well, maybe he’ll get play 2nd later tonight. I asked him if he’s ok to bat (he was to start our batting in the top of the 4th); he said he was ready.

He WAS ready.

First pitch, Yeticus Medius hit a line drive over the pitcher’s head, right over second which one-hopped to the center fielder. Nice hit for a single. The team was glad for him; it’s been about 6 games since his last hit. Next batter comes up. Pitcher throws a pass ball, my kid doesn’t even hesitate…he bolts for second. Two pitches later…another pass ball, and he bolts for third. Kid’s on a mission. Coach (who’s coaching on third base) sends him to steal home on the next pass ball which came a few pitches later on the third batter…he slides into home way before the ball even got to the pitchers glove (who was covering home while the catcher was chasing down the errant pitch). The team go nuts. The kids pretty much batted the order and cranked out 5 more runs.

Yeticus Medius was sent back to right field for the bottom of the fourth; again, no action. Bummer. Couple of strike-outs and a throw out to first. Top of the 5th inning had my son lead-off again…this time he smacks a line drive on the first pitch, right at the short stop…only to strip the glove right off the shortstop’s hand, and ricochet off into right center field, between the outfielders! He makes to second, sliding in just before the tag. He promptly stole 3rd base on another pass ball and then was driven in Home by the following batter. After a couple of more runs, we took the field for the final inning, where the Coach told Yeticus Medius to go back to second. As the kids took to the field, Coach announced that if they get another double play, he would by the team pizza after next Saturday’s game. Cool…the kids are geeked and ready to play.

First batter walks. Kids are still geeked…they’re all chatting “Double play ball…2, then 1!”. The chat went on until our pitcher throws a pass ball and the 1st base runner goes to second. Ah well, maybe next time. The following pitch, the batter drills a line drive right to my son, who had to make about a towering 3" jump (that’s right…THREE whole inches) to nab the ball and then instinctively trot over to second for his first ever unassisted double play!

Our team goes apeshit. They start running off the field until us coaches tell them to get back into position to get the third out. The following batter pops up right to Yeticus Medius, who completes the inning with a catch. Game over.

Snowcones AND pizza for everyone. On the gameball, it reads:

Game Ball
Yeticus Medius
1 Bloody Nose.
2 Line Drives.
1 Unassisted Double Play.
Pizza Man Delivers.

Isn’t it great when it all comes together. Congrats to Yeticus Medius, but I’m sure your smile was even wider than his after the game!

My boy is in Mustang this season (9 and 10 year olds) and because of his birthdate, he will always be on the younger side, even though now he is one of the older kids (he’ll be 9 until almost the end of the spring season, we are in winter ball right now). He will probably never be a great athlete, but he loves baseball and always does his best. This season, since a lot of kids moved up from Pinto, he somehow ended up playing 3rd base, after a couple of seasons of the outfield and the bench. His team is undefeated so far, he’s been a big part of it, solid if mostly unspectactular. He hasn’t had a real hit yet this season, although he’s scored plenty of runs via BBs and the occasional fielding error. Last game he had two solid knocks on the ball, after the coach insisted he try a big barrel bat, but both were caught out by the opposing shortstop (who had a great game), one routine, the other a pretty spectacular play. If he keeps it up he’ll get some hits this season; you can feel, like the middle Yeti, he’s on the edge.

Keep up the great work, they do catch up, and as you said, it’s all about are they still having fun.

Oh, man. What a fantasic night your boy had!

As a mom of a 9 year old in his first year of football, I completely understand the things just aren’t coming together yet. But Next Year! Woooo Boy!!!
How’s his nose doing?

That is going to be the best night in that kid’s life for a very, very long time. I was excited just reading it!!

Awesome story! I felt like I was on the field with him as I read it! Score one for the good guys!!!

Thanks guys…his nose if fine…he bled only out of his right nostril, and I don’t see any bruising at all so far. They had practice last night and the kids are still geeked over his play and the upcoming pizza party this Saturday night.

It’s kinda fun learning and coaching sports with each kid as they grow up. Yeticus Majoris was my hockey player. Started roller hockey when he was 6 and then moved to ice hockey when he was 9. He’s 19 now and out of hockey, but wants to go back to the rink and play adult pickup hockey. He had a car accident last February with a broken ankle, so he’s a little hesitant starting up again, and his cardio fitness sucks at this point in time, but he’s asked me to help him get back in shape by going to the gym with me. Problem is that he’s busy with school and friends, and I’m busy with work and family matters, including coaching baseball for the other two boys. I never played hockey nor ice skated my entire life, but I learned the sport just by watching, helping head coaches, and managed teams, and I believe that I have good motivational skills, and always put a positive spin on every win, loss or tie and compliment what went right, and teach (not berate) on how to avoid what went wrong in a previous situation. It got to the point though that I cannot (re: don’t want to) be a head coach of Midget (15+ y.o.) level because my personal skills are limited in scope to what I can teach kids at this level and would rather just be the manager/scorekeeper just to be helpful and supportive. I do miss going to the hockey games, they were always a blast and exciting to watch.

Yeticus Minoris is my 6 year old with speach/language issues and some developmental issues. He is a challenge because he doesn’t always focus on the game of baseball. He’s has ADHD and we’re in the process of finding out what medication, OT, developmental exercises (including vision therapy) work long term for him. I coach (along with another parent) the T-Ball team that he is on and he’s coming around slowly to knowing what to do…the hitting the ball (including DROPPING the bat), running and stopping on the bases, and of course, the fielding of hits and throwing the ball to teammates (this is the hardest part for him). He is improving though, that’s what matters. I do see him playing football though, because he has the body for it and he loves to tackle his older brothers.

I myself played only one season of baseball when I was a kid, so again I learned and helped where I could and I see myself not coaching beyond my son’s major teams. I myself played football for 4 years before I had to quit and have knee surgery at the ripe age of 13…but I did help my dad coach, and was statistician for his team until my younger brother finished playing football. I can see myself taking Yeticus Minoris through football and help coach it as well…only if he wants to play it though…I certainly can’t force this kid to do anything! But, I think he will be interested in it at some point.

As for basketball, I sucked at it, and my kids suck at it…and I really don’t give much love for it anymore since the Lakers went downhill when Shaq left and Chick Hearn passed away a few years ago.

Right now though, I still love to watch Hockey and thoroughly enjoyed last season when the Ducks took the Cup. For some of you who liked my posts that relate to my family and sports, here’s some other stories (albeit a short list, I’m sure it will get longer as the years roll by):

Hockey Dad, Your Act Was Totally Unacceptable
White Sox Lose! (Ok, this isn’t the World Series game)

Awesome. As the dad of boys and girls who are just getting to the age of sports (my oldest is 8) this actually made me a little misty. From the description, I can tell that your son is very well coached - once his body catches up (or, more accurately, once the bigger kids move on) he’ll be a terror. Bravo to you as well as him.

Yeticus Rex…

Great story…there is NO thrill better than watching your kids do well at something they enjoy. My youngest (17) has played Varsity hockey since 8th grade. Watching him feed his team mate the puck for a goal…or deeking the goalie on his own always brings a lump t my throat and a little glistening in the eyes.


edited cause I hit enter instead of the dang shift key

I worked with the son of a friend of mine for a couple of years. He was considered a 12 year old although his birthday was in late July. He was just an average player two years ago, then he got a chance at another year in the Majors, due to a change in the age cut off.

I bought a dozen balls and we would find an empty field. I would pitch and let him hit a dozen balls. Then we’d round up the balls and do it again. That simple batting practice combined with his growth spurt from third smallest to average height, apparently made him a heck of a hitter in his last year.

I highly recommend it. A dozen balls for $ 36 was the best money I ever spent on the kid.

We’d only spend about an hour or so a week hitting, but it made a heck of a difference. You don’t need any fielders because the hit balls pretty much end up in the same general area. And you don’t need to be much of an athelete yourself. I’m 5 times the kid’s age and can barely get out of the way when he hits one straight back at me. (told him he gets $5 if he can hit the pitcher)

This year he discovered girls and there went the outdoor sports. Ah youth.

Well, that pizza sure tasted great. Even better after beating one of the best teams (Rangers), 10-4, with two more double plays…coach knew better to offer another reward again. Immediately after the game we went down the street for the pizza and soda. Coach told everyone there that our kids were the best group of talented kids he’s ever coached; I also nodded my head in agreement. It almost seemed like it was our team party at the end of the season, although we still have 7 or 8 games left to go.

Old Goat, thanks for the advice. I sometimes pitch to our kids at practice and I can usually pitch half decently to them at about 55 mph…although I need to do that with my son exclusively (about 100 pitches) instead of 12.

In my opinion, the speed of the pitches is not an issue for 11-12 year olds. The poorer batters lack the confidence in their own ability. I started out lobbing pitches to work on hand and eye co-ordination. I emphasized hitting everything in the strike zone. I also sttod about 5ft closer because the old arm ain’t what it was 50 years ago. Once the kid got used to whacking the ball, I tried to add a little snap to the pitches, (and believe me it was a little snap).

I firmly believe that given an hour or two a week, working exclusively with just one kid, and a bucket of balls, and I (or anyone else who can throw a strike) can develop any 11-12 year old into a deceint little league hitter.

Great fun for both of us.