9 Year Old "Playing Up" in Little League Majors?


#1

Hi.

I would like your opinion, especially from those who have personal experience in this matter as parents or coaches, about a 9 year old “playing up” in Little League Majors. Here goes:

  • My son is a lefty who turned 9 in October.

  • Last season, that is, Spring 2010, he “played up” as an 8 year old into Little League Minors, which is for 9-12 year olds. He pitched and played well. He was easily one of the top 5 players on his Minors team, probably top 3 or 4.

  • Recently, our league had its 2011 preseason clinics, and some of the Majors coaches showed an interest in my son, asking him and taking down his name, asking him what division he played in last season, etc. I didn’t see them doing this to any other player (granted, I was following my son and his “group” around and not the other group).

  • The tryouts are coming up soon, followed by the draft.

  • Here, Little League Majors is almost all 10-12 year olds, with very few 9 year olds drafted. I hear that the few 9 year olds who do get drafted to Majors usually are lefties. I’m speculating, but I suspect this may be a way for the drafting Majors team to get a “lock” on a 9 year old lefty player for the following season, when he’ll be 10, as once a player is drafted by a Majors team that player remains on that team.

  • After my son “played up” into Minors in the 2010 season and left his school friends below, I was planning on another season of Minors for him in 2011. He would be 9, and the players mostly 9-11 with a few 12.

  • I have no idea whether a Majors team is going to draft my son and no idea to what extent 9 year olds get playing time in the Majors, beyond the Little League of America minimum playing requirements.

  • Before the clinics, my son said he wanted to stay in Minors, and I said “Great!”. However, after the Majors coaches expressed interest in him at the clinics, he’s over the moon and hasn’t stopped talking about it.

  • My concern is that while in Majors the players are no older or bigger than in Minors - both are 12U - certainly the Majors players are much better, throw harder, etc.

  • As his father, I can declare him ineligible for the Majors draft. And I will do so if that is what he wants.

Having said all that, what say all of you about a 9 year old, having already “played up” as an 8 year old into Little League Minors last season, “playing up” again this season as a 9 year old into Little League Majors?

Two seasons in a row of “playing up”?

Good? Bad?

Thanks!


#2

I am NOT a youth coach, but, here are my thoughts.

If your son can hold his own and LEARN at the same time - great.
If he’s not just holding his head above water but in fact, holding his own - great.
If your son can apply what he’s learning - great.
If your son has a meaningful “review” of his work after an appearance - great.
If your son is used as part of the team, and not a filler for another pitcher who is being “saved” for later - great.
If your son won’t be pulled from another fielding position and plug’d into the game, because his team is being shelled - great.
If his coach(s) understand the limitations of youth - great.

Anything that doesn’t measure up to the above mentioned - not so great.

Coach B.


#3

Dad,

This time in both your lives is so special. Your trying to do what’s best for your son, beam with pride - without your pride pushing everything else aside.

Take tons of pictures, compliment your son on any little thing that you can think of, make the ride home in the family wagon great fun for this time in your lives, ICE CREAM ALL AROUND FOR EVERYBODY- DADS BUYING!

Surpirse your boy one evening at the supper table - out of the blue. A new glove, a new pair of spikes, a photo album of his games - anything!

And here’s a topper … get a Rawlings Major League ball, get a clear plastic globe with a base, then ask your son in front of the family if he’ll autograph it for you …
" To Dad …- Date -,"then your son’s name. Display it in a special place at home. THAT pitch will be the best either one of you will ever deliver and catch! :allgood:

Coach B.


#4

South paw, I’m a dad who faced almost that same exact situation. The main difference was, my boy was not a goofyfooter. You didn’t mention his physical development, but mine wouldn’t have stood much of a chance of staying on his feet if a fly farted in front of him. IOW, he was the smallest kid in the league at the time, a trait that would remain with him until he stopped playing after two years of college ball.

I was contacted by a Major’s coach and asked if I’d consider allowing my kid to be drafted by him. To me it was pretty simple. I wanted to make sure of those things coach B mentioned, but mainly I wanted to make sure he’d be given a REAL chance to contribute, and play more than the minimum 1 AB and 6 defensive outs.

I was given that promise, and we allowed him to play in the Majors. The team he played on was a real monster. They had won the league title the season before, and would eventually go undefeated in that season. But the important thing was, the 3 non-normal starters got to play a heck of a lot of baseball!

In fact, that was the year at the coach’s request, I figgered out a way to measure PT other than by the number of innings played. In fact, I still do that particular metric for the HS boys, and it still tells anyone who looks quite a bit. If you’d care to see it, go to http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/special10.pdf pages 10, 11, and 12. That was also the year I came up with a crude metric to show contributions to the team that can be seen on page 13 at that same URL.

What the coach did, was ignore innings totally, and switched measuring PT, completely over to the number of batters they played against. What he, I and everyone else soon found out was, there were two kids who played fewer innings than the starters, but had more playing time! To me, that translated in to my boy being used as an integral part of the team, rather than just a “filler”. And by doing that, everyone found out he was indeed the best fielding 3B on the team, even better than the 12YO who normally started there when he wasn’t the starting pitcher. By the time the 2nd half got under way, he was the starting 3B.

He wasn’t a “star” by any stretch of the imagination, and he certainly didn’t get to play as much as he would have in the Minors, but on the whole it was a really great experience. Now comes what you have to watch out for. Had his coach been one of those “old guard” coaches who never tried anything new, and that team hadn’t have been so strong, the whole experience may well have turned out quite differently.

So before you make any final decision, I’d recommend you do everything possible to make sure your boy will get whatever it is you feel is important for him at this point in time. If its lots of playing time, I’d leave him right where he’s at, because there’s no way he’s gonna get the same amount in a higher league. If you think the coaching at the higher level is substantially better, that’s important as well, just as whether it might be more fun for him to play with his age group.

Just keep in mind that every situation’s different. I’d also make sure that if for some reason the boy wasn’t happy, he’d still have the ability to return to his old team, or at least a team in the lower level.

Good luck, and remember, its his experience, no one else’s.


#5

I have been a Little League coach for nearly 20 yrs and it all depends on who the coaches are both at the Major and Minors level. Mostly I have dealt with this at the 10 yr old level but it applies to 9 yr olds as well. My general experience is the coaching at the Majors is superior and many times far superior at the Majors level. Many minors coaches are just whatever Dads they could get to coach and not actual coaches.

Many parents get tied up in game playing time but don’t take into account practices and what is being taught. If a kid plays every inning of every game but dominates the competition and isn’t taught much in practice he hasn’t advanced much. Ideally he should get some playing time and have challenging practices that teach him something.

The things I would look at is

  1. Who is looking at drafting my son. How old is his son. Will he only be there 1 yr? Do I like him and do I think he will do the best for my son?
  2. How big is my son? Will he actually be able to compete if he works hard.
  3. How mentally mature is he. Will he be able to fit in with the older kids.

The other consideration I might have is if he is that good, he might benefit from playing on a Select team with a professional coach, not one of the kids dads. Little League is good but the advantage of Select is generally better coaching (though not always) and a higher commitment from all players. They are there because they want to be not because their parents needed a babysitter.


#6

Dad,

I’ve been there and it was an easy decision for me to let my son play the extra year in the Minors and move to the Majors when he turned 10. The basis for my decision were three-fold: 1) It would be his first year pitching, 2) I am his pitching coach so playing another year in the Minors would nor hinder his development and 3) His older brother was not drafted in the Majors. :shock: Last year, at 10, he went in the 1st round in the Majors and will be the #1 pick this year at 11, showing that playing at his age level did not hurt his development. He is big for his age (5’-6"), throws fast, and hit a total of 8 home runs last year as a 10 year-old.

I will admit his year in the Minors was a waste of time. His coach was useless and the favoritism was sickening. I didn’t want to go to the games, and my son hated playing centerfield, playing 2nd fiddle to kids who still have not made the majors, and batting near the bottom of the line-up even though he was the only “Minors” who could hit the 225’ fence. Yet, it was a growing year for my son, and he learned to enjoy playing with kids half his size and ability.

Despite his bad experience in the Minors, I would do it again because he met other kids his age that he enjoys being with and they can play together through their High School years.

I’m cautious about pushing my son to early for achievements. If he’s good enough for Majors now, he’ll be even more prepared next year and playing with his age group pays long term dividends. I knew coaches at the Major Level who wanted to draft him at 9 specifically to pitch, and were willing to overlooks his hitting impatience or fielding or age differences to get strike outs. It’s difficult for a 9 year old -no matter how mature- to feel acceptance from a 12 year old. The first thing the older kid thinks is “how come the 9 year old (or 10) gets to pitch (or hit clean-up, etc) and I’m a 12 yo All Star, playing left field and batting 6th.” The older kid tends to leave the younger kid out of playing catch, choosing their school buddy over the younger kid. The coach wants to give the older kid every opportunity to win (or fail) at the expense of the younger, better player. There were multiple times last year when the coach would remove him from pitching after two perfect innings and a nice lead, give the ball to the 12 year old “all-star”; only for my son to watch his team blow the lead and lose the game. It would grind on him each time. He didn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to finish the game. It was only when his team made the playoffs that the coach gave him the ball and let him pitch the complete game. For playoffs, age doesn’t matter. Only who could get the job done. And yes, the won the League’s championship! This year he won’t have to placate the 12 year-old egos.

At 9, LL Minors was a waste. At 10, he had to wait his time in the majors. At 11, the wait is over. Every kid develops differently. For our situation, Majors at 9 wouldn’t have worked. Minors at 10 would have been worse.


#7

[quote=“dave78063”]

The other consideration I might have is if he is that good, he might benefit from playing on a Select team with a professional coach, not one of the kids dads. Little League is good but the advantage of Select is generally better coaching (though not always) and a higher commitment from all players. They are there because they want to be not because their parents needed a babysitter.[/quote]

Good point. In my observations teaching and development happens outside of LL. LL coaches for the most part do not have enough time and the range of talent he is coaching is so diverse, that it’s unreasonable to assume he can give each player individual instruction to improve their development.


#8

I have seen this situation a so many times, had my kid play up and there was no issues at all but it was when they were 9 and 10. I think the bigger issues come when kids are going through growth spurts. Had a kid on our 12u that was about the same size 3 in September when he tried out and seriously undersized by the end of the season and the older kids had grown. More issues at 13,14 and 15 as their bodies mature at different times. Just my thoughts.


#9

Thanks to all for your great advice. I’ll address your comments and questions here in one post:

  • My son is big for his age and can certainly “hold his own” on the field and in the dugout with older kids. That said, he’s very innocent, and I am concerned about him being on a team with so many 12 year olds (6 or more). Last season when he played up into LL Minors as an 8 year old there were few 12 year olds on his team (1 or 2).

  • As for pitching, I understand 9 year olds are rarely if ever used as pitchers in our LL Majors. In fact, if he were to move up into Majors, I’d probably not want him to pitch for safety reasons, and basically have him take the season off from pitching other than working on the side. He pitched plenty in Spring 2010 and Fall Ball 2010, and can pitch again in Summer All Stars 2011 and Fall Ball 2011. Looking at it that way, not pitching in Majors right now doesn’t seem that big a deal.

  • If he goes to Majors it would be through the draft and I would have no control over what team he goes to or who his coaches will be (other than me as an Assistant Coach). As such, I wouldn’t know beforehand what kind of playing time he will see. But, if he stays in Minors, I would Manage his team and have full control of his pitching and playing time.

  • As for coaches, the Majors coaches have been there a long time and presumably know baseball, but I know that’s a dangerous presumption. Maybe some don’t. Some may be there reliving their youth.

  • If we stay in Minors, my son would have me as the Manager (I pitched through high school and have been his principal pitching, batting, and fielding coach). Also - and I think this is huge - I would have as my Assistant Manager a former D1 college and minor league pitcher. So on the coaching front, my son will probably have better coaching in the Minors (certainly as good as anything in the Majors).

  • An acquaintance of ours let his very talented 9 year old play in our Majors a few years ago. Recently, he told me it was a mistake and would not do it again (no playing time).

I think right now I’m leaning toward staying in Minors, Managing his team, and letting him pitch and field to his heart’s content. The tipping point, I think, is who my Assistant Manager will be in Minors; I’m leery of trading a season of a former D1 college and minor league pitcher helping me coach my son for who-knows-who in the Majors.


#10

[quote=“south paw”]Thanks to all for your great advice. I’ll address your comments and questions here in one post:

  • My son is big for his age and can certainly “hold his own” on the field and in the dugout with older kids. That said, he’s very innocent, and I am concerned about him being on a team with so many 12 year olds (6 or more). Last season when he played up into LL Minors as an 8 year old there were few 12 year olds on his team (1 or 2). [/quote]

That reminds me of the time my son was on a team with a 7th grader, and a second grader, and after one inning in the field where the two were playing positions near each other, the 2nd grader came into the dugout and asked our coach what a condom was. Apparently the 7th grader was giving the 2nd grader birth control tips while in the field. :slight_smile:

[quote=“south paw”]

  • As for pitching, I understand 9 year olds are rarely if ever used as pitchers in our LL Majors. In fact, if he were to move up into Majors, I’d probably not want him to pitch for safety reasons, and basically have him take the season off from pitching other than working on the side. He pitched plenty in Spring 2010 and Fall Ball 2010, and can pitch again in Summer All Stars 2011 and Fall Ball 2011. Looking at it that way, not pitching in Majors right now doesn’t seem that big a deal.[/quote]

I dont know if this will, or should, factor into your decision, but what our team found last AS season, all the way up to a Tournament of State Champions in WV was that the overwhelming majority of teams we played did not play their kids who pitched up. Our kids mostly did, and pitched sparingly during the season, and it showed. If we had had a couple of more kids who could hit the strike zone consistently, we would have probably won the whole dang thing.

[quote=“south paw”]

  • If we stay in Minors, my son would have me as the Manager (I pitched through high school and have been his principal pitching, batting, and fielding coach). Also - and I think this is huge - I would have as my Assistant Manager a former D1 college and minor league pitcher. So on the coaching front, my son will probably have better coaching in the Minors (certainly as good as anything in the Majors).[/quote]

If this is the case, then i would think its a no brainer. Equal or better coaching, more playing time, and he gets to be the stud. There is absolutely no way playing another season of Minors stunts his growth as a player. There is no downside here.

[quote=“south paw”]

  • An acquaintance of ours let his very talented 9 year old play in our Majors a few years ago. Recently, he told me it was a mistake and would not do it again (no playing time).[/quote]

If i had it to do all over again, i would not play my son up either (He played Majors as a 10 year old last spring). We had previously not played him up as an 8 year old into the Minors, much to the chagrin of the rest of the opposing Coaches Pitch teams and parents. (Although full disclosure: A big part of the reason we did not was because he would not have been eligible to play AS if he played up…a rule they have since changed). My son had a miserable season hitting last year, and sat in the dugout much more that he was accustomed. He pitched three times in 16 games, and two of his appearances were awful - a 17 pitch 1 hit, 4 walk appearance, and a 4 pitch one walk appearance. By the end of the regular season i think this one time confident to the point of cocky kid had become timid and unsure of himself. All in all a bad experience. Now i should mention that our league is very competitive (4 state championships and 4 state first runners ups in 3 age groups in the last 5 years) so perhaps the competition level at your league wouldnt be as high, and he would find more success. But i would do my very best to honestly assess how he will fare against the competition.

[quote=“south paw”]
I think right now I’m leaning toward staying in Minors, Managing his team, and letting him pitch and field to his heart’s content. The tipping point, I think, is who my Assistant Manager will be in Minors; I’m leery of trading a season of a former D1 college and minor league pitcher helping me coach my son for who-knows-who in the Majors.[/quote]

Do it. Like i said before this seems like a no lose situation. The Majors division will still be there next season.


#11

[quote=“south paw”]
I think right now I’m leaning toward staying in Minors, Managing his team, and letting him pitch and field to his heart’s content. The tipping point, I think, is who my Assistant Manager will be in Minors; I’m leery of trading a season of a former D1 college and minor league pitcher helping me coach my son for who-knows-who in the Majors.[/quote]
IMO the long term benefit of this approach is far greater than anything that could happen playing up- likely better instruction, more playing time at key positions, and developing better relations with his peers. He will get to majors- and beyond- soon enough. If it turns out that he is overpowering too many kids from the mound you control how much he pitches. Nothing says you have to throw your ace at all times in all situations. I’ve always thought less is better at young ages as long as they keep working on mechanics and am now starting to see that confirmed.

I’ve seen many kids play up. The majority of time it worked out fine. If there were problems it was way more likely to be social than lack of ability.


#12

[quote=“JP”][quote=“south paw”]
If it turns out that he is overpowering too many kids from the mound you control how much he pitches. Nothing says you have to throw your ace at all times in all situations. .[/quote]

Controlling how much one pitches reminds me of Fall Ball a few year back. My son had just turned 10 and was too young for the Majors. So in one of the first games, he’s pitching against the opposing coach’s son, who’s batting third. 1st pitch nails the kid. Instantly a 5 minute delay as the opposing coach worked on get his son back into the batter’s box. He eventually bribed his son, who took three strikes and ran back to the dugout, crying. The next inning, each at bat was delayed as the opposing coach had to talk the kids into stepping into the batters box. The kids were standing in the far back corner, as far away from the plate as possible. By now, my son is laughing. So, he tosses the ball to the plate instead of pitching, and strikes out each batter. My son is bored. The team is bored. The other team is frightened. Nobody wanted to play. So a relief pitcher started the 3rd inning and my son moved to catcher. When my son makes his first throw from home to 2nd, I’m watching the opposing coach. He throws up his hands and says, “now we can’t even steal a base!” They tried to steal one base and my son gunned him out with 20’ to spare. He pitched very little that Fall.


#13

We had five kids, four of whom are pitchers, from the 10U Tournament team play up last year (i.e. 10 yo in the Majors). My son was the only one who was successful in either hitting or pitching. For hitting, 10 YO were overpowered by the older pitchers. One didn’t pitch at all. The other two were effective against the younger and weaker hitters, but were hit hard by the older and better kids. Defensively, I think they all improved. The difference between my son and the others is size and strength. My son, although the youngest in the Majors, was one of the bigger kids playing. I think it was good for these kids to play up, as they improved more playing in the majors than they would have in the Minors, but it wasn’t the easiest road.

I wouldn’t consider our League as a top notch league, either. It’s been a few years since the 12 year old team has moved past the 1st round in the LL Tournament, and this year will be no exception.


#14

[quote=“West2East”][quote=“southcarolina”]

If i had it to do all over again, i would not play my son up either (He played Majors as a 10 year old last spring). We had previously not played him up as an 8 year old into the Minors, much to the chagrin of the rest of the opposing Coaches Pitch teams and parents. (Although full disclosure: A big part of the reason we did not was because he would not have been eligible to play AS if he played up…a rule they have since changed). My son had a miserable season hitting last year, and sat in the dugout much more that he was accustomed. He pitched three times in 16 games, and two of his appearances were awful - a 17 pitch 1 hit, 4 walk appearance, and a 4 pitch one walk appearance. By the end of the regular season i think this one time confident to the point of cocky kid had become timid and unsure of himself. All in all a bad experience.
[/quote]

We had five kids, four of whom are pitchers, from the 10U Tournament team play up last year (i.e. 10 yo in the Majors). My son was the only one who was successful in either hitting or pitching. For hitting, 10 YO were overpowered by the older pitchers. One didn’t pitch at all. The other two were effective against the younger and weaker hitters, but were hit hard by the older and better kids. Defensively, I think they all improved. The difference between my son and the others is size and strength. My son, although the youngest in the Majors, was one of the bigger kids playing. I think it was good for these kids to play up, as they improved more playing in the majors than they would have in the Minors, but it wasn’t the easiest road.

I wouldn’t consider our League as a top notch league, either. It’s been a few years since the 12 year old team has moved past the 1st round in the LL Tournament, and this year will be no exception.[/quote]

My son is big also. He is currently a 5’6" and 150 lb 5th grader. Defensively i would say my son improved, but no more than he would have playing minors. In Majors he played mostly OF , with a few innings at first. Wildness was a known issue with him pitching before he played Majors, but the added pressure and smaller strike zone just exacerbated it. He hit the ball miserably, only getting two clean hits all season. In the end i think it will actually help him, as it showed him that at 10 he wasnt a finished product. He had always resisted change, but grounding out weakly to the second baseman about 11 million times that season finally spurred him to make changes. But it was still brutal to watch. There were two other 10 year olds on his team, and neither of them struggled as badly as my son did, although neither dominate by any stretch.


#15

Playing up has its advantages especially when a kid is bigger/better than kids his own age. Kids have a tendency to play up or down to the level of their competition. In my experience it is hard to get a kid to challenge himself to improve when he is one of the best kids on the team already.

Having said that, there is a fine line between being challenged and overwhelmed. I firmly believe that a kid should play at each level at least 1 yr and should be at least in the top 3 or 4 players on his team at that level before playing up at the next level.

In this case given the better coaching at the minors and the fact that he is only 9 and can still play up next year I would keep him in the minors.


#16

Great points by all but I will add the following;

First of all there is nothing wrong with a young player playing the game and more of it; however there is a fine line especially at younger ages. For instance you would not want your son to get burned out by playing too much structured baseball…alot can be learned about the game from simply playing pick up games outside until the street lights go off like those of us who are 40+ years of age when we were kids.

Second of all I suggest the idea of developing well rounded younger players where they gain familiarity playing multiple positions rather then getting pigeon holed at one particular spot too early on.

Thirdly, at any level pitch counts should be paid close attention to and if not by the coach then the parent. Im not going to put a defnitive number on this becuase each kid is different. However there is absolutely no way that a nine year old, in my opinion should be throwing more then 60-80 pitches in any one given outing. Furthermore other then throwing fastballs, learning to vary the speed of those fast balls and also getting into the beginning stages of learning how to throw a straight change should be absolutely the only pitches he is throwing at 9 years of age.

Last but not least…and I do not think anyone commented on this. Throwing at a closer distance may initially be an adjustment for your son. However doing so will make him work harder on getting out front to keep the ball down and preferably to the best of his 9 year old abilities, throwing down hill.

Simply stated, any time a pitcher is working on shorter distances whether in your son’s case going down to a shorter mound, or older kids, college athletes and even the pros…when one is working at shorter distances they absolutely have to work harder in order to throw down hill.

“wooden nickels worth.”


#17

No, coach—not “wooden nickels”. You’ve made some very valid points.
One thing you mentioned was when you were a kid and just played until the street lights came on or your folks called you in for dinner. :slight_smile: It brought back memories of when I was a kid—we just played, whether it be the usual street versions of the game or choosing up sides and playing on one or another sandlot, and we played for the sheer fun of it, and that was how we all learned the game. I was eleven years old when I decided on pitching, and that came about when one day we were having recess in the schoolyard (remember those days?), and I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery. …and a nice little curve ball that came attached to it.
And we didn’t have Little League or anything like it—at least, not in New York. Not in those days. Nobody ever heard of it, thank goodness. What we had was time—lots of time, unstructured, we could work things out for ourselves. And I did. I figured out how to change speeds, I experimented with a few things I had read about, and I picked up a palm ball—my first changeup—and a knuckle-curve (I think Mike Mussina picked his up the same way I did, not having any luck with a regular knuckleball because of the wrist action).
The rest, as they say, is history. 8)


#18

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Dad,

This time in both your lives is so special. Your trying to do what’s best for your son, beam with pride - without your pride pushing everything else aside.

Take tons of pictures, compliment your son on any little thing that you can think of, make the ride home in the family wagon great fun for this time in your lives, ICE CREAM ALL AROUND FOR EVERYBODY- DADS BUYING!

Surpirse your boy one evening at the supper table - out of the blue. A new glove, a new pair of spikes, a photo album of his games - anything!

And here’s a topper … get a Rawlings Major League ball, get a clear plastic globe with a base, then ask your son in front of the family if he’ll autograph it for you …
" To Dad …- Date -,"then your son’s name. Display it in a special place at home. THAT pitch will be the best either one of you will ever deliver and catch! :allgood:

Coach B.[/quote]

Dang you!!!

That put an instant lump in my throat and apparently I got something in my eye too as it seems to be watering.

I have two boys 8 and 10 and it hasn’t always been easy but it sure is going fast and I love the time spent with my boys and I’m going to miss it dearly one day when it ends. I’ll definitely be order two new league balls with clear plastic display cases for my boys to sign after a good day pitching (they both are lefty’s).

Thank you very much for the above words…puts it all in perspective.


#19

[quote=“SpikeDmax”]

Dang you!!!

That put an instant lump in my throat and apparently I got something in my eye too as it seems to be watering.

I have two boys 8 and 10 and it hasn’t always been easy but it sure is going fast and I love the time spent with my boys and I’m going to miss it dearly one day when it ends. I’ll definitely be order two new league balls with clear plastic display cases for my boys to sign after a good day pitching (they both are lefty’s).

Thank you very much for the above words…puts it all in perspective.[/quote]

Time does go fast. I’ve been fortunate from a dad’s perspective to have both of my sons play on the same teams since they were 3 and 5. It’s been a pleasure coaching both boys and watching them develop as players and grow up as men. Now that they’re 11 and 13, different leagues, teams, practices, locations, times, games, etc., it will feel different this year watching the oldest while coaching the youngest. Last year they each received a game ball for pitching & hitting achievements, which they display in their room with all the game stats written on the ball. I also mounted his first bat (at my son’s request), because he and his teammates had so many wonderful memories and hits with it, and he didn’t want to depart with it.

I also bought my youngest when he was 9 a new red and white glove and red cleats, figuring he would see the same kids in interleague and tournament play for the next four years. At 9, this glove and matching cleats was by far his pride, and he wanted to pitch his best. It quickly became his signature item. He was the only one with a red and white glove.

(p.s… Unfortunately, some opposing coaches challenge the glove for pitching since it’s “white”. Actually, it’s very, very used and closer to brown than white, but at one time it was white. He stands on the mound while the coaches and umpires discuss it. If they say “No”, then he goes back to his old glove and throws the 1st pitch up and in. Doesn’t let it bother him. He finds it amusing that grown men would be fighting over a kids glove.)


#20

Here is the opposite situation, it had me rolling.