Differences between Midwest and Southern baseball


#1

I play on a competitive traveling team in Wisconsin. I have several teammates who are going D1. However, as pitchers they top out at 84 or 85 mph. I was surprised by this and it got me thinking about the differences in talent level between Wisconsin and California or Texas. For example, a lot of high school teams don’t have any pitchers who can throw 80. I’m sure just about every California team has many, if not all, kids who can throw 80. What do you think about the talent level difference?


#2

Weather maybe.


#3

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN TALENT!

Allow me to repeat.

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN TALENT!

The difference is in the opportunities to play. There are 80,000,000 people living in just Ca, Tx, and Fl… That’s more than a quarter of all the people living in this country in roughly just 14% of the total land. What that does is concentrate the population in areas where baseball weather is much more likely to exist. More players, more good weather, more teams, more opportunities. Its really just that simple.

But that doesn’t mean the player playing have more talent. There’s just more players and they’ve generally had a lot more opportunity to develop. But you’ll notice that it doesn’t take too long for those coming from areas less conducive to baseball to catch up, once they’re thrown into the same situation.

In order to develop, there must be players and those players must have opportunities. The more of each, the more it will produce an imbalance at lower levels.


#4

May I suggest that we turn off the ‘caps lock’?

There is a very reasonable explanation for why states and localities with lots of baseball opportunities might tend to have higher per capita levels of talent.

Over the long run, people with extraordinary talent for playing baseball may tend to concentrate in those geographical areas where they and their children will have the most opportunities to put their talent to best use. There are lots of examples of sons playing ball for the same high school and college that their fathers played for, and I’d guess that the number of sons of pro players that go on to play at the higher levels of baseball is also disproportionate to the rest of the population. It would be no surprise if that dynamic caused certain areas of the country to be richer in talent level than other parts.

That obviously doesn’t mean that highly talented individuals cannot come from places where little or no baseball is played. In fact, highly talented people will stand out more in those areas…if nobody else in your HS conference can break 80 mph, but you happen to throw 90 mph…folks are going to notice that.


#5

Why? I intended them to show emphasis, nothing else. Or do you mean I should never use any sort of punctuation? Jeez! It isn’t as though I type in caps only all the time.

They don’t! You’re confusing skill level with talent.

Try to prove that and you’ll find it impossible.


#6

The vase majority of baseball players are in the amateur game. That population is not easily charted and graphed as to when and where, why and why not they do most of anything. Hence, it’s just too easy to assume that nice weather, money and other support would lay claim to quantify just about anything for playing the game at all.

Amateur baseball doesn’t lend itself to research by the numbers. You’ll be hard pressed to find similar publications and data collection devices like there is in business - Moody’s Industrial Index, Standard & Poor’s Industrial Survey, and so forth.

In any event, there were statements made by laflippin that are as right as rain - to those that live and experience this game as a way of life, amateur or not. Especially the part where he mentioned:
Over the long run, people with extraordinary talent for playing baseball may tend to concentrate in those geographical areas where they and their children will have the most opportunities to put their talent to best use.”
The part to understand, in between the lines, is that if one is looking for triple digits times ten, you won’t find it. Why? Because there is no magic number, no thousands of players, none of that. The most important part of that sentence by laflippin is - … people with extraordinary talent for playing baseball.…” Now he doesn’t mention a thousand people, nor does he mention a hundred. All he says is …” people…” Those of us in the game who have baseball as a part of our life understand without quantifying, that … “ those geographical areas…” can be in our high school, our Legion Post, a college club, even a MSBL club. A mistake here is to think in national regions or anything like that. I’ve coached men who deliberately enrolled in the same high school as their fathers - who played ball, then watched their son’s come along - coached them too, go to the same high school, played for the same Legion Post, same fall ball program, etc. Loyalty and the game is what mattered.

There is another sentence that laflippin made that may be misunderstood, only because of its brevity.

“There is a very reasonable explanation for why states and localities with lots of baseball opportunities might tend to have higher per capita levels of talent. “

There’s a lot of input here that really can’t be measured and mathematically qualified. But, I know exactly what he’s referring to. Take Florida for example. A tremendous following and a heavy nap-n-weave for the game at all levels - from the youngest to adult senior MSBL.
On the other hand, take my home town and surrounding communities. As soon as the sun pokes it head out and it’s not below freezing- the ball is flying everywhere. Now my hometown and her sister cities may not produce the numbers, like Florida, but the talent is just as good - only smaller population. And do people gravitate to baseball from the same family - you bet. There are noted families that deliberately go to certain schools, summer clubs and on to college all because of the game.

The words skill and talent can be used interchangeably with respect to amateur baseball. I have found that both are usually qualified by those surrounding the player being labeled. In any event, an if-ee thing to use as a for-n-against position.

So I think the best approach to this subject is not to expect too many zeros after the number of people that we’re expecting to see supporting one point of view over another. Baseball doesn’t necessarily work that way. It’s a game of the fatefully, the nature of the beast that needs the tempo and the pace, the appeal of it all.

This was an interesting topic to debate. I just wish I had better command of the language to contribute a little better.

Coach B.


#7

True

Also true to a large degree, but it isn’t because its impossible. I believe that if in fact there were a national baseball organization similar to what SB has, it would be possible to do a lot more research, and therefore answer a lot more questions.

[quote]In any event, there were statements made by laflippin that are as right as rain - to those that live and experience this game as a way of life, amateur or not. Especially the part where he mentioned:
Over the long run, people with extraordinary talent for playing baseball may tend to concentrate in those geographical areas where they and their children will have the most opportunities to put their talent to best use.”
The part to understand, in between the lines, is that if one is looking for triple digits times ten, you won’t find it. Why? Because there is no magic number, no thousands of players, none of that. The most important part of that sentence by laflippin is - … people with extraordinary talent for playing baseball.…” Now he doesn’t mention a thousand people, nor does he mention a hundred. All he says is …” people…” Those of us in the game who have baseball as a part of our life understand without quantifying, that … “ those geographical areas…” can be in our high school, our Legion Post, a college club, even a MSBL club. A mistake here is to think in national regions or anything like that. I’ve coached men who deliberately enrolled in the same high school as their fathers - who played ball, then watched their son’s come along - coached them too, go to the same high school, played for the same Legion Post, same fall ball program, etc. Loyalty and the game is what mattered. [/quote]

The basis for that mindset, is one has to believe its more likely for people with an affinity for the game to migrate to where there’s a greater opportunity for them to participate, than it is for the environment to simply produce more players because its more likely they’ll see the game played and choose to play it rather than some thing else.

FI, is it more likely for a family to move to Az to play baseball, or for some other reason? And, of all the people who could be considered possible athletes in Az, is it more likely they’ll choose baseball or skiing, or any other “winter sport”?

The OP’s question seemed quite plain to me to be asked in a national perspective, so unless that perspective is going to be altered, that’s usually the way I consider responses. But, I agree that there is a tremendous amount of something out there that produces a “lineage”. You call it loyalty, I call it nepotism.

[quote]There is another sentence that laflippin made that may be misunderstood, only because of its brevity.

“There is a very reasonable explanation for why states and localities with lots of baseball opportunities might tend to have higher per capita levels of talent. “

There’s a lot of input here that really can’t be measured and mathematically qualified. But, I know exactly what he’s referring to. Take Florida for example. A tremendous following and a heavy nap-n-weave for the game at all levels - from the youngest to adult senior MSBL.
On the other hand, take my home town and surrounding communities. As soon as the sun pokes it head out and it’s not below freezing- the ball is flying everywhere. Now my hometown and her sister cities may not produce the numbers, like Florida, but the talent is just as good - only smaller population. And do people gravitate to baseball from the same family - you bet. There are noted families that deliberately go to certain schools, summer clubs and on to college all because of the game. [/quote]

That sounds like the same thing I was saying, only stated differently. IOW, when you consider everything by the same relative things, its really much the same everywhere.

Well, you and I will have to agree to disagree. To me, “talent” is something akin to athleticism, where its much dependent on the genes but massaged and molded by the environment. Skill level is much different to me. That’s the degree of execution an athlete possesses. So to me its completely possible to have someone with the potential to be a great ball player, but because of whatever reasons, not possess the skills to play the game.


#8

Agree or disagree here is like which side of the fence do you stand on - on my side it’s painted blue, on the other side it’s painted green.

I don’t look for answers or positions on this subject - it’s just too dynamic. Nor do I think and re-think what is one place Vs another.

I do know that perspectives have a way of being influenced by, again, what side of a fence one’s on and how that view influences opinions, sometimes tag’d as fact.

So, agree or disagree is not my purpose - I too have a fence that influences my view of the world. Not necessarily right or wrong, but something that I can live with.

Coach B.


#9

Coach John B.,

When I find myself on the other side of the fence from you…I generally try to climb that fence as quickly as possible because I know that’s where the game of baseball is being played.


#10

Note to TheUndiscovered: You’re absolutely right about the weather. The difference there is that it’s more likely to snow (excuse the expression) in Cleveland than it is in a place like Arlington, Texas. Not to mention the temps in places like Detroit or Minneapolis, even in spring. And the Texas Panhandle is subject to tornado activity, which has been known to force postponement of games…I like it here in Florida, and because I live in the west-central region of the state I don’t need to concern myself with hurricanes. We can play baseball all year! :slight_smile: