Stetson Allie grew up not far from me (I am from Cleveland), so I know all about St. Ed’s. (My father is a St. Ignatius alum, back when tuition didn’t cost more than a BMW. I went to public HS.)
I came from a lower middle class family as did the majority of my friends. Some went on to play at the Division-I level, but you could argue the game has changed significantly since then (and I’m only 30). What we knew growing up is that if we wanted the advantages, we had to go get it. I opted out of my SR year of HS to take JUCO classes for free; this program was hidden from us because it diverts tax money to the JUCO, but it was available.
Inner city kids learn very quickly a good life lesson - no one gives it to you. You have to take it. And this lesson is a good one to learn in college and pro ball, I might add.
As for travel baseball… it’s tough to say. I have always been opposed to select baseball teams that charge exorbitant amounts. Currently I train athletes in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, and it’s no secret that many people have money out here. (My modest townhome in the middle of an urban area cost six figures, and the first number isn’t a 1.)
However, I intentionally advise my clients to skip most of the select and travel crap. Why? Because 92 MPH is 92 MPH. The quality of baseball here is garbage, despite the fact there is tons of money. Do you watch the Area Code Games? Look how the Royals (PacNW) do. We are horrible. We lost EVERY game last year and we usually only pick up a game or two if we’re lucky.
The average velocity for a major HS starter here is probably right at 80 MPH. That’s terrible. 88 MPH is unhittable here, which is frankly a joke.
I have a kid who has an 80-grade work ethic. Started at 71 MPH and currently throws 90-93 MPH as a 2015 grad. He has had offers from EVERY select team here to play for them, some of whom are sponsored and cost very little to join. He has rejected all of them, because they all want to change his training methods. They are more concerned with putting a stamp on him and say that he’s “their guy,” when in reality, he is his own man. He has been to one PG event, which we now consider a mistake.
In today’s world, you can throw 95 MPH in a shed in Siberia and some area scout is going to hear about it. Ability will find a way. This kid is being heavily recruited by elite D-I colleges in the Pac-12 despite playing for low-rent summer ball teams and being on JV all last year in HS. I told a Pac-12 coach “You might have to come to a JV game because his HS coach doesn’t like him,” to which he responded: “I will watch him anywhere, anytime, any place. You just tell me and I will be there.”
If you don’t have a thick skin and can’t take the abuse from your teammates and “friends” who don’t understand that training hard year-round to play at that next level is what is required, then you wouldn’t have made it at the next level anyway.
As Dan Blewett’s coach once told him, “A resolute man finds a way.”