"You Never Know Who's Watching"

This is a tremendous story about a kid in high-school who got a shot because of how hard he played the game of baseball. It’s quite a remarkable story, enjoy:

As a freshman in high school Norman was playing in the state championship game as the starting shortstop. He had an absolutely terrible game and was actually 0-4 with the golden sombrero and made a throwing error in the first inning. They were still winning though 10-8 and he made his final at-bat in the top of the seventh inning. Again he didn’t have an at-bat like he wanted and he hit a major league pop-up right to the shortstop. But Norman never took a play off no matter what the scenario or how routine the play was. The ball ended up hitting off of the shortstops glove and Norm was rounding second base, he made it safely to third.

There was a professional scout from the Red’s in the stands who really liked Norms passion and willingness to play the game hard. The following year when norm was a shortstop, the scout continued to following him and every time he watched him he liked him more and more. Eventually The scout drafted Norman in the 11th round out of high school in 1981 solely because of that one play that he hustled out. The scout put a check next to his name because he didn’t dog it down the line. Point of the story is that you never know whos watching and make sure that you always play the game hard no matter how easy the play may seem.

If you enjoyed this story feel free to check out more in my blog in the !
http://aworldofbaseball.blogspot.com/search/label/Tales%20from%20the%20Dugout][color=blue]Tales From the Dugout Section[/color

Thanx for the story tyler, and I’d like to add something too. There’s a lot more to it than just a matter of some pro or college scout sitting in the sands. I believe its much more important that those you play with, for, and the fans see how you conduct yourself. The reason is, it’s a major component in how players earn respect.

Sure everyone goes gaa gaa over a player who has great skills, but in my book, being respected for having great skills doesn’t compare to being respected for being a great teammate that gives everything he has more often than everyone else. Plus, there’s an added implication. There’s always that guy who fills out the lineup card that’s watching, even when you think he might not be. :wink:

This past fall, I was looking for a way to incorporate foot speed into some different metrics for a project I was working on. Although its very easy to just take 40 or 60 yard times, to me that wasn’t really a good measure for what was going on, on the field, so I decided home to 1st times were more on point. When I watched the guys doing home to 1st sprints, it occurred to me that that wasn’t a true measure either, so I decided to see if I could get even more accurate.

I got a stop watch, and watched the batters. I timed them as best I could, from contact-2-contact, or from when they contacted the pitch with the bat, until they contacted 1st base with their foot. You can see the results of what I saw here. http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/watch1.pdf

Granted, I wasn’t being perfectly accurate in how I measured what was going on, but it was a measurement none-the-less. I was really surprised at how much attention that thing attracted! Suddenly there was a way to measure “hustle”. I realize that could never be 100% true, because no one can measure what’s in someone’s mind or heart. But it doesn’t take a lot of great study to look at the last of the 3 reports on page 4 to know the amount of effort can vary tremendously. :wink:

Being sent to card or cross-check a pitcher, involves a lot of money. Time spent on motels, eating expenses, gas-n-oil, and other miscellaneous things. These decisions are not made lightly.

In fact, a lot of job security goes hand-n-hand with either initially finding solid work-in-process, or, validating another person’s work. Then there’s the paperwork … a never ending stream of paperwork. Someone’s boss, to someone’s boss, and yet another someone’s boss has to be satisfied that good decisions are made - money well spent - personnel used wisely.

With all the physical playing talent being looked at - hit , run, catch, field, etc., there is one talent that is golden - MATURITY.

Professional clubs really don’t expect a rookie to hit the ground running and perform like the veterans. That’s what the farm systems are for. If you didn’t have the talent to hold your own at the most basic level of this business, you wouldn’t be there. And although I’ve have limited experience at the college level, I would assume that the same holds water there also. But MATURITY, is the one asset that all rookies must have, even to the watermark of the vet’s.

Why is MATURITY so important? Because your temperament and the way you carry yourself validates all those that have put their stamp of approval on you … all along the way. And this includes your parents, teachers, ministers and pastors, local police, neighbors, and so forth.

Ok, so here’s a question for you …
Your name has come up as a potential prospect. A scout has been sent to look at you and others along his/her range-area of coverage. You’re on the mound, penciled in to start-relieve-close, whatever.
b[/b] As you progress with your work, who in the entire ball park has the best place to witness your work? Remember - your talent is a give. If not, you wouldn’t be scouted in the first place.
b[/b] Who has the best place to witness first hand your quality plus your overall maturity?
b[/b] And finally - who do you think an aggressive scout or other interested party is gonna want to meet with (discreetly) after the game and ask a few questions with. (This person, by the way, has no real interest in how the game turns out one-way-or-the-other.)

The answer(s) is not all inclusive nor is it the final word when looking at a player’s potential at the next level. It is however, a very important answer - an answer that may surprise you.

Coach B.

Just one final thought on MATURITY…

Any pitching coach who does this for a living, can work with just about anybody on the physical attributes of this position.

In fact - “what you see is what you get”, was a phrase that I use to hear a lot in my early days. And I use to template that phrase on the motions, or lack there of, to anyone that I assisted at the direction of the club’s pitching coach.

However, I soon picked up on the little things around the fringes, that pointed to a much broader quality of the people that we were dealing with. Mental toughness, mound presence, and a focus that never broke stride, were all bundled into a personality that said - MATURITY.

These people never really got excited during a winning streak, nor did they hang their heads during bad times. To sum things up - it was just business.

I admire that in a player - strength to know himself well enough to understand limits, ability, could care less of those around him, there’s a job to do, “ give me the ball”.

When I’d see a prospect who wasn’t playing the game - but working at it, THAT’S the man I wanted to follow. Now these people aren’t stone cold of feelings, but, they do understand that there’s a time and a place for everything. Also, they’re not necessarily leaders either. But, they do know their place when it comes time to get down to business.

I honestly don’t believe that there is a more rewarding time on this earth when to be at a ballpark and witness the makings of professional unfold before your eyes. And you look around and no one, but one other, knows it! That guy/gal - is your counterpart, sitting in the bleachers along the other baseline, with every intent of beating you to the payphone!

Coach B.