Friday, December 10, 2010
Hey Kids! It's Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day!
As you might be able to tell, baseball means a lot to me. In my household, baseball is almost a religion. I have three children (Pat, Tyler and Alex) who all have played.
Tyler used to be the most feverish about it... he played 2nd Base and Shortstop from age five until he was eight... that was when I was forced into making him a pitcher when I coached a team that didn't have any kid who could actually make the throw from the mound to home plate. Since Ty was able to make the throw consistantly from short to 1st, I figured he'd at least be able to get the ball over the plate and stuck him in there in a desperate situation. He did more than that. For three years Ty was my most consistant pitcher. He didn't have much of a fastball, but his motion brought with it a natural flutter. Add in the fact he was usually right in the area of the strike zone, Ty got a lot of swings and misses. Other coaches started caling him "The Junkballer". The kids were stimied. If they swung, they often missed it or slammed it into the ground for a weak liner back to the box... if they didn't swing he was so close to the strike zone the umpires called it a strike moire often than not. More than once I brought him into a game with the bases loaded and no one out and he'd get out of it only giving up a single run or not any at all. He once pitched a game (a rare night game played under the lights) in his first season in pitching when he threw three and two third shutout innings of 2-hit ball with seven strikeouts and three groundouts back to the box. Becuase of a pitch count I had to take him out and the next two picthers let a mess of runs in, but I never forgot the way the crowd reacted to him coming off the mound after such a dominating performance. For a kid his age, that was remarkable, especially when you add in the fact that Tyler is autistic and was playing baseball in a regular little league with regular kids... not in a challenger league or special league.
Tyler (and I as his coach) won the AAA World Series in 2009 and at age 12 he decided that he needed a break from baseball. The other kids started to catch up to his pitching and his outings weren't always as solid as he was used to and his bat also suffered from the older kids abilities. Even in winning our first championship, his expectations for himself were so big he couldn't handle him coming back to the pack as well and he should. He took last year off but is still a fountian of knowledge of stats about the Mets.
My oldest, Pat, still plays at age 16 and is an excellent fielder both at 2nd and in the outfield. He's got a good bat and if he'd get over his adversion to sliding he'd be even a better player. He's got a great attitude though and coaching him is more than a pleasure... he knows how to make it fun and his mood towards it is always refreshing.
My youngest, Alex, has been playing for four years. He BEGGED to play T-Ball at age four since he would always see his two older brothers playing. At age eight now, Alex is in the zone that he'll either becomes a solid player or lose his taste for it. He often will remark he might not want to play, but once you get him on a field he suddenly finds his desire back to normal.
I coach all three of them (and yeah coaching THREE teams in a season is NOT an easy thing to do) when they play and as much as it's a pain in the rear sometimes, I do love it.
I've also been a Mets fan for a loooooong time. I live and die with the Mets in a way that is almost unhealthy. I actually was once a Yankees fan as a young kid in the 1970's but changed my alligence back in 1982 (for reasons I'll blog about one of these days). It wasn't even a "jumping on the bandwagon thing, since the Mets were TERRIBLE in 1982.
To this day as much as I enjoy football (Giants!) or Hockey (The pitiful Islanders) and played both sports, nothing... NOTHING gets me going like baseball does.
What does this have to do with the BBA? I'm getting to that.
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is a unit of baseball guys and gals like myself who worship baseball. It means something to all of us and we do more than just talk about it... we support our passion with a string of blogs and radio shows that entertain, inform and project the game we love. The BBA was founded in 2009 by Daniel Shoptaw, a St. Louis Cardinals blogger. I was brought into the fold on suggestion by Frank Maniscalco when I was writing for his NYB Blogs site. When I broke out on my own and launched "It's Outta Here" I was graciously welcomed into the ranks by Steve Keane (the NY NL Chapter President and founder of the amazing Mets Blogsite The Ed Kranepool Society and host of "This Call to the Bullpen" radio show.
Not only is the BBA a group of bloggers who post about our various teams (and you'll find someone from each MLB team out there in the 230 members of the alliance) ranging from blogging about the rich history of baseball, from the analytical part of the game to general baseball news and views coverage all the way to fantasy baseball... but we also vote on season ending awards in a similar fashion of the Baseball Writers of America (who from what I understand aren't too happy about that) like the Connie Mack Award (NL Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays Award (NL ROY), the Goose Gossage Award (NL Reliever of the Year), the Walter Johnson Award (NL Cy Young Award)and the Stan Musial Award (NL MVP)... as well as others depending on the chapter of the BBA doing the voting.
Please take the time to check out the BBA Website (http://baseballbloggersalliance.com/) and the Radio Channel (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/baseball-bloggers-alliance) and make it a place you visit often. Turst me, if you love baseball half as much as the BBA it'll be time well spent.