Six Good Innings: How One Small Town Became a Little League Giant

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In Six Good Innings , acclaimed sportswriter Mark Kreidler deftly illuminates the sometimes tense relationship between the town and the team that carries its hopes and dreams.


With empathy, incisive reporting, and intimate access, Kreidler follows the most recent juggernaut through one tumultuous All-Star season, weaving the stories of the coaches, the parents, the fans, and the true "boys of summer" into an unforgettable tableau. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Average Review. Write a Review.

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Their love was meant to be. When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school.

She connects with Daisy's Back in Town. Daisy Lee Monroe thought she'd brushed the dust of Lovett, Texas, off her high-heeled shoes However, given that my son plays in recreation league, I get to see some early developers who did not matriculate to travel ball. At the young ages, these early developers competed with players who were mostly not at the same stage of physical development.

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I have seen early developers who seem like year olds among 8-year-olds. They also look older and more muscular, despite being the same age. You want to praise their hard work. In my view, one of the better arguments for travel ball is to give motivated early developers a chance to play with other early developers, so that coaches and heightened competition can help them develop a work ethic and more advanced baseball skills.

There still may be disappointment down the road when an early developer is eclipsed in high school by players who were half a foot shorter at the age of 9. Working hard and smart from the earliest ages all the way through high school is the only way a player will find out how much ball player is actually in them, no matter how big or small they start or end. This is undoubtedly the weakest section of this article. Many big, athletic kids with big, athletic parents leave recreation leagues at a young age to join travel ball teams. Quite often, such players quickly advance from the AA level to the much more competitive AAA level, or perhaps even higher.

Coasting through a rec league even a really good rec league as one of the best players on account of size will for many players not provide enough incentive to work hard, develop better mechanics, and refine fielding skills. Travel ball is a reasonable answer for such players, if they aspire to start as a varsity high school player some day. Baseball is obviously one of them, because size helps with both throwing and hitting. Apart from the possibility of coasting as mentioned previously, the main downside to being big and athletic all the way through is the potential for overdoing it.

It is easy to get carried away at the early ages for those who are identified early as having the right set of genes. To be blunt, some very promising big athletes peak during or just before high school, but after accumulating too many arm injuries usually elbow or shoulder , go into decline. This will have the biggest impact on catchers and pitchers, but declining arm strength does impact defensive ability in other positions as well.

My extensive readings suggest that year-round play in a single sport is not good for anyone. So one thing I do recommend is encouraging young baseball players to rotate out of baseball in the fall and winter to play other sports, or at least taking a couple months off each year from baseball to give the arm time to recover. I know a player with big parents who was always one of the biggest and strongest players.

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But he wanted baseball to be just a fun activity and never had an interest in being on the too-serious all-star or travel ball teams, where he might have to work at his game. Had he had more than a recreational interest, though, he would have been much better off putting himself in situations where he was challenged more, and forced to develop better mechanics, better work habits, and better baseball smarts to keep up with his peers.

My own son has been interested in going as far as possible with baseball since the age of 2. This comes from him.

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Neither me nor my wife were too serious about athletics growing up. However, we want to support his passions as best we can, and it just so happens that he has consistently had a passion for baseball. He could already throw, hit and catch by the age of 3 and he could throw strikes as a pitcher by the age of 5. We had no idea that his small size would matter much until we first encountered all-star teams at the age of 8. It quickly became apparent that the path for a small late developer is not an easy one, but we have found many ways to support him to continue enjoying baseball until his physical development catches up to many of his baseball peers.

Baseball has already been a great part of his life, regardless of the ultimate outcome. So what have we done to support him? Mostly, we have just let him take the lead. Each year we present options for him—he can stop playing baseball, he can take a season off, he can continue with rec ball, or he can join a travel ball team. Only occasionally have we strongly tried to sway him in one direction or another. I have a recent example of when we did try to steer him in a certain direction. So he joined the combined team. All that may have been fine, but the big issue is that they are participating in 14u tournaments that require BBCOR drop 3 bats.

Not even close. My wife and I suggested he stay away from an experience where he would have been on the bench most of the time if he was even invited to a game, and then he would not have fared well at the plate with a too-heavy bat. He agreed with our reasoning.

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The end result is that he attending practices for a nominal fee, but joined a 13u-only summer travel team that worked out well for him. His hitting is not keeping up with players pounds heavier than him, but this has motivated him to resume working out after lapsing for several months, and a round of hitting balls off a tee with a heavy bat is now part of his calisthenics routine. I mention these two stories to illustrate how making choices over the course of many years playing baseball will be different depending on size, and the opportunities that present themselves.

Can you predict with precision how big your player will get, and how much interest they will continue to have in baseball? This may help you figure out where your player fits in, and how best you can support them getting there. So feel free to share any personal experiences or words of wisdom in the comments. I now make my living from this blog, supplemented with occasional consulting gigs. View all posts by Joe Golton. There are calculators all over the web though they generally use the numbers for white Americans without diseases affecting growth.

It uses parental heights, child age, child height, and child weight. Child weight is the proxy for the bro-science idea of early versus late development, but that effect is much smaller than people seem to think on the internet. By the time a kid is 13 or 14, his current height is by-far the most important factor in the estimate of his adult height.

Otherwise I more or less agree that people worry too much about size. Lord Action — I appreciate the lengthy, thoughtful comment, and pointers to learning more about size prediction.

Six Good Innings: How One Small Town Became a Little League Giant

I too have observed that weight is more important than height for hitting. After all that effort, he went from about 83 pounds to 88 pounds over the course of months. He slacked off some and 6 months later he was still 88 pounds when he turned Size may not matter too much in the sport at the age of 17, but it matters a ton at the age of 7, and even at the age of I know.