In April of this, I was fortunate to visit Louisville and we explored the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, check out the blog post here! As we left town, we had a few hours to kill, and it was drizzling out. As a lifelong baseball fan, I couldn't miss stopping by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory!
Well, the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers run is over. So the season ended with the Cavs losing rather soundly to the Golden State Warriors. Shortly after that, the owner fired the GM David Griffin, who Lebron supported. Lebron went on record saying he wasn't happy and wasn't going to "actively recruit" other players to come to Cleveland.
Cleveland sat at watched as big name free agents moved on, i.e. Gordon Hayward, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague, J.J. Redick, and Blake Griffin. They also sat at watched as other teams around the league made trades for big names like Chris Paul and Paul George. And rumored trades for Carmelo Anthony and even the highly sought after youngster Kristaps Porzingis. Kyrie said that the Cavs offseason has been a "very peculiar place". And just a couple days ago, injury proned, no, injury PLAGUED Derrick Rose is making news for sitting down with Cleveland and having serious talks about signing with them....
Living in the Midwest, in Spring and early Summer, we play little league baseball. This season started like the last few seasons we've played, slow and a little unsteady. We play in the recreational league, which usually keeps us clear of the politics and drama of travel league teams. I feel strongly that travel teams are killing not only recreation leagues (rec leagues) but they are also killing baseball for young kids. Travel ball is all or nothing. Travel ball is year long and travel ball is made up of only all stars. When I was growing up in the early 90's, little league was where it was at! I had such a great time playing the rec ball season, then at the end of the season, we would have an All Star team made up of the best kids in the league and we would travel a little bit to play other all star teams. Well, that doesn't happen anymore. Now, while there is still snow on the ground, travel teams are gathering, working out and practicing indoors. Most of these kids won't play in rec ball. This is causing numbers to drop in rec leagues due to kids flocking to travel teams. For those kids that haven't played enough baseball, or maybe aren't quite skilled enough, they are left behind for rec ball. The other thing that bothers me, is that maybe a player's family can't afford rec ball, so they are also left behind. Travel ball is becoming an "elitist" group, and that's frustrating.
The ball park we are a part of has chosen to bend to and make choices to make the travel teams happy. This has left rec ball playing second fiddle and, as a coach, its frustrating to work with these kids that seem to get left behind. With all of that being said, a good friend and I have accepted the challenge to coach our sons and some of their peers in rec league little league. This is the same friend that when I found out I was having a boy, I called to let him know I had the catcher of our future team. Then, a few months later, he called and let me know he had the pitcher! We have teamed up for 3-4 years now and tried our best to right the rec vs. travel ship.
Tonight we had our second playoff game in our end of the season, single elimination game. Why single elimination? Because the park didn't have enough time to fit a double elimination tournament in before travel ball and all stars started. Tonight we played in a David vs. Goliath game, and we were David, without the same ending. We went against the Number 1 Seed, a team that is made up of some travel kids, and lead by one of those coaches none of us want as our kid's coach. We were up early after a big first inning, but they came back with a bigger first inning. We went back and forth, leaving it up to us to overcome a 6 run deficit in the top of the 6th to force a chance to play defense and extra innings. We started with a couple singles, then a double. We scored a few runs, finding ourselves with 2 outs, kids on 2nd and 3rd. What happened? One of our kids that hasn't had a lot of experience playing baseball found himself with 2 strikes. Just imagine the pressure. Even though he hasn't played a lot of baseball, he knows what's riding on his at bat. He knows how important it is for him to get a base hit. He knows he has struck out twice already tonight and people are watching him. Well, he struck out a third time... My heart broke for him.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None