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You can only understand baseball if you've played it at some level...

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#1 scottz

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

So says somebody on one of these threads somewhere. I think having played can help your baseball knowledge, but you can pick up an awful lot about the game by watching, listening and reading.

For this thread, please state your highest level of baseball played. No softball or kittenball stats, please.

No school-affiliated ball, but I played summers and my last year was the summer of my age 15 year in the Babe Ruth league. I was a 6'0, 140 pound, R/R 3B/OF. All glove, no hit, with a questionable glove. I played in the All-Star game because the third baseman who was supposed to be there got sick and I was home when they called. I also pitched one game and threw a 2-hitter. We lost 4-2.

As such, I know everything about baseball.

#2 Willihammer

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

16 y/o VFW. LH P and OF. No hit, little bit of glove. One of the 3 worst players on the team.

#3 righty8383

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

legion, pitcher only

#4 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

Cather and pitcher (mostly catcher) through Babe Ruth baseball. Catcher in high school and on a town team.

My claim to any level of competancy is that I beat a guy out for All Conference catcher in high school who went on to enjoy 491 PA over 7 years in and out of MLB. Me? I got into drugs.

Apparently he was smarter than me, along with the higher upside thing.

#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

A lot of information can be learned by watching, listening, reading and diving head-first into the great game... but I often wonder if people truly understand how difficult the game is, if they wonder how good even the worst major leaguers are. yes, Drew Butera would hit .500 in your local amateur beer-league.

I was one of those typical high school players. I was on varsity for four years, hit over .400 each year. And went to a D3 college where I played my first two years. I was devastated when I was asked to play JV my first year of college and dress on the varsity. The second year, I was on the varsity, but did play some on the JV too. I got 15 plate appearances on the varsity over those two years. As many know, I basically backed up Chris Coste, who went on to play in the big leagues for 3-4 years with Philly and Houston. I thought I was good, and then realized that I wasn't even good enough for D3, which makes me wonder just how good a guy like AJ Pettersen is to get to play for 3 years at a D1 school like U of Minnesota, and then how good do you have to be to be drafted and get to play pro ball. How good are the players at Low A, much less High A? If you get to AA, you're incredible, and if you get even a cup of coffee with the big leagues, you're one of the top 1% of baseball players ever. So then, how good do you have to be to be a big league regular, or an All-Star, and finally, how good do you have to be to be in the Hall of Fame?

I think having played (I played SS, 3B. I pitched quite a bit through high school, and then later did a lot of catching in amateur ball and that was like a whole new appreciation for the sport), maybe I have a bit more of a sensitivity for how hard this game is than some (and I don't mean that judgmentally). When I hear that people think that it would be no problem for Joe Mauer to move to 3B, I just shake my head. When I hear that 3B should be easy for Trevor Plouffe because he played some much SS, I wonder if people realize just how different the positions are in terms of reaction time, range needed, etc.). And it just bugs me to no end when I hear things about how "horrible" guys like Pedro Florimon or Drew Butera are.

I guess the other thing that playing at some of the post-little league or youth leagues has taught me that I think is often missed are the intangibles. I don't think they're the be all, end all, by any means, but I do know that they are very important on a team, or in a team concept. When I sat the bench in college a lot and kept book, I learned the game on a whole new level from when I was playing all the time. Looking at the big picture is eye opening. (That's why I don't think that great players often make great managers or coaches) There is a value in leadership. There is a value in guys that just get the job done. There a value in consistency. There is a value in knowing which players practice the hardest. There is a value in which bench guys handle that the best.

Sorry about the soap box, I will now step down.

#6 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

Appreciate those words, Seth.
Ryan and Gardy drive me crazy sometimes, but I am never under the illusion that I know baseballl better than either of them.
They look at a player and see completely different things than I am able to see.
That's why Spring Training is important, but the stats from ST are not that big a deal.

#7 Haddyz

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:05 AM

You can only understand the game if you've played it at some level... So says somebody on one of these threads somewhere. I think having played can help your baseball knowledge, but you can pick up an awful lot about the game by watching, listening and reading.


This post actually frustrates me as there's a lot not to like about it. In my mind, I imagine you and so many others with this attitude being the one's that boo at the game, be-it Mauer or any Yankee or any player/coach for that matter. Lesson to everyone. Don't boo. Oh, and another thing... "The Wave" is a DEFENSIVE rally cry. NOT for when our team is hitting.

It's probably getting old, me backing up Seth on multiple postings. But he touched on some excellent points. No disagreements there, but I'll go a step further. First...

My credentials: Amateur Baseball. DII-DIII level players. Still playing. Also have coached baseball for 11 years, high school, legion and amateur.

Yes, you can know about game, but no, you'll never "know" the game. You will never understand what any of those players undertake. Even playing at my level for several years... or those other guys at Midway Stadium... or anyone else that won't even sniff AA... have but an idea, just a glimpse into what it really is.

I play this game 40 times a year. Granted I'm not working out, practicing, fine-tuning my body year-round, but 40 games kicks my azz. 162 is incredible. And then to maintain consistency. Holy EFF. These guys and this sport are truly spectacular, beyond our scopes of understanding.

So, I don't even buy the "at some level" argument from whomever on whatever board posted it. I think much more highly of fastpitch DI and Olympic team women than I do of some baseball players. I think they get it more readily than I would.

I semi-apologize for harping, but no one should ever presume they "know" no matter what they pick-up from watching. It's like claiming you know what a poet or song-writer or artist was representing in their last piece. Try again, I'd say.

I complain about why Gardy doesn't bunt more in certain situations, but he and TK live by different mentalities and understanding of what their players are capable of. We can all speculate it, but chances are we'll never get that deep. Only "some" of us are that lucky.

#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

One year of Little League, the summer before I got glasses to correct what turned out to be 20/200 vision. Connect the dots.

As such, I know everything about baseball.

#9 sorney

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:54 AM

I have found that as I continue to play baseball (over 35 league), it has reminded me how hard the game truly is and enables me to better relate to the kids I coach...I also invite them out to watch me play so they can give me crap when I screw up.

#10 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Played up to legion. Centerfield/second base (Class B, North Dakota, feel free to extrapolate). Above average defender, below average bat (couldn't hit anything but a fastball). I know enough to know that I don't know enough.

#11 wavedog

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

Enjoying the post - my baseball career topped out at Little League - we won our league and made it through a couple of rounds of the regional playoffs in Maryland. I decided to go out on top. I contributed nothing to the team's success - I was the Nicky Punto of the team (without the headfirst slides) - walked a bit and was fastest player on the team but couldn't hit a lick. I am left-handed so they had me play 1B and some outfield whenever I made too many errors at first. There was never any demand to see me play again.

I enjoy baseball and the Twins and don't take it too seriously. I will continue to root for them even if they win 40 games this year. Do I understand what the players are going through? - heck no and I wouldn't pretend to - but I do understand what it is like to be a fan. We need something positive to have hope for.

#12 James

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

I played in a city league(not even traveling level, but I never tried out for traveling). LH. I did some pitching, OF and eventually played a pretty mean 1B. The glove was good, but my hitting was sporadic. Some season I hit like a machine and others just ok. I had some base stealing speed as well. But, overall, I was somewhere in the middle of the pack for the league. If I had played some tougher competition, I probably would not have fared that great.

My last season was at the age of 15. When I was 16, I could either play again or go spend a month in Germany (where I was old enough to buy beer) and be practically unsupervised. Germany won that battle and my baseball career was over. As much as I love the game, I still think I made the right decision.
You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

#13 glanzer

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

In rural South Dakota the highest level available to me was Little League through 6th grade. I was terrible for many years, striking out almost every time, but occasionally things would click and I'd go on a crazy hot streak. I hit 5 home runs my fifth grade season, all in consecutive at-bats spanning three games, and 3 were grand slams. And then I never hit another one again. Completely unexplainable. Defensively I was a decent catcher but had no depth perception to play outfield. The college baseball coach at Dakota State inquired if I had ever pitched, seeing I was 6'6", but nothing ever came of that brief encounter.

#14 B Richard

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:41 PM

Played through high school as RH SP in a semi-rural midwestern town. I was a big kid who threw pretty hard, sometimes had control issues. Had a fastball, curveball, changeup. My favorite thing was to fool guys with the change. I got better as I went along but was never seriously scouted or anything. Tried out and made the club baseball as an undergrad at my university. It's really laid back- beer and pizza in the dugout kind of affair. Blessed to still be playing in some capacity, it's great just to get out there and play semi-competitively

#15 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:47 PM

None. When I was growing up girls 'weren't allowed' to play baseball.

#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:50 PM

I enjoy baseball and the Twins and don't take it too seriously. I will continue to root for them even if they win 40 games this year. Do I understand what the players are going through? - heck no and I wouldn't pretend to - but I do understand what it is like to be a fan. We need something positive to have hope for.


Well put, and i agree with you... Positivity is good. Can't take it too seriously. I've learned (and we've all heard) that we can't do much about things we can't control, and I can't control what the Twins do, so I definitely don't want to take it too seriously. I'll continue to enjoy it regardless. That's not to say that winning isn't more fun, because it is, but I'm definitely not going to let it stress me out.

#17 djsuperguy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

I was the oldest of three boys and while only played organized baseball through 13 yr old Babe Ruth, I played a TON of wiffle ball and pitched to my brothers on a daily basis in the summers, one of which became Seth's team mate in college & I will take all the credit for his hitting whether he'd agree with me or not.

#18 Twins Twerp

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:09 PM

Best player on my Midget Baseball team in western ND (ages 9-12ish)...wasn't the same after tommy john surgery. Once had a kid from Center, ND (doubtful anyone will know where that is) hit a homerun off of one of my buddies, we were 11. It was a legion baseball field. I wonder what that kid is doing now. True story though the kid hit a homerun when wind wasn't a factor. This was before Danny Almonte so we didn't ask for a birth certificate, but the kid could mash.

Oh ya, and I know everything about baseball, my brother.

Edited by Twins Twerp, 22 February 2013 - 03:10 PM.
My brother


#19 cmb0252

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:19 PM

I played till 9th grade and quit a week after making my high school team. I was never that good anyways. While I don't think you have to play baseball to appreciate the game it does bug me when people talk about how "easy" the game is compared to "X" sport they like when they have never played. Hitting a baseball is damn hard.

#20 powrwrap

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:30 PM

Played through 7th grade. Third base and occasional relief pitcher. Pretty good glove, good average hitter with occasional power. Favorite player growing up was Brooks Robinson. Favorite player once grown up was Gary Gaetti.

I've coached youth traveling baseball for the past 6 years.

I would be one of those people that would say you really don't know all you can know about baseball unless you've played it, or coached it.

Naturally, I'm all learned up.
"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."

#21 kab21

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

I was CF for my HS and legion team. A lot of swing and miss but I could run down any ball in the OF.

#22 BD57

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

Played Town Ball - our equivalent of Little League, which wasn't in our area - for three years. At 13, I discovered golf - that was the end of organized baseball for me.

Got back into it when my boys decided they wanted to play Little League. Started as a "gofer/helper" for their coach, wound up coaching in subsequent years, then managing.

If you work hard at it, you can gain a huge appreciation for how the game is supposed to be played by studying coaching books, etc.

#23 biggentleben

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:31 PM

In rural South Dakota the highest level available to me was Little League through 6th grade. I was terrible for many years, striking out almost every time, but occasionally things would click and I'd go on a crazy hot streak. I hit 5 home runs my fifth grade season, all in consecutive at-bats spanning three games, and 3 were grand slams. And then I never hit another one again. Completely unexplainable. Defensively I was a decent catcher but had no depth perception to play outfield. The college baseball coach at Dakota State inquired if I had ever pitched, seeing I was 6'6", but nothing ever came of that brief encounter.


Rural SoDakian as well. Legion was an option to the degree of it was there. However, 45 games in 60 days didn't work with my dad's needs on the farm, so I had to give it up. I was a very good pitcher in the end, topping out with a low-80s fastball at that age that I could throw from three different angles. No breaking pitches, just different angles.
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#24 Thrylos

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:57 PM

Played in College; secondary to FB. Pitched. I could never hit worth anything. Really. Not even a softball. After college (Grad School and work and life really takes off :) ), I kept pitching in summer leagues and in city beer leagues till 2 years ago when finally my UCL gave up and I figured that this north of 40 is no need to keep beating a dead horse. Coached kids in one of my local colleges (Head Coach was city league teammate) in a totally unofficial capacity but it was lots of fun. And I think that the kids had a good time too.

I got into baseball as an adult in College. Never grabbed a baseball before in my life. I just felt that standing on a mound feeling the ball on your hand and thinking about delivering the perfect pitch would be an amazing zen moment and would totally balance my nutty all cajones out SS FB experience. And it was. And, frankly, that moment, when you get the sign, and the head nodes and the hand grips the ball in the glove and you take the next breath before the windup is a total zen moment. And I still miss it.

But:
one could have never played an inning of baseball and still have an opinion (or even manage a major league team or be a GM, plenty of those and some successful)

Edited by Thrylos, 22 February 2013 - 08:14 PM.

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#25 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

But:
one could have never played an inning of baseball and still have an opinion (or even manage a major league team or be a GM, plenty of those and some successful)


Name one big league manager who never picked up a baseball...

#26 Thrylos

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

Name one big league manager who never picked up a baseball...


easy :)

Ted Turner
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#27 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:25 PM

played a year in highschool, but hadn't played up to it... way too late to start.

#28 The Wise One

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:17 PM

easy :)

Ted Turner


His teams never won a game with him as a manager. So your answer did not meet your criteria of being successful.

#29 Anorthagen

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

I'm a shopomore in high school, I've never hit a homer run but I get on base every game, whether its a walk, single or double. I'm also a 6-2 catcher who has exceptional defense skills behind the plate and at 3rd. Yet I don't know if I will make my high school team. The game has changed so much throughout the years. So all of you that say it was easy to make the HS team, it's not and you should be grateful that you had that opportunity to play HS ball.

The hardest thing to do is hit a round ball with a round bat.

#30 Sssuperdave

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

I played in babe ruth leagues until I was 15, mostly CF. I was a horrible hitter, but decent in the field. I had one of the strongest arms on the team but had horrendous control. After much pestering I eventually convinced my coach to let me try pitching in game we were probably already out of - 1 strikeout, 2 walks, and a homerun later and he decided he'd seen enough.