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

  1. #21
    Senior Member All-Star
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    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.

  2. #22
    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.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer biggentleben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glanzer View Post
    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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  4. #24
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    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)
    Last edited by Thrylos; 02-22-2013 at 08:14 PM.
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  5. #25
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    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...

  6. #26
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    Name one big league manager who never picked up a baseball...
    easy

    Ted Turner
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  7. #27
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    played a year in highschool, but hadn't played up to it... way too late to start.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    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.

  9. #29
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    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.

  10. #30
    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.

  11. #31
    Senior Member Double-A scottz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haddyz View Post
    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.
    In your mind, you imagine wrong, my brother. Really, you know nothing about me other than I played baseball until I was 15. You certainly don't know how I conduct myself at a ballgame. Lesson to my brother: throw away your broad brush - it's sloppy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    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 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.
    Seth and my brother, Haddyz - The point of my post here was to simply find out who played what level of ball. I've seen plenty of subtle mentions of who might have played, and I was just curious what the various TD members had for hardball experience.

    That said, I did not and do not mean to imply that actually playing the game for many years and/or at a higher level than typical does not add greatly to overall baseball knowledge. Of course it does, as it does for anything. For example, someone with a degree in structural engineering and 10 years on the job knows a lot more about building bridges than someone who has a passion for taking photos of old bridges - we could all agree, yes? And although no one would hire the photographer to design the structural plans for a new bridge, simple observation cannot be undervalued as a path to having insight on how something works. Indeed, the 2nd paragraph I quoted from Seth is a great argument for observational knowledge.

    A typical average my brother on the street has an opinion on what the weather might be tomorrow, and he may be right because if one pays attention to the skies and wind for long enough, one can pick up a good amount of information and, with reasonable accuracy, make a fairly accurate prediction. Now, my brother doesn't understand the atmospheric dynamics that are driving his forecast in the same way that the local meteorologist does, yet they can come to a similar conclusion. Substitute baseball for weather.

    Anyway, thanks to all for throwing out your baseball experience.

  12. #32
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    After reading Seth's first post, I just stopped. That was good.

    I made it to 16-year-old VFW and JV. I could have played Legion and Varsity as a utility infielder, but school was more important at that point. And while Bemidji was pretty good up through age 16, the high school coaches totally sucked. One of my teammates is now the coach and the team doesn't suck.

  13. #33
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anorthagen View Post
    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.
    Good luck Anorthagen. Thank you for reminding us that we were fortunate to play this greatest of games.
    Wish you well.

  14. #34

    Dear Randy Savage

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz View Post
    Lesson to my brother: throw away your broad brush - it's sloppy.

    A typical average my brother on the street has an opinion on what the weather might be tomorrow, and he may be right because if one pays attention to the skies and wind for long enough, one can pick up a good amount of information and, with reasonable accuracy, make a fairly accurate prediction. Now, my brother doesn't understand the atmospheric dynamics that are driving his forecast in the same way that the local meteorologist does, yet they can come to a similar conclusion. Substitute baseball for weather.
    Perhaps you're right. Perhaps I paid attention to the skies and "hot air" long enough to pick up a good amount of information to make a fairly accurate prediction of conduct. I don't really care. You simply received the brush intended for many. It's just like when a manager makes an example of one players mistake for all to see.

    I don't believe your post was ONLY intended to find out forum guest's experience with the game. If that were the case, I don't think you would have titled it as you did, with a jab at whomever said that. Oh well.

  15. #35
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    I really like this thread.

    I played through my freshman year in high school and then quit to focus on football and basketball (both of which I played at a D3 college). Probably the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, I was a decent baseball player, was a 1B/OF type and could hit a little at that point. I still really enjoy playing softball, though it obviously isn't the same.

    I like to play pickup basketball but I have become a bigger and bigger advocate for people not playing football. I have two wrecked shoulders and a couple of concussions to try and make my point.
    Papers...business papers.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Double-A scottz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haddyz View Post
    Perhaps you're right. Perhaps I paid attention to the skies and "hot air" long enough to pick up a good amount of information to make a fairly accurate prediction of conduct. I don't really care. You simply received the brush intended for many. It's just like when a manager makes an example of one players mistake for all to see.

    I don't believe your post was ONLY intended to find out forum guest's experience with the game. If that were the case, I don't think you would have titled it as you did, with a jab at whomever said that. Oh well.
    You know what, you're right - it is just like when a manager makes an example of one player's mistake for all to see...except you know...you're not the manager at Twins Daily, I'm not a player on your Twins Daily team, and I made no mistake. Other than that, it is identical, and I commend you for both your analogy and your ability to view things from perspectives other than your own. Kudos, my skipper...er...my brother!

    You can believe what you wish about the intent of my post. I told you what my intent was and you - because you know me so well - are able to discern the "real" intent. Yeesh. I gave it the title I did, because the comment from the other thread was the inspiration for my thought to ask what everyone's level of play was. Not to take a jab at anyone...I guess until I started reading your posts. Then I felt compelled to jab.

    Scott Zilka

  17. #37
    Senior Member Double-A scottz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
    I really like this thread.

    I played through my freshman year in high school and then quit to focus on football and basketball (both of which I played at a D3 college). Probably the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, I was a decent baseball player, was a 1B/OF type and could hit a little at that point. I still really enjoy playing softball, though it obviously isn't the same.

    I like to play pickup basketball but I have become a bigger and bigger advocate for people not playing football. I have two wrecked shoulders and a couple of concussions to try and make my point.
    I agree on football...I love watching it, but I don't want my son to play...though I'd probably not stop him if he wanted to.

  18. #38
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer biggentleben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
    I really like this thread.

    I played through my freshman year in high school and then quit to focus on football and basketball (both of which I played at a D3 college). Probably the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, I was a decent baseball player, was a 1B/OF type and could hit a little at that point. I still really enjoy playing softball, though it obviously isn't the same.

    I like to play pickup basketball but I have become a bigger and bigger advocate for people not playing football. I have two wrecked shoulders and a couple of concussions to try and make my point.
    Yet I played offensive line up to walking on with the Gophers, and I never suffered an injury or concussion in the game, and it certainly wasn't from lack of hitting hard. The game of football is safe. The glorification of "impact" hits has made the game what it is today, and that's a shame. I'll be very happy to let my kids play the game. Among my brothers, there were 5 concussions suffered in high school, none in football. There's a lot of reasons we could debate this, and I've stated my comments previously on the BYTO board. I'd rather avoid that level of discussion again.
    Staff Writer for Tomahawktake.com, come check it out!

  19. #39
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    Did not do ball sports as I had a lot of problems with depth perception. I have propelled myself down roads, paths, and trails though. Everybody has a sport that they can do.
    Generally those that did not play the sport do not learn the nuances of the game but if you pay attention and talk to people you do pick up a lot.

  20. #40
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    The nuance of the game I never understood though is a catchers had spent a lot of time watching baseballs leave a pitchers hand and track where they go to catch them. Shouldn't they be as a group better hitters?

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