Author Topic: I coached and umpired for years then switched to stripes  (Read 484 times)

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Offline yarnnelg

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I coached and umpired for years then switched to stripes
« on: September 07, 2020, 08:43:16 PM »
We had 13-15 year olds, Senior League. When I started we were loaded as far as pitching goes. Had a 13 year old throwing high 80's, low 90's. We know that because the Detroit Tigers came and gunned him as a 14 year old. On the first day Cap, Head Coach, throws me a catcher's mitt ..."Minors huh?" "Japan then Philly." "Catcher right?" "That's what I'm told." "Take Matt, then tell me what you think. Matt and I  talked, tossed the ball a while, told him to stay off the hill until I was convinced he was ready. His Dad sitting in the stands taking it all in. Finally up on the hill "Easy, I want to know your routine, 3/4 nothing more." Finally "OK, ten fast balls then join the group." Scorched earth. Thunderbolts with wood breaking power. Bat stingers. We went back out to the outfield "What do you think?" "I've caught flame throwers since I was a Sophomore in High School, nothing prepares you for what I just saw in a 13 year old. The next year we had a Hall of Fame Detroit Tiger in the dugout with the kids. Great stories about Babe Ruth and others. I realized later that he was watching our every move. Late in the season...close to City Tournament. We are working on pitchers prepping for the run. Bobby on the hill, Matt at short. Before the first pitch a pickup truck pulls in and parks between the stands behind the backstop. Guy just sits there watching. We are in a struggle, it's not Bobbie's night, but we are ahead by three going into the seventh. Last inning. Cap says"What do you think? Matt then go home?" "Exactly.Matt warm up" that pick up becomes alive, speed gun out, clipboards...Matt warms up. I call time out, walk to foul line. "OK, we want to see NCIS tonight. I want nine fast balls belt high down the middle, give me your best." Matt "OK Coach!" Then smiles. "I am dead serious you throw one curve ball, I come out and stick my foot up your butt." Look at Jeremy, "You call one curve ball, I stick my other foot up your butt, then the three of us look silly trying to get off the field." Nine fast balls, nine strikes, not one bat leaves their shoulders. Game over.

We are packing to leave, players already gone. Guy in the pickup comes in "Are you guys out of your minds?"
"Who wants to know?"
"Name, scout for the Detroit Tigers, here to see Matt."
"Tell me his high and low"
"The low 89, first pitch. The high 95"
"We are grooming pitchers for a tournament. We were saving Matt, then decided to let him throw a few. By the way ... great bat too, hit the top of the trees in center field, the fence is 320 out."

Matt went on to play for the Gators then the Cubs Minor League. That one in a lifetime player.