Videos by OutKick
The first house ball baseball practice is in the books and I’m not going to lie, if a team out-hustles us this summer it’ll be a travesty
Going into last night’s first practice of the season, I had a very limited knowledge of what us coaches would be working with outside of 4-5 kids. My biggest concern was finding enough arms that could get the ball over the plate so we don’t have to sit through two-hour games filled with multiple walks.
After twenty minutes of bullpen work, we have two catchers and four boys who can get the ball over the plate. And just like that, I’m feeling much better about life, especially when you’re dealing with league-mandated inning counts that require teams to dig deep into the bullpen and bring in a variety of arms.
Initial observations from a first-time coach running his first house ball practice:
- I took the community advice and worked the boys in stations; Pitchers/catchers; infielders; newbies who needed some analysis on the basics so they don’t end up with broken noses.
- Batting practice was broken up into tee work/rotating live pitching.
- Base running; we went very basic and had the boys try to chase down the kid in front of them; two gassers around the diamond.
- I’m very encouraged by the competitive nature out of this group. They’re not here to talk video games and something they saw on YouTube. I have at least 7-8 boys I’d consider dirt dawgs who are ready to dive for balls, ready to get dirty. I’m talking boys who are very hungry and have talent.
- I have one boy I’m going to nickname Pain Train (his first name starts with a P) because he has a big front leg kick at the plate and if he hits the ball, look out, he’s bringing pain for the defense. I already love this kid’s attitude — and he can pitch. You’re damn right I’m not going to say a word about his plate approach. It reminds me of some of the greatest softball players I’ve ever watched. This kid isn’t going to get cheated at the plate.
- Then there’s T-Bone, an undersized third-grade catcher who has a heart of gold. He’s a ballplayer. You know when you just know? That’s T-Bone. I sent him down to 3B for grounders and he struggled to get his glove down, but he kept coming. I just kept hammering balls. He kept getting back in front of the line and giving 100% effort. T-Bone is one to watch. His older brother is also on the team and is a talent. I’m very fortunate to have both of them.
- Then there’s the boy I don’t have a nickname for just yet. He’s going to be my Verlander on the mound. For his age, it’s gas. Small kid, big arm. I also learned from his father that the boy is a wrestler. Hibbs, the assistant coach, put it best when he said this kid won’t be playing the right side of the field.
- I did hit two kids during batting practice. One is a kid who is always at our house, so he didn’t flinch. The other boy, I’d just met. He took it right in the left flank. I’ll give him credit, he wanted to wait, but held it together and then smoked one right back at me for his revenge. I think he’ll be OK.
- I’m also encouraged by what I see out of a boy who came out using a beautiful Rawlings catcher’s mitt to play catch. I asked him if he wanted to be a catcher and he seemed indifferent to the position, which was shocking considering the expensive leather on his hand. There’s just something about this kid that tells me he’s pure a pure dirt dawg. Just wants action. Between him and T-Bone, I have my projects.
- Finally, there’s T, our first-year, first-ever baseball player. He’s undersized and learning the game, but he is a helluva listener. His batting stance for a kid who’s never stood at home plate is beautiful. These are the kids that make house ball so damn romantic for me. It’s baseball at its purest form.
Conclusion: I’m ready to roll. After 90 minutes of practice, I will be shocked if there’s another team in the league that out-hustles us for two hours during a game. If we lose a game, it won’t be for a lack of effort, that’s for sure.
If these kids keep the same attitude as they had last night, and give the same effort, we’re in for a very positive, fun summer together. That’s all I can ask for.
‘Come and Take It’ shirts are arriving!
• Jon D. from between Dayton and Cincinnati writes:
Tough loss for our Reds tonight. These three young starting pitchers are a bright spot for the future. Bullpen not so much. Going to a game in May when the Yankees come to town.
Today’s mail really lined up. The new shirt and the stickers arrived. A final preseason cut this week and then ready for 4/20 Opening Day. Been spreading the word last two years on your TNML with friends and family. I explain it’s a lifestyle and all about taking pride in your property and community.
It’s absolutely beautiful. There are no other words.
Masters folding chairs
• Anonymous No. 1 from The Masters, writes:
In response to John in San Diego’s question this morning about the Masters green folding chairs: No they are not rented. Yes they are purchased. $35 each. I should know, I bought 4 last week. The routine is patrons come through the gate when they open and walk quickly to their intended spot, park their chairs and then head to the merchandise shop.
Spend $$$$ and check their merchandise in at the bag check. They will give you a claim ticket and hold your loot for you all day. You pick it up at the end of the day on the way out. Stroke of genius in commercial psychology. They get you to buy more because you know you won’t have to be lugging it around all day Once the merchandise is secured, you walk the course and show up back at your chair when the first groups come through your hole.
Leaving the course late in the day I would see dozens of these green folding chairs in the patron sitting areas. Not knowing whether those patrons were coming back to get them and what happens to them if they did not.
• Michael D. writes:
Joe, yes you buy the chairs and use them year after year. We need TNML stickers for next year to represent at Augusta. Also, not sure if you covered this or not but alot of people go from hole to hole sitting in open chairs as they follow some of the early groups. Great way to spend the day.
2. The patrons were very quiet for Phil which was odd as he usually gets the 2nd loudest crowds.
3. Saturday was actually a good day as the rain kept the crowds down some, but always a great time at Augusta.
I have stickers. You have to request them. Help me help you. Send addresses.
• Masters Insider Anonymous No. 2 writes:
You can set them up around a hole, and leave them unattended, no one will mess with them, and it will be waiting for you when you get back.
You can’t leave them overnight. Back in the old days, people used to pay kids to get them down to 18 so they could be closest to the green. It’s all first come first served.
A lesson on how to leave these social media bots speechless
Welp, it’s officially…officially…over
And just like that, COVID is now over and old news. Remember when you couldn’t go into restaurants or bars in places like New York or Portland, OR without proof of vaccination? Good times.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget that it’s been less than a year since the airline mask mandate was dropped (April 18, 2022) and people were told that they were domestic terrorists if they dared not wear a mask on a plane.
LESS THAN A YEAR AGO!
Now we have Brandon declaring the ‘VID ship has sailed and Big Daddy Government has moved on.
Survey language analysis
• This caught John H.’s eye:
Here is a contribution to the discussion on media language that is intended to push an agenda.
This is a survey that was sent to Georgia residents. Notice the verbiage – “reducing racism” but “addressing crime”. Racism is obviously so high that it needs to be reduced. But crime just needs to be addressed. Further, we need to “improve(ing) infrastructure” but education has no descriptive term preceding it. And of course the climate/environment needs protecting, but again, we only need to address crime.
These word choices are intended to push an agenda, especially on those who may not critically evaluate what they read.
TNML beer fridge sticker placement
• Dave M. writes:
Thanks for the sticker. I had to make a decision and decided to go with the front and center beer fridge slot. I think the mower is nearing end of life so once that goes I’ll reach back out and bother you for another. at which point I’m sure you’ll be selling these and id happily throw down $6.99 free shipping for another sticker. cheers brother!!
That’s it, I’m jacked up for a big day of work. It’s going to be near 80 here for the rest of the week and spring has more than sprung. I’m talking the type of weather where you get all sorts of work done around the house and yard. It’s like we’re getting an extra week of June in April.