My 5 ½ year old son, Jalen, began his third season of tee-ball last Saturday. Not sure I've mentioned this, but Jalen is playing on the A's. My son. MY A's. Anyways, the first day is full of boring administrative stuff (like me using my 168 lb. frame to plow through all the other dads so that I could be first to sign up to coach) and teaching the kids a few fundamentals. J's come a long way since he first picked up a bat. Here's his Fall 2009 scouting report:
Hitting: If anyone asks my kid which way he bats, he'll proudly proclaim "I'm a switch hitter". This is the product of two sad, sorry circumstances: (1) Jalen gets a kick out of imitating the entire awful line-up of the 2009 Oakland A's – righties and lefties – when we're just messing around with the bat and a ball. (2) I might've told the boy that I taught myself how to switch-hit in my own younger days. (And, last year, I crushed balls over the wall from both sides of the plate while batting against Jalen. I'm not bragging, but I obliterated his sh*t. Just killed it. Ask Mrs. Bootleg – she was there.)
Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah…J is not a huge fan of the tee, but at least he's finally started to pull the ball. Watching his slow-ass bat poke a thousand ground balls to the second baseman was just maddening at times. I don't wanna jinx the boy, but after Saturday's practice, he looked like the best hitter on the team. Oh, don't look at me like that. This is NOT just his dad talking. That was actually the chatter from the scouts and the agents who'd congregated around the snack mom's cooler full of juice boxes and apple slices.
Defense: See that picture immediately above? The one where Jalen appears to be casually watching a ball roll right by him? Yeah, that's pretty much his definition of defense. Before the ball is hit to him, he does everything right. I mean, you should see how he bends his knees! And, then comes the ball and it all goes horribly wrong. Fortunately, he loves running because if he's playing shortstop, you can count on seeing the back of his jersey as Jalen hightails it towards centerfield in hot pursuit of the ball that won't stop rolling.
Intangibles: Jalen's middle name really is "Henderson". These are the things that happen when your wife requires a c-section and still hasn't recovered from the drugs when it comes time to fill out the birth certificate. He insists on wearing superfluous eye-black on his face and unnecessarily diving just to accumulate grass stains. He's like the little Black union of David Eckstein, Darin Erstad and Eric Byrnes. Favorite postgame treat: chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich.
I think I've convinced him to wear the high green socks.
I can't wait until Saturday.