My Baseball Scouting Reports

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Age 8

Prospect has effortlessly made the transition from wiffle ball to tennis ball. Unfortunately, he refuses to give up the plastic bat he’s had since age four and which he still affectionately refers to as “Mr. Bluey.” His backyard fielding and hitting are coming along nicely, but at this point it’s his control of the ball that stands out, particularly when his little brother runs to first base and the prospect pretends that hitting the runner in the head is an accident instead of payback for a stolen Pop Tart.

Age 10

Prospect and his companions have moved their game to a small field down the street, the use of real bats and baseballs having led to an unfortunate incident involving prospect’s kitchen window and many weeks of lost allowance. His talent continues to develop, and he leads his fellow players in home runs, doubles and coolness of headfirst slides. Hopefully, this is due to superior athletic skill and not the fact that he tends to play with kids who are at least a year or two younger than him.

Age 11

Prospect has signed up for Little League, where his batting average and power numbers have taken a sharp dip due to his obvious fear of getting hit by the ball (which is not pitched in the slow, underhand manner to which he’s grown accustomed). Can only be viewed as a setback.

Age 11

Prospect has quit Little League halfway through the season and is back playing with the younger neighborhood kids. Batting average soars.

Age 12

Vowing that he will one day play in the big leagues, prospect has committed himself to a daily training program of video game baseball, which he has quickly come to prefer to the real thing. If physical skills ever approach video game skills, we have a potential superstar on our hands.

Age 13

In an attempt to get prospect away from the TV, prospect’s parents have given him a pitch-back net, and he can be seen playing catch with himself for entire afternoons. While such devotion will be beneficial in a future major leaguer, he’s currently gaining a reputation as the creepily obsessed baseball kid, and fewer neighbors ask him to mow their lawns.

Age 14

After what must be a million throws, the pitch-back net has at last broken. Worried parents clearly elated.

Age 16

Prospect went 3-for-3 in his gym class softball game, prompting a member of the baseball team to casually mention that he should try out for this year’s team. Hard to tell if he was being serious. (Prospect’s three hits were all bloop singles, making sarcasm a distinct possibility.) In any case, prospect seemed happy with himself, even if he didn’t actually try out for the team, preferring to watch reruns of Knight Rider instead.

Age 21

Prospect spotted at a neighborhood batting cage in a misguided attempt to impress his date. Even though the mechanism allows no potential for error, unfailingly delivering each 60-mph pitch over the plate, prospect is still noticeably afraid of getting hit. Continued scouting not recommended. Zero probability of him ever reaching the bigs, and only slightly better chance of him reaching first base metaphorically.

Age 35

Update: under pressure from work friends, this long-forgotten prospect has joined a softball league, where the pitches are slow and underhand again. He’s quickly developed into the seventh-best player on his team. If he continues at this rate, chances are good he could become a player of note in the softball league, or at least a player of note on his own team.

Age 35

Prospect has been kicked off his team for hitting an opponent in the head as that player ran to first. Victim apparently took a can of beer from prospect’s team bench and prospect felt retaliation was needed. He now spends much of his free time on a strip of grass behind his apartment building, playing with a vintage pitch-back net purchased from eBay. He’s gaining a reputation as the creepily-obsessed baseball guy from 3A, and fewer neighbors talk to him on the elevator.

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