The One With the Centerfielder…and Joe Maddon

My 6 year old is a center fielder. If you have read more than one post on this blog, you know that we are a big baseball family. So my 6 year old playing baseball is not a surprise. The fact that a 6 year old has been identified as a center fielder is a bit disconcerting to me however.

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Please know that I am in no condescending center field. Good friends of ours have a travel ball player whose son frequently plays center field. And the boy has Center Field on lock down! There is not a fly ball that will not get caught. But I will also tell you, he is a solid pitcher and can also play first base. This is where my problem lies, when you are six, you should not be a first basemen, or a left fielder, or a shortstop, you are still learning.

Before anyone comments how if I don’t like it, then I should coach, well, thank you very much, but I have coached. Yes, I have coached…twice. It wasn’t pretty, but for the Love every kid played every position. Husband has also coached several times, so we get it.  I promise I appreciate and think the world of coaches of youth sports. It is not an easy job. It doesn’t pay well either I realize. But kids are not going to learn the game, or what position they are good at, or what they like, if they spend all of their time in center field…or ANY one position.

joemaddonbeardJoe Maddon is arguably the best coach in Major League Baseball. He has taken the Cubs from, well the Cubs, to one of the best teams in baseball. He has assembled a great group of young athletes and he has led them to a winning season and a run for the World Series (please Dear Jesus, let this be the year!) What, you might be asking, does Joe Maddon have to do with my six year old playing center field?

 

Kris Bryant, NL Rookie of the Year (2015) is an outstanding third basemen….but Joe Maddon also has him play left field pretty often. In fact, in one game against the Brewers, he played three different positions in ONE inning! Ben Zobrist came into the Cubs organization this year as a second baseman, but he has also played left field, short stop, and center field. Travis Wood, a relief pitcher, has even played left field…and made a heck of a play out there too!

Y’all, if Joe Maddon sees the wisdom of moving MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS around the field, surely six year olds should also be playing more than ONE position for the season! I promise, if my son played first base the entire season it would bother me just as much as him playing center….It’s not the position, it was the lack of moving boys around that bothered me.

Coaches: I salute you, I respect you, I thank you, but PLEASE let kids TRY new positions. It is the only way they will learn. The only way they will stay interested and LOVE the greatest game. I mean, if it works for Joe, surely it’s worth a try. And in the words of the great Joe Maddon…Try Not to Suck.maddon1

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