IF you are a Mariner's fan you should check out the Prospect Insider Blog. Jason Churchill does a great job covering the Mariner's and their farm system. He is truly the Diamond Genius. This is a reprint of his latest post. Hopefully we have an eight year old out there that is reading us too, but ignoring the spelling.
One afternoon at a minor league ballpark I saw a kid, maybe eight or nine years old, sitting by himself watching batting practice as he leaned eagerly on the seat in front of him. A slugger in the cage was hitting screamers off the wall and over the fence into the parkling lot. I sat down a few rows ahead of him and started making notes and such, scribbling on the media notes I’d just picked up from the press box.
After about 10 minutes, the kid asked me if I knew who the specific player was that was putting on the show in the cage every few minutes. I did, and I told him, and he then asked, “when did he get here, he’s raking?” Taken aback that a grade-schooler just described what he just saw as “raking,” I filled him on the acquisition history of the player in question.
He then sat there in silence for another 10, 15 minutes until the player ran out onto the field to shag fly balls while they rotated groups for BP. I was about to get up and go sit on the bench so I could strike a conversation with a player or two as BP ended when the kid sprouted up again and asked if that player was going to be in the majors soon.
So here I am, talking prospects with an eight-year-old who keeps using words like “raking” and “range” and “mechanics.” I told myself while he was talking that I had to ask what this kid’s name was before I went down to the field, but then he said the damndest thing to me.
Looking straight at me for the first time, “Jake” said to me: “Hey, have you ever read that web site, prospectinsider.com?”
I started to laugh, almost uncontrollably, and told him “yeah, I’ve read that site from time to time… why?” He responded, “well, that’s where I go to read about minor league guys and stuff. My dad goes there everyday, and he saved it on my favorites for me. I used to have trouble reading, but my dad thought If i was reading something I liked to read about, that I wouldn’t be so bad at it.”
So when people ask me why I do this, I now have this story to tell. Jake gets a little better at reading because he reads about baseball, and he even visits Prospect Insider sometimes. When I asked him if it was working and if he was getting better at reading, he said this: “Heck yeah, I am here with my school today because I read more books than anybody else in my grade. Last year I read one book. This year, I read like… sooo many, like 20 or 30.”
Okay, so Jake isn’t THE reason I started writing about prospects and minor leaguers, but he’s certainly one of the reasons I enjoy it as much as I do. Oh, and the player he was in awe over was none other than Adam Jones.