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Dear Parents, Pipe down

POSTED April 30, 2013
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia


Even when not covering a game, reminders of work sometimes hit you like Lawrence Taylor unguarded in his prime.

I had one of those moments last week.

While taking what I thought was a quiet walk, I passed by a girls softball practice at the local field. These kids couldn't have been older than five, most of them had pink gloves, some of them ran to the wrong bases, and winning and losing was probably the last thing on their minds.

That, exactly, is what youth sports should be about. One mother, though, had a different take.

Her daughter, unfortunately, had the audacity to swing and miss at one of the practice pitches from her coach. The girl's mother stood up and, in a serious and loud tone, asked her daughter, "Is that how you're going to hit when the season starts?"

Yes. "Is that how you're going to hit when the season starts?" To a five-year old girl.

Unfortunately, stories such as this are not uncommon. To an extent, I can somewhat see why parents act like this toward their sons, because, while the odds are slimmer than slim, there is always the possibility of grooming a Major League Baseball player and seeing a big pay day at the end. I don't agree with that, but I understand where they are coming from.

Why a parent would push their girl hard in t-ball/softball is baffling to me. Sure, someone like Jennie Finch has made a good living off of softball, but there are very limited opportunities to do so. Maybe, at best, they can shoot for a college softball career and don't forget, the Olympics don't even offer softball anymore.

Also, more important than the sporting aspect of it, why would anyone want to treat a kid like that?

Maybe I am missing something, but I'm willing to bet it's that mother who is. I only hope her daughter makes contact on opening day.

And at least has some fun.

***

If the Nationals called the Mets today and offered Stephen Strasburg straight up for Matt Harvey, do the Mets say yes? I don't think so, which is an amazing turn of events from one year ago.

Strasburg, the former closer of the Torrington Twisters, has struggled this season, sporting a 1-4 record and, two years removed from Tommy John Surgery, left Monday's game against Atlanta with forearm tightness. His motion has been considered by many experts as dangerous for the arm and it looks like there is some truth to that. Have we seen the best of him already? It's a thought to consider.

Harvey, meanwhile, continues to dominate and is on the path to pitch in the All-Star Game at Citi Field. He allowed just one run Monday and his ERA is down to a miniscule 1.56. His motion is as smooth and compact as they come and he has shown great poise in pressure situations.

Maybe if the Nationals threw in Bryce Harper, the Mets would say yes.

***

What a sad, petty, pathetic and childish display Dwight Howard put on Sunday night. With his short-handed Lakers on the brink of elimination, Howard all but begged to get ejected, and succeeded, leaving his teammates on the floor to take the beating Spurs were dishing out.

His contract is up, and while he is a max-contract talent, Howard is not a max-contract character. If I'm the Lakers, after the way he behaved this season, I'd pass. Or make him shoot a free throw for it. He'd be lucky to hit the rim.

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