Jack and I spent the middle part of the day at the Laguna Youth baseball tryouts for 10 year olds. This will be Jack's seventh year of organized baseball. Additionally, he played a season of summer ball and fall tournament baseball last year. It is the third year that he has gone to the tryouts.
There were more than 40 kids. They had each boy catch two fly balls in the outfield and throw to second, field two grounders at shortstop and throw to first and then take two throws at first. After the fielding, they lined up all of the kids, gave them three pitches against a pitching machine and then had them run the bases after the third pitch.
Jack looked very smooth taking balls in the outfield and the infield. The two grounders ate him up a little, but they stayed with both and made strong throws. At the plate, he swung at the first pitch, drove the second pitch in left center and fouled off the third pitch.
I was surprised how uncomfortable most of the kids looked. While Jack looks and moves like a baseball player, most of the kids acted like they had never seen a glove, ball or bat before.
I spend some time talking with one of the assistant coaches from the Gunners tournament team. He is planning on coaching majors this year and noted that most of the 11 year olds looked just as awkward. He also made the point that we have spent the last six months watching tournament baseball against the toughest teams in Northern California. As a result, our reference point for judging players has changed. I spent most of the rest of the tryout talking to Cunningham; his son was also participating.
This year, the league is starting a new division called Minor. It is between Majors and AAA. The Minor division is supposed to include 8 teams stocked with 11 year olds and some 10 year olds. I am pretty sure that this is where Jack will end up.