With the explosion of club ball programs in Las Vegas , many of my clients have asked me for my thoughts on high school baseball . Might I add that these thoughts were 100 % unsolicited by myself . This is not just a local phenomena . There are a smorgasbord of organizations popping up all over the country. Evo-Shield , Mizuno , Majestic , the Utah Marshalls , ABD, CBA, GBG, IMG , a few other acronyms , and an organization to be named later are mobilizing and actively soliciting the best talent in the country . Make no mistake about it , these guys are are very organized and and are a force to be reckoned with if you are a high school coach and a great option if you are the parents of a talented baseball player . They are hiring quality coaches with a plethora of professional experience . Others are acquiring sponsorships for equipment and uniforms and some are soliciting big money donors to take an edge off of the financial bite of competing and playing a quality schedule against the best talent in the country . While sanctioned MLB scout teams operate outside the realm of a high school baseball schedule ( for now ) and only field a team in the summer and/or fall , these guys are directly competing for the best talent and playing a spring schedule as well . They are a year long ” business ” and they are not going away .

The reaction of high school coaches has not been cordial to say the least . Downright hostile is more of a better term . So when my clients ask me what I would have done if I was faced with these options as a parent , I was very candid , as I always am , with my opinion . Not guarded . I simply would deal with this in regard to what was best for my son . Kris was being heavily scouted by  NCAA Division 1 programs and MLB teams . There were few options then and this was back in 2007 – 09 which was not very long ago .

My first move would be to communicate with Kris’ high school coaching staff and let them know what was happening in his life . After I carefully considered the options , I would have a sit down meeting with his coach and let him know the the summer and fall schedule that we have laid out . It was and always has been a preference of my family to have both my sons go through the experience of playing high school baseball . What that means is that we were 100% committed to the spring schedule between tryouts in late February to the state playoffs in mid May should we get there . Before and after those dates , we had options . Not nearly as many as you all have today but we had them none-the-less . There were many things to be considered when making such an important decision as to where I had Kris play his summer and fall schedule such as : strength of schedule , what events he was to attend , level of competition , financial obligations and the questions that these decisions posed . Was he playing in front of decision makers ? Was he facing the top pitching talent in the country ? Were the events regionally or centrally located ? Was there intrinsic value in attending these events ?

Never did it cross my mind that there were actual ” consequences ” or ” retribution ” for the decision(s) we would make regarding our high school baseball program . I am appalled to hear some of the comments made by high school coaches as told to me from the families of my clients .

” Good luck getting playing time in the spring if you don’t play with us in the summer and fall . ”

” If you play for _________ ( fill in the blank ) , you are off the team . ”

” That is just a money grab if you play for that team. ”

And the best one of them all :

” Those coaches don’t know a thing about baseball . ”

Really ? Let me say that the Bonanza coaches were very supportive . Kris was going to be a part of their program whether or not there were ” consequences ” or ” retribution ” for his commitment to furthering his baseball career . My view was that if Kris didn’t play one inning or get one at bat , he would be the best teammate he could be . After all , that happens to some athletes who play their entire high school career . Doesn’t it ? And it was only 31 games . Would we have transferred to another program ? Doubt it . We were zoned for Bonanza . We belonged there. Another life lesson to be learned . And this town has provided me with a lot of opportunities to teach my sons a ‘ life lesson ” or two . This would be a tremendous opportunity to be a role model for others . But it never happened because the Bonanza coaching staff consisted of a group of mature individuals who checked their ” egos ” at the door a long time ago . Never mind that Derek Stafford would have benched the best player in the state ! And for what ? Punishment ? Retribution ? Consequences ? Derek wanted to put the best team on the field and he knew that Kris deserved to be on the field . He made everyone around him better . His decision to play the summer and fall ” outside ” of the Bonanza baseball program made him a better baseball player for Bonanza high schools’  baseball program . Kris wasn’t treated any differently , good or bad , than any other player in the program . He was just treated with respect by the Bonanza coaching staff . That , in turn , helped my son turn into the fine young man he is today . In the end , he was rewarded by the Bonanza coaching staff by the way he performed , both on AND off the field . He represented the Bonanza program very well . For me personally , the high school experience was awesome .

In todays environment , I can only hope for all of you when it’s over that you can say the same .


  • comment-avatar
    January 5, 2017 (3:20 pm)

    Really ? HS coaches say stuff like that ? I’m shocked ! Shocked to hear that !

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby T.
    January 5, 2017 (3:22 pm)

    They actually make you sign a contract at some high schools !

  • comment-avatar
    Nelson Gord
    January 19, 2017 (7:35 am)

    Well said. I am both a head HS coach and run a travel program, so I see it from both sides!

  • comment-avatar
    Anthony Barrow
    January 22, 2017 (9:14 pm)

    Perfect! My son earned his spot! If he didn’t play then he supported his teamates.

  • comment-avatar
    January 25, 2017 (4:34 pm)

    Really ? High school coaches threaten their players with ” consequences ” ? Sounds to me like the coach should be disciplined and not the player .

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