Between Little League, Babe Ruth, Pony League, AAU, etc., there are millions of youth baseball players in the United States. As the level of play increases and interests vary, those numbers shrink at each level of play. So where are the successful baseball players coming from in the U.S.? Truthfully, they’re coming from every state and region of the country.
However, I believe that the kids from up north where the cold winds blow so many months of the year will have to work harder and smarter than their southern counterparts due to the amount of available warm weather each season.
I know a scouting director who even passed on Derek Jeter, in part due to being a Michigan kid! And he loved the kid, his family, his skills and his makeup. Go figure!
If a travel ball player in Florida has his first game of the spring season January 15th, that same player would start around mid-February in Georgia just one state away. How about that same player in New Jersey? Maybe April 1st, and that’s if there’s no snow on the ground from a late storm.
Now that’s tough to overcome!
Try this one: when my son’s college ball club headed to Florida from Tennessee, they had already played 12 games and other teams from their conference in Texas had played 18. Yet some teams were traveling from the northern states to play (including practice) outside for the first time of the season.
One coach from Illinois, whose team hit the snot out of the ball in their opening game, shook his head in amazement at how well they did hit. He told me that no practices had included live hitting on the field until that very game!
So, can you win if you are at a disadvantage? Absolutely. But we’re talking about averages and odds. And I’d always rather have the odds in my favor.
But you know who tends NOT to have a disadvantage? Pitchers! They can get their offseason work done in the gym. And you only need 70 feet or so to throw a bullpen. The offseason is a great time to refine your pitches and begin working on your weaknesses.
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