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Article:Baseball Notebook: Grandson's Tryout

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Last season was the first and only season to be able to attend all my grandson Matthew's practices and games. Now after a move from Louisiana to Tennessee to follow him to Tennessee he and his family moved back and we are 673 miles away from Pineville, Louisiana where he is playing his games. By the way that is Matthew's photo in my logo at ArmchairGM.

He called last week telling about his tryout which went very well. He said he had to dive to catch balls which were not hit directly to him. One of his former coaches told Matthew that he was impressive. The best thing about Matthew is that he is not afraid to get his uniform dirty to catch a ball and he is constantly smiling when he is on the field. I hope he never loses that enthusiasm. He turned 9 years old last Tuesday.

This season he finally gets away from using batting tees and pitching machines. He will be facing live pitching for the first time in his six years of playing youth baseball. The games will not go nearly as fast because there will be a lot more walks. I think he would make a good pitcher but that is up to his coaches.

Last year he played on a team managed by former major league pitcher Kevin McGehee. McGehee has been working with Greg Smith a former starter at LSU who was traded from Diamondbacks to Athletics this winter. Smith is on the brink of possibly being in the A's starting rotation. Smith is 31-14 in three minor league seasons with a 3.27 ERA. He couldn't have found a better team to break into the starting rotation except for teams like Rangers and Astros who have even more spots open.

Last year Matthew's team lost only one game during the regular season. The first thing anyone notices about Matthew is his love for the game and plays it the way it is meant to be played. When he is in dugout between innings he is focused on what is going on in the game not on the kids playing in the dugout.

It won't be easy this season being so far away from his games but will be getting reports from my daughter and her husband on how he is doing. I retired from youth baseball at the age of 13 after only four seasons and he is already in his sixth season at the age of 9 since he was 4 when he played his first game.

He is a Cardinals fan whose idol is Albert Pujols. He got to see Pujols homer in Minute Maid Park a couple of years ago which made his day.

Matthew, have a great season but most of all have fun.

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