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Time to relax with a baseball prospect is well behind us

January 31, 2012

Laguna Hills, CA – Our family had their recent visit with the Kansas City Royals farm hand during the month of December and the first week of the new year. In many ways just as similar to the thousands of other professional baseball families spread throughout the world during these past holidays. The only difference this time was that none of his other teammates came by the house to visit. Years past has not only given our family the opportunity to see John Lamb but some of his fellow Royals farm hands during the holidays. No Michael Montgomery, Tyler Sample or any of the others this year. I have no intention of attempting to rationalize the lack of their visit, nor hold any ill will. Our family’s time to relax with a baseball prospect is well behind us since John was ordered back to the spring training complex early. The Royals organization simply wanted him to start throwing a baseball again. This development for his rehab, after the June 2011 Tommy John surgery, has been welcomed with open arms and excitement by John, family, friends and followers of his infant professional baseball career.

Photo credit - John Owen

I just happened to be with John when Scott Sharp called and informed him of the Royals asking for a return to Arizona and continued rehabilitation from the surgery. As many baseball fans know the process of rebuilding the structural integrity of the elbow has extended many baseball careers. Since my son is still fighting for a big league roster spot this concept of giving him a “new” elbow could very well turn out to be a fantastic step in his young career. All the cards rest on his side of the table now. Only time will tell us all the overall success of this procedure on John. No player wants to see the disabled list during a professional baseball career but injuries are a part of sports. Starting to throw the 5 ounce baseball is merely one of the many steps through this rehabilitation process that hopefully will return my son to the game he loves and a chance to help his team win ballgames.

One of the many things accomplished during this past visit home was John signing his fan mail from the past season. We are amazed at the amount of mail he receives during a season, especially knowing the obvious level of his professional career. Reading the letters triggered a variety of emotions but none more prevalent than enormous pride. His willingness to acknowledge their simple requests brings tremendous comfort to the family knowing that he understands the value in the baseball fans. Some may not agree but I offer a simple reminder that John Lamb, like many other professional baseball players, has been urged never to sign blank cards.

Simple advice about the use of mail to receive an autograph from a ballplayer would include the following:

Photo credit - Colleen Lamb

1) Send your mail to the Spring Training facility of the Major League club whom controls the player’s current professional contract. Sending your requests to the minor league teams could only delay the process of the player receiving the mail.
2) Use a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope with your address placed in the top left corner of envelope also. This may help to insure delivery if you neglect the proper postage on your return envelope or package. Keep in mind minor league baseball players will not pay your postage with their own low wages. Most are not “bonus babies” whom play professional baseball.
3) Adding a brief letter to ask for an autograph is appreciated but not a necessity!

Without any doubt John Lamb was much more excited than the rest of the household over this critical evolution to this off-season routine a few weeks ago. The days fly by when we have him around the house and his early return to Arizona has surrendered some sadness but much more joy knowing he is throwing a baseball again. The only ones that have maintained their mild state of depression are the household dogs. Nightly, both continue to sniff under his bedroom door waiting for his return. Since John was a little boy all he talked about was playing Major League Baseball and now the opportunity still presents itself. The time to relax is clearly behind all professional baseball players now. Many families, friends and fans continue to watch the calendar waiting for the start of Spring Training in the hopes their favorite team will have success during the 2012 season. I can assure you all the Lamb family is doing the same.

 

Hoping it was a Merry Christmas for all

December 25, 2011

Orange County, CA – The left coast of our family, like many others, literally cherish this time of year. The Lamb family is hoping it was a Merry Christmas for everyone  that share similar challenges around the game of baseball. Management, staff, coaches, scouts and players are just a few of the examples whom endure great sacrifices away from their family during most of the Calender year.

This time of year provides the household an opportunity to get extra hugs from our loved ones. The arduous grind of a professional baseball season can be a challenge on any family through the travel and extended time away from home.

Recharging the mind and soul is a vital part of any professional baseball player’s success. John Lamb coming home for the holidays to take a short break from the clubhouse environment has been welcomed with open arms. It was great to see John show off the dimples over his new leather jacket!

While the last few days of 2011 are checked off the calendar, we share the excitement and anticipation of many other Kansas City Royals fans for the new season to begin. John Lamb is doing well and simply looking forward to direction by the Royals to begin a throwing program and return to his childhood passion of playing baseball.

Next holiday on the horizon will have us all one step closer to another Major League Baseball season. Again, the Lamb family wishes you all a safe and happy holiday season!

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A recent trip to Arizona really was baseball related

November 30, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – Life has been challenged by many things during the past few months winding down the end of the professional baseball season. A continuous struggle with a two-year old injury has heavily weighed on the household and far more than anything related to the great game of baseball. Baseball has and always will be the perfect place of happiness within the Lamb family as fans first and with our modest connections second. With the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Texas Rangers to end the Major League Baseball season in the 107th World Series some other professional baseball players also completed their efforts in the instructional leagues or the Arizona Fall League. Obviously John Lamb is not involved with any of these noted areas within professional baseball but he is still actively rehabilitating his arm from the Tommy John surgery earlier this year and preparing his body for next season. A recent trip to Arizona, a few weeks back, really was baseball related from the stand point of business, scouting, networking and more importantly getting a long overdue hug from the 6 foot 4 inch left-hander during his work in the Kansas City Royals complex.

An almost two-year old work injury from the end of 2009 has been a sharp thorn in the side of our household. The physically demanding trucking job hauling flammable freight around the Southern California basin came to an abrupt halt without warning following a delivery at a gasoline station in Orange County. After an arduous legal posture from the employer and very little help from the Workers Compensation Fund in California the claim was finally thrown to the curb. Baseball and scouting during this entire drawn out process was truly the only highlight during all the doctor visits and procedures performed without any real relief. Doctors, lawyers and the arrogant employer were the only winners at the end of the entangled mess of the California legal system. In retrospect, even though my pain continues to persist from the injury, the extra time did offer the opportunity to see more baseball games under my earlier Independent Contract agreement with the Marlins as a scout. New doors and opportunity have been opened as a result of this entire process through the extra scouting throughout the pain associated from the injury. I can only hope that a full-time scouting position comes from my added time around the ballpark learning about this great game of professional baseball.

Fortunately, my injury has taken a turn for the better following a recent surgical procedure known as a Discectomy a few weeks ago. All associated issues have been resolved following this simple surgery. I’m very thankful to have found a very competent surgeon perform the surgery which was long overdue to help my return to a productive way of life. My follow-up visit with Bryce Johnson, MD has confirmed that all appears to be going well with my recovery from the spinal injury. While there is still some pain at least I have full function of my right leg again and I’m looking forward to the start of rehabilitation soon.

The opportunity to have some recent visits with John has merely added to the joy of turning a different direction in life. He is continuing to prepare for the start of the 2012 season with his work in Surprise, AZ at the complex. His left arm is ready to throw again and scheduled to begin a throwing program in January, as directed by the Kansas City Royals organization. Not sure of all the details associated with plans of the program, but this Dad has full faith and confidence that John will continue to prepare himself for playing professional baseball for the Royals. We are very eager to hear and see his name every five days in a professional baseball uniform. For now the family will simply embrace this time of year with some extra visits by the left-hander due to the multiple holidays. One down and a couple more holidays to go before John Lamb hits the grind of another professional baseball season on the farm for the Kansas City Royals.

We will get an extra visit this coming weekend with John Lamb scheduled to sign autographs at the MVP Sports Cards store in Laguna Hills, CA just before the 1958 Mickey Mantle card raffle. Even though my son is humble in many ways and he realizes that plenty of work lie ahead to make his big league dreams, I have always been extremely proud of his willingness to sign for fans of the game. I hope to capture some smiles on the faces of attendees at the event for the local baseball trading card shop.

With the 2011 MLB season behind us, Fall League concluded, free agents being entertained by new teams, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place which adds another five years to continuous Major League Baseball and the Winter meetings right around the corner one can’t help but embrace every aspect of the game during the off-season. The pinnacle event of professional baseball had an enormous amount of people who embraced the game this past October. Not only the die-hard fans of the each team involved but also the post-season followers that jump on board the water cooler chatter around the work place. The grind of baseball can typically wear down many people during the course of the season but the Fall Classic always has the tendency to ignite an extra attraction to the game. Our family follows baseball with great intensity and this year enticed my Saint Louis born wife just a tad bit more while her Cardinals ended up winning the 107th World Series.

The off-season for professional baseball is really not a true concept. Many deals are being made for clubs to try to improve their organization. Fans are busy contemplating every move by their favorite team. Some change hats and patiently hope for opportunity to align with another professional organization to stay connected with this great game. Although there may be a lull in posts on this site during the next few months, one thing is certain, there will be many more trips to Arizona in the very near future which will also be baseball oriented with my son, scouting and continued passion for baseball.

No mystery about the weight of perception around baseball

October 10, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – Professional baseball has continued to ignite a passion throughout many generations worldwide. There are little boys that dream about the big leagues whom share the same goals as other young men playing at various levels. Coaches also have similar aspirations to connect themselves to the great game of Major League Baseball during the grind of high school, junior college and university ranks of competition. Some of these progressions can open doors of opportunity to become involved with a professional baseball organization under a contract. One thing is certain that there is no mystery about the weight of perception around baseball and the direct relation to the dreams of opportunity to wear the hat of a Major League Baseball club.

The old cliché of beauty is in the eye of the beholder relates much more than any fan will ever appreciate around the game. Fans debate, argue and joust with other family and friends throughout the year over their own perceived value of players, coaches and organizations’ personnel. The same can be said about the ongoing conversations that occur by management, development and scouts during the months of work that lie ahead of the next Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as well as the entire season of professional baseball. It is all about perception on and off the field during the entire journey and that will never change.

Best example to offer about this issue is about my son during the 2007 fall scout ball season. Some perceived John Lamb as a lazy player while others simply used the word easy to debate his efforts on the field. About half way through the season one of the coaches came to me an apologized for his original perception and admitted he was wrong. It takes a huge man to acknowledge being wrong and learning from the experience and I will forever have an extra respect for the scout and coach involved. He really was not wrong with his opinion but just merely passing on a judgment before enough time had passed to develop a firm perception. Jumping to conclusions about a player on or off the field is not in anyone’s best interest.

Professional baseball organizations will continue to rate and make decisions based on perception during the amateur career of a player, as well as the professional time on the field. It’s simply part of the entire process of trying to place a winning product in the stadium for the fans. Perception around baseball triggers multiple debates almost everyday for the clubs attempting to improve while others are looking to support their usual dominance.

How about all those ideas that circulated during the 1999 First-Year Player Draft over one of the more dominant players in professional baseball. Albert Pujols was not highly considered since 401 names were being taken off the Draft board before he was given his opportunity to play professionally. Surely hind sight is twenty-twenty vision but perception about the Pujols value within the game was extremely discounted at the time by management and scouts. It can safely be said now that Albert has increased his value through the multiple eyes of evaluations during his successful professional career.

One thing is certain about perception… it really takes some time to confirm any opinions about players and their value. Lots of earlier concepts about players are wrong both on and off the field. Life can not be predicted completely, yet baseball continues to attempt the impossible task of forecasting players with projected value via the first-year player draft. More times than not, the first projections are wrong around the game. No surprise that the failures outside the foul lines shy to matching the tendency of the game. A .300 hitter is cherished in Major League Baseball; however much less than 30 percent of players whom sign a professional contract will ever taste the food in a big league clubhouse.

Conversations will always be generated by the statistics on the field of play and with full merit. Whenever players and teams don’t produce they have huge targets on their backs from the fans. Management also feels the pressure to give their fans a quality product and these concepts are all driven by perception throughout a player’s career. An enormous amount of money is generated through the game of professional baseball by the fans that support America’s pastime. The fans really do have every right to discuss their opinions about their team and through their own personal perception. Social media platforms have offered the easiest method for the fans to contribute over their perceived value of their team and not likely to change in the near future, if at all.

Every facet of the game of professional baseball is generated by the basic cognitive process of debate over projection and perception of value. More times than not the first ideas are spoiled along the way through evolution of even more perception. Truly one of the characteristics which continue to draw me to the ballpark is the individuality allowed outside the lines. Sometimes a sense of arrogance and entitlement trickles into the debate of doing business around the game and not fighting it is best to humbly move on and discuss perceptions elsewhere. Reality for being right or wrong about any one perception will simply not be supported for quite sometime around the game of baseball. Unfortunately there is much more wrong than right, as history has revealed.

There is only one chance for a first impression and taking pride with that fact has always been a personal priority around the game of baseball. Nothing angers me more than when someone distorts the truth for their own egocentric reasons of perceived value in the game. Respecting people is a two-way street and difficult when one part of the equation is living with perception of greater importance than his fellow-man at the ballpark. Meanwhile kids, young men and old men continue to aspire towards their dreams of Major League Baseball value and leaving ones’ ego in the parking lot serves everyone better at the end of the day.

Involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels

September 30, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – There are plenty of theories that circulate in and around the game of baseball throughout all levels of participation. The ideas shared here on this platform were used during my son’s play and driven by providing every opportunity available during his development. The shear hope for his sincere enjoyment during his path of playing baseball was not left for chance, but rather constantly monitored through a parental involvement. The idea of taking a walk with your son during a baseball career was described in an earlier article. When is it time to stop the parental involvement? Should a parent meet with the high school coach about playing time? Does changing schools help a player get into the college or professional levels? How does playing club, or travel, baseball impact an amateur career? These are just a few of the ideas to be addressed about involvement with respect to your son playing baseball beyond recreational levels.

The concept of stopping a parental involvement with your son playing baseball is near and dear to my heart. The answer is quite simple but also very difficult to follow. Never stop being a parent to your kids… ever. Support and involvement can cause a cloudy area about athletics and more specifically baseball during the wrong stages of a young man’s career. Continue to support their participation with your involvement from a distance. There is no value in coaching your son from the backstop or the stands. Let the coach try to aid your son’s development as a man, a teammate and a player. Surely some coaches are better than others as with players on the field. If you can help your son’s ability to play the game by catching, throwing and hitting the baseball that is great but there are more important things to do as a parent. A very dear friend of mine that continues his professional baseball career as a scout once told me that my son did not need another coach to play he simply needed a supportive Dad from the stands and nothing else. Truly the best advice I could have received when my son entered Laguna Hills High School at the age of 13 years old. Parental involvement never ends from the citizen perspective, but clearly has limits during baseball.

When should a parent face a high school coach about playing time? Never is clearly the best answer here unless you want to start issues that will never be resolved. I always enforced the belief in my son to talk with his arm, glove, bat, legs and intellect to play the game. Work harder than everyone else at throwing, catching and hitting the baseball and any competent coach should place the best players in his line-up to win some games. If the coach does not place your son in the game have your son ask the questions about areas he needs to improve for a better chance to play after the hard work. Feel free to stand behind him during his conversation with the coach for support but let him do the talking and ask the questions. If the coach does not give him the respect to ask the questions then you might just have to step in and help buffer the situation to allow your son to talk. Respect is a two-way street between the coach and player but keep in mind the egos that are tested by all entangled in this equation. The distant approach is typically implemented during the wrong stages of their son’s amateur career. More parents seem to become obsessed during the high school, college and even the professional levels of baseball. The ideas of confrontation during the later years of playing the game can be devastating to a baseball career. Support is the key without engagement for the player to compete for the spot on the roster or line-up card. Actively participating with a coach about your son’s playing time will get him nowhere within the game real fast.

Many families change schools based on coaches, roster spots availability or reputations associated with certain programs. This is really a family choice and the merits come from a variety of positions on this concept. The same can be said about the wide diversity of opinions for signing a professional contracts out of high school versus college. Some players are ready to move on while others are not.  There are pros and cons associated with changing schools for the benefit of baseball development due mostly to education and athletic ability. Some coaches teach the game better than others, just as some players have raw tools to play the game and some need help to improve. If your son can play he should be on the field no matter where he goes to school. College and professional scouts will more than likely find him playing and if not there are plenty of simple suggestions to increase your chances of finding the right college or university to further a career. There is a plethora of advice and practical approaches to keep the uniform on until the player is ready to take the cleats off. Changing schools does not always work as intended but sometimes it will serve a true value for the player’s growth and opportunity to play baseball beyond the recreational levels.

The last area of this article will focus on the popular decisions during an amateur career to play travel, or club, baseball and the potential result of involvement. From a development standpoint, playing on a club team can greatly aid a player and baseball opportunity. The research and time needed to insure your son’s improvement should not be underestimated otherwise you are merely allowing someone to take your money without results. Simply writing a check to play in tournaments or on the weekends will not guarantee improvement if your son does not put in the necessary effort to work on his own. Keep in mind that a few talented instructors throughout the country, and world for that matter, really can help your son improve but there is no magic wand waved over their head walking in and out of the dugout. Your high school team should always have first priority to take part and be very careful trying to add travel baseball during school activities set by the coach. Within the Southern California area there is a growing tendency to play for a club organization over high school and college. Tremendous debate has been triggered over this propensity to ignore the challenges associated with playing in high school and college. There seems to be family logic involved with some of these choices but others are being held to rattling rumors of handling the rigors of college and, or, professional competition based on these growing trends. Only time will tell if this path has merit for being a successful college or professional baseball player with any true substance and value. Now if your high school does not have an off-season program and there is no interest of playing the other sports in season than by all means play baseball during the fall and winter. The paramount suggestion about travel baseball is buyers beware. I am a firm believer that the best programs are the least expensive, or even free to take part. Prime example is the reigning 2011 Connie Mack Champions the Midland Redskins for Amelia, Ohio. My opinion comes from personal experience of my son’s development while associated with the Midland program during the two summers he spent away from home learning how to compete and play without Dad making out the line-up card. Don’t forget the importance to take some time off while conditioning the body and mind for another full season of baseball in school.

There are a heap of concepts related to amateur baseball and a yet a very limited number of stories that can successfully account for playing Major League Baseball as a career. The story has not fully been written within the Lamb household during our experiences associated with the professional phase of John Lamb playing the great game of baseball. There are two things most certain as a foundation for a player’s development. Support and involvement seem to be the common denominators for many if not all the paths to the big leagues. Knowing when to back off and just be a supportive parent is critical for the player’s success on the diamond.

What can a parent do?

September 5, 2011

Baseball has an infinite number of stories about the players, personnel, coaches and fans whom are associated with the game. One thing that is common among all the unique stories is having parents during the path of participating with the game. I realize the common thread is obvious, but the job of parenthood is key to success as a citizen first and athlete second. There are multiple positions affiliated with the game of baseball throughout the many steps of participation on the field. Surely there are some instances of tragedy where a child loses a parent, or maybe both, but the relative or friend that steps up to help the child assume a very important role in their life. So what can a parent do to help their son play baseball? Try to take a walk with your kids in the game of baseball.

I will never claim to have all the answers but being the father of a current professional baseball player in the Kansas City Royals organization and a scout for the Florida Marlins I do have a small clue about the game of baseball. Routinely I’m asked questions about things associated around the great game of baseball. Some ask about youth ball, some ask about the high school challenges, some ask about playing college baseball, some want advice about improving their son’s skills and many more want to know about the path of their son playing in professional baseball. What is the most important thing a parent can do for their son around the game of baseball? What should a parent do about extra instruction? When should a parent leave the dugout and let someone else control their son’s participation on the field? The examples of questions go on and on covering a huge variety of topics. There all good questions but I’m reminded by a comment my grandfather made to me when I was very young… the only stupid question is the one never asked. It’s very obvious that many parents have no clue about the game and steps to play for a long time and that is fine. Sound advice for the baseball parent can be discussed in many ways, but for the purpose of this article I will address the key ingredients to help any parent with their challenges around the game. I have made mistakes during my walk of being a parent but hopefully some of these experiences can be beneficial during your journey. Take a walk with your kids in the game of baseball and you just might be pleasantly surprised.

Photo credit James Lamb

Wait for your son to ask you about playing the game. Take them to games and hope they catch the bug and desire to play. It will happen sooner or later if your son wants to learn how to throw, catch or hit. Don’t rush this step of the baseball career. If you already missed this important step, or ignored the obvious, it will eventually be exposed and unlikely they will be a fan of the game. Not the end of the world by any means but I see players in the high school level, and even college, that illustrate major resentments. The further I dig or see it becomes extremely obvious the player does not play for the right reasons. Way too much work is necessary for baseball success and the desire simply must be from within the person not someone else. The best approach to baseball starts early through desires from the player not the parent. Parents cannot do the work needed for the player’s opportunity to play the game at the highest level, nor can they write a check for their son’s chance to be in the show. Don’t force the game on kids!

Allow them to be kids. Let them enjoy playing the game of baseball. This directly ties into the previous point I know but if parents don’t have a sound grip on a foundation for the game of baseball there will be some serious challenges around the dinner table. Even if the only time you use the table is during the holidays. Kids need to be kids as long as possible and cannot be expected to be perfect on the baseball field. The game of baseball is failure based during half of the game. The offensive side is the glaring example of failure associated with baseball and must be accepted during the early years of playing. Parents that expect more hits, less strike-outs, more wins or higher expectations than the statistics of average big leaguers are setting their kids up for some serious challenges in baseball and in life. I can say that in retrospect I too was a victim of high expectations during my son’s playing youth baseball. I realize it is difficult to allow our kids to fail with dignity but if we, as parents, push too hard… our young men will likely have years of therapy in their future due to our high unrealistic expectations during their youth. The games your son plays during the ages of 5 to 17 will not impact their careers of playing for a long time, but the negative reaction to possible failure during those games could keep them from wearing a uniform quicker than necessary. If you allow them to fail with integrity, I guarantee you will see them succeed around the game. It is imperative that the kids are allowed to be kids during the early years of playing baseball. The longer they can play with fun in their hearts the higher the likelihood they will be in love with the game enough to survive the challenges ahead. Don’t forget their kids while they play!

Let them experience other sports during their youth. Don’t be in a hurry to have your son play 100+ games a year. Way too many kids are simply playing too much baseball during their youth. This approach to playing baseball is an epidemic now in some areas of the United States where the weather permits games and tournaments to be scheduled practically year round. The ideas of missing out on baseball development are driven by good marketing from a bunch of ill-advised people and corporations. Some players in the professional level are falling victim to a growing statistic of arm problems before their careers are complete and in certain circumstances a player’s career comes to an abrupt halt due to injury. Recently, I have struggled with this situation via hindsight of my own son’s amateur baseball career. John went down earlier this year in a Double-A level game with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the first inning against the third batter. Maybe he played too much during his youth, and maybe he didn’t, but this Dad will always wonder if the amount of youth games really contributed to the Tommy John surgery before his 21st birthday. Parents should force their boys to rest or simply play another sport to help occupy their minds away from baseball during the typical off-season periods of baseball. If you live in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas or Florida try to pretend there is snow on the ground during the winter months and you might not need to endure the agony of watching your son‘s career stop against a huge brick wall. My son played youth basketball and even flag-football in trying to rest from the game, but his desires to play baseball usually won the household battles especially the closer he got to graduating from high school. The hundred plus game schedules should be a goal for a baseball player not part of the process for obtaining the professional opportunity of the game. Plenty of other things can give their bodies the much-needed rest.

Keep being involved with your son playing the game of baseball. Having been a coach for many years now throughout all levels of youth baseball following my son’s desire to play the game, I am still blown away by the number of parents that treat their son’s practice, games or training as nothing more than a form of childcare. It’s not necessary to be at every practice or game but the more the merrier, at least until they become high school players. Pushing your son’s out of the car at their practice and running errands prevent chances of assuring he’s really learning how to play the game, or more importantly, having fun. If he’s not having fun he should be doing something else to find his passion and genius in life. I played for a few real crappy coaches during my youth but my love and desire to play the game was my personal driving force to work hard and compete for a line-up spot. You’ll never know about your son’s desires if you’re busy getting your nails done or working your brains out to help your boss pay his mortgage. By watching your kids practice or play you’re giving yourself a chance to make sure their desires to take part. Popping into a practice without announcement will give you a clear perspective of their experience and it will have enormous benefit when your son finds you there taking part of their enjoyment, or lack thereof. Your son’s may lose their desires to improve if you’re not part of the experience needed for them to improve and develop during their amateur days of playing the game. I realize the huge challenges parents have to mange time in our fast paced economy and lifestyles but you really should make an effort to be actively involved with the baseball stuff. If you’re too involved your son will let you know that you need to back off. Over involvement is really very common during the wrong stages of a boy’s baseball career, but that is another article for another day. Keep staying involved during their baseball until they make the high school team, at least.

What can a parent do? Try to take a walk with your kid in the game of baseball. The experiences from walking side by side around the game will be life changing for everyone involved. Although a potential love affair with the game may create other obstacles down the road of life all of which depend on the level of involvement with baseball, one thing can be said for sure and that is a true respect for the game will be created. If a relationship is fully allowed to blossom the benefits are unlimited by the amount of jobs associated in and around the game. Parents can have a profound impact on their kids both in and out of the ballpark. Being a good human being only adds to the true value of any ballplayer at any level. Talent, hard work, a dash of luck and tremendous humility can open many doors and reciprocal affair with baseball. I’m always looking forward to yet another unparalleled baseball story ingrained by all the individuality of the greatest game on earth.

Copyright James Lamb. All rights reserved.

This article was posted late last night by a friend and baseball colleague that runs the MLB Reports site. Thanks Jonathan for asking me to write about this specific topic!

September call-ups always trigger some emotions

August 29, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – The last couple of weeks, or months for that matter, have been somewhat dormant around the household about professional baseball. Surely from the standpoint about my son’s career with the Kansas City Royals club and his progress on the field have been very scarce. The September call-ups will always trigger some emotions around the Lamb house for many reasons. This time of the year usually offers some heated discussions about the grind of a long professional baseball season from both on and off the field issues. The game’s front-runners, disappointments, what-ifs, roster moves, injuries, off the field contracts, Major League Baseball pennant races, Minor League play-offs and the preparation to a short off-season are merely a few of the topics that can ignite extra feelings under our roof and many others I’m sure within the industry of pro ball. Rarely does a day go by without baseball being discussed in the house but this time of the year simply magnifies our thoughts from Orange County.

As many already know, John Lamb continues his rehabilitation assignment from his ‘Tommy John’ surgery back in June. It’s soothing to share he has indicated progress is moving smoothly down the long path of recovery. Not one day goes by without popping in to check on his teammate’s progress from the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, or the other affiliations within the Royals farm system. Some sadness comes from inability by my son to contribute towards another Texas League Championship at the Double-A level. It is very easy to dream of what if this, or that, could have happened but it really serves no purpose for digesting a difficult situation. The Naturals have a talented team and the Lamb family wishes them all well during their push toward the end of the long season schedule.

All other topics of baseball discussions, this time of year, are off-limits here due to my continued contractual obligations with the Florida Marlins. I’ve been extremely blessed to have four consecutive contracts with the Marlins and there is no desire to jeopardize my personal integrity for the benefit of increasing blog visits, or tweets, over my opinions. This site, believe it or not, has already been criticized within portions of the industry for exercising a small voice to simply connect our family experiences with professional baseball in a tactful manner.

One of the driving forces behind sharing is to give my wonderful wife a small break from the regular baseball discussions around the house. However, it must be shared that recently there have been days during her summer vacation, when stepping out of the office at 5:00pm EST, the television has already been turned to the MLB Network for the Intentional Talk program with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar. I can only hope she doesn’t have a crush on either of the hosts and that she really enjoys the fantastic show. Behind every baseball man trying to survive in this great game stands a woman who can truly make or break his efforts. I’ve got a good one and I have no desire to let the seasonal spike of emotions force me to start looking for another.

Some top baseball prospects converge on California

August 3, 2011

Long Beach, CA – This coming weekend will offer a special experience for the family and friends of some high school age players from all across the country. There is a long list of talented baseball players that have participated in this showcase event which dates back to 1986. The Area Code Games have taken on many directions over the years and displayed the talents of multiple prospects. The simple fact that more than 500 Major League Baseball players have participated in this event remains the focus of all professional baseball organizations. The games begin on Friday following athletic evaluations at Blair Field, home to Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball. There will be a large number of college and university coaches in attendance right along side the management personnel and professional scouts of all 30 clubs. While some top baseball prospects converge on California there will be new stories from family and friends about their experience associated with one of the nation’s best buffet of talent.

The Athletics, Brewers, Rangers, Reds, Royals, Nationals, Yankees and White Sox will have the honors of sharing the dugouts with these talented players. There will also be a few other teams represented by various levels of club personnel to interact with the young men from around the country during the event. There is no chance for sharing any personal opinions about the players for obvious reasons but one thing is certain. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues from around the country that share similar passions and responsibility around the game despite my continued challenges of mobility from a spinal injury.

Obviously there are no guarantees with future draft possibilities attending this event. Some are surely going to be drafted but many others not present will be announced during the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. My son John Lamb had the fine fortune of participation back in 2007 with the Washington Nationals club following his Mickey Mantle World Series Championship with the Midland organization from Ohio. It is very safe to say that his involvement in the showcase event contributed to his current professional baseball opportunity with the Kansas City Royals. I’m very confident that many more Dads from this year’s Area Code Games will agree about the size of presence from professional baseball and the potential impact on their son’s professional career.

More than eight weeks ago

July 31, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – It is very easy to spend some time throughout any day thinking about baseball if you love the game. Many people scattered worldwide do just that based on their unique relationship with baseball. Some, like me, have a professional attachment to America’s grand old game outside of being a fan of professional baseball. My son John Lamb (1-2, 3.09) and my current part-time scouting responsibility for the Florida Marlins in Southern California offer me a great reason to routinely think about baseball. It’s been a little more than eight weeks ago that my son underwent a ’Tommy John’ surgery with Dr. Lewis Yocum in his Los Angeles facility to repair his left arm. This professional baseball prospect dad continues to be grateful for the past, saddened by the present and optimistic about the future for my son.

Not one day goes by without thankful thoughts towards the Kansas City Royals organization and the blessings they have provided John Lamb out of Laguna Hills High School after the 2008 first year player draft. I told my son he had ‘a snow balls chance in #3!!’ getting his name called on the first day of that draft due in part having not played his entire senior season. With my wife Colleen taking the day off from work and John staying home from school we were all intent to watch and listen for the names of players we knew around amateur baseball. A new driving job and work schedule did not give me the real living room experience of the Royals 5th round selection, but my phone exploded within seconds of the official announcement on draft tracker. John’s first year of draft eligibility was more than a dream coming true on day one of the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. His desire for a professional baseball opportunity became a reality and the Lamb family will always be very appreciative toward the Kansas City Royals organization.

Scar from the Tommy John surgery!

The sorrow within the household now is due in part to the obvious pause of John Lamb not contributing in the game he absolutely loves to play. Despite knowing that injury is a normal occurrence around sports it really hasn’t helped some cope with the need to wait for the rehabilitation process to run the natural course. Fortunately, my son has been down similar paths of disappointment in his life and remains very optimistic during his rehab work with the Royals. The left arm has had full range of motion for quite some time now and he continues to work hard towards throwing the ball again when the doctor indicates he is ready to begin. Routine phone calls and or text messages confirm that John remains positive with the current situation while on the ‘disabled list’ for the first time during his young professional baseball career.

No matter how much anger or disdain some may have for the current Kansas City season, I have tremendous optimism about the Royals future. The organization has assisted with my disposition by giving my son one of the best known surgeons in the industry to help with his return to baseball. I have no reason to change my posture of temperament with the times ahead for the club. Even though my son’s involvement with the Royals future may be in a holding pattern now, I am more than confident in his ability, desire and work ethic for a swift return to an active role with helping the organization win championships in the very near future.

The Lamb family will continue our love affair with the game of baseball and stay thankful for our continued experiences around the ballpark.

Silence of the Lambs for a few more days

May 25, 2011

Laguna Hills, CA – The earlier post of a few powerless situations around the game almost made me feel somewhat clairvoyant but for all the wrong reasons. The frailty of sports and injury which sometimes need to take pause from competition is truly the greatest powerless condition to any player, team, management, staff, family and the organizations fan base. By now many realize that my son has been placed on the disabled list for elbow discomfort following his last brief performance in Tulsa, OK against the Drillers. Professional baseball players make every attempt to avoid a status change which takes pause in their respective careers but this recent change to my son’s season literally brought tears to most eyes of family and close friends. Until further evaluations are performed by doctors appointed by the Kansas City Royals, silence of the Lambs will continue for a few more days. Our family has endured similar issues back in February of 2008 and until competent doctors have fully determined the basis for the discomfort and established a plan to treat the effected area of the arm it serves no value to speculate over the elbow discomfort.

John Lamb (1-2, 3.09) left his 50th start of his professional career last Thursday during a Texas League appearance after throwing just 7 pitches in the first inning. The household was holding breathe during the broadcast after the first pitch to the third batter in the first inning. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Double-A affiliate of the Royals, radio announcer Stephen Davis helped us breathe a little later during the broadcast with the clubhouse announcement about John’s condition. Trying to make every attempt possible to stay positive with my son during a call after the game I focused on the fact he ended the day with a strike, 1 strike out, 0 walks and 0 hits. Great work out of the bull-pen but not the length of time any starter desires during their professional baseball career. Rather than waiting for another start in 5 days John Lamb is taking pause for further evaluations.

So for now, silence of the Lambs is due out of necessity until all the facts are in and announced through the proper channels of the Kansas City Royals. No matter how many personal phone calls, emails or texts we receive, just like the 2008 experience, we must respect the situation until decisions have been completed. Again, I’m very proud to have my son involved with the Royals organization and I have complete confidence in their desire to move forward with helping my son return to the mound. It serves no value to speculate around the current situation or feed into the rumors which are already out of the bag. There’s no dad that enjoys seeing their son take pause in a professional baseball career but many are forced to digest the powerless conditions of athletic competition. Our family has been down this dreaded path before and believe me it’s no walk in the park with or without roses.

Claudia Emanuels

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