Thursday, May 04, 2006

Passed Ball

Just when I thought the Dallas Parker project was finished, I received a call from Doc this morning. Doc had just hung up with one of our cross-checkers who still had Dallas on the outer edges of his radar screen despite the walk-off incident (I had the same cross-checker watch Dallas pitch in February). As it turned out, Dallas called Doc last night for some advice. According to the Doc, it was a productive call. I was just thrilled to hear Dallas had contacted someone about his problems. I had left a ton of messages for Dallas, but never received a return call. Doc told me that Dallas said he was too embarassed to call me back.

Come to find out, Dallas eventually went back to class but never returned to the team. The Wekiva coach was understandably upset at Dallas's sudden walk-off the mound and from what Diego told me, the coach lit him up all the way into the clubhouse and practically out to the parking lot. It was clear that Dallas was not welcomed back and Dallas wasn't the least bit disappointed at that particular moment.

I'm sure I could've mediated Dallas's return but I certainly wasn't going to make any effort until Dallas proved to me that he really wanted to play. Although his coach could use him right now in the FCCAA State Tournament, Dallas's playing days for Wekiva are over. And what a shame. It's not like his year was a total disaster either. He dominated for the most part but when he did get hit around, he lost his composure and the bottom fell out. More importantly, several other scouts told me that towards the end of his season, his velocity was holding constant when he needed a strike. If you remember when I saw him, he'd drop his four-seamer to the high 80's when he needed a strike. According to them, however, he was throwing 93-94 mph when he needed a strike. That told me that his confidence was where it was supposed to be.

Somewhere down the road, however, the Giant eventually took control of Dallas. But from what Doc tells me, Dallas now recognizes that he must take back responsibility. And although he very much wants a career in professional baseball, Dallas readily admits that he must control his fears in order to be successful. Time is running out on Dallas Parker. With the draft only 33 days away and not much opportunity to pack up his family to play ball at another community college, he knows he's in a desparate situation.


Anonymous First Time Commenting said...

I gotta say as a long time reader (though first time poster), I'm really glad that y'all finally heard from Dallas. Gotta admit, I've been pulling for him.

Anyway, as someone who has had more than his share of breakdowns and disappearing acts, I thought I'd throw my .02 in for what it's worth. Obviously, the most important thing is he's back in touch with his "group" - I'm assuming he's back with his family since he returned to class. As far as his motivation to play ball - he's gotta find that for himself. Telling the doc, or you, that he still wants a career isn't gonna cut it - for someone in his shoes (too embarrassed to return phone calls) it's almost instinctive for him to say those things, whether he's really committed or not. If nothing else, the "fear" of not wanting to waste your investment in him and let you down is going to motivate him to try to come back. But then he's back to playing for someone else.

Obviously you're in a much better position to evaluate what sort of options and chances he realistically has at this point. I agree with your decision to not mediate right away until he shows you he's serious. But, if you are willing and able to help him out, it is important for him to know what your terms are. He has to understand that you're not upset with him (better he flake out now then after he's been drafted, right?), but that he has to meet you half way and show you he's serious about doing this - and doing this for the right reasons.

Anyway, here's hoping he lands on his feet... Thanks so much for all the great anecdotes and insights you've shared - I hope this exercise is helpful to you. Even if it isn't, you can at least shop it around as a novel. Maybe it's just me - but I go through serious withdrawl when you go for a while without updating!

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another long time reader first time poster here... ive been rooting for dallas too. the fact that he reached out to your doc is an excellent sign, and potentially a good thing for you too. assuming he only called your teams doc, and not any of those other scouts doctors you may be in the unique position of being the only team to remain interested in him

from some of the hints youve let slide out i have a decent idea about who you scout for (at least i hope so, it would be my favorite team, certain team from a certain state to only appear in the world series once). sounds like dallas has the potential to be a great late round pickup. if you havent done so yet id recommend reaching back out to him, either via phone or stop by his place. best of luck cutter, keep up the posts!

6:42 PM  
Anonymous notyourdoc said...

From a psychological point of view, Dallas getting back in touch might signal Cutter getting back in touch with part of himself that fled the playing field.

8:05 PM  

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