A Little Boys' Dream

The American Pastime is never more brightly shown then when a Major League tryout comes into town. Unlike game circumstances, tryouts are more poignant because of the sheer heart that an individual player shows for the sport he adores. Players show up from all over to shed his talents among top Major League scouts in hopes of fulfilling that life long dream.

Players of different races, heights, weights and skills filled Fifth Third Park that day with the same dreams as the next guy. Could one of these guys be patrolling the outfield with 'Caps' outfielder Kyle Peter? Or could one be soon sitting next to manager Joe DePastino in the dugout? Or just maybe, could one of these players be good enough to play for the Erie SeaWolves or Toledo Mud Hens? These questions of course lie with how the tryout goes.

I myself attended the tryout to test my talents against other dreamers. Like many tryouts that I've been to before, it always starts with filling out your scouting card— Name, position, school, ect. Once done with the paperwork, you sit in the stands peering out at a fresh morning lit field amongst all type caliber players. To field maintenance crews or media the players' jerseys give the dull stands a vibrant array of colors.

So there I sat with anxious hopefuls from all over Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, California, Florida, Indiana, and even Canada showed up. It's all really beautiful when you think about it. It is almost like an All Star game of the separate states.

Everything from playing catch to shagging balls for the hitters, your talents are tested to see if you are big league material.

"Everyone gets a chance to show something here," Tigers local scout Tom Osowski said. "Most likely nobody gets signed from a tryout, but you want to hold these to see what talent comes to them just in case."

Clyde Weir— a Tigers scout since 1986— helped conduct the tryout that brought a little over a hundred players. He not only has to find that certain star for the Tigers, but he must maintain a resilience towards every player, so not to ruin his dream.

"You try to treat them with respect because you know it's their dream," Weir said. "You try to stay fresh and put yourself in their position. And it helps me stay young."

In most cases the order in which the tryout is conducted usually is determined by the head scout. Normally players are split up into groups. Catchers and pitchers on one side of the field, outfielders near one dugout and the infielders are stationed at the other dugout.

The scouts start by having the players play catch to warm up. Once players are loose and ready to compete, they then test their overall speed by running the 60 yard dash. The infielders then are hit a series of ground balls on which they have to show their movements and arm strength by throwing to first base. The outfielders make standard scoop and throws from centerfield to home plate and or a base. The pitchers and catchers pretty much have one objective during tryouts— pitch and catch. Catchers, however, do come into hit, but they are last to do so. Normally a player gets four hits and a bunt before he walks off to the dugout to grab your things and go, that is unless a scout wants to talk to you. That is a whole other story in itself.

At these tryouts there are all types of players. Some that can knock the ball a country mile, some that have a devastating glove, some that have cannons for arms and others that make you wander if they have ever even picked up a baseball before. Nevertheless, that is the joy of baseball. Scouts manage their system by means of play, not how a player looks physically. Don't get me wrong, if you hit great, but look like a toothpick, the scouts are definitely going to tell you to beef up a little. But in baseball you don't have to be muscular, like football, or tall, like in basketball. It's a great game, where you are judged by the ghosts that have gone before you.

Anderson University (Indiana) second baseman Bryce Worrell didn't know what to expect from his first tryout.

"My friend and I drove up five hours from Indiana to get here," Bryce Worrell said. "I had nothing better to do so I thought I'd tryout for the Tigers."

Once the tryout ended, all the players took a knee and listened to Mr. Osowski thank everyone for coming out, and then called the players that he wanted to stay. This ended the tryout for many ball players who traveled miles to compete. Some were sad, some were mad and some had no expression at all.

"It was a good turnout," Osowski said. "We're looking for that certain nugget to fill Detroit's organization needs."

Whether anyone was signed from that tryout no one will know, but I can guarantee that some of those dreamers will return to next years' tryout.


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