The Sandlot Journey (2015) Movie Script

Come on guys, lets go. Oh, hey...
we're just going to play in the Sandlot, where it's fun.
I got you Willie, I got Jay! I got you, Grant!
[dramatic music playing]
Hi, I'm Joe Simpson, broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves, in Fox Sports in Atlanta.
I'm here on the steps of the home where Yogi Berra grew up.
He lived here from 1930-1948.
Right across the street, Joe Garagiola.
Grew up here as well. And picture those two guys getting together everyday.
And walking to their Sandlot, where they learned to play baseball.
Well, today we're gonna take you on a Sandlot journey.
[mystical music]
[baseball player] The single greatest influence on my life has been my dad.
So many of the things that I do now as an adult have traces of him.
And his mark on my life will always be on me.
Hey dad, can we play catch.
Yeah, lets do it.
Hey buddy. Aren't you gonna need this?
Growing up, I took for granted what a great father figure God blessed me with.
As I grow older and look back on those moments
and experiences that shaped who I am.
I recognize and appreciate his influence along the way.
Baseball was and still is a big part of my relationship with my dad.
As a young player in Little League,
his encouragement and positive attitude kept me interested in the game.
And helped me to deal with the ups and downs that young boys go through.
As they learn to deal with the failures and successes of athletics.
Baseball provided an avenue for us to bond while I was growing up.
It was something we could easily talk about during those awkward years,
when a teenage son can be about the most difficult species
on Earth to communicate with.
And it is the love that we both share
and appreciate today.
In my years of broadcasting Major League baseball,
I have had the great opportunity
to visit and talk to some of the greatest players
who've ever played the game of baseball.
And to man, every one of em' has got a great story about the Sandlot.
They were times in the summer time when we would just go to the playground.
We would go in someone's background and we would play baseball.
Sometimes you had to play opposite handed. Sometimes you had to swing.
If I was a left handed hitter for say, I had to hit right handed.
Um... We'd go to the beach almost every day in the summer.
Sure enough, instead of just laying in the sand or body surfin',
screwing around, we would play over the line,
with a broom stick and a tennis ball.
And on the sand. That's tough to catch a grounder on the sand.
I fell in love with basketball.
And that's because basketball was the family sport,
aunt's and uncle's coached it, cousin's played it.
You know, um, obviously I'm 6'2. So being height...
Height was there. We knew that was gonna probably be an option.
Um, but I fell in love with that so I did that.
Along with everything else I threw in, but I did that and um...
We put a basketball goal up and I would be outside
shooting everyday because I love to do it.
Just a bunch of guys in the neighborhood.
Folks would go to work, we would just go down to the park and...
and we play baseball until, it was our time to get home.
Because we wanted to be home in time to get our chores done.
But it was that way all the time. My neighborhood was one.
We had a lot of athletes who loved to play baseball
and that's how we got started.
And then if it was too wet we'd go up to the elementary school where they had...
Softball bases already marked on the playground
and we'd take...
baseballs that have been beat up a little bit,
and we put that black electricians tape around them and then we play on...
on the school ground.
And so we just always played all the time.
Growing up with a dad that was ultra abusive and angry and yelling,
and that really put me into a shell and
so I just had to escape. And I remember...
there was a memory in my heart of one day, I took a different route home from school.
I was either walkig or on my bike and I'm not sure but I saw some
kids after school putting together a...
a local baseball game. A little Sandlot game going on and it was
the end of school, summer was coming on,
and the one day I just had to get out of the house. Dad was
home and drinking and on his rampage, so I just
got in my bike and took off and the first place that burned in my heart
was that Sandlot, so I went down there and said,
"Hey guys, would you mind, can I play?
I don't have a glove and I'll do anything you want."
It was a long time before
they would let me play.
But I didn't care, that didn't matter
because it wasn't about not being accepted.
It was about, this is my place.
I don't know why, I don't know how but this is my place. And eventually they said,
"Okay, you can play but don't ask the hit.
Just go play right field."
And I was okay with that because now I'm a part of something.
Now everyday, whether dad's on his rampage, yelling and screaming,
I have a reason now to go somewhere.
May be at that age, it was a reason to live. I'm not sure what it was.
But a Sandlot dream was born in my heart.
There was an instant passion.
That I believe God put in my heart.
To play the most incredible game ever invented.
When I first started, um, I kind of grew up in a football family.
But I was very small. for my age and...
Um... I was uh...
Liked playing baseball. I remember...
um, the first year I went out...
the coach said, "Who's a catcher, has anybody ever caught before?"
And I raised my hand and he goes, "Where have you caught?"
"On my street, when we play baseball on the street."
Then he goes, "Okay, you're the catcher." Well, that's how my catching career started.
And know coming up through little league,
I have always been a catcher, I have never...
I've played some outfield but I' don't think I've never played an in-field position.
I never pitched. I have always been a catcher.
Um...from day one, that was my position.
Even at six, eight, ten years old...
I'll never forget. We would celebrate, we would win that baseball game,
we would all run to the mound,
we would all high five and jump around and then...
and then find out who the team mom was that day
because she had juice and snacks, right.
We would all go and sit on the bench and have our juice and our snacks.
When we really had a big day, we would go out for ice-cream.
Or we'd go to pizza together, all in our uniforms, right.
And that was a way to celebrate victory.
[man] Bill Severens was a team mate of mine at the university of Oklahoma.
But it wasn't till after he got out of baseball
that he realized it was a growing epidemic in the United States at the Sandlot
between coaches and parents.
And it was that experience that the Bill saw at the Sandlot
that motivated him to put into words his experience
and try to make the Sandlot a better place.
One night as I was really towards the end of my coaching career for my boys,
um, the third basemen on one of the other teams made a...
an error on a very hard hit ball.
And the coach went off on him.
And I looked over at him,
and I said, "Hey man, don't go off on that kid like that, this is a great kid."
And I've never said anything to any dad or to any coach in my life ever.
Because it wasn't my team, it was his team.
So, he settled down for a minute and uh...
the next ball hit to him,
he blocked it with his chest and he threw it.
thirty feet, over the first basemen's head,
because he was afraid, he was scared to death.
And the coach yelled at him again.
And something went off from my heart,"Okay, write your book.
You can help this guy." Because I just talked to him, I said, "You know
your son's a great ball player
but you can't do anything when you're afraid."
But he ultimately said to me, he said to me, "Hey, thanks.
Thanks Bill for saying something to me and helping me out because I had just
had a really really bad day."
And I said, "You know, we all have bad days."
"If you're a parent, you're gonna have a lot of bad days."
And I knew I could help him, so that's where the books come from.
I like playing baseball because...
it's something I can do when I'm stressed.
And I enjoy it.
A lot of my friends were playing it and I wanted to play it too and then I...
eventually grew up and started loving it more.
I could play baseball kinda because it's a lot of fun cause of the guys and um...
I just like how the game goes.
Like hitting the ball, catching and throwing it.
It's a blast... so much fun.
[Joe Simpson] As kids we are all taught that sports are fun.
It's fun to go to the ball park, it's fun to go to the gym.
It's fun to go practice football.
So, it's incumbent upon all the coaches and the parents
to make it fun.
You are the foster for these kids to make sure
that they enjoy the time at practice.
Eliminate the yelling, eliminate the screaming.
They're not all gonna be Major League players.
They're not all gonna play in the NFL or the NBA.
You gotta remember that and you gotta keep that in mind.
When you've parents trying to coach,
from behind the screen. Coaches are trying to coach in front of the screen.
Now, I've been in baseball my whole life.
Alright. I've been...
a Major League coach or a manager for 24 years.
But I never one time, ever...
did I ever say anything to my kids during the game.
Ever. Besides cheering atta boy, way to go.
Keep taking up. Get it hit right here.
You know, great catch, great play.
I never said anything that wasn't encouragement to my kids.
And this is my life.
The game was always fun for me but I've always felt a lot of pressure.
And I wanted to take that pressure off my kids.
They had enough pressure being George Brett's son
and going out there and playing.
I didn't wanna put any more pressure on 'em and the one thing that I really
really encouraged them to do
is just play as hard as you can and have as much fun as possible.
And sure enough when they were nine, ten, eleven, twelve,
even 13, 14 years old, we would be in the car driving home
and they wouldn't even know ten minutes later if they won or lost.
But they had a smile on their face and that made me proud.
I think with any sport, motivation...
is hard to get out of your kids for certain things.
So, we tried to motivate the boys.
And we were in a situation where we were playing a very good team
and we told em', "If you play like you're capable of playing and beat this team,
we'll reward you with...
tomorrow night, letting you coach your own game."
The smiles appeared on their faces and they said, "We'll do it."
We saw the kids be in a more relaxed environment.
It was fun for em' because,
the third base kid was giving signs
to the batter that we'd never even know we had.
He looked like he was doing the Macarena out there
as many signs as he was giving.
They' had fun. I'd say we hit the ball better than we'd ever hit that night.
We need to make sure that the priorities are in their
development as a young person, development...
in a spiritual manner, develop in a physical manner.
To develop in their educational...
from an educational perspective.
So that they're not disappointed.
The big thing that I think young people need to be able to do
is feel like they have given their best.
Once you realize that you've maximized your potential to its best,
then you can live with the result.
[Ned Yost] I'm a Major League Baseball coach but I'm also a parent, alright.
And I've seen my kids
um... play baseball with coaches that yell and scream.
I've seen coaches call time out and yank everybody off the field
because somebody made an error.
You know, and I'm thinking, here you got nine kids out there
bustin' their tail for you and it's not good enough for you.
Who's at fault here, is it them or is it you?
And you know, you learn lessons, you don't... teach.
You don't get to kids by yelling and screaming.
And you lose sight of the fact, for me,
If you're in the dug out as a coach yellin' and screamin', who are you in this for?
Are you in this because, you want your kids to grow
and develop and become successful,
or are you in it so that you can build a name for yourself as a coach?
And if you're in it for your kids,
you never scream, you never chastise and you always...
Put your arm around em', you always teach em' you always mentor em'.
You always work with em'. When you're screaming and yelling at em'
because they're not producing,
Tells me that, "Hey, I'm in this for myself".
which is the exact wrong reason.
Last year when we went to the World Series,
I kept saying, "This is not about me,
"this is about them,
"this is about their experience and having them become successful".
And all good coaches I think and if you're gonna be a good coach,
and understand how to be a good coach,
you better make the focus of your success around your players
instead of around yourself.
When I was at high school, I was a first round draft pick.
I was the 16th player picked in the country.
I was a high school All American, I threw 95 miles an hour.
And I got drafted and went to Jamestown, New York and they had all
the draftees in that time.
And as I'm looking around, theres a All American
from Oklahoma State and an All American from Ohio State.
And a pitcher from University Of Michigan. These guys were good.
And we all get into the stands and we're sitting there and the
head guy in the camp,
he stands around, he says, "Congratulations, he said.
"1/2 of 1% of all high school and college players that play
"this year will ever play professionally.
"So congratulations, you're 1/2 of that 1%.
"Now, only 1 out of every 250 of you will ever make it to the Major Leagues.
"So, look to your left, look to your right, chances are
two out of three of you won't even be here next year."
And at that moment I look straight ahead and said, 'I'm not looking around".
And was scared to death and realized that I'm in for a very tough battle.
As hard as I worked, it would not stop.
Well, you know, you have these travel teams and um...
Parents pay like $2500 or $3000.
My kids gonna go and play on a travel team.
Because they all think that their kid's gonna be a "big leaguer."
It's not gonna happen.
Once you realize your son's not gonna be a big leaguer, you'll have more fun.
The odds of this game are very difficult.
It's a tough game. And as you go further up the ladder,
the odds get even tougher.
The pyramid gets really small at the top.
So, the thing I would tell parents really is to just
enjoy the time they have with their child, watch them play, stand back
let them play because
as parents one thing we do to get in the problems here
is we interject too much.
We need to stand back and let the coaches coach.
And as parents our job is to cheer, that's kinda what it is.
This is a difficult game.
We draft 50 guys a year.
Theres 12-1500 drafted every year.
There's other guys signed. There's guys signed out of Latin America.
And yet the percentage of guys who get to the actual to the Major Leagues,
it's very, very very small.
You're talking about may be 5% of everybody who's drafted.
And the percentage of those guys that are drafted,
remember every high school senior,
every junior college Fresh man and Sophomore.
Every four year college, junior and senior
in the entire United States that play are eligible for the draft.
And yet we only draft 1500 players.
So, just to be a draft, your odds are very, very small.
And if you're doing this to be a draft,
And if you're doing this for division one scholarship,
I really think you're doing it for the wrong reason.
This should be about enjoyment, this should be about loving to play.
And your ability will take you wherever it's gonna take you.
The car right home probably for my son Bradon,
um... turned into a coaching session.
And really, I never played baseball.
And I'd be like, "What were you thinking
when you threw that outside pitch
instead of going after them?"
Trying to give him advice
of a sport I didn't even play thinking I was helping him out.
Just his body language and things like that I could tell
it wasn't working and after talking to Bill...
And he just said, "Man, be an encourager
just cherish that car ride home.
Don't try to offer advice, they just wanna move out
and they wanna know where they're gonna get some ice-cream."
My coaches mean to me that...
They make me feel happy.
And I like having a good coach that doesn't yell at us a lot.
And um... They go tough on us but...
It always ends up to be good.
You wanna indulge your children you wanna give them what they want.
But it's not about want, it's not about want, it's about need.
And really all kids need is just a little bit of love,
and encouragement and getting them in the right...
Atmosphere and environment in order to succeed.
From 7th to 12th grade, I had a paper route.
Every morning, I would get up, ride my bike down to the highway patrol station.
Get my papers and the dispatcher,
will always say, "Hey, if you'll go,
go over to the store and get us some donuts, I'll buy."
So, that was a good deal.
Um... I got to eat all the donuts I wanted,
I had a great arm because of that paper out.
I broke uh... 37 windows.
I canceled my parent's home owner insurance.
So, by the time I get to high school,
and we have our try outs, I thought I had a pretty good day the first day.
Um... but turns out...
I didn't, I got cut.
Apparently, I was a little chubby.
That's what the coaches seemed to be telling me.
So, I kind of went home that night, I was in my room,
I was devastated, I was crying.
I was so upset because everything I ever wanted was gone.
And that was to be a baseball player in the Big Leagues.
And um... My dad comes into my room.
And he says um... "You know buddy.
"You're a really good baseball player.
"You've got a great arm.
'You got great legs, you can ride that bi-cycle.
"But it sure wouldn't hurt you to maybe give up on those donuts,
a little bit."
So, I gave up on the donuts, I got in shape.
Headed out the next year.
And tried out for the baseball team and made it.
And um... got to play some more baseball.
I have never forgotten the coach Maldonado.
I have never forgotten the team that we played for, Cambruisi Concrete.
In San Lorenzo, California.
And he just made the game fun, you know.
We would practice, it would be fun.
We would go to his house, it would be fun.
Um... And just really enjoyed
the way that he went about. Wasn't a guy with tremendous baseball knowledge.
You know, we're playing you know, Minor League baseball, we called at that time.
We're just starting to pitch, we'd come off of "T ball".
And you know... there weren't a lot going on.
I'll never forget one time, I went back to catch and...
Um... the pitcher's on the mound and I'm getting ready for warm up,
and I had my mask on sideways and I was getting the piece of gum
and boom! I mean, the ball hit me in the shoulder.
You know, it was like coach Mal came over and said, "You gotta pay attention son".
Didn't yell, didn't scream. I'm like, well, I learned that lesson.
But uh... he was just a guy that uh...
You know was a great coach in the senses
that he let us play and helped us to enjoy the game.
Yeah you give it All your heart
'Cause that's the way You play the game
Ever since the smell Of fresh cut outfield grass
You've always been this way
From the oil Upon your leather glove
To the sharp crack Of the bat
To the faces On the trading cards
And the stats upon the back
You give it all your heart
'Cause they come To see you swing
You learn to nurse Your own hurts
And hope the coach Doesn't suspect a thing
Sure it is a long shot
But the sky seemed Oh so clear
We may not make it out The bush leagues honey
But that's not Why we're here
No that's not Why we're here
When our daughter Lilian was born prematurely,
I was able to respond well.
Because of the lessons I'd learnt on the baseball field,
which taught me that sometimes situations are out of your control.
But you always have a decision to make in the way you respond and so...
I chose to respond by taking control of my emotions and myself
and that season of life and so added value to our experience,
which was directly related to my lessons learned on the baseball field.
For me, the most important thing that you can do
is step on a field and be totally fearless about making a mistake.
That's when you're gonna be your best.
And in life, it's the same thing. You can't
walk around every corner afraid you're gonna make a mistake.
Wondering if you can accomplish this.
Wondering if you can accomplish that.
It's the mindset.
That starts at the youngest age, at... at...
One years old, you know when kids are all over the place.
If you're screaming and yelling, you can't do that, you can't do that,
who knows what they're going to accomplish down the road.
And I've seen coaches yell and scream at players
to the point, where they get out there, they're so deathly afraid of making a mistake.
That they can't play with 75% of their ability.
Because they're so locked into...
afraid that they're gonna be yelled at for making a mistake.
From booting a ground ball, from throwing a ball, for striking out...
That... They'll never be freed up to be successful.
Um... And that's what you want.
You want your kids to be able to have good work ethic.
Have great attitude towards their teammates and to step on that field
and play fearlessly. They're unafraid to make that do or die play.
They're unafraid to steal that base, that's gonna help you won a baseball game.
I know, every time I went to L.A. to play.
I was always more nervous than ever because I was playing in front of my father.
And um... But I chose the opposite way.
I tried to make the game as much fun for my kids as I possibly could.
I always encourage them to go out there.
You know, and take swings.
Didn't make em'. But I encouraged them.
You know, my day was kind of the opposite.
He would come home everyday "did you swing the bat 50 times".
Right handed, left handed, he wanted me to be a switch hitter.
But I would always tell him, I wouldn't do it.
Because he would go to work at eight and come home at five.
And all of a sudden, he came to one of my games and a left hander
was pitching and I was hitting left handed.
And he asked me, "why didn't
you hit right handed, you've been taking all those swings right handed".
[laughs] And I said, "I just don't feel comfortable hitting right handed yet."
The Fearless concept for a team name and just a team philosophy
really resonated with me because...
If you can get your players as a coach to
play fearlessly, they're gonna play hard shots every time. They're gonna
do their best. So, we try to encourage a practice atmosphere.
It allows them to play freely.
Not be judged and just go for it.
And I like it for young woman especially
because if they can play fearlessly on the court,
they can play fearlessly in life. They're gonna do a great job.
It's a different generation now.
And I've found that my ways of disciplining,
and my ways of teaching,
have to be different than they were 20 years ago.
And I think you just evolve with the times.
Now, I don't think in the last two years I've ever yelled at a player or
yelled at my team.
Before that I had but than you find out that,
you know, players start sink into a bit of a shell.
When that happens, they back away. When you do that.
So you have to find different ways to communicate what you're tryin'
to say but you have to do it in a positive fashion.
And your results... um...
Are so much greater when you do it that way.
You don't lose em' that way. They don't shut down when you do it that way.
At times I've had people...
Come up to me and say, "My son plays baseball" you know may be
through Pee Wee or something, and said, "they got burned out".
[laughs] I wanted to ask, "Did you burn him out or did the coach or two of you
burned him out?", because if kids really... if you're running the game right
and they're enjoying what they're doing,
they're not gonna get burned out.
Now, some of em' won't like it as much as others.
But a lot of em' get burned out as they say, because of
they get tired of being criticized.
Every time they come in from the field.
You know, they get tired of that and you know...
You can understand that. But a lot of times I don't think parents
do understand what they're doing with the kids. They're taking away all the fun.
You know one of the things that, my father who was my coach
taught me was that,
words are powerful and...
The phrase that he taught me was, "If you criticize me, I may never remember you.
But if you'll encourage me, I'll always remember you."
You know, we wanna make a difference in the lives of those that we touch.
And one of the most important things that we can do as a coach
or as a parent who's coaching, is to use encouraging and powerful words.
It was a life changing moment. The two by four
upside the head and I get
this every now and then in different...
phases of the game and in life and...
from a coaching stand point, a dad stand point,
it was the biggest one that I think that I ever got.
with my youngest son, because he was,
really talented, um...
not the most athletic kid when he was younger but really talented and...
you know, he was developing and coming along
and I'd been out of the game. I think about four years at that time.
He was eleven and um...
you know uh...
he told his mom that he was gonna quit baseball.
And... he...
He said, he didn't like it, he said Dad was too intense.
And, you know, that was...
13, 14 year s ago.
And you know, I get emotional thinking about it.
Where he's gone and what he's been through,
um... but...
He said, he was done playing baseball cause Dad didn't make it fun for him.
Cause off my intensity.
And my frustration that would come out
because I knew what he was capable of doing.
And it didn't happen which was
going against everything that I said I'd never forget,
when I left the game and um...
So, when he said that...
You know, it was a two by four.
And it was, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Got on my knees.
Cried, asked him to forgive me, give me another chance.
And um... he did.
I never forgot it.
Another one of the great things about Sandlot, about sports
is learning how to deal with failure particularly in baseball where,
if you're successful three out of ten times, you're thought to be a great player.
Well, there's also something to be learnt from not finishing first.
This new age, I don't know where it came from,
where everybody gets a trophy, everybody gets a medal.
That doesn't send the right signal.
If your team finishes first and you've earned a trophy and a medal,
hey, bully for you, but if you don't,
may be that teaches you something on the other team.
We've got to work a little harder, we've got to try a little harder.
to try to get that golden ring at the end of the season.
[Ned Yost] You know, I remember every single day how hard
it is to play this game and how hard it is to be successful.
And you gotta remember that.
Um... because if you don't,
you just think that every situation you should be successful
and this game's not built around success.
It's actually built around failure.
So you've to understand that.
Um... that it's all part of the game,
it's a competition, you're gonna have winners, you're gonna have losers.
But you continue to strive...
to do your best that given day so you can become one.
[Jiff] And on top of that you parents
you got to let the child fix his own mistakes.
You can't be there to hold his hand and tell him you know it wasn't
your fault. It was the other guy's fault. And the coach shouldn't have put you there.
Let them learn how to fix their own mistakes
and they are gonna be better adults those because of it.
I grew up, my dad coached me. He did. He coached my baseball teams.
And then when I decided to go to softball,
It was... I've never played that sport.
"I'm gonna be your biggest fan, I'll help you." My dad even went
he would stand around clinics and listen and try to help.
He was so supportive and he never um...
He really released me to the game, he allowed me to learn.
And to fail.
You know, I can remember failing as a young player.
And going home,, because I had a "T" in because I had,
ten baseballs or ten wiffle balls.
And just puttin' that ball upon that 'T' and hittin' it into the fence.
For 50 reps, 70 reps or 100 reps or Lord knows how much.
Making errors and taking that ball and throwing it up against the wall and
fielding it. And doing that on your own, I think...
My father gave me the tools necessary to be able to do that.
And because I took ownership of it.
I didn't need to go see a personal trainer or a private tutor
because I went 0-3 with three strike outs
It's kinda like, hey, you know as a person,
you're better than this, get up... get out there and go
figure it out on your own.
The hardest...
times as a coach at the Major League level,
that I've workin with players is when they can't deal with failures.
Can't let it go.
Get mad. Anger.
Controlling the emotions, goes out the window.
And then they try harder, they press, they get more mad and then
they get frustrated, they try harder,
and all of a sudden you know what,
Major League players need to figure it out.
Kids, they just go find something else to do.
So, you have to make sure that you keep it fun.
And you're not the reason that a kid quits playing the game.
A lot of kids don't think the game.
They can't...
There's no instinct factor which comes from
sometimes playing pickup ball. You learn when you can beat out a ball or you can learn
when, you know
the boy next door can throw to short from short stop faster than you can get from
second to third, you don't go. You know whatever it is...
So, the instinct part, yeah.
It's kind of gone, cause we're telling these kids,
how to do everything all the time. We're not
allowing them to fail because we want to tell them how to do it so they don't fail.
Instead of, learn from your failure.
So you to, get to higher levels and you try to
have them think just a little bit for themselves.
We take that away from kids. The instinct factor has started to really...
Diminish, I feel like.
When the coach says, "I do a good job", it makes me feel good
and I just want to do the best I can.
You know, in my day, the biggest thing was, play catch with your kid.
And if you didn't play catch with your kid,
you're not doin' your job as a father cause baseball is the American game.
One of the great things about Sandlot is that it's a place for dreamers.
The kids come here because they have ideas,
they're gonna play in the big league someday.
One of the other things that occurs is that they
hear you, they see you, whether you like it or not.
And that's what molds them into the adults that they're gonna become.
I think, when like...
the Ump makes a bad call
or she thinks it's a bad call,
she usually yells out and...
she gets all angry and mad and...
I just think to myself like...
don't embarrass me Mom, please don't.
I just wanted her to be quiet because...
if they know I'm her kid, they're gonna be like...
She's crazy.
One off the messages we like to give to our parents,
we took this from a group called Positive Coaching
is the six most powerful words in youth athletics.
And it's, I love to watch you play.
And what we try to convey and what really hit's home
is that you can say those six words at the end of the game
whether it's a win or a loss,
whether they had a great game or not,
really drives the point home as a parent.
We want families to have a chance to be a family.
Give em' their time to do what they need to do.
So that when they do come and play baseball, they get, again, to enjoy,
that peace. And "I love to watch you play," makes it all work.
Keeps it a full circle.
If we could get any message across the parents, it's that...
You guys have such a huge impact, if you would just relax,
let your son fail, let him play, let him get better.
It's not about you, it's about them.
And the thing that you do best is encourage your kids,
encouragement, encouragement, encouragement.
And tell them how much you love them watching play the game.
One of my pet peeves is the one that is also shared by a couple of guys that I work with
from time to time. Hall of Famers John Smilton, Tom Glaven.
And that is, when the kids are 10 or 11 years old,
they're being asked to pick a sport.
When they may enjoy playing all the sports.
We have a great drop-out rate from junior high to high school,
burn out rate, we call it a burn out rate.
We have a tremendous burn out rate.
And it's for two reasons predominantly, one
because they decide to specialize at a very early age in that sport.
And you can't do something 12 months a year without getting burn out.
And secondly,
um...they're not being allowed to play it for the fun of the game.
We're training these children as they're adults.
We're putting them on bands, we're putting them on weights.
We're pushing them.
And um... I don't know if their bodies are ready.
Physically able to handle things that we're giving them.
I feel like that is a portion of why we're seeing injuries today.
Nowadays, it's premier and you gotta
you gotta, you gotta, you gotta, you gotta instead of,
letting them grow, letting them develop, let em' become athletes
and play all the sports until they get to high school and say okay
may be it's time to narrow things down.
One of the hardest thing we had to do as parents is to release our kids to the game.
Release em' to the coaches.
Release em' to whatever experiences they might encounter
in that sport.
[Jami] I coached recently and I coached a 12 and under team.
And it was one of the best experiences in my life.
But I really got to see that, when I saw those
girls playing, you saw it in their eyes, you saw the passion.
that they loved and I loved teaching them
Because they had this joy about them.
But it was a different conversation when you spoke to their parent.
And their parent is already a 12 years old wanting to know about
"Alright, so how does this recruiting process work." And it's like...
They're 12! You know, they love learning, they love playing this game.
There's no need to talk about that yet.
So, you almost saw different agendas, what the parent agenda was
and whether it was living through their child or
they were already looking ahead versus
the agenda of the 11/12 year old girl that...
Genuinely loved the game, loved learning about the game. Loved playing the game.
As a parent of a young athlete,
the greatest gift that we can give them is to release
our child to the game.
And what do I mean by releasing your child to the game
means to say to our child, you know what, all the success that you are gonna have,
all the fun you're gonna have playing, it's your success it's your fun.
But it also means to tell our child that you know what all
the challenges and problems you get playing the game
Because if you' play team or any type of youth sport
sometimes you can really go through disappointment. It's your challenges.
It's your disappointment.
And what are our roles as parents when we release our child to the game,
to be a soft landing space, to be their for em' when they need help,
when they need guidance, when they need advice.
The time our kids spend in little league is so short
and the opportunities to spend time with em' at such an early age is so precious.
You've gotta cherish every moment.
I get a chance to speak all over the country about
adversity, never giving up, endurance and perseverance.
We went through a time as a family.
Where um... our son David
fell off a chair lift and broke about everything in his body.
And then we found out through this accident that he had a brain tumor.
Um... we had to monitor the brain tumor. Then,
our youngest daughter Cassidy got Leukemia.
And then in the midst of dealing with the brain tumor and Leukemia,
I had a valve in my heart start leaking that I had to have open heart surgery.
And then David's brain tumor started growing.
And they had to have the brain tumor removed and through that
be became paralyzed on his whole left side and
had to work it back and battle everyday.
Cassidy's Leukemia came back twice
We spent six years trying to battle it and...
Even though we did everything we could,
we worked as hard as we possibly could, we lost her.
And when David realized, he was gonna
have to have his brain tumor removed on his 11th birthday,
they'd scheduled surgery in July and
David's 11th birthday was on May 31st.
And I was his little league coach.
And he was trying to process what it's going to be like having brain surgery.
And so... we go to the little league game and David starts
playing and you can just see something's not right.
He's really troubled, he's really struggling.
He strikes out three times, he goes to pitch, he walks four five guys,
he makes several errors in the game.
And um... the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
And he was trying to process what it was gonna be like to have his skull opened
and have this brain tumor removed.
And after the game, we had cake and ice-cream and
we're celebrating, we're getting the car drive home. Talkin about the drive home
it's pretty silent in there and
and I'm being the encouraging dad and I look back and David's got tears streaming
down his face. And I look back and not thinking,
"You know, it's okay man, you're gonna be fine."
I made lots of errors... you know, of course baseball analogies again.
And he just breaks down and starts sobbing,
"Dad it's not that, what if this is my last birthday?".
All of a sudden, the things that you think are so important
completely changed. And that little boy at that moment in time,
all he cared about was life.
As parents, the most important thing is to cherish every moment.
It's about today, there is no guarantee about tomorrow.
Let me tell you about what happened to me, I had a nightmare
that our son has been killed, he was 31 years old
and you know you wake up the next morning and you know whether it was real or a dream.
And I was so happy that day when I discovered that it had been only a dream.
Well I called him at Oklahoma State University where he worked
as soon as I got to the office.
And we had the best visit for an hour about college.
Basketball, his daughter who was new born at that time.
And it was a remarkable conversation.
Well, ten days latter our son was killed in a plane crash.
Let me first just confirm that the...
FAA, NTSP has confirmed that
a plane carrying eight passengers and two pilots
did crash approximately 80 miles north east of Denver...
tonight. We do not at this point have
absolute confirmation.
Of the number of fatalities.
I do have a list of the passengers
who were on the airplane.
And my goodness, my world turned upside down.
But what I learned was,
absolutely cherish every moment.
And what I learned from the dream is probably more important
which was we're not in control of this.
And I took that dream as a message from heaven.
That God was telling me, "Bill don't worry, I got your back."
"I'm in charge and don't worry everything's gonna be fine."
What a powerful, powerful message.
So, cherish every moment cause there's no guarantee of a tomorrow.
A couple of the true gifts any parent can give their child
is the time and encouragement
to develop their inner strengths and abilities to be the best they can be.
The more we can release them,
the more that we can fill their bucket, the more that we can be as supporting
entity around them,
you're actually setting them up for a better opportunity.
And the reason I say this is because if they can get to this place,
where they're burned out and they don't want the pressure,
and they just want freedom, and they just want to be able to go to school and that's it.
If we continue to do that and we put that pressure on them,
those begin to be less as you move forward.
So the more we can encourage our kids, the more that we can love watching them play,
and the more that we can get them at the end of the season
to say, "I love the game, I can't wait for the next year".
You're in the right place, for a great future for your child.
Both, whether it's on the field or off the field.
You're developing a person.
I think the most important thing a parent can do for their son or daughter,
when the game is over, just be supportive.
It's been uh...
tough enough experience for the young people to play the game.
And when it's over they don't need to go back over.
And re-hash everything that happened again.
Just tell em' you love em' tell em' they did their best.
That's all you can ask for and the young people,
who have that experience with their parents will relish and love the game far more
than the one that's made to replay every situation
that occurred and try to over coach and...
I think that's the worst thing a parent can do.
I think the best thing that you can do is just talk to your kids on the ride home.
The ride home is the biggest part of the journey.
You get a chance to visit with them, share with them,
and tell em' how much you love em', how much you love watching them play.
And uh... it's just a great great time.
Just tell em' how thrilled you're that they're your kid.
And I know because uh... One of these days,
you're gonna drop him off and ride home alone.
I had to do that four times and uh... I had no regrets.
We gave it everything we had, we did the best we could and we have no regrets.
And that's what we want for you.
Hopefully, we've done our job as parents.
But that's all we can do is, prepare em'.
They gotta be able to take the next step.
Take the things that we tried to teach em', try to uh...
Talk to them about and they gotta take it to the next level.
And hopefully mine are ready to do that.
So definitely, those rides home were,
moments that I probably will never forget.
But there's definitely those moments where we would jump in the car
and five minutes later I would try to pretend like
I was sleeping, so I didn't have to
address the game or didn't have to talk about it.
Because I just dreaded those conversations because
and not that they were hard conversations, it was just that you know...
As kids you wanna succeed, you wanna do good and you know when you have
those days that are bad days you just feel like you just didn't do
your best or you weren't able to perform your best and you don't wanna
let your parents down. Um... I just didn't wanna go there but...
The best solution for me was pretending that I was sleeping in the back seat.
Lot of kids just don't want to talk about it.
They don't need to know that they didn't get a hit,
they made a big error or things along those lines and it's hard because
as a parent, you're out of time, money.
Invested into your son.
That's what we do as parents. I mean that's no different if the kid
is into science and he's in the science fair or something
along those lines, it takes a lot.
And it took the competitive side of me to calm down a little bit.
And I keep telling Ally and I told her the whole time,
that she's the benefit of...
the lessons I learned through Austin.
I apologize to Austin all the time.
He says "Dad, those were some of the best years we ever had".
I agree because I can look back on it differently.
But as a parent, you look back and say
you know there's so many things that I wish I would have done differently.
My ministry starts in the driveway.
And when we get home, sometimes our home is the right home
from the Sandlot kind of thing.
Sometimes my boys would ask me, did I play good,
I'm like "Yeah", and my little guy would say "Well stuck out three times".
How do you know you struck out three times, I didn't tell you that.
He's like, "Id heard one of the dads talkin about stats in the game".
I said, "Son, you had fun today?"
He's like, 'Yeah, I had a lot of fun". So...
We really try to encourage the good points but
I don't always do that and sometimes I fail at that.
But my wife and I try to remind ourselves that
you know, home is their safe place, when school's been hard,
when the game's been rough,
when one of their friends turn on em' or
when they're just not having their best day.
Home has to be the safe place and so...
I'm gonna fail. When I look at my son, it takes
a good father and good leader to say "Son,
I've failed you today.
And I hope you forgive me for that."
When my sons look at me in the eye and say, "Daddy, I forgave you."
I told the story earlier about the kid where
I forgave him before the glove hit the ground.
My boys forgave me before...
I'm sorry, even comes out of my mouth.
And they hug me and hold me.
And that's what drives me, that's what drives me to keep my Sandlot
that's home, to keep my Sandlot which is the ride home,
to keep my Sandlot which is the actual Sandlot baseball field.
My children, your children,
everybody who's watching this, your children,
deserve your very, very best.
And your very, very best isn't gonna be
mistake free.
Your very, very best isn't gonna mean you're not gonna blow it.
Your very, very best means you realize that you're human.
You realize your calling and you never ever stop giving...
What you can give.
To raise great kids.
And to let them enjoy their life.
Because they weren't put here to hit home runs,
they weren't put here to make you happy
based on how many bases they steal.
They were put here to be taken care of.
And God chose me...
To be her husband, God chose me
to be their dad and their coach.
God chose me to be 22 boys coach at this time in my life.
And I take that very seriously.
And it's not pressure, it's an honor. Children are a gift.
And so...
Through all these mistakes that I'm telling them to live through,
I've gotta practice what I preach and know that I'm gonna make mistakes.
But, that's the joy of it all.
I can still learn to be a better dad and a better coach and a better husband
through those mistakes and so...
You know, it's the human side of this whole deal.
Is, just love em', just love em'.
Okay, so it's on you, parents.
And you as coaches to do things the right way.
And make it enjoyable for the kids.
For after all, what kind of ride home do you want tonight.
[player] I'll never forget the day before I left for college,
where I was going to play baseball.
My school would be too far for him to see all of my games,
as he had in my whole life up to that point.
We went to my high school batting cage,
so he could throw me one last round of batting practice.
I remember thinking, how much I was going to miss this leftie.
Who could throw such great strikes.
And when we finished, we hugged each other and cried.
It was my dad's way of sending me off after 18 years together.
This documentary is about baseball, but it is more than that.
It is about giving young boys and girls,
and men and women the tools they need,
to grow up and be mothers and fathers themselves.
The coaches of our children should not take lightly the responsibility given to them.
Coaching is an opportunity to be a leader,
a caretaker and often a parent to kids who need one.
Children can walk around with so many burdens
put on them by circumstances at home,
by peer pressures at school.
While parenthood can be a scary and daunting task,
I'm confident in the lessons I was taught.
And some day when I'm coaching my own children and the children of others,
I will remember to pass along the principles and thoughts,
that I learned from my father. Because I'm living proof of the results.
-Get after it, okay. -Alright, will do.
-Study hard. -I'll call you soon.
Okay, bye.
Hey buddy, aren't you gonna need this?
Thank you so much Pops.
Right before the last game of the year...
And I said, okay, "Here's the deal boys,
we've got five of you that are gonna play on this travel team,
you guys go stand over there with your parents.
And we got five guys that are quitting baseball,
you guys go stand over there with your parents."
"And the five guys that need a team to play on,
here's what I'm proposing, since the coach is not coaching anymore,
summer baseball, I want you five guys,
that are quitting baseball because you don't have fun,
it's not fun for you anymore,
I want you five guys to come and join Dylan and his four buddies.
Now we have ten.
We'll get three people that have been cut.
And you know one of em' extremely well.
We'll get three people that have been cut.
And we'll get them back from the freshman team
and then we'll get a couple other guys from other teams that have been cut,
and we all will have 15 guys, we'll have our own team."
And then I told all the dads, I said. "We'll practice once a week.
We're not gonna play.
We ll just play like, one night game a week and a game on the weekends.
And we'll practice, one day a week where everybody can practice.
And I want all the dads, if you're able, come to practice.
I don't know when the last time you played catch with your son was."
Because you normally do that when the kid's
three or four or five or six.
And they don't play catch with them anymore when they're 13, 14, 15.
So I said, "Why don't the dads come to practice.
We all play catch. And we'll all just have a lot of fun.
And that maybe the last thing, we'll have a dads versus the kids game."
Well, out of those five kids that came and the guys that got cut...
I mean we ended up having a pretty good team.
And of those kids that quit ended up going to college.
And he's still playing college baseball.
And the guy was gonna quit his baseball career after his freshman year in high school
because the coach didn't make it fun.
And the one thing I did is that I brought the fun factor back in it.
And we had games early.
Our first four or five games we had, all of a sudden,
we be beating the other opponent, 5-2,
6-3. I was saying, "Man these guys are pretty good".
6th inning would come around a 7th inning game.
And all of the sudden the same guy that was catching ground balls at short,
making perfect throws and the left fielder
who caught the fly-ball and threw.
And now they couldn't catch a pop-up.
And they couldn't field a ground ball.
They caught a ground ball, they'd throw it away.
And I'm sitting there wondering what the hecks going on?
So, all of a sudden, I asked him one time,
After about the third or fourth game, when we had leads and we blew it,
in the 6th or 7th inning, I said, "Does anybody really want the ball hit to em'?".
In the 6th or 7th inning in a close game.
And nobody said a thing.
I said, "No seriously, does anybody want the ball, hit to em'."
Nobody said a thing.
So finally I said, "I want everybody to raise your hand when I ask this next question?"
"Does anybody want the ball hit to em' in the 6th or 7th innings in a close game?"
And all of a sudden, everybody's kind of going...
I said, "Guys, you'll never win a game unless that hand goes straight up."
So, the next game we're winning about 4-2 in the sixth inning.
And I yelled out, "Does anybody wants the ball?" to em.
Nobody raised their hand, I said,
"I'm only gonna ask one more time."
[laughs] Everybody in the team. And we ended up making place.
And they just tricked themselves, they were saying,
"Hit me the ball, hit me the ball" rather than don't hit me the ball.
Then all of a sudden when you're ready, you're prepared, you can make a play.
Some fun times, that was my favorite year coaching.
Favorite year coaching.