As March Madness hogs the spotlight, I’d like to bring into view something else in sports that’s going on—Major League Baseball’s spring training. While I enjoy March Madness as much as the next average Joe, spring training is a little closer to my heart.
Is this because Villanova lost to Wisconsin and screwed up my bracket? Maybe.
However, baseball has always been my favorite and since the Gannon University baseball team had its games canceled this week, I figured I’d write some baseball.
As I was looking over the MLB section of ESPN.com I stumbled upon an article about the Zimmer brothers, Kyle and Bradley.
Kyle is a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals system and Bradley is an outfielder in the Cleveland Indians organization.
The two of them are working their way up the ladder of their respective organizations as they chase down the Rasmus brothers, Colby and Cory, as the next pitcher-versus-hitter duo in the MLB.
I always think it’s interesting to see sibling duos in pro sports. It makes the games in which they compete against each other that much more interesting.
Also, I’m sure the parents are sitting there watching while thinking, “We did good.”
As I continued reading the article, one of the brothers mentioned that his parents always had a rule — no specializing in a sport until they were 16 — and I couldn’t agree more.
These brothers did everything from surfing to baseball to wakeboarding. However, they weren’t allowed to play football, no questions asked.
As I step on my soapbox, I think having kids specialize in one sport at a young age is one of the worst things you can do.I understand sports are more competitive today than ever before, but it’s really not good for the kid.
It gives athletes an avenue to injury and puts them at a higher risk of experiencing burnout.
Playing multiple sports teaches people more motor skills, you meet more people and you discover where your true talent lies.
The Zimmer brothers are prime examples of this and it led them to the minor leagues.
Even though Kyle has battled multiple health issues, he is slowly getting back to his normal self of pumping some 98 mph gas, and Bradley continues to rake at the plate.
Obviously injuries will happen; you always run that risk when you do something. But if you specialize in baseball from age 10, you’re going to burn out your rotator cuff and some muscles won’t be as developed.
Today, players train in order to compensate for those lagging muscle groups but weight training isn’t good for young kids either.
They don’t need the stress of playing one sport. They should have fun and compete to win in multiple sports or doing whatever it is they want to do, whether that’s athletics or not.
When I was younger, I did karate and played soccer, basketball and baseball. Then I narrowed it down to basketball and baseball.
When I was tired of breaking my ankle, I stuck to just baseball. However, that wasn’t until I was around 16 as well.
Sports are supposed to be fun and you aren’t going to get that Division I scholarship if you hate the game.
Of course you need the skills to play but with the amount of time that is put into sports as you get older, your love for the game is undoubtedly tested.
As I climb down from my absurdly high soapbox, I want to bring it back to the Zimmer brothers. While the competitive sibling nature has kept each of the brothers at his best since a young age racing on the beach as the article mentioned, they’re also extremely supportive of each other.
I really think these two embody what the sport is about: fierce competition, which they learned playing water polo, and being a class act.
On the field they compete like anyone else—as hard as they can. Off the field, they’re each other’s biggest fan.
I really wish the best for this duo and I hope to see Bradley on my home turf in Cleveland at Progressive Field in the near future. They have a lot of potential as scouts have said and they’re going to give the Rasmus brothers a run for their money.
I really think they’ll shake up the MLB and conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, depending on how their seasons go.