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In today's Star, Geoff Baker has an interesting profile of Frank Catalanotto. It sounds like Frank Sr. is a lot of company. Cat, whose high school coach still calls him "little Frankie," would have been justified in giving up the game under the kind of parental pressure he faced as a 9-year-old, but Jays fans are very lucky he didn't.

This story is reminiscent of Eric Hinske's dad not allowing him or his brother to swing in Little League until they had taken two strikes. Such fathers credit themselves for making their offspring "mentally tough," and live vicariously through their children's accomplishments. With the notable exception of football's unfortunate Todd Marinovich and his idiot scion Marv, we rarely read about the downside of such selfish behaviour. If that's the price of big league success, I'm glad my kids couldn't afford it.

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_Ryan Burns - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#100133) #
I Think Frankie C is a better nickname than Cat.
_John N. - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#100134) #
I didn't know that Frank Catalanotto and Juan Pena were the same person. ;)

Here is a link to the article.
Coach - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#100135) #
[blush] Oops. Thanks, John, it's fixed now. I shouldn't copy and paste URLs before the third cup of coffee kicks in. You're very kind; my old man would have been all over me for that mistake.
robertdudek - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#100136) #
I think tennis fathers have the worst reputation in sports, and deservedly so. Think what it must have been like for a 16-year old Mary Pierce to have her father in the stands shouting abuse at both her and her opponent at prestigious international tournaments.
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#100137) #

Baseball Prospectus has a pretty interesting article on the draft. It's one of their free articles and it's worth checking out.

Here's a quote from the article:

"Aaron Hill and Conor Jackson are a more matchable pair. Both are the kind of players who are unlikely to explode on the scene but are quite likely to have solid major league careers. Both played top-notch competition and showed great plate control and acceptable power. Hill's a shortstop but will slide down the defensive spectrum as he rises, while Jackson's already on the shallow end."

I think tennis fathers have the worst reputation in sports, and deservedly so.

I think this goes on in any sport involving teenage girls. My sister (the blonde who came to the game with us) and an ex-girlfriend of mine were both into competitive figure skating. Some of the parents (and coaches) I saw at those events just can't be described. Softball parents aren't nearly as bad, as their daughters are assumed to be a lot "tougher".

Pistol - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#100138) #
And to further the hijack.......

From the BP article it appears that Josh Banks compares very well to the 3 college pitchers taken in the first 8 picks using Runs Below Opponent's Average, and his workload has been very low.
Mike D - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#100139) #
This week's ESPN The Magazine has a shocking piece on the IceDogs' Patrick O'Sullivan and how he and his mom both hope never to see his father again. Apparently, Dad's modus operandi would be to regularly lean over the glass behind the bench to berate his son, in a way about as subtle as the Flyers fan who tumbled into the penalty box with Tie Domi. Some referees have given O'Sullivan assists or even goals with which he shouldn't have been credited to try and hush the insanely demanding John O'Sullivan. In spite of an OHL order banning his father from rinks, he's apparently been spotted at IceDogs games all over the province.

John's apparently a frustrated ex-goon from the low minors. Even though he's done 22 days in a Toronto jail for pummelling his son on Patrick's grandparents' front lawn, John O'Sullivan still lurks in the background. At the World Juniors in Halifax, Team USA had extra police protection and bodyguards. Patrick's Dad showed up, of course, and tried getting into the USA locker room, but was stopped without violent incident.

Not to trivialize the other "sports parents gone wild" stories. But I guess it could always be worse.
_jacksons point - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#100140) #
this article is a rip-off of one in the National Post last week.

boo Baker
Craig B - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#100141) #
Dollars to doughnuts that a good deal of Patrick's future millions (what a terrific young player) will get tied up in ridiculous litigation against dear old dad.

The worst Tennis Parent around the tour these days hasn't even been mentioned... Jelena Dokic's father Damir Dokic, who has taken to getting himself banned from as many tournament venues as he can.

Apparently Canada's own Sonya Jeyaseelan also had pretty big "daddy problems" herself, and her game took a big step forward when she was able to leave that behind.
_Jordan - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#100142) #
There's a book waiting to be written about female tennis stars and their fathers. You talk about weird relationships.... John O'Sullivan's story is terrible, but to be honest, it sounds less like a case of hockey dad run amok and more like a serious untreated case of mental illness. Not that that's any consolation to Patrick and his mom, who'll have to suffer a violently angry sick man who doesn't believe he's sick. And in this country, says the Supreme Court, mental patients can't be forced to take the medication that keeps them from turning into bug-eyed maniacs.

Baseball America did a short piece comparing first-round draft choices to current players. An inexact science, to be sure, but the player listed next to Aaron Hill's name was Rich Aurilia.
Coach - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#100143) #
it could always be worse

Hard to imagine it could be worse than the fatal attack on a coach by a parent at a Massachusetts hockey practice in 2000. The perpetrator was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. I've seen some menacing glances toward me and my son from fathers whose children I cut at competitive tryouts, and I fear that an insanely jealous parent might one day hurt a coach's kid in that situation.

A few years ago, a so-called coach was berating his five-year-old daughter for a "mistake" in a T-ball game. When the 14-year-old umpire eventually told him it had gone on long enough, testosterone-for-brains beat him up. That jerk was convicted of assault, but it doesn't undo the damage he did to two children.

These are some extreme examples of a widespread problem, and looking at my original post, we're off on quite a tangent. I never meant to imply that Mr. Catalanotto or Mr. Hinske did anything to harm their sons; their coaching styles may be different from mine, but that doesn't make them wrong. Frank and Eric are both great people and highly successful ballplayers; their dads should be proud. The point I was trying to make is that for any parent, it's important to recognize the line between actively encouraging a child and pushing too hard, not only in sports, but in the classroom and at home.
Gitz - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#100144) #
Maybe it's from growing up in sheltered Marin County (near San Francisco), but this kind of stuff NEVER happened in my eight or so years in amateuer sports (about 1979-1987). It was clean competition, and it was fun. I'm not one of those "The good old days were better" people; in general, things have always been what they are, with various slants and twists. In this case, however, something has gone wrong with youth competition, to the point where these isolated incidents are becoming more common. (Though they are still quite isolated, blown out of proportion by the media.)

In a somewhat related topic, have any of you seen a college football game pre-1990 or so? It's a different game. A player makes a tackle? He returns to the huddle, quietly, maybe slapping hands with a teammate. A player sacks the quarterback? He helps him up, returns to the huddle. Some time ago I watched a tape I had of the 1987 USC-UCLA football game (1987 was my first year at 'SC). It literally took me an entire half to figure out what was "wrong" with the game: there was no trash-talking. Zero. Sure, there was the banter between the wide receivers and cornerbacks, but that's private stuff, and a part of the game. It was the public displays of trash-talking/celebrating that were missing.

On the Marinovich angle ... I had the good fortune of attending USC when he was there. I saw him once on campus, in the spring semester when he was a freshman and I was a junior, one day while I was delivering a set of keys to somebody for a job I had at the law school. Todd was with two other players I didn't recognize. He was thin, nearly too thin, and he was tall, one of the few people in sports who actually is the size listed in press guides. And he was stoned. I've been around enough people to recognize the signs, and this was clear. His (inaccurate) non-McDonald's-eating reputation and his (accurate) penchant for indulging in the wacky stuff was at that point already established, so I passed him with a nod, which he didn't return, then chuckled to myself as I walked away. Like the affable Rodney Peete the two years before him, Marinovich had taken us to the Rose Bowl that year, so the coaching staff -- to say nothing of the powerful alumni association -- let those kinds of unpleasant details pass.
Pepper Moffatt - Saturday, June 14 2003 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#100145) #
A few years ago, a so-called coach was berating his five-year-old daughter for a "mistake" in a T-ball game. When the 14-year-old umpire eventually told him it had gone on long enough, testosterone-for-brains beat him up. That jerk was convicted of assault, but it doesn't undo the damage he did to two children.

You'd be surprised how common this is. My ex-girlfriend was an umpire and she got attacked by a coach (female) after the game. She was in the parking lot walking to her car when the coach just rushed her. Fortunately she's quite tough and actually knocked the coach down then sped off. That was her last season in umpiring; she quit mainly because of that.

Amateur coaches attacking officials is why the officiating in amateur sports is so universally lousy. Smart, hardworking people usually have a lot of opportunities, so working 3 hours for $20 and risking getting the crap beat out of you by a coach isn't worth it for most people. So the umpires who stay tend to be cranky old guys who like getting into fights and don't have enough skills to do anything else.

I was actually really picky about what levels I umpired and there are some teams I absolutely refused to umpire their games. As such, I didn't even eject anyone in my last 2 and a half years as an umpire and had quite a fun time. Unfortunately the younger guys generally don't get to pick and choose their assignments, so they get stuck in some really bad situations.

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