Growing up, I remember wanting to be a fireman, a pro baseball player, an actor and even a superhero or two. There are a very limited number of jobs available in those positions (especially the "superhero" one) and, good or bad, life takes us down many paths we never dreamed of. Most of us end up in careers we never even knew existed when we were young.
Occasionally, I hear about a long-lost friend or acquaintance from my younger days and most of the time, I am amazed at the careers those people ultimately ended up in; they are so totally different from what those people dreamed of becoming. Don't get me wrong; in most cases, their real life turned out much better than I would have predicted. I can't help but wonder what forks in the road led those people down a totally different path, though.
Knowing exactly what you want to do in life at a young age and following through on it rarely happens. It tends to happen most often to those who picked something a little more realistic to set their sights on. Kids who said they were going to be reporters end up becoming reporters, kids who wanted to work construction are in that industry and practically all of the young entrepreneurs I knew are running companies that they own.
Even with jobs that have few positions available, there are some kids you just know are going to make it. It's not hard to see who those kids are. They have the drive, belief in themselves and the support system that allows them to forge ahead, pursuing careers that many people realize are unrealistic. They don't take no for an answer nor do they allow anyone else's doubts to hinder them.
Mike Mannis is one of those kids that you can tell is going to make it in the television industry. As a young reporter for the Sports Illustrated Kids blog, he has the confidence in himself that few people - kids or adults - possess. Most kids would be stumbling and fumbling for words as they gawked at big league stars and tried to spit out a complete sentence.
Not Mike Mannis; he asks questions to pros like ... well, ... a pro. You can almost see a "no big deal" shrug when he talks to Major Leaguers. In an interview published last year for SIKids.com, Mike interviewed several Toronto Blue Jays players, seeking tips for youngbaseball players.
First up, Mike questions ace pitcher R.A. Dickey. Dickey says that the new saber metrics stats helped him win his recent gold glove and his pitching success has come as a result of two things - throwing more strikes and having a better knuckleball. R.A. says that nothing leads to success more than practice.
He then shows Mike how to throw a knuckleball by digging his fingernailsinto the horseshoe of the seam, instructing youngsters to keep their wrist straight and to work on releasing the ball atthe right moment so there is no spin. Dickey points out that one of the great things about a knuckleball is that it is not hardon the arm and that you should be able to practice it forever withoutrisking arm injury.
Next up, Mike interviews right field slugger, Jose Bautista. Jose says that when he got traded from Pittsburgh to Toronto, his new coaches showed him that he was getting ready too late in hisswing. Now, he’s loading much sooner and hitting the ball better.
Jose's advice to kids: listen to your parents, do what you love and always give everything your very besteffort.
Mike then caught up with outfielder, Colby Rasmus, and asked him about his speed and power. Colby says that liftingweights will help you with your power and also help you run faster. Running100 yards sprints, running with a parachute or a dragging a sled willmake you faster, too. For power, Rasmus says, work on your hand strength. All of the power hitters have very strong hands.
Mike finishes up his interviews with infielder, Steve Tolleson, and catcher, Josh Thole. Tolleson didn’thave much to add tip-wise other than to have fun. Josh Thole also started offwith “have fun” as his number one tip but emphasized theimportance of practice. Similar to Jose Bautisa, Thole says always give100%. Great practice leads to great games.
Unfortunately, the sound quality of the interviews is really quite bad. The background noise of other players interferes a lot with the interview. Mike Mannis just needs better audio and his interviews will be as polished as any network reporter's are. Maybe Mike can find someone in the neighborhood that has his heart set on being a sound guy!
Pitching Machine Stop Quote of the Day:"Before broadcasting for 50-some years, I did TV, played 10 years in the big leagues, won a world championship - and played a big part in that, too, letting the Cardinals inject me with hepatitis. Takes a big man to do that." - Bob Uecker