"You know," he tells me. "He was born a couple of months premature. Was on the news and everything. No one expected him to make it. He weighed 2.3 ounces. He almost died, and so did my wife. But he's a fighter."
I nod, unsure of what to say, and we both gaze out to my sophomore right fielder, who, now that you mention, is a little small for his age.
I had met with his mother earlier, about his grades. They're bad. He loves baseball and has a chance to be one of the best pitchers in the city by the time he's a senior. What an arm! He's already thrown 5 scoreless innings this year.
"His mama likes to baby him too much. He can do the work when he wants to, but he doesn't want to enough."
When I put his name on announcements last week, teachers flocked to me like a moth to a flame, telling me about this young man's disillusion in class. He's not rude, and he's not mean, but he's just consistently disengaged. Doesn't seem to care. His art teacher told me that asking him to draw is like asking him to go to his own crucifixion. Earlier that day, his mother told me that she almost pulled him off the team, but that this was the first time he'd shown enthusiasm for school in a long time.
I talk to him every day about it, but he's one of those kids that somehow becomes a major league veteran when he walks onto the athletic field, but when he is off of it, he loses about 20 years of maturity. He's a quiet kid, and a little goofy, but just seems to hate being in the classroom and only feels good when he's playing ball.
And I'm doing my best with him. He's a great kid, and I really hope his mother doesn't pull him from the school and send him elsewhere, as she told me she's leaning towards.
Quick Hits: Biogenesis, Boldt, Astros, Ramirez - With today's news that MLB could be looking to fast-track suspensions relating to the Biogenesis PED scandal, it is worth reading USA TODAY Sports' Bob Night...
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