12-year-old knows what it's like to be Barry Bonds

Full story: Lake County Record-Bee

Nick Vargas is only 12 years old, but the seventh-grader at Mountain Vista Middle School in Kelseyville has been the bonafide recipient of Barry Bonds-like treatment at the plate during play in the Majors ...
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1 - 20 of 26 Comments Last updated Mar 14, 2012
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phil murphy

United States

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#1
Jun 3, 2008
 
wow, when I first read the headline I thought " this kid beats his wife because he's tanked to the gills on steroids?" I was so relieved to find out it was about intentional walks, which are pretty annoying in the bigs too. The answer is obvious and simple. Rubber chickens! Rubber chickens for every team mate, which they can twirl every time the pitches stray from the strike zone. Either that or get the umps to start doing their job, I personally like the chicken solution better!
level headed

Lucerne, CA

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#2
Jun 3, 2008
 
Here it is again, another great influence on youth and their parents by their professional role models. Yeah, it's annoying that the kid is getting walked a lot.(Intentional walks are a part of game strategy though). Is it gonna make a difference in his career? No, unless he is not getting good coaching and no reps at practice. i am not going to say that stats aren't important because they are a part of baseball. However Little league or any youth sport, for that matter, should be all about fundamentals. That is what will get you to the next levels.
the future

San Francisco, CA

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#3
Jun 3, 2008
 
I have never seen this kid, but I'm guessing that he's another one of these "man-child" 12 year olds who dominate their undevloped peers. By the time he's 16 or 17 his peers will have caught up to him physically and he will be asking his dad what went wrong. This is very typical, the "early bloomers" usually end up as nothing in high school and beyond.
you have got to be joking

Alameda, CA

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#4
Jun 3, 2008
 
This is news?You are telling me the Dad is crying over this?Come on.Its baseball.IS it a possibility the opposing teams coach starts with an "L",ends with a "P"? I can see then why the pitcher wouldnt pitch to Nick.
Baseball Mom

Kelseyville, CA

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#6
Jun 3, 2008
 
An intentional walk should be taught and part of learning at this age. The boys are learning the fundamentals and strategy of baseball. This is what Little Leage is about.

My son plays for an opposing team in the Kelseyville Little League. I have found that the coaches, players, and parents are very supportive of Nick and his baseball talents. Believe me when I say - EVERYONE knows he's the best in the league.

It could be worse. He could be in a batting slump and struggling to hit the ball like most of the other boys at this age. Be grateful for his talents and obstacles of dealing with them.

If baseball is in his blood and he's as good of a player as his father thinks he is, he should get used to the intentional walks. If the father has been preparing him for baseball his whole life, he should know and teach his son that an intentional walk is part of baseball. Good, Bad or Indifferent. For what it's worth, I did not see that many intentional walks. The article made it sound like it was every time. I disagree.

As much as we like Nick and respect his talents, we are happy to see his father move on to the next level of baseball where he feels his son will be treated more fairly.

I'm disappointed in the tone of the article. It made it sound like Kelseyville Little League is substandard. I appreciate the time the volunteers put in to make this league a great experience for the children. It is a wonderful Little League. And I might add that not once in the article was the rest of Nick's team mentioned and there are more talented boys who contributed to Nick's success.
Lesa Serrano

United States

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#7
Jun 3, 2008
 
Dear Mr. Sumpter:

After reading the article,“12 year old knows what it’s like to be Barry Bonds,” I have to say I was a bit perplexed. Was this a plug for an up-and-coming athlete or a bash at resident coaches? It is pleasing to read about a father’s pride in his son’s abilities. Mr. Vargas should be very proud of his son for he is a great athlete. As a parent of several young ball players myself, I understand a parent’s desire to see their child succeed, whether on the field or not. I would venture to say all of us want that for our children.

The message of the article gives me the impression that as far as batting, the player could not be touched. I would like to point out several key factors here. In this division players range in age from 9 to 12 years old. As many of you know, children come in all shapes and sizes, especially during this age. They also have an extremely varied range of skills. Nick happens to be at the upper end of this spectrum and is doing very well for himself. It is my feeling that no player in this division can intentionally pitch consistently to any area of the plate. Most of them are extremely pleased with themselves if the ball even makes it over the plate! I feel it is very assumptive to state that all players defer to Nick when his is up to bat. Yes, he is a good player. Yes, he is a bigger young man than many other players but most athletes, however, are usually up to a good challenge. The portion of the article that states the majority of the pitches to Nick “have been intentional, even if they’re disguised as unintentional,” is completely absurd. The article fails to mention that, just like every other player this year, Nick has been struck out as well. My son has delivered 2 of those strike-outs however he also gave up a grand slam to Nick. I dare say that was not intentional.

Of course there are times when intentional walks do occur. One evening I bore witness to just such an event. Our team, the Giants, was losing miserably. None of their pitchers could throw the ball that night. We had unintentionally walked in numerous runs. Nick came up to bat and our manager decided to intentionally walk Nick. People were not pleased with this course of action but it ended up backfiring on us anyway. Sports are like that. They are a competition. They are about winning and losing and they are also about strategy. That is what our coach was doing. He was attempting to help his team gain some ground in an effort to save some of their self-esteem. This was not just about one player up at bat, but about a whole group of young athletes learning the ins-and-out of the game.

I am pleased that Nick has such wonderful support from his family. He will go far with this whether in baseball or life in general. I do hope that we can step away from this looking at the bigger picture. Little League is about teamwork, sportsmanship and community. It is not about who is the biggest and the best. It is something that helps our youth grow and builds their character. That is the reason it is our Great American Pastime.

Regards,
Lesa Serrano
Terry M

Half Moon Bay, CA

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#8
Jun 3, 2008
 
I can't speak for Mr. Sumner, but the article in question is a column as opposed to a story, so he has great latitude. I don't think he was jumping to any conclusions. If you know baseball, drawing walks in half your plate appearances is pretty unusual. Well, it's damn unusual. I read the column too and he talked to dad and the league president. If was probably as balanced as a sports column can come, especially these days if you read many in other papers. And he wasn't taking sides, merely pointing out what was happening. Obviously you all read it, so I'm guessing that's the point.
california

Clearlake, CA

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#10
Jun 4, 2008
 
I watched this kid in a home run derby the other night and he was no better than the rest (he didn't win either). Dad needs to keep the kid level headed, not help in boosting his ego. He may be a big star in Kelseyville, but as I have found with my kids Kelseyville is small potatoes, just wait until he gets into high school ball and the big world. It will most likely all change by the time he is a Senior in High School. As parents we want the best for our children and sometimes that comes back to haunt us.
SSLL PARENT

United States

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#11
Jun 4, 2008
 
Oh we have one of the kids and dads here in Southshore Little League. Dad coaches, sits on the board and thinks his son is the best ever. He is a good player and a sweet boy, but lay off dad. ITS JUST LITTLE LEAGUE. The rules get bent and the other kids on the team feel second at best. My feeling is let the kids play ball, teach them team spirit, TEAM is the key not some 12 year old that can throw the ball. When a parent needs to live their youth through the kids its a sad thing..
K-ville parent

Chico, TX

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#13
Jun 4, 2008
 
I think that it is really sad to sit here and watch some of these people make comments about these things when they've never seen the kid play. He is a good ball player, but probably not all that his Dad thinks. What I think some people forget is that some of these boys & girls that are pitching to this 12 year old may only be 10 or 11 and have never pitched before this year in little league. Those kids would be excited to strike someone like that out, but sometimes struggle just to get the ball near the plate. Give it a rest people, and just cheer on the kids playing a game that they are learning and love to play.
Another K-Ville Parent

Chicago, IL

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#14
Jun 4, 2008
 
This kind of stuff has been going on in Little League in Lake County for years and is nothing new to this family. In fact they seemed to love Kelseyville Little League until this year when they couldn't get their own way. Grow up and quit whinning dad! You thought the rules were fine until they didn't suit you.
Really now

Chicago, IL

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#17
Jun 4, 2008
 
diduKnow wrote:
<quoted text>
if this s all for fun then allow the boy to hit the ball period This is a team effort.
His dad would like to see his son hit the ball and run bases. or maybe hey kid, HEY KID, tell your team PITCHER at your next game to walk all the ball players and throw them out in a pickle and watch the cryying began. Then watch how the parnets say well thats not fair and on -on -on.
for who ever you are to say the smack about this father. that comment is plain weak!
LAST WORDS: FOR ANY COACH TO TEACH LOW SELF-ESTEEM, NON-CONFIDENCE BUILDER AND GIVING THE KIDS A COMPLEX FOR LIFE. i PULL MY SON OFF A TEAM IF THATS THE COACHES WAY OF TEACHING BASEBALL.
tHIS IS THE LEARNING GROUND. TELL THE BALL PLAYERS HAY LET HIM. SEE IF WE CAN GET HIM OUT ON A PICKLE! QUIT THE CRYYING. PLAYBALL
I think you're the dad. You're the only person who agrees with him.
K-ville parent

Chico, TX

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#18
Jun 4, 2008
 
diduKnow wrote:
<quoted text>
if this s all for fun then allow the boy to hit the ball period This is a team effort.
His dad would like to see his son hit the ball and run bases. or maybe hey kid, HEY KID, tell your team PITCHER at your next game to walk all the ball players and throw them out in a pickle and watch the cryying began. Then watch how the parnets say well thats not fair and on -on -on.
for who ever you are to say the smack about this father. that comment is plain weak!
LAST WORDS: FOR ANY COACH TO TEACH LOW SELF-ESTEEM, NON-CONFIDENCE BUILDER AND GIVING THE KIDS A COMPLEX FOR LIFE. i PULL MY SON OFF A TEAM IF THATS THE COACHES WAY OF TEACHING BASEBALL.
tHIS IS THE LEARNING GROUND. TELL THE BALL PLAYERS HAY LET HIM. SEE IF WE CAN GET HIM OUT ON A PICKLE! QUIT THE CRYYING. PLAYBALL
Oh, please...from what I can tell...diduknow....doyouknow how to spell....I have seen several comments left by you on EVERY single subject that the record bee writes about. Maybe if you spent more time reading the dictionary and learning how to spell you wouldn't have an opinion on everything and a knowledge of nothing!! Get a life.....diduknow!?!? DUH!
Keylseyville LL Mom

San Francisco, CA

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#21
Jun 5, 2008
 
Wow! What an article. The 12 year old boy they are talking about is actually 13 (and absolutly no comparision to Barry Bonds). This is a game of learning these kids out there pitching to him are just that, KIDS. I witnessed only one intentional walk the entire season. The article failed to mention how many strike outs Nick had which probabally out numbers the walks. The kids pitching to Nick are as young as 9 years old. Most feel intimidated and nervous when Nick comes to the plate which is the real reason for most the walks. These kids are definetly not being coached to throw balls when he comes up to bat. They are simply trying to strike him out and maybe trying too hard. My son is 10 years old and plays for an opposing team. He had over 20 walks through out the season. Intentional or not this is Little League. In Upper Farm my son rarely was pitched strikes and he was taught to swing and hit what they gave him. It is all part of the game. If it is all about one kid hitting home runs then take him to the batting cages where every ball is a strike. I think this father is making a mistake by teaching his son that it is the fault of everyone else that his son did not meet his fathers expectation of home runs in the double digits. Obviously Mr. Vargas had to throw the blame somewhere so he made up this story about how all the coaches got together before the season and decided to walk Nick everytime he stepped up to bat. As if he is the only player to hit a home run.
I do think Nick is a very well mannered kid and a great athlete.I really hope that he does well in his sports career and his life in general. He is a joy to watch play ball. I just hope he does not fold under his fathers pressure.
Keylseyville LL Mom

San Francisco, CA

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#22
Jun 5, 2008
 
diduKnow wrote:
<quoted text>
NO YOUR WRONG AND I DON'T MEAN TO BE JUDGEMENTAL BUT YOUR WRONG I'M NOT THE FATHER.
LAST WORDS: HOWEVER, I READ THE COMMENTS AND WILL PEOPLE ARE SAYYING THAT THE GAME IS JUST FOR FUN. sI WHAT THE HECK WHY CAN'T THEY JUST PITCH THE BALL AND HAVE FUN. AFTER ALL HOW MANY PRO BALL PLAYERS DERIVED OUT OF K-VILLE AND WENT TO MLB?
HOWEVER, NOW IF YOU WANT TO TALK NFL! RONNIE CRUZ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS.
P.S. IF YOU THINK THAT I'AM THE FATHER GO UP AND ASK HIM. DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE? OR ARE YOU LIKE THE COACHES OR ONE OF THE COACHES WITH NO SPINE AND SAY HEY JUST WALK THE KID.
You must not follow sports very well. Ronnie Cruz plays for the Dallas Cowboys. DUH!!! Keep up!
Little League dad

Half Moon Bay, CA

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#23
Jun 5, 2008
 
Kelseyville Mom, I think the league president admitted they were pitching around the kid. I mean, can you read? And I saw him in two games this season. He had 4 walks in those two alone. Can you count? Only one walk? Oh, you're mixing that up with the number of teeth in your mouth. My bad.
Theresa

Half Moon Bay, CA

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#24
Jun 5, 2008
 
My boy also plays in the majors, for the Orioles, and I saw him walk a handful of times, not one. Is he the greatest thing since sliced bread? No. Is he good? Yes. Dad is a bit of a dork, but you can't blame Nick for that. Oh, and Nick was 12, now he is 13.
dont really care

Alameda, CA

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#26
Jun 6, 2008
 
Really now wrote:
<quoted text>
I think you're the dad. You're the only person who agrees with him.
OMG I thought the same thing.Weird.
k ville dad

United States

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#27
Jun 6, 2008
 
has anyone seen the pitching Nick saw and hit?? i know 2 9 year olds and at least 4 10 year olds. Olsen and Poloni have watched Vargas and said "he ok" We will see!
k ville dad

United States

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#28
Jun 6, 2008
 
I think maybe the topic should have been
12-year old knows what it's like to be MAX HUFF!!!

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